=                                             =
                =     "VIC-20 Cartridge Software Reviews"     =
                =         (One section of four total)         =
                =               AKA: Cartzilla!               =
                =                                             =
                =       Release date:  February 14, 1999      =
                =                                             =

         Copyright notice:  (c) 1999 Ward Shrake.  All rights reserved.
         However, the author and copyright holder grants his permission
         to any individual(s) for any non-profit use of this document. I
         just ask that any such people will be fair and honest in giving
         me my due credit for any and all work that I have done, just as
         I have gone to great pains to credit those before me. Thanks!

               Visit "VIC-20 Digital Archaeology" on the web:
                  Also be sure to check out:  ftp.funet.fi
                  (See the  /pub/cbm/vic20  directories.)

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GAME NAME:  Machine Language Monitor
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1213]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (198_)

GAME TYPE:  Utility program. A tool for programmers who want to code in ML.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart, you'll need the original instructions. This
	    program may also be called VicMon at times. The keyboard commands
	    used in the program are explained in the "Vic Revealed" book by
	    Nick Hampshire, if you can't find the original docs anywhere. (If
	    I ever get some free time, maybe I'll type them in and upload.)

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GAME NAME:  Mario Bros.
COMPANY  :  Atarisoft (?)
AUTHOR   :  Unknown.  (198_)

GAME TYPE:  Vaporware. Would have been an authorized port of "Mario Bros."
COMMENTS :  From Jimmy Huey via the Internet: "More vaporware: vic-20 Mario
	    Bros!  I did the Apple II port.  A version for the vic-20 WAS
	    being worked on.  How far the programmer got, I don't know. I got
	    the impression that he did get pretty far, though." Coolness!

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GAME NAME:  Mastertype
COMPANY  :  Broderbund
AUTHOR   :  See trivia.  (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Educational game. Learn to touch-type by shooting space objects.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Good. Some graphics are more detailed than others but it works.
	    The explosions look unrealistic but are very colorful.
SOUND    :  Good. Sound effects almost sound blurred sometimes, but are nice
	    and clear on others. Nice deep Game Over effects, nice zaps, etc.
GAMEPLAY :  Fun enough. It has its tension built-in if you don't know how to
	    touch type very well! (Hee hee.) But that's the point, isn't it?
OVERALL  :  Good for either learning to touch-type better or blasting things.

TRIVIA   :  Title screen says the copyright is held by "Lightning software",
	    and credits "Bruce Zweig & Jim Fox with Edward Chu" as authors.
TRIVIA   :  I couldn't resist bragging about this ... I own a prototype cart
	    of this game! In a special, hand-openable case, with a dot matrix
	    printer label which states "Mastertype. Sample. Property of
	    Broderbund software not to be sold or given away." It also has a
	    handwritten "38" in the upper right corner. A piece of history?
COMMENTS :  To really use this cart, you may need the original instructions.
	    However, if you're willing to experiment with touch-typing, know
	    that your four left fingers rest on the ASDF keys, the right hand
	    sits on the JKL: keys and your thumbs rest near the space bar.
	    This is the "home position" that is used when touch typing. It
	    will make sense as the game progresses through its exercises.

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COMPANY  :  HES (Human Engineered Software)     [C3__]
AUTHOR   :  Tom E. Griner      (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original treasure collection / maze game.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Another techie show piece by Mr. Griner. Neat title effects!
	    Character based, but nice animation on the various characters.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Good or better. Nice tension from the monsters chasing you. The
	    concept isn't very original but the game is fun to play.
OVERALL  :  Dungeon games were very popular in this time period. This is a
	    nice example of that genre. Competent in all areas, I'd say.

TRIVIA   :  I am slightly biased against this program since my absolute, all-
	    time favorite simple dungeon game is a 1982 piece by Don Worth
	    of Quality Software... "Beneath Apple Manor" for the Apple II. It
	    kicks butt, in my humble opinion! That game is the only reason I
	    still have an Apple II computer, actually. Don, if you still have
	    the source code, please release it on the net. The world deserves
	    to see more of that game, IMHO. Another good one was Epyx's
	    "Sword of Fargoal" game, released on both the Vic20 and the C64.

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GAME NAME:  Medieval Joust
COMPANY  :  Thorn EMI     [THC 22007]
AUTHOR   :  unknown       (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original game; a medieval jousting simulation.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Very good, considering Vic20 limits. Hi-res and split-screened.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Without the original instructions, who knows?
OVERALL  :  It has potential, I suppose, once you figure it out. Might be an
	    interesting novelty item. Where else can you simulate jousting?

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GAME NAME:  Menagerie
COMPANY  :  Commodore     [Vic-1926]
AUTHOR   :  D. W. Johnson     (1982?)

GAME TYPE:  Variant of arcade coin-op "Frogger".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Plain looking. Big empty backgrounds, big one-color characters.
	    The characters are nicely drawn and detailed however.
SOUND    :  Below average to pitiful. Could be much better, even on the Vic.
GAMEPLAY :  I like the original Frogger better. So will you, most likely.
OVERALL  :  This is one of Commodore's worst efforts, as far as originality,
	    gameplay and sound is concerned. What were they thinking? This is
	    the type of game that should have been released on tape only.

TRIVIA   :  I am beginning to think Commodore got pretty lazy, or something,
	    at about the mid section of their Vic20 cartridge library. Had
	    they already bought up all the good licenses then available?
	    This game and a few near it, numberwise, strike me as "filler".
COMMENTS :  Normally, I'd say that you should go see the authorized version
	    of Frogger but it isn't much better. Sigh. Go see it anyway.

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GAME NAME:  Meteor Run
COMPANY  :  UMI (United Microware Industries, Inc.)     [1613]
AUTHOR   :  Roger L. Merritt    (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Part "Defender", part "Asteroids".
REQUIRED :  Two versions; 8k or 16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5.) Joystick.

OVERALL  :  This review is going to be redone. Paul LeBrasse has always had
	    the suspicion that the 8k version we had a copy of was lacking
	    something. Turns out he was right; there is a larger version of
	    the program that is much nicer in just about every way. (Paul is
	    sure happy, now that he has a copy of the game he had such fond
	    memories of!) Later versions of this list will review them both.

AD TEXT  :  "You're in command with Meteor Run ... guiding your craft through
	    treacherous meteor fields ... fighting alien ships ... dodging
	    exploding photon torpedos ... fighting your way to the red star,
	    Alderbaran. The closer you get, the more hazards you encounter.
	    You're surrounded with challenging adventure! This action-packed
	    game will hold you spellbound for hours. Just imagine the fun
	    you'll have!" (Seen in Electronic Games magazine, Nov 82, page 44)
COMMENTS :  (From Eric Gustafson, via the Internet)  "In Meteor Run, it's
	    possible to kill aliens without ever pressing fire. Once you start
	    a game, your ship doesn't appear until you actually hit the fire
	    button - but meteors start to appear and the aliens are buzzing
	    about. If an alien hits a meteor, he's destroyed.  Wait a while
	    and the game will clear levels for you. I used to leave my Vic on
	    for hours - you see, the manual promised that you eventually got
	    to a 'black hole', and I reasoned that eventually the game would
	    kill aliens off by itself until it got there.  Sadly, I suspect
	    that any 'black hole' was simply poetic writing on the part of
	    the authors." (I verified it. It works, but I never saw points
	    registered for it. As to the black hole I haven't a clue.)

