Tag Archives: Mattel Electronics

10 Best Intellivision Games

LISTS: as decided by The King of Grabs, in descending order of greatness:

1. Treasure of Tarmin
2. Tower of Doom
3. Cloudy Mountain
4. B-17 Bomber
5. Lock ‘n’ Chase
6. Stadium Mud Buggies
7. Chip Shot Super Pro Golf
8. Bump ‘n’ Jump
9. Auto Racing
10. Dracula

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision


Armor Battle, Intellivision

Armor Battle is a multiplayer tank combat game for the Intellivision that was released in 1979.

Considering its age, Armor Battle could be considered to be quite ahead of its time; particularly in terms of graphics. The isometric viewpoint, showing buildings, trees, rivers, lakes, and bridges, is a perfect setting for a tank battle – much more so than the simple mazes seen in Atari‘s Combat (a direct rival to this game at the time).

And – like Atari‘s CombatArmor Battle is a two-player only game. There is no ‘Artificial Intelligence’ controlling enemy tanks, so – if you don’t have a friend to play with – the game is extremely boring.

With two players, though, the game comes alive. Each player has two tanks each but can only control one at a time. You can switch between them with a button press. Matches become a game of cat and mouse, with players taking cover behind trees and buildings and waiting for that opportunity to pounce. The first player to destroy fifty opponent tanks is the winner.

Of course Armor Battle is very limited, but we are taking about a game that was developed in 1978 and released in 1979, so we shouldn’t be too hard on it. For the time – and for what it is – Armor Battle is classic two-player console game.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armor_Battle

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin, Intellivision

An early, proto RPG based on the TSR AD&D universe, released for the Intellivision in 1983. It’s actually a sequel to the previous Intellivision AD&D game: Cloudy Mountain.

Treasure of Tarmin is one of my all-time favourite Intellivision games; it’s like an early prototype version of Dungeon Master, with crude graphics and minimal sound. That said: playing Treasure of Tarmin is a great experience if you learn how to play it properly. Reading the manual helps. As does configuring the controls correctly.

You explore dungeons from a first-person viewpoint, looking for treasure (of course), but also looking for weapons and armour upgrades which are found randomly located around. As you explore you will run into a variety of monsters, which you have to fight using essentially turn-based combat. You have two hands and can carry a variety of weapons with which to attack, but some weapons are more effective against certain opponents, so you have to learn how to switch weapons quickly and use them appropriately.

What is cool is that you have a ring-shaped inventory, in which you can rotate items, and also swap them with items in your hands. This is key to understanding the game. Once you’ve grasped how to use the ring inventory, and can easily switch between items, you can then concentrate on killing monsters and exploring. And it’s tough going initially. There are four different skill levels to play. On the easiest skill level the dungeon is small and games take between 10 mins and 30 mins to play (longer if you’re slow). On the hardest difficulty a game can take five hours or more and have a minimum of 12 maze levels, although you can beat the end boss Minotaur and continue going downwards if you want. There’s a neat side-on dungeon map showing how deep you are in the dungeon, and of course the monsters get stronger and the items get better the deeper you go.

Treasure of Tarmin is surprisingly good considering its age. It might look a bit rubbish, but the game has a lot of detail and atmosphere and – for my money – is the best game on the Intellivision by some margin. Great programming by Tom Loughry (who apparently wrote the game in 1981, but it wasn’t released until 1983… Weird…).

More: Treasure of Tarmin on Wikipedia


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain, Intellivision

This early, prototype RPG was initially released in 1982 under the title of “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” and was later re-named as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain to distinguish it from its sequel, Treasure of Tarmin.

Cloudy Mountain takes a different approach to adventuring than Treasure of Tarmin. In this you start by exploring a single-screen World map, then delve into dungeons that take a tunnel-like, overhead view for the dungeon-crawling. Similar in some ways to the Temple of Apshai games. The dungeons are randomly-generated each game, so are always different.

While Cloudy Mountain is not quite as good as Treasure of Tarmin it is a still an engrossing and tense RPG in its own right. Gaining a foothold is a challenge, but whether or not the game is worth it is down to individual taste.

