Atari 5200

Review by Bruce Consolazio



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

While there is little doubt that the arcade games of recent years have the best technology ever, defenders of the classic arcade scene will usually point out that there was not only a greater variety of games in those days, but a greater willingness on the part of the manufacturers to try out NEW and DIFFERENT ideas. Qix, a 1981 game by Taito, certainly helps prove this. The object of the game is simple: Use your marker to draw lines (called "Stix") and connect them to the border or other claimed areas, all the while avoiding the QIX- a colorful mass of lines- and Sparx, which travel along the borders and claimed areas. You have to claim a certain percentage of screen area (usually 75%) in order to advance to the next screen. You can draw quickly or slowly (for more points), and if you take too much time you have to deal with Super Sparx, which are not only faster, but are able to follow you along your unfinished lines as well! Pause while drawing a line and a Fuse will appear, forcing you to move. After the first two screens the QIX splits into two, and from then on you have two options: either finish the screen normally, or trap one QIX in a finished area, in which case the screen ends and you gain bonus points for the next screen.

The Atari 5200 version of this cult classic is superb. Not only does it look, sound, and play like its arcade parent, it offers four very different skill levels, which allow you to fill in different percentages and which have anything from no extra dangers to four Super Sparx. As with ColecoVision games, skill level three is like the arcade version. The graphics are faithfully reproduced, right down to the red time bar and the "QIXXX-X-X" in the upper left corner. Quickly filled-in areas are light blue, while slowly filled-in areas are reddish-brown. Everything is outlined in white. The QIX, Sparx, Super Sparx, and even the Fuse look and act just like their arcade counterparts. The sound is also faithfully reproduced, especially the eerie sound the QIX makes as it wanders around the playfield. The only flaw here is the accursed 5200 joystick, which makes it somewhat difficult to make short, precise moves. Luckily, it's not as big a handicap in Qix as it is in most other 5200 games, so it's a minor flaw. There are a number of lesser-known arcade games that enjoyed greater popularity on the home systems. Atari 5200 owners can enjoy a fine version of one of the most unique, yet largely overlooked, games ever made, from a time when such things were expected. To see arcade screenshots at the Killer List Of Videogames, click here


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