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GAME NAME:  Mine Madness
COMPANY  :  Thorn EMI    [THC 2200_]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original maze / elevator game.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Average. A hi-res set of character graphics with very few colors.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Darned if I know. I haven't figured out the point to it all. Just
	    don't get squished by the elevators coming down; that's obvious.
OVERALL  :  Not much fun at all, if you don't know how to play it. May be a
	    fun game. It certainly tries to be tense and fast paced.

TRIVIA   :  Almost surely one of the last cartridges put out by Thorm EMI for
	    the Vic20. It seems rarer and harder to find than its siblings.

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GAME NAME:  Miner 2049'er
COMPANY  :  Reston  (See comments.)
AUTHOR   :  Jerry Brecher    (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Climb and run game, released on many gaming platforms.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Excellent. Very nicely done, all around. Bright colors, clear
	    layouts, nice graphic and technical flourishes throughout.
SOUND    :  Excellent. Few sound effects but what is there is very well done.
GAMEPLAY :  Great. A very nice version of the popular game. Don't be ashamed
	    to show it off to people who own other consoles. Play, play, play!
OVERALL  :  A wonderful example of what could be done if only programmers and
	    their employers took the time and effort to do it right. As this
	    was a late release (1983), it is all the more impressive. Most
	    other companies were slacking off horribly on Vic stuff by then.

TRIVIA   :  Full cartridge label text: "MINER 2049er - VIC20 by Jerry Brecher
	    Original design by Bill Hogue. (c) 1983 by Big Five Software
	    Licensed in conjunction with Compu-Vid International
	    ISBN 0-8359-4423-9"
COMMENTS :  Press fire to start each level. It is making sure you're ready.

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GAME NAME:  Mission Impossible Adventure
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1916]
AUTHOR   :  Andy Finkel  (1981)

GAME TYPE:  "Scott Adams Adventure Games" series. (#3 of 5.)
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 2 and 3). Keyboard controlled.
	    The game starts when you type "SYS 32592" and hit the RETURN key.

AD TEXT  :  "'Good morning, you mission is to ...' and so it starts. Can you
	    complete your mission in time? Is the world's first automated
	    nuclear reactor doomed? This one 'radiates' with excitement!"
	    (Seen in "Commodore Power Play" magazine, Spring 1983, page 105)
COMMENTS :  See the entry for Adventure Land Adventure for more information
	    on any of the games in this series.

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GAME NAME:  Mobile Attack
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (198_)

GAME TYPE:  Variant of arcade coin-op "Targ".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Simple but functional.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Good. Smooth enough movement, reasonable game balance, good pace.
OVERALL  :  Good. I like fast paced games with good response ... this works.

COMMENTS :  We only have access to a tape version so far. The cart is presumed
	    to be identical or better. See also Crossfire; it's very similar.

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GAME NAME:  Mole Attack
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1912]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1981?)

GAME TYPE:  Part of Commodore's "Children's series".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Good. The graphics of the moles are large and easy to recognize.
	    At least at first. As the game speeds up, you'll make mistakes.
SOUND    :  Good. Definitely aimed at little kids; hit the moles on the head,
	    and you get the expected bonk noise. Hit them on the butt, and...
GAMEPLAY :  Excellent for its intended audience. Some fun, even for adults.
	    And maybe hilarious at adult parties, with enough cold beverages?
OVERALL  :  My little nephews ought to love this when they get old enough!

AD TEXT  :  "A colorful 'cartoon action' game. You're trying to keep those
	    nasty moles underground where they belong but they keep popping
	    up! How many can you clunk before time runs out? Fast, fun,
	    frantic!" (Seen in "Commodore Power Play", Spring 1983, page 105)
REVIEW   :  "It's a mole invasion! The pesty little devils are popping up all
	    over, and its up to you to rout the beasts and send them fleeing
	    back underground -- and you've only got 60 seconds to do it! ...
	    Mole Attack will probably be a favorite among younger arcaders.
	    Even though the eye-catching graphics combine well with the time-
	    limit excitement, adults will probably find the game too simple
	    and repetitive to get many repeat plays." (Review by Charlene
	    Komar, page 70, in the June 1983 issue of Electronic Games.)
COMMENTS :  The keyboard may work better than the joystick does, as it is set
	    up more like the 3-by-3 grid the moles are displayed in. Ideally
	    you'd have a custom-made controller for this game, with a big
	    arcade button per mole. I just might make one for my nephews.

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GAME NAME:  Money Wars
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1925]
AUTHOR   :  Commodore and Hal Lab.   (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Variant of "Space Invaders" for the most part.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard.

GRAPHICS :  Fair to middling. Mostly plain, but some nice effects. Your death
	    by electrocution is cute in a sick sorta way, for instance.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Fair. It moves too slowly for me to love it. Kids might like it,
	    as might anyone who likes slower paced games.
OVERALL  :  Fair to good. Depends on how much credit you give them for their
	    creative flair in re-using elements from various other games.

COMMENTS :  When using an IBM and an emulator, use the comma (,) key to move
	    right. The semi-colon key (;) mentioned onscreen is differently
	    placed on the original Vic20 keyboard.

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GAME NAME:  Monster Maze
COMPANY  :  Epyx / Automated Simulations
AUTHOR   :  R. A. Schilling     (1982)

GAME TYPE:  First-person maze game.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Simplistic line drawings for rooms and you don't even want to
	    see the monsters up close. Then again you could diss Doom and its
	    clones, many years later, for being blurry and pixelated, so....
SOUND    :  Average, but they were trying. Sorta cute funeral dirge.
GAMEPLAY :  You can get the basic idea by just fooling around but having the
	    original instructions would be nice. Standard maze stuff, mostly,
	    except for the fact that you are looking at it via first person.
OVERALL  :  See gameplay. Not a bad game. I prefer Epyx's "Sword of Fargoal"
	    myself but what the heck. One of Epyx's first efforts at gaming.

TRIVIA   :  Just waiting to be "DOOM"-ized by somebody? See also "Capture the
	    flag" and "Creepy corridors" for similar honors.
COMMENTS :  Some keys to use: P shows an overhead map and R is to restart.

