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Kaboom! (Atari 2600) artwork

Kaboom! (Atari 2600) review


"Notorious serial bomber Baron von Blitzkrieg is astir once more, perched against an entirely gray background atop a solid olive green wall, awaiting his cue to strike. Still adorned in the black-and-white striped jailbird outfit he broke out of the big house in – the ensemble accessorized by the black mask with cutout eyeholes stretched across the width of his face – the criminal mastermind holds his soon to be unleashed explosive in the palms of his hands, a scowl perpetually across his face, only fleeting for the few brief seconds when victory is his. The crew-cut culprit stands motionless, emotionless, daring us to dare him."



Notorious serial bomber Baron von Blitzkrieg is astir once more, perched against an entirely gray background atop a solid olive green wall, awaiting his cue to strike. Still adorned in the black-and-white striped jailbird outfit he broke out of the big house in – the ensemble accessorized by the black mask with cutout eyeholes stretched across the width of his face – the criminal mastermind holds his soon to be unleashed explosive in the palms of his hands, a scowl perpetually across his face, only fleeting for the few brief seconds when victory is his. The crew-cut culprit stands motionless, emotionless, daring us to dare him.

The player presses the button.

Baron immediately sets to work, darting lightning fast back and forth across the span of the wall, unleashing bomb after bomb downward at the earth beneath. On his first strike the bombs fall slowly and in short numbers, but with each successful completion of a round they hurtle toward the ground quicker and in greater amounts. Soon they’re dropping out of his hands at a breakneck, dizzying pace.

Success comes via the three vertically stacked trays at the base of the wall. As the bombs fall the player must attempt to catch them on the trays, strafing left and right, mimicking the movements of the shifty von Blitzkrieg. Failure is met not only by being sent back to the last round, but with the removal of the bottommost of the trays, making it that much more difficult to foil this fugitive by making the margin of error that much slimmer.

That’s all there is to it.

Kaboom! stands as evidence that simple ideas complemented by seamless mechanics will weather the tests of time. The split-second reflexes and precise timing required to excel here is unparalleled by today’s Devil May Cry’s; only through extensive practice will you establish the nimble fingers necessary to see how frantic this title can be, and once you have a taste you'll want more. The only flash presented here is the flickering colors that occur when a bomb touches the ground, but in spite of this I still can’t get enough. Forget sprawling landscapes and characters with clouded pasts necessary to captivate audiences today; all Kaboom! does is throw a bomb-dropping maniac on the screen and ask us to clean up the hectic, free-falling mess he leaves in his wake.

It does it well.

Rating: 8/10

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Staff review by Jackie Curtis (December 14, 2008)

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