Frenzy, ColecoVision

Frenzy is a 1984 conversion of the 1982 arcade game of the same name, which in turn is a sequel to the maze shooter, Berzerk. The ColecoVision port was developed by Stern Electronics, who made the original arcade game, and is therefore very authentic to that game. In fact: it’s even better than the arcade game, because it’s less archaic, more playable, and is more varied.

Frenzy is a multi-directional shooter where you must survive inside a maze of robots – all of whom are trying to kill you. The aim is simple: score as many points as possible, although unfortunately this conversion doesn’t have a high score table like the arcade version does, probably because the ColecoVision has no way to save it.

The ColecoVision version of Frenzy is a little more forgiving than the arcade version, although it’s still quite tough. Just like in the arcade game, you can shoot diagonally; blast through walls made of dots, and bounce shots off white (indestructable) walls.

You get a bonus if you manage to clear all the robots from a room, although if you linger too long the iconic ‘Evil Otto‘ (the bouncing smiley face) appears and begins to chase you across the screen. If Evil Otto does appear you’d be well advised to run because he’s completely indestructible.

The ColecoVision version of Frenzy is lacking the synthesised speech of the arcade game, but that’s a small price to pay for the other improvements. In this port some rooms have devices in the centre area, which is new, but they are more than just decoration, because if you can shoot through to them, and destroy them, then all robots on-screen will stop moving. They won’t stop shooting, however, so you still have to be careful when lining up with them.

One thing that did piss me off about this game is that you have to reset the console to start a new game, after game over. Which just seems unnecessary to me. A simple button-press should’ve returned you to the title screen.

Overall, though, Frenzy on the ColecoVision is a decent game, and is challenging and playable. It’s unlikely to grip anyone for too long, but it’s good while it lasts.

More: Frenzy on Wikipedia

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