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GAME NAME:  Moon Patrol
COMPANY  :  Atarisoft    [RX8532]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Translation of William's 1982 arcade coin-op "Moon Patrol".
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Good or better. Not all they could be? Atari was also releasing a
	    version for the Commodore 64 then; their effort went there? Don't
	    get me wrong. These graphics aren't bad, just large and blocky.
SOUND    :  Very good. The tune is catchy and the effects all sound good.
GAMEPLAY :  Good. Some other home versions are better but this is not bad.
OVERALL  :  Good to very good. A nice porting job, overall.

AD TEXT  :  "Leaping patrol cars? Yes, you drive a Moon Buggy across the
	    lunar landscape in this action-packed cartridge that combines
	    all the thrills and challenges of space driving and maze games."
	    (From the multi-lingual box art.)
TRIVIA   :  Internal messages at $a013 say "Jan 16 1984 FPR rev 5L".
TRIVIA   :  Atarisoft put part numbers on their outer box art but not on the
	    actual carts. This makes it harder for us to track part numbers
	    as most places to buy these old carts only have the cart itself.
	    The reason we want the info is to help track down vaporware; to
	    either confirm a cart was actually made or was just planned. We
	    can't tell if there is a pattern until we get more part numbers.
	    Any solid info appreciated if you have access to original boxes
	    for any of the other Vic20 game cartridges by Atarisoft. Thanks!

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GAME NAME:  Moses (with or without 8k RAM)
COMPANY  :  Century
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (198_)

GAME TYPE:  Utility program; 65C02 machine language assembler.
REQUIRED :  Unknown, as we don't have one.
TRIVIA   :  Ads claim 27 new opcodes available. The 65C02 is an upgraded
	    and more advanced processor than the standard variety 6502 chip.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart you'll need the original instructions, etc.

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GAME NAME:  Mosquito Infestation
COMPANY  :  HES (Human Engineered Software)      [C3__]
AUTHOR   :  Tom E. Griner     (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Part "Missile Command", part "Galaxian".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Plain looking, but relatively sophisticated for a machine that
	    wasn't supposed to be able to do bit-mapping. The title effect
	    is a show-off piece for sure. (Jeff Minter once commented online
	    about Mr. Griner's coding skills, using proportional fonts as his
	    example.) Does it compare to Tempest 2000? No, but for a Vic....
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Response seems a little slow, so you'll have to plan in advance
	    rather than just do twitch responses. But chasing all those bugs
	    around builds more game tension than you might think. And lest you
	    think the game is pointless and soon over, that funky looking hose
	    thing at the top of the screen is a refill for your bug spray gun.
OVERALL  :  Good to very good. The game can be fairly fun and its coded well.
	    There isn't much to whine about; maybe that plain looking arm? If
	    that. The Intellivision bragged about its graphical abilities; do
	    you remember that doctor game they put out? Enough said, eh?

TRIVIA   :  A secret message found coded into the carts internals (at $AF4B to
	    (Might TAKEO perhaps have originally been TAKEOFF? ... my guess.)
COMMENTS :  This is a 4k game internally, although it requires 8k to run.

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GAME NAME:  Motocross Racer
COMPANY  :  Xonox
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (198_)

REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

COMMENTS :  Review in progress. We just now found this ultra-rare cart
	    and archived it. We'll have a review in the next release.
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GAME NAME:  Mountain King
COMPANY  :  Beyond
AUTHOR   :  Concept by Bob Matson, programmed by Jim Stolzenfeld.  (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, released for many home gaming platforms.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Nice! This is one of the better graphical games. None of the ports
	    were all that complex looking, so they spent time on getting the
	    movement very smooth and making the character animations good.
SOUND    :  Great. The sound effects actually add to the gameplay instead of
	    just being something tacked on at various intervals. The falling
	    effect, for instance, is really enhanced by the sounds. It makes
	    the game experience deeper because of it ... which is very, very
	    rare for a Vic20 game. Bravo for your extra effort, folks!
GAMEPLAY :  Lots of fun. I suppose the gameplay is much the same on most of
	    the other ports. Same concept, anyway. This games response to your
	    input is very finely tuned. Just quality all the way.
OVERALL  :  Bravo! 1983 seemed to be a turning point in the Vic's life. Some
	    programmers got better with time while others just gave up and did
	    as little as possible once the market started moving towards the
	    C64. This is a fine example of quality, craftsmanship and fun!

TRIVIA   :  The Vic20's programmers were definitely learning the machine well
	    at this point. Too bad the market dropped out of Vic20 stuff ...
	    but then again, we all had fun with our C64's, right? Just as a
	    point of interest, take a look at other 1983 games. Like Frogger,
	    for one. Or Ms Pac-Man. I rest my case about quality standards!

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GAME NAME:  Ms. Pac-Man
COMPANY  :  Atarisoft
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Authorized translation of arcade coin-op.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Average, maybe even poor. The characters are blocky as heck. The
	    Vic20 is capable of far more but you'd never know it from this!
	    It is pretty hard to see how a game like this wasted all of 16k?
SOUND    :  Good. The sounds are recognizable enough to enhance the gameplay.
GAMEPLAY :  Good. I play the accelerated arcade version most, so perhaps my
	    sense of timing is off when I feel like this pace is a bit slow?
	    But aside from nit-picky purist type flaws the gameplay is good.
OVERALL  :  Good but not great. Maybe I'm being harsh on this game as it is
	    one of my (and lots of others) all-time arcade favorites, but I
	    think they could have done better on this conversion. It isn't
	    bad, per se, just not a convincing simulation of the real thing.
	    I guess it's good enough for casual play if you are not a purist.

TRIVIA   :  Internal messages at $a013 say "Dec 31 1983 Revision 4L".
TRIVIA   :  This game was one of three still listed as being sold as late as
	    1989, per "A MENU information directory for Commodore Computers",
	    Volume 5 Number 2. There were far more PET entries than VIC-20
	    entries throughout that book, however most were not entertainment
	    titles. That book lists this cartridge as being $20 in 1989. This
	    cartridge ISPN # is 05750-630. See also "Donkey Kong" and "IFR".
COMMENTS :  Another game I loved in its arcade version but am not thrilled
	    with at home. For those of you who love Ms. Pac Man (arcade), if
	    you are disappointed with the VIC version, try the Atari 7800 one.
	    It is fast and smooth and all on one screen. I like that version
	    best, even though I have fancier versions for later home machines
	    like the Sega Genesis, and many other home ports of the game. I
	    feel that only the actual emulated arcade code beats the 7800.

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GAME NAME:  Mutant Herd
COMPANY  :  Thorn EMI    [THC 22004]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, involving herding creatures into a central pen.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Plain and simple. What were they thinking about on color choices?
SOUND    :  Average. Some of the sounds can get annoying fast.
GAMEPLAY :  Mixed. One of those "you'll love it or hate it" things.
OVERALL  :  I didn't like it much, but others play it often. You decide.

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GAME NAME:  Number Nabber, Shape Grabber
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1941]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Educational. Two math-related games on one cartridge.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick. Disable bank 1 if present.

