Frisky Tom

Atari 5200

Review by Al Backiel



Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 4

Frisky Tom Screen ShotWhat do you know? Another surprising discovery of an Atari prototype. This time it’s the 5200 with a previously unknown title. It fell into the hands of Best Electronics after Atari closed its doors. They in turn auctioned if off on the Internet along with a few other prototypes. I was the second highest bidder and got one of the two known copies. I can’t say what I bid because my wife might read this (!). The high bidder got the other copy + 2 demos. Yellow Submarine (nothing to do with the Beatles) and Boogie Music Demo. The previous auction, which I missed completely, featured Saving Mary for the 2600, which is my “console of expertise” here at DP. If anyone who has Saving Mary wants to double their money, contact me!

Frisky Tom is a young boy whose job basically is to fix broken plumbing. This is done by picking up an elbow joint and climbing hand over hand until you seal up the broken section of pipe. You move similar to the guy in Crazy Climber except the screen does not scroll at all. The game starts off with one elbow joint falling off, then another shortly thereafter. Tom must patch the pipes before the tank in the upper left runs out of water and ends the round. There are three lives and as far as I can tell, no chance for extra ones.

To make things more challenging there are white and red mice scurrying all over the place. Great! Now you need an exterminator AND a plumber. The red mice must be avoided because they are fatal to the touch. They can also dive bomb you if you are directly below - sort of like the flea in Centipede. The white mice are just the opposite and can be knocked off for 200 points. You can gain an additional 800 points by catching a brick.

There is a big problem with control. You move very, very, slowly. You can’t jump out of the way fast enough. You can’t stop on a dime. With these flaws, the game requires a lot of patience just to be able to hang in there for awhile. You have to come to an exact point, pause there, then climb. I think the left fire button helps you climb better, but I’m still not certain. The game contains music, sound effects, and even a pause mode.

Frisky Tom Screen Shot So what is the goal of all of this plumbing madness, you ask? Well, if you have a good round and have over 2,000 bonus points left on the countdown register you get to see the “bonus screen”, which is... get this... a babe taking a shower! I’m not kidding, folks! Before you get all excited conjuring up adolescent fantasies, I have to confess it’s not as good as it sounds. You can peek though simulated steam and water and see that she is sitting down and wearing a red bikini. Damn censors! What a strange scene indeed - who takes a shower wearing a bikini? How many people take a shower sitting down? The girl has hair like Farrah Fawcett despite the fact that water is pouring onto it. Despite this weirdness, the shower scene graphics are pretty good. It beats the main game’s screens, as a matter of fact. The whole concept is a little risque for Atari, and I figured all along that “Frisky” meant there was some sexual connotation to it. That’s probably why Atari never released it.

There are a few strange things in this game that I haven’t been able to figure out. The most perplexing is the “toilet mice”. Maybe it’s just decoration, but there appears to be a green mouse trapped in a cage on the playfield. Before every round, two mice go up the left side carrying what appear to be toilet parts: a ball float and other assemblies. Hmmm...

I’d love to get this game out to collectors by making copies. Atari, if you’re reading, I could really use your permission. It seems like a waste of good code that only two players can appreciate (for big bucks). Avid collectors such as myself want everything made for their old consoles regardless of how complete the titles are. What do you say?



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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:24 PM