Atari 8-bit

Review by Alan Hewston

Parker Bros


Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: ?

To me, Popeye is a fairly frustrating game. There is only so much that Popeye can do - and I know that I'd just love to go a whack Brutus one when he isn't looking. But alas any contact with him, and you are sent overboard.

In all the levels Olive Oyl throws you something to catch, Hearts, then Notes, then X's (smooches), and you must catch up with all 20 of them to end each level. Preventing you from this task are both Brutus and Sea Hag. Brutus chases Popeye around and can reach up or down to catch him on all of the levels. Likewise, on all levels, Sea Hag throws bottles in towards Popeye from the left or right edge of each screen. Popeye can either move away from them or punch them and score points. Punch at them at the wrong time and you lose a life. Brutus can also throw bottles at you. Time is also your enemy, as once Olive's Hearts (etc.) reach the bottom of the screen, you only have so long before they disappear, taking your life with them. Olive drops the objects from the top of the screen and they slowly float downward, swaying left and right just enough to make it interesting. When they reach the bottom, a warning song is played - telling you that your time is almost up. There are 4 different platforms - I'll call them "floors", numbered #1 through #4, where #1 is at the top.

Level 1, Sweet Hearts: All floors but #1 extend all the way across the screen. Floor #1 has a "THRU" ledge or tunnel, that permits you to leave the left or right side of the screen and enter the other. Brutus cannot use this THRU. The other floors all have diagonal stairs going down/up to the next one, save floor #4, where you that can only go up. Floor #2 has a down ladder, which only Popeye can use. Floor #1 has a punching bag in the middle that you can punch. A well-timed punch will send the punching bag into a large barrel (hanging there), and upset it so that it falls straight down. Time your punch just right and trap Brutus inside the barrel. This will score you some bonus points and keeps Brutus busy for a few seconds.

Just as in the comics and cartoons, Popeye's can of spinach will save the day. Once eaten, the Popeye theme will play, and if you chase down Brutus, you can slug him overboard and score big points. On level one, the spinach randomly appears along the far left side of floors #2 and #3. In all levels, there is only one can of spinach for each life or screen. Likewise, there is only one barrel to drop onto Brutus in level 1.

Level 2, Love Notes: Olive now throws out love notes. The THRU ledge is on floor #2. 2 Trampolines are at the bottom of both sides of floor #4, upon which you can bounce down and back up to the other levels. The spinach will be found on these trampolines, but can only be retrieved while walking on floor #4.

Level 3, X's X's and more X's: Olive now sends out X's, or Smooches. Instead of a THRU ledge, floor #1 now has a large gap, that can be traversed via a slider. Step and slide over to the other side. Step in at the wrong time and fall to floor #2. Floors #2 & #3 have openings that only Popeye can use to move to the next lower level. The spinach can be found randomly moving from far left to far right side on floor #4.

As with most Atari 8-bit arcade ports, this game saves your high score, even after you restart a game. An extra life is scored at ??? points. One could consider this a "ladder" game, as you go are constantly going up or down stairs or ladders. For the 8-bit Atari, Popeye is a fairly common cart, and I believe that it is also available on disk. More specific details are: Controls, Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, and Addictiveness.

Very good. Move in all 8 directions, plus a fire button to punch.

Pretty good. A pause feature, button "P" helps out when you need a break. 2 players can take turns, and/or you can vary the starting levels.

Not bad. The graphics certainly do not detract in any way, but they do not enhance the game much either.

The sound is pretty good, especially the Popeye theme song.

ot terribly addictive, but it is an interesting game. The game is a bit too frustrating to me, but a very nice job of converting it to a home system. It's a real challenge to make it all the way past level 3.

Atari 8-bit Designer: Unknown from my information sources.


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Last updated: Sunday, February 08, 2004 12:43 PM