TRIVIA   :  The last known cartridge in the series made by Commodore. If any
	    one knows of a Vic20 cart number higher than #1941, let us know.
	    But with carts of such dubious value to the Vic's main market,
	    which happened to be avid gamers, this is probably the last one.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart, you may need the original instructions.

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GAME NAME:  Omega Race
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1924]
AUTHOR   :  Andy Finkel with Eric Cotton     (March 1982)

GAME TYPE:  Translation of the coin-op arcade game "Omega Race".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Excellent. Translating vector graphics is always hard to do.
SOUND    :  Excellent. They seemed to have captured the arcade's essence.
GAMEPLAY :  Excellent. They did a good job of converting this classic game.
OVERALL  :  Excellent. Commodore worked hard on this game, and it shows.

AD TEXT  :  "(The smash-hit arcade game!) The ultimate space game. You've got
	    one Omegan fighter maneuvering against droid ships, command ships,
	    death ships, photon mines and vapor mines. Fantastic 'rubber band'
	    boundaries, multiple levels of difficulty ... all the features
	    that make the Bally/Midway game so successful! One or two players"
	    (Seen in Spring 1983 issue of "Commodore Power Play"; page 104.)
REVIEW   :  "This translation of the coin-op space shoot is, in the minds of
	    many, the best game currently available for the Vic-20. It's not
	    in full color, but that's only a minor annoyance." (Seen in the
	    Nov 1982 issue of Electronic Games, page 49.) A photo caption in
	    that same article says "Despite the monochrome graphics, Omega
	    Race is a top-notch computer game program."
REVIEW   :  "High-powered conversion of the classic arcade game. Race around
	    an oblong block where the score is displayed, firing lasers at
	    Droid ships and mines they've planted in space. Lack of gravity
	    is convincingly worked into action; you must wheel around and hit
	    the engines to stop. Droids turn into Command ships if not knocked
	    out fast enough. These become Death Ships, which release more
	    powerful Vapor Mines." (From page 53, Jan/Feb 1985 Computer Games)
TRIVIA   :  Yes, this game is reproduced in black and white instead of color.
	    The reason for that is simple; the original arcade game was also
	    black and white! It was an early "vector graphics" based game.
	    In other words, the arcade graphics were similar to those of the
	    arcade classic "Asteroids," or to those on the Vectrex machine.
	    The arcade original of Omega Race was a 1981 Midway game.
TRIVIA   :  One of the first video games with a built-in secret feature?
	    "Power Play" magazine, put out by Commodore themselves, ran a
	    two-page article on bugs found in this game and in Gorf, another
	    converted arcade classic. (See Summer 1983 issue, page 38.) In
	    part it says "...is not really a bug in the true sense, so let's
	    call it an 'undocumented feature.' Normally in this game you get
	    three ships when you start. However, if you hold down the SHIFT
	    key while pressing either F1 (for joystick) or F3 (for paddle) at
	    the beginning of the game, you will get -- count 'em -- five
	    ships! Let's see if that improves your score!" (Article written
	    by Jeff Bruette, one of Commodore's in-house game programmers.)
TRIVIA   :  An interview with Andy Finkel, another Commodore programmer, said
	    that there is another secret keypress sequence. If you hold down
	    Commodore, Ctrl, and Shift at the title screen, then press Return
	    you will see the programmer's credit screen. You may have to wait
	    a few seconds into the title or press the keys twice, but it
	    does work. (Interview by Rick Melick and posted on his homepage.)

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GAME NAME:  Outworld
COMPANY  :  UMI (licensed from Tensor Technology?)   [1635]
AUTHOR   :  Thomas A. Giguere     (1981)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, heavily influenced by "Missile Command" and others.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Very nice. Colorful, detailed, nice moving starfield ... they even
	    went so far as to sign their name to it in script! A cute touch.
SOUND    :  Good. They really tried. Impressive, given the Vic's limitations.
GAMEPLAY :  Fun. The play mechanic is a mix of many games; protecting your
	    ground-based city with a moving crosshair is obviously Missile
	    Command. However, the asteroids that drop on you break into two
	    and then four pieces as in Asteroids. And the force field over a
	    cityscape looks a lot like Imagic's Atlantis game. All in all, I
	    think they integrated these separate elements well. It plays well.
OVERALL  :  A good game regardless but all the more impressive since it was
	    done in 1981; right in the beginning of the Vic's lifespan. Some
	    game companies took until 1983 to start making similar efforts!

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COMPANY  :  Atari
AUTHOR   :  See Trivia.   (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Official translation of the "Pac Man" arcade coin-op.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick required.

GRAPHICS :  Fair. The maze seems half-sized and there are some small glitches
	    in the character's graphics. Even so, the graphics are much more
	    recognizable than those in the infamous Atari 2600 conversion!
SOUND    :  Fair. Some parts sounds like Pac Man should. Some aren't so good.
GAMEPLAY :  Good. Not much better or worse than game console versions of the
	    arcade classic. At least it lets you choose a level to begin on.
OVERALL  :  Playable but perhaps a bit uninspired? Flawed but still OK.

TRIVIA   :  A book called "How to win at video games" had this to say about
	    the arcade original: "Pac-Man holds the record. Since its
	    development in 1980, approximately 250,000 Pac-Man machines have
	    appeared all over the world. That's a quarter million machines!
	    And approximately 95,000 of those are in the United States. In
	    numbers alone, Pac-Man reigns supreme. They have set a marketing
	    goal that all other games strive to achieve." The book goes on to
	    say "Pac-Man has been the center of controversy. Many enterprising
	    computer-based businesses have been 'ripping off' the Pac-Man
	    idea. Laws are being developed as quickly as possible to ensure
	    the Pac-Man trademark. What all this means is that Pac-Man has
	    gone far beyond most video games. Songs, T-shirts, bumper
	    stickers, ties, coffee mugs, and numerous other 'fan' items have
	    recently flooded the market. And all of this for a game that was
	    originally considered 'too cute'." (Consumer guide, 1982, pg 35.)
TRIVIA   :  From Jimmy Huey via the Internet: "I don't think Atarisoft
	    programmed any of their carts in house. They were all contracted
	    out to 3rd party developers.  Pac-man was also programmed by
	    Designer Software. The original programmer abandoned the project
	    in the middle and I finished the game." That seems to explain a
	    lot to me. This cart is half the size of most of Atari's other
	    efforts; Mr. Huey was used to coding memory efficient games. And
	    the two-person effort may explain some of the unevenness, too. I
	    imagine Atarisoft just wanted it finished up, not a work of art.
	    They probably pressured Mr. Huey into releasing it a bit early.

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GAME NAME:  Panic Button
COMPANY  :  First Star Software, Inc.
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (198_)

COMMENTS :  Vaporware? The game was reviewed in the May 1984 issue of Compute
	    magazine. See page 124 for the details. Nothing else known yet
	    as no one we've heard of seems to have seen a copy of this game.
	    We'd love to get our hands on one to archive it for everybody.
	    First Star had a very good reputation on other machines so if
	    this cart does really exist it's probably a pretty good game.

