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Gigolo Review

Developer: Mystique Publisher: Playaround
Release Date: 1982 Also On:

Get ready for this one. I actually asked permission first before I went forward with this. One thing that’s sadly lacking today are third-party companies that make games without having the slightest clue what they’re doing. Whatever happened to this? Whatever happened to terrible programming masked with references to pornography in an attempt to make a quick buck? Gigolo is a part of this history and in spite of this lead-in, it’s actually a surprisingly good game and one of the most interesting titles on the Atari 2600. First, allow me to state that this game does not exist as a stand-alone except in reproduction form. The reason I’m reviewing it separately is that it appears on a dual-cartridge that features Bachelor Party, a game that does exist by itself, so I think it’s fair to separate the two. If you’re looking for the real deal and not a reproduction, keep in mind the other game is horrid. I’m talking specifically about Gigolo here.

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In Gigolo, you control a sexually crazed woman who’s looking to have sex as much as possible. She moves around a small city, or town, or whatever you want to call it. Sprite details are actually very clear in spite of their size. It’s easy to tell what everything is, and their choices of color help differentiate the major characters. My major complaint is that they didn’t really make the police officers look like you’d expect. If you didn’t know what they were you’d think they were simply men chasing around your character with no clear reason for it (the sound effects cover this, however). But, the woman and the mugger are nicely designed. The sex scenes are also surprisingly well animated. In fact, this is one I’m going to have to hide from the kids if I ever have them. I don’t think it would have been more possible to show, how to put this without hating myself, a woman on top of a man using their lower parts for their intended purpose. Boy I just can’t feel right for doing this review. Anyway, Gigolo actually excels for what it is. Everything is clearly detailed as much as the system could handle. No real problems here. All of these animations were original too; they didn’t just steal some code and hack it. This is original code work here.

The sound in Gigolo could have been a bit better, though. The music introducing the main screen is fitting I suppose, based on an old blues song, but it’s quite short. Other than this and the death song, Gigolo consists primarily of sound effects. It uses a number of familiar Atari sounds, nothing new here. The police siren helps to create atmosphere and make sense out of the blue men who otherwise don’t look like policemen. The sex scene sound effects are kind of funny, but definitely not as hilarious as the notorious X-Man. I suppose if I was trying to pull off the sound of sexual excitement and climax on an Atari, this is probably the best I could do with what the chip has to offer. Still, the sound isn’t Gigolo’s strongest point.

Where this game really manages to catch my attention (yes you read that correctly) is the gameplay. Gigolo is quite an original game in spite of its premise. As the sexually obsessed girl, your goal is to first pay attention to the specific houses the “men of fancy” go into, memorize them, hit the ATM without drawing out too much money (this makes the mugger come out, who can end the game immediately if he catches you), and then go to one of these houses. When you enter one of the correct homes, you get to use the joystick to ride the gigolo’s man parts to collect points. The faster, the more you get. So the whole thing involves puzzle-solving, quick hands to avoid enemies, and strategy to properly use your money for maximum points. It’s really a pretty interesting idea in spite of the perversion of it all. The police chase after you on sight for a certain number of points, stop, and then start again when you reach certain milesontes. Learning how to use the buildings to your advantage and keeping your money flowing to get points is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. Throwing in the little puzzle-solving memory game and the mugger adds a bit of challenge to Gigolo. I’m being totally serious here, I actually have fun playing this. The only real problem is that it lacks any difficulty feature. You just keep collecting points and that’s it. As far as I know, nothing special happens when you reach a certain total, you just keep going, and there’s no way to increase the challenge. I apologize for the poor video here with stupid commentary, but it’s all that currently exists so you can see what it’s like:

Gigolo is actually a really creative title for what it set out to do. The idea, of course, is totally perverted, but the programmers actually managed to make a game that’s a lot more deep than you’d think (pun not intended). I really doubt anyone actually got themselves going by playing this, so it’s seriously something that’s more for actual gaming. I mean, I don’t think I could have thought of a more creative way to make a game out of a nymphomaniac who wants to have sex in a small town full of policemen and muggers.

I’m again being serious here, I’ve played Gigolo a number of times. It’s actually pretty fun, and in spite of the lack of an increase in difficulty, it’s generally challenging from the start, so don’t expect to run through it like it’s nothing. This game will actually make you tense, and not in the way they intended. You can play it for as long as you like, so it also has that going for it. I would have liked some sort of incentive to want to play it more (like a difficulty option as I mentioned), but whatever, can’t say I don’t own this and haven’t played it more than once. It has that “show it to your friends” factor too.

For a company not known for quality and which usually ripped off the most basic of video game ideas for some of the worst messes of titles in history, Gigolo is a surprisingly good game that has a quality to it which stands up to more popular titles like Beamrider. Yeah, I pulled that one out for a comparison, send me an email if you want to complain. Honestly, for this kind of game, you definitely won’t find what you expect at the outset. Gigolo is a pretty challenging game that features some decent graphics, decent sound, and a very original concept. It’s definitely not for those gamers out there who can’t laugh at themselves now and then, but it might be something you want to try. Really.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.5
Written by Stan Review Guide