Atari 2600

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Remember that scene from the first time you ever seen the 80's classic "Gremlins?" You know, the one where Billy goes nuts in his backyard with a 9mm and shoots every one of those little microwaveable critters? You don't? Ok, well, how about the scene where the Gremlins fell from the sky and began to eat strategically placed hamburgers and Billy tried to catch them all? No, huh? Then what exactly does this game have to with the movie?

Split between the two scenes vividly described above, "Gremlins" is an odd little piece that simply borrows a few gameplay styles from other (and better) titles. Players control what is supposed to be the lead from the film, Billy (played by Zach Galligan though the resemblance here is, shall we say, fleeting), in an attempt to save Christmas from a band of ravenous flesh eating monsters. In theory, you really can't go wrong.

The first scene suffers from a significant lack of control, one that would have been eliminated with paddle support. Billy never seems to stop when you want him to and you'll constantly miss your intended target. Things only get worse in later levels, but you could miss every single one of the falling creatures (where are they coming from exactly?) and still continue playing without penalty.

Well, you will have to contend with more of the full grown Gremlins in screen two. Each one you miss goes through the metamorphosis stage and is given life here. Just imagine Space Invaders with fewer targets and you get the point. Billy fights for his life as the mutated beasties make their advance while players fire off ammo rounds in an attempt to take them out. Miss just one and Billy will be spending his holidays in a few different pieces. This is definitely the better of the two, but unless you don't catch a lot of them in the first stage, this is rather dull.

"Gremlins" is rather colorful, but trying and make out the title creatures will prove useless. There is a slight resemblance, but it's hard to believe the 2600 couldn't be pushed a little more. Also, why are the Gremlins yellow? My memory is fuzzy, but I could have sworn they were green in the feature film. Sound effects are sparse and lean towards annoying. The only music is at the rather mundane title and game over screens.

If you're going to make a game based off of this property, why not have a game where you stick the green-blooded monsters into a blender? Even a microwave would work. No one in their right mind wants to run around and catch these things. They want to see them die in humorous fashion just like their favorite movie. Sure, shooting them is fun, but nothing beats a blender.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 25, 2004 09:11 AM