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GAME NAME:  Personal Finance
COMPANY  :  Commodore (Licensed from Creative Software)    [Vic-1929]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Not a game; a home utility to help you with your finances.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard controlled.

TRIVIA   :  One of the hardest Commodore cartridges to find. Probably due to
	    its non-game nature; the Vic20 was primarily used by avid gamers.
TRIVIA   :  Creative Software may have sold their "Household Finance" cart to
	    Commodore. Both companies separately released this one program.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart you'll need the original instructions.

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GAME NAME:  Pharaoh's Curse
COMPANY  :  HES (licensed from Synapse Software)   [C321]
AUTHOR   :  Alick Dziabczenko      (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original climb and run game.
REQUIRED :  Two versions; 8k or 16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Nice! Mono-colored (Hi-Res) characters may detract a bit but the
	    overall effect is very well done. Nice character animation, good
	    thought put into each level's particular look and so on.
SOUND    :  Could use a little more work but they made a reasonable effort.
	    Nobody seems to have mastered the Vic's sound capabilities enough
	    to keep from being annoying after (a short) while. A nice try.
GAMEPLAY :  Whoa! Boy did they make good use of their 16k memory! (I'm sure
	    I haven't said that yet!) Multiple levels that actually look and
	    feel like different levels, instead of just another screen? Wow.
	    This is one of the deepest Vic20 gaming experiences I've seen.
OVERALL  :  You have to see this one. Another example of what the Vic20 was
	    capable of doing all along, once programmers learned the machine
	    for a couple of years or so. (Then just as they were getting very
	    good at it, along comes the C64, and bye-bye Vic20 market!) This
	    is one to show to people if they tell you the Vic20 died due to
	    poor software titles, low machine capabilities and so on.

AD TEXT  :  "A fortune -- yours for the taking. But can you avoid the ghost
	    of Rama & the evil mummy? Are you nimble enough to leap the chasms
	    and avoid the booby traps standing between you and freedom?" (Text
	    from Synapse Software ad in Oct 1983 "Compute's Gazette" magazine)
TRIVIA   :  Title screen says: "Original by Steve Coleman".
COMMENTS :  Some instruction-type help, from Eric Lundquist on the Internet.
	    (This was also verified by Eric Gustafson on the I'net.) "The
	    secret code allows you to start at different difficulty levels,
	    as I understand it there are four, and when you win 1 through 3,
	    you get more of the code. The whole code is 'DEADMUMMY' and I
	    think you get 3 characters each time (DEA, DMU, MMY). Starting on
	    level 4 is much more difficult.  The flame traps are setting
	    themselves off all the freakin' time!  Noise-o-rama. Too fun.
	    The 'enter code or use joystick' was if you didn't enter the
	    code, just move you man over to the hole and drop into level 1."

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GAME NAME:  Pinball Spectacular
COMPANY  :  Commodore   [Vic-1920]
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1982)

GAME TYPE:  A variant of both pinball simulations and breakout-style games.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Paddle controller.

GRAPHICS :  Large and blocky, but at least they are colorful. Nice scrolling
	    title / instructions screen. Fair to middling in overall quality.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Some interesting ideas but I don't care what their ad says ...
	    this does NOT play "just like" real pinball. For one, pinball has
	    electro-mechanical flippers, not a breakout style paddle. Yeesh!
	    Lots of hidden stuff to find/activate, or so others tell me.
OVERALL  :  A decent game on its own merits, but real pinball this is not! I
	    normally wouldn't bristle this much over Commodore's stretching
	    the truth, but on this one I do take offense. Heck, I've been a
	    "real pinball" fan since the days that someone first told me that
	    "Space Invaders" was just a fad that would soon pass, and in any
	    case no videogame could ever replace pinball machines. So there!

AD TEXT  :  "Plays just like a true pinball machine ... only computerized ...
	    flashing lights ... quick 'flipper' action!" (Seen in "Commodore
	    Power Play" magazine, Spring 1983 issue, page 103)
TRIVIA   :  An article appeared in the Spring 1983 issue of "Commodore Power
	    Play" magazine; see page 72. The then-current champ, Joe Ferrari,
	    talks about strategies he used to score over 1,500,000 points.

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COMPANY  :  Creative Software
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  "Concept home education program"
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

AD TEXT  :  "Arlo is a hard-working plumber, but a touch absent-minded. He's
	    building a water supply system for the whole neighborhood, and he
	    really has his hands full. Help Arlo decide what kind of pipe to
	    buy and where to put it... his limited budget doesn't leave him
	    much margin for error. Figure out the shortest, most economical
	    way to get everyone hooked up... and just hope poor Arlo has
	    remembered to open and close the right valves. A marvelously
	    entertaining and challenging exercise in planning, economics and
	    spatial relationships for all ages." (Seen in EG, Dec 83, page 78)
TRIVIA   :  Ad also mentions this program was "selected as some of the 'most
	    innovative computer programs' 1983 CES Software Showcase Awards"
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart, you'll need the original instructions.

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GAME NAME:  Pirate's Cove Adventure
COMPANY  :  Commodore     [Vic-1915]
AUTHOR   :  Andy Finkel   (1981)

GAME TYPE:  "Scott Adams Adventure Games" series. (#2 of 5.)
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 2 and 3). Keyboard controlled.
	    The game starts when you type "SYS 32592" and hit the RETURN key.

AD TEXT  :  "'Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum ...' You'll meet up with the pirate
	    and his daffy bird, and encounter many strange sights as you
	    attempt to go from your London flat to Treasure Island. Can you
	    recover Long John Silver's lost treasures?" (Seen in "Commodore
	    Power Play", Spring 1983 issue, page 105)
COMMENTS :  See the entry for Adventure Land Adventure for more information
	    on any of the games in this series.

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COMPANY  :  Commodore     [Vic-1908]
AUTHOR   :  S. Matsuoka   (1981)

GAME TYPE:  Video poker game.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard.

GRAPHICS :  Mixed. Nice deck of cards but awfully blocky title graphics.
SOUND    :  Average at best. You'll want to make liberal use of a counter-
	    clockwise hand motion, after finding your volume control knob.
GAMEPLAY :  Sorta neat. I like the card games on my IBM just fine, thanks,
	    but this was a trip down memory lane. I just wish the darned game
	    didn't make me wait so long between button presses. Oh well.
OVERALL  :  Las Vegas' poker machines look much nicer, but this is cheaper.

AD TEXT  :  "Casino-style poker recreates the real thing! Superb animation
	    and sound effects add to the fun, mystery, and luck." (Ad in the
	    Spring 1983 issue of "Commodore Power Play" magazine, page 103.)
REVIEW   :  An article in the Nov '82 issue of "Electronic Games" has a photo
	    caption for this game. It says "The high resolution graphics of
	    Poker produce a beautiful electonic deck of playing cards." Keep
	    in mind that the Intellivision had "high resolution" back then.
TRIVIA   :  Internal codes indicate the program was written by S. Matsuoka
	    of HAL Labs in Tokyo, Japan. But no credits were given onscreen.

