Q*Bert's Qubes


Review by Jeff Cooper

Parker Bros


Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Most rare games suck. This isn't all that surprising; many rare games were manufactured by fly-by-night companies during the "crash" of '83 and '84. In light of the crash, and since their games weren't popular (because they sucked), these companies produced small quantities of their product. Some rarities, however, play very well. As a collector, it's interesting that rare games generally aren't worth anything "extra" because they are simultaneously scarce and really fun. If they were, Q*Bert's Qubes would command even more of a premium.

QQ is one of the better sequels around for the classic systems. It captures much of the spirit of its enormously popular predecessor, offers some similar characters, and yet complicates the play mechanic enough so you feel that you aren't just playing a rehash of the same game. Like Q*bert, you find yourself hopping from cube to cube, changing colors. Unlike Q*bert, QQ allows you to rotate or "tumble" the cubes, and you score by aligning surfaces rather than by simply changing the color of the entire pyramid. As you might expect, a new cast of baddies attempts to thwart Q*bert from completing his mission, including Meltniks, Purple Ball, and Rat-a-tat-tat. The latter is the "Coily" of this game; he hatches out of Purple Ball and follows you around until you dispose of him by luring him onto a tumbling cube.

Chances are that if you like Q*bert, but find it a bit repetitious, you'll appreciate Q*Bert's Qubes. The graphics and play mechanics are solid throughout. Nevertheless, I have to point out that neither the QQ arcade game nor the home version ever achieved megahit status, and I doubt they would have even if there had been no crash. Maybe people were just burned out on Q*Bert. Or maybe the attraction of the original Q*bert rested its originality and simplicity. These are areas in which QQ comes up far short of Q*Bert, and they are areas in which, by their very nature, nearly all sequels fall short in comparison to the games that inspired them. Frogger, Pac-Man, Centipede, Berzerk, and Q*Bert - these were all examples of original and simple games, and out of these I think only Pac-Man was followed by a sequel that was more popular (at least in the long run) than the original.

Make no mistake about it, Q*bert's Qubes gets a thumbs up. But it terms of Q*bert sequels, my favorite is Q*Bert 3 for the SNES. That game sticks a little closer to the original Q*bert, but offers wild graphics and dozens of challenging pyramids to clear.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:30 PM