Baby Boomer Review

Developer: Color Dreams Publisher: Color Dreams
Release Date: 1989 Also On:

Yay! I’ve reached my first Color Dreams game in the alphabet! Good thing too, I was starting to miss those robin-egg-blue cartridges! Baby Boomer is one of Color Dreams’ firsts. When the company appeared, it caused a bit of a stir until people realized their games usually sucked. Baby Boomer is a Zapper game, and it makes pretty good use of the peripheral. In general, it’s probably their best game, but also in general it’s a sample of how bad their games really were.

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Baby Boomer doesn’t look so bad. You can tell that Color Dreams’ programming team was just learning the ropes at this phase, so luckily the game isn’t filled with all the nonsensical, annoying, and poorly designed what-you-might-call-it’s that would be the usual fare for their later releases. This game kept it simple, and this early-era NES/Famicom look to it, something like Arctic Adventure or any other really early game. So, the graphics are basic, but they generally get the job done. Not to say they make sense half of the time (why does the baby go to hell and face devils), but they get it done for the most part.

One problem that Color Dreams really had, however, was sound programming. They never seemed to get it right and the majority of their games, other than those they didn’t even program, have this odd, tingy sound to them and all tend to sound the same regardless if you’re shooting at baby bottles or drug lords. So, Baby Boomer features the traditional Color Dreams feature of bad sound. It’s not so completely awful that you want to die, but you’ll certainly hear better on an Atari 2600.

So what about the gameplay? Well, I must admit, Baby Boomer isn’t half that bad. The plot is as ludicrous as any other game at this time; you have to find your mother through hell, graveyards, etc. The player’s task is to help Boomer along by shooting at enemies and obstacles, not to mention switches and such so he accesses the right areas. You can also shoot at different power-ups and milk to keep baby’s timer stable. Really, it’s not that bad, in fact Gumshoe, an earlier release, was essentially this kind of game but it was pissass hard. What about Baby Boomer? Well, check it out to see what I said above before I continue:

I must say, the first few levels of Baby Boomer were actually somewhat enjoyable. The gameplay was easy to get into, the Zapper was responsive, the enemies were tricky at times, the secrets to find were a bit of a challenge but manageable, and then I went further. Wow, this game gets tough. Eventually, most of the levels require total memorization and this really ruins any potential. Some later levels, like the mine, are just tedious. With invisible freaking enemies, obstacles that come at you so fast there is no way in hell you can stop them without knowing they’re coming, and enemies that drop or appear out of nowhere, and Baby Boomer very quickly takes it to the next level of pain. By the end, trust me, you’ll be swearing so much you’ll take up enough space in hell for a whole country. The last level, for example, has these sets of pipes that you have to open using valves so Boomer goes the right direction. Too bad you have no way of knowing which way they’re turning or which ways leads to which direction. This section alone took at least thirty tries to complete and I still couldn’t make sense out of how the valves worked. There didn’t seem to be any reasoning behind how they actually operate.

Baby Boomer isn’t the most creative game out there, this kind of thing was already tried with Gumshoe and a few others, but really it’s not the worst of ideas. Plus, I kind of like how they gave it this odd charm by mixing the action up with some odd locations, even though most of them make no sense.

Unfortunately, though it was kind of fun at first, Baby Boomer is definitely a one-time deal for most gamers. There is no way you’re going to want to play this more than once. Thankfully, they give you infinite continues so you can beat it instead of trudging through it again should you feel the need, but this seriously hampers the challenge. Not like it needed more. Wasn’t too long of a game, though, so that’s good.

Baby Boomer was just the start of what Color Dreams was going to cast upon the unsuspecting NES fan base at this time. It isn’t the worst of games out there, it has a little to it, but overall it ends up being disappointing, way too difficult, way too frustrating, and hardly worth the effort. If you like this kind of Zapper title, stick with the best, Gumshoe.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 4.5
Gameplay: 5.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5.2
Written by Stan Review Guide

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