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GAME NAME:  Polaris
COMPANY  :  Tigervision
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original submarine game.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Hi-res graphics but with a very limited color palette. Maybe this
	    suits the game just fine, as its supposed to be underwater?
SOUND    :  Average, maybe even a little sparse. Just missile sound effects.
GAMEPLAY :  Multi-screen (and therefore multi-mission) does enhance gameplay.
	    You're not endlessly repeating the same exact tasks all the time.
	    And it's paced fast enough to please me, which isn't too easy.
OVERALL  :  More fun than it looks at first. Give it a try before you dismiss
	    the game as an underachiever. It "grew on me" quickly enough.

AD TEXT  :  "Polaris. Three screens triple the action. Captain a sub in enemy
	    waters. In three action-filled screens, you're attacked by every-
	    thing from bombers and subs to underwater mines. With 16 progress-
	    ive levels of difficulty, only a military genius gets through."
	    (Seen in Electronic Games, Dec 83, page 128. B&W ad; 1/4 page.)
TRIVIA   :  The ad above also stated that the game was "nominated 'Best
	    Action Video Game' (by) Electronic Games Magazine".
TRIVIA   :  The screen credits "the electronic boat division of Tigervision"
	    for what that's worth. No person was actually named, however.

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GAME NAME:  Pole Position
COMPANY  :  Atarisoft   (Licensed from Namco)
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Translation of the arcade game "Pole Position".
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Pretty good. Considering the limitations of the Vic, impressive.
	    They simply dropped some game features (like road signs) rather
	    than try to include them and make the whole game suffer due to it.
	    (Wise.) Some flicker at times, perhaps, but nothing too annoying.
SOUND    :  Good. Sound effects are nice, engine noise is nice. Well done.
GAMEPLAY :  Good. Purists may object to the missing stuff. Others won't care.
OVERALL  :  Good or better. Someone was really getting to know the Vic. See
	    what I've said before, about the programmers maturing at the end?

TRIVIA   :  Internal messages at $a013 date the cart at "Jan 30, 1984".
TRIVIA   :  One subtle graphic detail that may go unnoticed; notice that the
	    screen goes from full left to full right. No border. Neat, eh?

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GAME NAME:  Predator
COMPANY  :  HES (Human Engineered Software)     [C316]
AUTHOR   :  Tom E. Griner      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, perhaps with a bit of influence from "Joust".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Pushing the poor little vic into territory it was never meant to
	    go! Bit-mapped graphics, tiny little fonts, etc. Check out the
	    impressive little animation, complete with fireworks, when you
	    set the top high score. Cute touches like that make games special.
	    When Jeff Minter was interviewed online, he said much the same.
SOUND    :  Average or better.
GAMEPLAY :  Unusual subject matter makes it harder to "get into" the game at
	    first, but gameplay is well balanced.
OVERALL  :  Some may love its style of gameplay, some may not. But it is a
	    technologically impressive game either way.

TRIVIA   :  A message found secretly coded into the carts internals (at $BFA6
	    ALTO CALIF. U.S.A.(C)1982-KEEP OUT....." Mr. Griner said in an
	    online interview that he once kept a list of all who responded.

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GAME NAME:  Princess and Frog
COMPANY  :  Romox Inc.
AUTHOR   :  Bob Horn     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Clone of the arcade coin-op game "Frogger".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Colorful enough. Might be impressive on some other gaming console.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Experienced gamers might not like it, but perhaps kids would? You
	    decide, but personally I like many other Frogger clones better.
OVERALL  :  I tend to agree with the magazine review shown below.

REVIEW   :  "This is a copy of Frogger and a pathetic one at that. Since
	    Parker Brothers and Sierra already make excellent versions of
	    Frogger for the Atari, the last thing anybody needs is another
	    one. Romox puts their games on erasable chips that allow you to
	    go back to the store and have another game transferred onto them.
	    With games like this, that may be the only redeeming quality."
	    (Review text for Atari computer version, from page 52 of Computer
	    Games magazine, Jan/Feb 1985 issue.) We have no knowledge about
	    the internals Romox used for Vic20 carts; ROM, EPROM or EEPROM?

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GAME NAME:  Programmer's Aid Cartridge
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1212]
AUTHOR   :  See trivia.   (1981)

GAME TYPE:  Utility program.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard.
TRIVIA   :  This seems to be 4k internally, although it requires 8k to run.
TRIVIA   :  A tiny (5/16th" x 1.5") sticker on the back of my original cart
	    says "Copyright (c) 1981 Commodore Business Machines, Inc. and
	    copyright (c) 1979, 1981 Palo Alto I.C.S."
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart, you'll need the original instructions.

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GAME NAME:  Promenade
COMPANY  :  Jason-Ranheim
AUTHOR   :  unknown

GAME TYPE:  Utility package. Specialized hardware for very advanced users.

TRIVIA   :  Included here because the company's main product, the Promenade
	    EPROM programming tool, could create cartridges from parts the
	    company sold. Even as late as July 1996, the company still sells
	    parts and the latest (C64) Promenade EPROM programing tool. But
	    no longer has any stock of any Vic20 products, unfortunately.
	    Believe me, I asked them more than once, with no luck! Oh well.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this product, you'll need the original instructions
	    and all the original hardware plus other accessories and EPROMs.
	    Aside from the historical interest, go find a modern ROM burner.

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GAME NAME:  Protector
COMPANY  :  HES (Human Engineered Software)     [C308]
AUTHOR   :  Alick Dziabczenko     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Variants of both "Scramble" and "Defender".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Good to very good. They look a bit plain at times but everything
	    is clearly defined, the color use is good and the animation nice.
SOUND    :  Above average but still not fabulous. This is more the Vic20's
	    fault than the programmers fault. He certainly worked at it.
GAMEPLAY :  Somewhat difficult, but rewarding. He squeezed a heck of a lot
	    into an 8k game! The puzzle solving and action mix is well done.
OVERALL  :  Very nice! Give this one a good, long look. It deserves it.

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GAME NAME:  Q*bert
COMPANY  :  Parker Brothers     (licensed from Mylstar Electronics, Inc.)
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Authorized translation of the arcade coin-op "Q*bert".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Below average. I don't think they tried very hard. Note that each
	    of the "sprites" are surrounded by a black border all the time,
	    indicating that the simplest form of character graphics were
	    used. The large size of the individual blocks confirms they were.
SOUND    :  Fair. The tune, which doesn't play much, is short but done well.
	    The sound effects sound a bit muffled but are generally ok.
GAMEPLAY :  Average. The diagonal movement scheme is tricky on any system so
	    I won't mark down for that. Game speed is fairly good, overall.
OVERALL  :  Average at best. This is not the best conversion, by a long shot!

