Fast Eddie (Atari 2600) review
"Delving down into the 2600 catalog, we chance upon ''Fast Eddie'', a sophomore effort from the somewhat impressive 20th Century Fox catalog. While Fox never had a ''Frogger'' or ''Donkey Kong'' blockbuster smash during their tenure as a producer of 2600 cartridges, they had notably few total clunkers. This is remarkable because Fox got into the game business to capitalize on the television and movie licenses they held. Licensed games are usually pretty bad, but Fox was fortunate enough to have s..."
Delving down into the 2600 catalog, we chance upon ''Fast Eddie'', a sophomore effort from the somewhat impressive 20th Century Fox catalog. While Fox never had a ''Frogger'' or ''Donkey Kong'' blockbuster smash during their tenure as a producer of 2600 cartridges, they had notably few total clunkers. This is remarkable because Fox got into the game business to capitalize on the television and movie licenses they held. Licensed games are usually pretty bad, but Fox was fortunate enough to have some strong programming talent and actually turned out quite a few decent games.
Today's subject, ''Fast Eddie'', was, to the best of my knowledge, not developed from a Fox licensed property. The concept of the game is simple. Eddie must gather ''prizes'' and avoid the ''sneakers'' on a four-tiered, ladder connected maze. Each time he collects a prize, the ''hi-top'' sneaker on the top of the maze shrinks a bit. After Eddie collects enough prizes, the hi-top will shrink to the point that Eddie can leap over him and collect a key, scoring a bonus for completing the level and beginning the next round, with a new set of prizes.
The graphics are passable for what could be considered a 2nd or 3rd generation title. You can make out Eddie, and he's decently animated. The ''sneakers'' don't look much like shoes, resembling more the ''goombas'' from Super Mario Brothers. The prizes are your standard prize icons, such as hearts, fish, or tanks.
The sound is actually pretty varied for a 2600 title. Eddie has a walking sound, a jumping sound, a climbing sound, a ''prize collection'' sound, a death sound, and an ''end of the level'' sound. We're not talking about prize winning Final Fantasy soundtracks here, or anything. But, given the economy of resources you have when programming an Atari 2600 game, sound often gets left on the drawing board to allow for more resources in other areas.
Play control is where ''Fast Eddie'' goes south. There's nothing really proprietary here, push the joystick and Eddie walks in that direction, the button makes him jump. However, Eddie really likes to move, and it takes awhile to get used to just how fast ''Fast Eddie'' is. Another annoying problem (so annoying, in fact, it's mentioned in the manual) is when two ladders are stacked one on another connecting two tiers, it is difficult to get Eddie to NOT climb all the way to the top. This is annoying because using the ladders as ''safe zones'' is a large part of ''Fast Eddie'' strategy.
One very nice feature of ''Fast Eddie'', and other 20th Century Fox titles is the assignment of a ''pause'' feature to the ''Color/BW'' switch on the 2600. The ability to pause a game in progress was one of the first steps toward lengthening games. For you young ones out there, previously, games had to be completed in one sitting, limiting the depth a game could have. Having the ability to pause allowed gaming sessions to outlast the human bladder. Passwords and battery backups, introduced in the NES era, would allow gaming sessions to outlast the human need for eating and sleeping.
If you're considering ''Fast Eddie'' as one of your entertainment options, it can be assumed that you enjoy classic gaming. If you enjoy classic game play, and you can adjust to the quirks of the controls, you'll enjoy ''Fast Eddie''. All in all, a solid effort from a solid third-party developer.
Community review by ddsilver (October 26, 2004)
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