Sunday, December 2, 2007

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Popeye for the TI-99 computer!

I'm mainly a console kind of guy, but I do collect games for cartridge-compatible computers like the Commodore 64 and the Atari 800. I've been playing Popeye the last couple of days, so I thought I would write up a review for the TI-99 version of the game:

Based on Nintendo’s 1982 arcade game, Popeye for the TI-99 computer is missing some of coin-op classic’s finer details, but is nevertheless a competently programmed port.

Popeye’s Passion

Well, blow me down and shiver me timbers! This game lets players take on the role of Popeye the Sailor Man, the famous cartoon character who gains super strength when he eats a can of spinach. The action is divided into three screens, each of which involves climbing up and down ladders and stairs and running around grabbing items (hearts, musical notes, and the word “HELP”) being floated down by Olive Oyl, Popeye’s emaciated, yet endearing girlfriend.

Popeye in Peril

While Popeye scurries about, his archenemy, the bloated Brutus, stays in hot pursuit, chasing him around the screen. Brutus should be avoided at all costs, but he can be punched if Popeye grabs a can of spinach. Unfortunately, there is only one spinach can per level, making the action somewhat limited in nature (though still enjoyable). Occasionally, The Sea Hag pops in from the edges of the screen, throwing bottles at Popeye. The bottles should be avoided or punched. The third screen, which takes place on a ship, adds vultures to the mix. Bouncing skulls complicate matters as well.

Missing in Action

Popeye is a fun climbing cartridge, but it is missing certain relatively minor elements found in the more cartoon-like arcade game, including the intermissions. The punching bag that players hit to drop a bucket on Brutus doesn’t move from side to side, making it easier to punch, and the platform Swee’Pea sits on in screen two doesn’t move up and down, making it easer to grab.

Pop for Popeye?

Classic gaming enthusiasts who already own the ColecoVision or NES version of Popeye shouldn’t feel obligated to pick up the TI-99 rendition, but fans of the computer system looking for some lighthearted, largely nonviolent action can’t go wrong in adding this game to their collections.

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