REVIEW   :  "(A-) A mostly successful conversion of the arcade hit. Hop your
	    'hosenose' around the pyramid until all the cubes are the same
	    color. Various weird and amusing enemies are chasing you. The
	    home game lacks the incredible sound effects of the arcade game,
	    and the graphics aren't nearly as good. But it's still fun to
	    leap onto a flying disk and watch Coily take a dive off the
	    pyramid." (From Computer Games, page 53, Jan/Feb 1985 issue)
TRIVIA   :  Note that the early ads from Parker Brothers show that they were
	    making and selling C64 and Vic20 games at the same time. I can
	    only assume they put far less effort into the Vic20 market's game
	    as this version is rather uninspired. OK, but certainly not great.
TRIVIA   :  The original arcade game had cool "speech" features, for lack of
	    a better word, that most home games never did reproduce well. The
	    original arcade game also had an electro-mechanical "thumper" in
	    the bottom of its cabinet. When Q*bert falls, he appears to fall
	    off the screen. Then there was a short pause. Then it sounded and
	    felt as if something had hit the bottom of the game's cabinet. In
	    its properly working original cabinet, this gave the impression
	    that Q*bert had been the object that had struck bottom. This made
	    it almost worth losing a guy, just to hear and feel it happen!
COMMENTS :  The joystick uses diagonals only. Turn the joystick partway on its
	    side to try to compensate for this, if it bothers you. Just about
	    every home system conversion dealt had this same problem.

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GAME NAME:  Quick Brown Fox
COMPANY  :  Quick Brown Fox
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (198_)

GAME TYPE:  Utility program. A word processor.
REQUIRED :  Unknown, as we don't have one archived yet. It was very popular
	    during its day, so it must have been pretty good then? The same
	    company released tape-based add-ons for it, besides their cart.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this cart, you'll need the original instructions. And
	    I can't see the vic's memory and screen limits being a big plus.

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GAME NAME:  Radar Rat Race
COMPANY  :  Commodore   [Vic-1910]
AUTHOR   :  Bill Hindorff       (Nov 5, 1981)

GAME TYPE:  Unauthorized clone of the arcade coin-op game "Rally-X".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Very good. Everything that Rally-X had, this has, except changed
	    a bit to look less like the every-detail-intact copy that it is.
	    Just change the mice and cats to be cars, the cheese to be flags,
	    and redo the onscreen text, and you have Rally-X. Seriously.
SOUND    :  Generally good. The background music gets a bit old, but it is
	    at a lower volume level, so there. ("Three blind mice, see how
	    they run...") The sound effects are ok, but could be better.
GAMEPLAY :  Just like Rally-X. Everything seems to have be duplicated. The
	    changes in the graphics don't hurt the gameplay a bit. Still fun.
OVERALL  :  Give this one a try. It is a lot of fun, and will grow on you.

AD TEXT  :  "The magical mouse maze makes for a fast-paced, challenging
	    game of wit, strategy and reflexes. Excellent graphics." (From
	    the Spring 1983 issue of "Commodore Power Play", page 103)
REVIEW   :  "This scrolling maze chase sends the player scurrying along
	    corridors on a mission to grab all the available cheese." (Seen
	    in Nov 1982 issue of "Electronic Games", page 49.)
TRIVIA   :  Another one of Commodore's early attempts to get away with copying
	    another manufacturer's games and sell them as their own? (See also
	    Star Battle and Jelly Monsters.) Those two were apparently yanked
	    off the market early. This clone of Rally-X was apparently very
	    popular at the time, judging by the relative ease of finding one.
TRIVIA   :  The arcade coin-op "Rally-X" was a 1980 Midway game. The arcade
	    industry saw Rally-X as the next big thing, until Pac-Man took an
	    unexpected popularity ride. Rally-X was all but forgotten then.
	    It had serious potential, I'll grant you that. Simple enough to
	    attract a wide audience, with enough tension to keep interest up
	    among the more advanced players. A quarter hog, for sure. But the
	    best laid plans of mice and men.... (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
TRIVIA   :  There are some interesting notes hidden inside the actual code
	    of the game ... "this program was created by -bill hindorff-
	    nov. 5, 1981   vic commandos   k. of p., usa" it says at $A34B in
	    the unmodified game code. (Does K of P = "King of Prussia, PA"?)
TRIVIA   :  Neil Harris confirmed that "Vic Commandos" was the inhouse name
	    for the small group that was working to launch the Vic20 system.
	    He also mentioned in that same online interview that the group
	    often spent long lunches at local video arcades doing "R&D" work.
TRIVIA   :  This game is so close to being Rally-X, that the "cheese" almost
	    resembles the original flags and all the other graphics also look
	    very close to their inspirations. But the clincher as far as I'm
	    concerned; the onscreen text has *precisely* the right amount of
	    characters to have originally been text right from "Rally-X"! I
	    suspect they made a literal copy first, then made their changes.

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GAME NAME:  Radiotap
COMPANY  :  Kantronics
AUTHOR   :  unknown   (1984)

GAME TYPE:  Specialized hardware. Interface package for ham radio operators.
REVIEW   :  This cartridge was reviewed in the April 1984 issue of Compute.
	    See page 100 for the article.
COMMENTS :  Not given a very thorough review due to its non-game nature. To
	    really use this, you'll need all the original instructions and
	    hardware, ham radio equipment, etc, etc. This came out towards
	    the end of the Vic's life, when it was obvious that many people
	    would soon replace their Vic20 with something like the C64. It
	    gave the Vic20 something useful to do, or that was its pitch.

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GAME NAME:  Raid on Fort Knox
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1913]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Maze game. See also "Radar Rat Race".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Good. The graphic characters are smallish but fairly precise.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Slow-paced in the early rounds, with little danger of being hurt.
	    The game adds more guards each round, so it gets more difficult.
OVERALL  :  Average. Try "Radar Rat Race" for a better but similar game, if
	    you feel this one is too slow for adult play. Kids may love it.

AD TEXT  :  "You're scurrying through a complex of tunnels below Fort Knox.
	    Just ahead you spot the gold ... now grab it and try to escape
	    before the guards find you." (Seen in "Commodore Power Play"
	    magazine, Spring 1983 issue, page 102.)
TRIVIA   :  This game is basically a rewritten version of a Commodore game
	    called "Bank Robber". BR has a copyright date of 1981, ROFK has
	    a date of 1982. Other than that and screen color changes, they
	    appear to be identical. Makes me wonder if BR wasn't originally
	    going to be Commodore's # Vic-1903? Could be, perhaps.

