Berzerk

Discussion in 'General Video Game Discussion' started by slither, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. slither

    slither Alex (1981 - 2008)<br />Slithery When Wet

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    Guess I couldn't wait till friday lol, anyways, this is my first game review for CoG, hope you enjoy it.

    [FONT=&quot][/FONT] The Terminator was a movie that marked a huge blind spot in everyone’s life, I mean doesn’t the mere idea of having to fight and/or escape a senseless, cold hearted, no remorse feeling, no pity having, non-stopping killing machine, give you the goose bumps? I know I get them with an idea like that.

    Cameron definitely pushed the limits with that movie, but this is video games isn’t it? So let’s talk about that. Way back in 1980 Stern Electronics developed and released a chilling, exciting new age multi-directional shooter video game called Berzerk. A game that always sticks in the back of my mind when I go back in time to my ATARI days, and no, it has no relationship whatsoever to PS2’s Berserk (that game was based on an Anime called Sword of Berserk, if I’m not mistaken), and as you can see it’s BerZerk, not BerSerk lol. Berzerk, named after Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker had 2 different releases (curiously enough I got to own both of them) the first release was in black and white, which had few releases since the second release was quickly on the store shelves and in “full” color. Even though the first ones to hit the shelves got to experiment the game in a single black and white tone, the second release brought out some nice additions to it, as the game progressed and you acquired higher scores, the robots changed colors, yellow, red and white, and Evil Otto well… got even more evil. Berzerk was officially ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Vectrex.

    Berserk is quite a simple and basic game, you control a green stick-figure that represents a humanoid, which has the ability to shoot back at robots with a laser-like weapon. The games objective is fairly simple; you just have to navigate throughout mazes filled with plenty of “dumb” robots, who can and will fire back at you with also laser-like weapons. As well as you being killed by the robots, robots can kill or suicide themselves as well (hence the term “dumb” robots, but that actually was considered an amazing piece of AI back in the day). Score is kept in a fair manner, for each robot you destroy you get 50 points, once you’ve managed to destroy all the robots in a room before escaping (of course this is optional, you can escape without having to clear out the current maze), you are awarded a bonus of ten points per robot; I for one know I wouldn’t want to stay and destroy every single robot in an advanced stage lol, it can get really, really! hectic out there.

    As the game progresses you find yourself, looping indefinitely (what ATARI game didn’t give you this feeling?), each level gets harder and harder as you advance, each maze gets packed with more robots, and they get a lot faster and smarter, now after I kept playing for about 350 stages, I finally realized… well this is not going to get any easier, and I suppose it has no end, though after doing some research, I found out the game DOES have an ending, the game consists of 64,000 mazes, yes you read that right 64,000!

    ** To the person who had the TIME and PATIENCE to go through all of that, man total, TOTAL praising to you my friend, hats off, on my knees and AWE, AWE, just wow **

    Now as far as the gameplay goes, it’s quite a breath of fresh air, the action turns into none stop once you reach about level 15 – 18, which is a huge plus for the game, controls… well it’s ATARI a joystick and 1 button? I think you can figure that one out for yourselves lol, nah, really nothing much to say about that, as for difficulty, it actually isn’t that hard for the first 50 or so stages, though you can be killed in several ways, like being shot, by running into a robot or an exploding robot, coming into contact by one of many electrified walls that make up the maze itself, or by being touched by your nemesis, "Evil Otto", but for the lack of interest on that, it turns out not to be as hard as one would expect of it.

    For the people who are wondering “what the heck is Evil Otto?” Evil Otto is represented by a bouncing smiley face, programmers created it in a sense to quicken the pace of the game (it’s said). Evil Otto has no way to be killed, so you can forget about that, and just run like crazy when it appears, since it can go through walls with impunity, and is attracted to your character. An interesting fact about Evil Otto deals with it moving slowly if robots still remain in the maze, about half as fast as you, but he speeds up to match your speed if all the robots are killed. The Atari 2600 version featured an option in which Evil Otto could be temporarily killed but he always returned.

    Now as far as what the game stands for, probably one of the most memorable things I can remember about this game, is the fact that the robots talk, yes the robots did talk believe it or not, this was one of the first video games to use speech synthesis, and believe me that was saying a LOT, back in the day, speech synthesis was amazingly expensive, so it wasn’t a very easy job to get that rolling in a video game (less even if the game wouldn’t sell), a risk they knew but a reward they got. BUT take into consideration that the Atari’s 5200 version was the ONLY version that included this feature, though the 2600 version was hacked to include speech in 2002, but that’s another loooong story, probably in another review I may talk about that.

    So, if you are a retro lover like me, take a stab at this one, you won’t regret it, a 7/10 overall game, and a forever memorable game as well. Until next time, cheers and getta PLAYING!

    Go up to the arcade and enjoy:
    http://www.cogonline.net/arcade.php?&act=Arcade&do=play&gameid=108
  2. DarkLogicianOfCaos

    DarkLogicianOfCaos Eschew Obfuscation

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    And the robots all sounded like Cylons from the original Battlestar Gallactica.....or maybe the other way around. "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
  3. Digital Jedi

    Digital Jedi Administrator Staff Member

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    Wait, you can shoot the robots?

    :eek:

    I've been running around like an idiot for 25 years and I can shoot the robots?
    Can't get past Level 2, and I can shoot the friggin' robots!?


    :eek::eek::eek:

    This is why you should make sure your kids stay in school folks. I'm going to the arcade right now! :) <- Augh! It's Evil Otto! Run!
  4. Digital Jedi

    Digital Jedi Administrator Staff Member

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    Hrm, apparently they didn't include the shoot button in this port version.
  5. slither

    slither Alex (1981 - 2008)<br />Slithery When Wet

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    Did you try the "Ctrl" button? lol. Berzerk without shooting isn't Berzerk.
  6. Digital Jedi

    Digital Jedi Administrator Staff Member

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    Sigh, I pressed every single button on my computer and didn't get anything. It works now. :?:

    Heheh, I scored exactly 80 points less then when I didn't know you could shoot. :]
  7. slither

    slither Alex (1981 - 2008)<br />Slithery When Wet

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    Probably you just hadn't moved the cursor :p.

    Well to be totally fair, you can acquire lots of points which the robots pretty much give away :D
  8. Digital Jedi

    Digital Jedi Administrator Staff Member

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    Have you noticed that when the robots explode, the explosion looks like a little smiley face? Almost like their happy to die. This furthers my theory that the game designers where either big fans of Monty Python, or incredibly fond of hashish. Or both.

    This was a great review by the way.
  9. slither

    slither Alex (1981 - 2008)<br />Slithery When Wet

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    Yea, I wanted to mention that, guess the excitement of the first review shut me down on the train of thought lol, well actually the smile face has a bit of a story behind it, it really wasn't intended for it to turn out like that, you actually can't see the smiley face on the black and white version of the game, but once it was exported to color, and graphics were refined just a tad, the special effect seemed like a face popping out, programmers just enjoyed the idea of it having a Evil Otto splash to it as well.

    At the moment, no one really knows why a smiley face precisely, rumors say that Stern Electronics had an alliance with Have a Nice Day superiors, but that was just a rumor (I don't believe that), guess the mystery will die with the creators lol.

    And Thanks for the Compliment! :D I just hope I get better and better each further review.

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