More: Treasure of Tarmin on Wikipedia

Lock ‘n’ Chase, Intellivision

An American conversion of a famous Data East coin op, Lock ‘n’ Chase is a stand-out title on the Intellivision, predominantly because of its solid gameplay and colourful visuals.

Lock ‘n’ Chase strikes a chord with me because it was the first Intellivision game I ever saw, running on an actual console (demonstrated at our local Asda, some time in the early Eighties), and is a compelling and challenging maze game where you play a robber on the run from the police, trying to steal as much loot as you can. It’s a very easy game to pick up and play, but not so easy to put down again…

The original arcade game had a vertical screen and this version adapts it to horizontal, which works fine.

Lock ‘n’ Chase on the Intellivision must be at least half decent, because it keeps getting re-released in various guises. I see it around more often than the arcade original.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock_%27n%27_Chase

Intellivision Special

The Intellivision video game console was launched by Mattel Electronics in 1979. It was a direct competitor to the Atari VCS (aka the 2600) and doesn’t tend to get much love, because – like the Atari 2600 – the games are pretty basic. The disc-like controllers were unorthodox too, although each controller does have a numeric keypad, which allows for some complex gaming.

The Intellivision does play host to a number of classics in its catalogue. Games that have stood the test of time, in spite of the machine’s limitations.

This week I’m going to be publishing a series of Intellivision game grabs, plus write-ups about each of the games.

Here are links to what was published:
Lock ‘n’ Chase
B-17 Bomber
Bump ‘n’ Jump
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Armor Battle
Tower of Doom
Stadium Mud Buggies
Beauty and the Beast
Thin Ice
Chip Shot Super Pro Golf
Auto Racing

The King of Grabs

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision


BurgerTime, ColecoVision

Mattel Electronics produced this ColecoVision console conversion of BurgerTime in 1984.

It is arguably the most authentic – and most impressive-looking – of the early console conversions of BurgerTime and it retains the vertical screen-style design of the arcade game levels (which is most welcome).

The sprites are a little flickery but don’t detract from the game too much. The famous BurgerTime tune is present and correct (well, mostly correct – it seems a bit out-of-time in places) and sounds like it’s even in stereo.

ColecoVision BurgerTime is a quality conversion and is still fun to play now.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 version of BurgerTime is extremely basic and contains little of the character and playability of the arcade original.

Yes: the gameplay is the same in essence – walk over, and drop the various layers of a number of hamburgers, onto plates below – but in reality it is hampered with ‘sticky’ controls and graphics that aren’t sure whether they are video game sprites or breeze blocks… The BurgerTime tune is recognisable though.

This might appeal to hardcore Atari VCS fans, but to the rest of us: Atari 2600 BurgerTime is little more than a joke. Pity, really, but the limitations of the machine are stretched to almost breaking point with this interpretation.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, PC

BurgerTime for PC MS-DOS was released by Mattel Electronics in 1982* and it is on a par with the Apple II version – at least graphically – and plays extremely well.

It’s actually very close to the arcade original – in terms of playability – but obviously lacks the graphical detail, with only a ‘hard-on-the-eyes’ four-colour CGA version available (if there is a VGA version, I couldn’t find it).

Don’t be put off by the lack of colour, though. DOS BurgerTime is good, wholesome, patty-dropping fun from start to finish.

* = Again: I don’t completely believe that PC BurgerTime (or any of the Mattel BurgerTime releases) were actually released in 1982, even though it says “copyright 1982” on the title screen. I think that refers to the arcade original. It’s much more likely, in my mind, that Mattel‘s releases were made in 1983, or later.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, Intellivision

It might look very chunky, but BurgerTime on the Mattel Intellivision console is a surprisingly authentic representation of the classic arcade original.

The Intellivision was a capable console for the time – more capable than the Atari 2600, which was its main rival – and Mattel managed to squeeze most of BurgerTime‘s features into just a 16K ROM cartridge.

Intellivision BurgerTime even has a perfect rendition of the BurgerTime tune, which warbles away as you play.

I’m not entirely convinced that this was released in 1982 – the same year as the arcade game. I think it came later, in 1983, and all the copyright messages saying “1982” are referring to the copyright date of the arcade original.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime