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Berzerk Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: May 2, 1982 Also On: None

Although many people may think that the game library of the Atari 2600 is nothing more than a bunch of Space Invaders and Pac-man clones, the truth is that the Atari 2600 had a far more diverse library than that. Berzerk, a run-and-gun game, has very little in common with either of those games. However, being different does not automatically make a game good. So, how does Berzerk fare? Read on to find out.

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Berzerk, as I mentioned, is a run-and-gun. You navigate your way through a maze destroying robots to accumulate points and trying to reach an escape point at the edge of the screen. All the while, you can be killed by running into a robot, getting shot by a robot, running into a wall, or getting hit by Otto, a large face creature who will chase you. When you leave one screen, you enter another random room design, and the game continues until you lose all of your lives.

How complicated this is depends on which game mode you are playing in. There are twelve to choose from, and they range from a very easy one where Otto is not present and the robots cannot fire at all to one where the robots can move and fire quickly and Otto cannot be even temporarily deterred by firing at him. In the game modes where Otto is deterable, it is always temporary, and the speed at which he moves increases dramatically when all the robots on a screen are destroyed. The really weird thing though is that the twelve games are not entirely in order of difficulty so you will have to consult the manual or experiment to find the game number of the particular level of difficulty you are looking for.

Graphically, this game is fairly basic, but the characters are drawn with reasonably small pixels and animate fairly well. The sound effects are pretty standard fare, but they get the job done. The aesthetic qualities of this game, then, are nothing to get too excited about, but they are not bad by Atari 2600 standards either.

Berzerk is one-player only, which is not a really big deal. With twelve game modes, this is a game that has a new challenge for you every time you think you finally have the game figured out, which gives the game a lot of potential to last a reasonably high amount of time. The game is quite common, so it is not too difficult to find or expensive to procure, so I would say there is little reason for you not to consider trying this game if you have not done so already.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.3
Written by Martin Review Guide