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GAME NAME:  Rat Hotel
COMPANY  :  Creative Software
AUTHOR   :  Joanne Lee / "Jolee"     (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, involving climb-and-run and treasure collection.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Simple, but they do the job well enough. Nice scrolling.
SOUND    :  Simple, but it does the job. Theme music gets a bit repetitive,
	    but it helps add a bit of tension to the game. Effects are OK.
GAMEPLAY :  The gameplay is the fun part here. Slow at first, but the speed
	    builds with each round, adding to the "chase" tension. And you
	    have to know which are the safe spots to hide out in, like a rat.
	    Hurry, but too much speed equals mistakes! Pretty well-balanced.
OVERALL  :  One of my personal favorites and one reason I became re-interested
	    in Vic20 software in the first place. Really. Try it. It is fun
	    to play, even if the graphics are laughable by today's standards.

REVIEW   :  The game was reviewed in the Nov 1983 issue of Compute's Gazette.

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GAME NAME:  Renaissance
COMPANY  :  UMI (United Microware Industries, Inc.)   [1600]
AUTHOR   :  Louis X. Savain    (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Computerized version of "Othello" board game.
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.
COMMENTS :  Not given a thorough review, as I don't play Othello myself and
	    therefore don't feel qualified to comment. Try it for yourself.

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GAME NAME:  River Rescue
COMPANY  :  Thorn EMI    [THC 22001]
AUTHOR   :  unknown      (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Variant of the Atari 2600 game "River Raid" by Activision.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Fair to good. Some portions are better than others, but overall
	    Activision did a much better job on the Atari 2600 version.
SOUND    :  Average. Nothing to write home about. Again, Activision beat it.
GAMEPLAY :  Average to good. It depends if you like fast-paced games or not;
	    this game depends on blazing speeds to amaze you as it goes on.
	    If you don't know that, you'll quit in boredom pretty early on.
OVERALL  :  Average to good. The Activision game is much better rounded and
	    will appeal to a larger audience. Nevertheless it has some charm.
	    Just don't try to use it to show off what your Vic20 can do!

TRIVIA   :  A pain to fit the original cart into its slot! Good luck, if you
	    use a third-party expansion chassis, like I do. It barely fits.
	    This is obviously Thorn EMI's first-ever Vic20 game; it shows.
COMMENTS :  This game scrolls sideways instead of vertically, but other than
	    that, its obvious this is a game based on Activision's classic.
	    (They both have copyright dates of 1982.) I'm willing to cut them
	    some slack simply because this is their first-ever Vic20 game,
	    but it could have been much better. How hard were they trying?

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GAME NAME:  Road Race
COMPANY  :  Commodore    [Vic-1909]
AUTHOR   :  J. Suzuki, HAL laboratory, Japan    (1981)

GAME TYPE:  Clone of the arcade coin-op "Night Driver".
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Keyboard controlled.

GRAPHICS :  Good. Compared to the original B&W game, perhaps even very good.
SOUND    :  Good but not great. Adequate sound effects.
GAMEPLAY :  Fair. I suppose you have to get used to it first, over time?
OVERALL  :  Good. True enough to the original coin-op, but not a great game.

TRIVIA   :  The original Atari arcade coin-op was black and white. It had
	    the excuse of being born in 1976, so what did you expect?
TRIVIA   :  Because this title is based on a mid-seventies arcade title, it
	    may seem a bit uninspired in its play. However, the idea of being
	    in the driver's seat was a novel idea in its time. And don't be
	    too hard on the graphics; Pong was only four years old in 1976!

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GAME NAME:  Robin Hood
COMPANY  :  Xonox
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Original game, ported to many platforms.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  It's fairly obvious that this was a port of a multi-system game.
SOUND    :  Average or better. They seemed to have tried to make some decent
	    background music. It's catchy, within the limits of Vic20 sound.
GAMEPLAY :  Why bother? Maybe some people will like it, but it isn't for me.
OVERALL  :  My opinion on most of Xonox' games should be well understood by
	    now. Most of Xonox's programmers probably had the talent to do
	    much more, but they apparently had to cater to the lowest common
	    denominator to make all the games alike across many platforms. I
	    blame Xonox's management; they apparently thought that any random
	    plastic box sitting on a store's shelves would be a money magnet.

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GAME NAME:  Robot Panic
COMPANY  :  HES (Licensed from Rabbit Software UK)    [C310]
AUTHOR   :  Steve Clark     (1982)

GAME TYPE:  Original vertically-scrolling space shooter.
REQUIRED :  8k RAM in bank 5. Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  At first glance, this is an underachiever. The backgrounds are
	    plain, empty and black. Your ship is a bit colorful and has some
	    nice detailing but the enemy ships are rather plain looking. But
	    once you start playing the game it becomes obvious where they put
	    their main emphasis; many fast-moving things onscreen at once.
	    Empty backgrounds are almost a necessity once you start playing!
SOUND    :  Average or better. Nice effects.
GAMEPLAY :  Fast paced and fun. If it had fancier background art this would
	    be a lot like the modern arcade classic "Raiden". Really! Try it.
OVERALL  :  They named the game aptly; the panic part of things, I mean. It's
	    obvious they made the game to take advantage of what the Vic does
	    well, and just ignored what it wasn't really good at. Good plan.

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GAME NAME:  Robotron: 2084
COMPANY  :  Atarisoft
AUTHOR   :  unknown     (1983)

GAME TYPE:  Authorized translation of William's arcade game "Robotron: 2084".
REQUIRED :  16k RAM (8k each in banks 3 & 5). Joystick.

GRAPHICS :  Fair enough, within the limits of the Vic20. Disappointing, of
	    course, compared to the original arcade machine, but no shock.
SOUND    :  Average.
GAMEPLAY :  Without two joysticks it just isn't the same experience at all.
OVERALL  :  Don't expect miracles, but give it a shot. None of the home game
	    versions really capture the original's pacing, tension, or sheer
	    number of enemies onscreen. I know, because I own the original
	    arcade game itself, along with beaucoup home renditions for my
	    collection of various gaming platforms, new and old. None of the
	    home games I've seen really come all that close. Judge them as
	    separate products? I think you have to, in a few cases like this.

TRIVIA   :  Another classic Eugene Jarvis blastfest. (See also Defender.) He
	    really knows gaming, that's for darn sure! Bless his hyperactive
	    heart for giving the world such pure adrenaline rushes, says I.
COMMENTS :  Just to give you an idea of the original's intensity, I paid big
	    bucks for two brand new arcade joysticks to upgrade my original
	    cabinet. These sticks use no mechanical switches inside; instead
	    they use beams of light. Even with these sticks you'd better move
	    fast; I don't last forever regardless, but man is that fun! I'm
	    just glad I don't have to keep pumping quarters into the game.
	    My six yess, but man is that fun! I'm
	    just glad I don't have to keep pumping quarters into the game.
	    My six year old nephew also loves the original game, even if he
	    has to stand on a chair just to see the screen and control it. I
	    can't wait to see what he
                     End of this section of "CARTZILA!" 
                    (See the other three sections or the
                    full document for more information.)