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Q*bert (NES) artwork

Q*bert (NES) review


"There’s no back-story behind Q*bert. No noble quest to save the world from disaster, no real motive behind your presence, your actions. You lack any explanation for your objective. In fact, it seems your purpose is completely random, misplaced. But even so, despite lacking any enlightening information, your mission is clear. "



There’s no back-story behind Q*bert. No noble quest to save the world from disaster, no real motive behind your presence, your actions. You lack any explanation for your objective. In fact, it seems your purpose is completely random, misplaced. But even so, despite lacking any enlightening information, your mission is clear.

For some inexplicable reason, you, as Q*bert, must descend a mono-colored pyramid and change every block to another color until the pyramid is homogenized under the correct hue. But your task won’t be easy. For, you see, Q*bert is under attack.

By falling objects.

They tumble from the sky plopping down the pyramid in spherical splendor, randomly changing their downward momentum, hoping to squash you on the way down. Pink orbs hop down the slope, but unlike their faceless counterparts, they uncoil upon reaching the bottom where they’ll bounce after you until you either trick them or die.

Deceiving these springy foes won’t be easy; they aren’t as stupid as they look. You’ll have to stay several blocks ahead of them, then wait until the last minute to jump onto a floating disk, which will take you back to the top. Your pursuing enemy will bound off the edge as you did, only there’s no disk to save it.

But these disks are rare; only a few per level. You’ll have to use them wisely.

As you progress through various stages and levels, the difficulty amplifies. You’ll soon find yourself chased by weird creatures that float up the pyramid in predictable straight patterns. You’ll discover green saboteurs that change the tiles back to their original color, forcing you to strike those places again. Your enemies increase in speed and number.

But as you’re developing quicker reflexes, you also need to develop swifter brainpower. Each level presents you with a new challenge. It no longer becomes as easy as touching a square a single time. The second level has you tapping each tile twice to match the right hue. The third obliterates color permanence – cubes no longer remain the correct color once stepped on a second time. It’s a puzzle that really gets you thinking. And with swarms of things falling around you, you’ll often find yourself taking diversionary routes in order to avoid them, thus screwing up your perfectly ordered pyramid.

It’s a lot to keep in mind. Enough to cause great confusion amongst beginners. Enough to cause even advanced players difficulty as they lose all but one life in a single round. But as your frustration mounts, you realize that at least you don’t have to listen to an obnoxious endlessly looping techno track. No ear-bleeding flowery melody. The only sounds that will accompany you as you try to riddle your way through ever-complicating goals are the sounds of falling spheres, of springy snakes, of bizarre floating humanoid things.

And, of course, the peculiar squish accompanied by a censored curse emitted by Q*bert every time he loses a life.

Rating: 6/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Community review by wolfqueen001 (August 01, 2008)

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