The Atari VCS or the 2600 belongs to the oldest squadron of gaming consoles. It had been launched in 70’s and it was a big commercial success. It had color graphics chip able to display lots of colors, good sound and, obviously a plenty of cool games. The hardware is very limited, though, and all the 8-bitters from the 80’s are far away behind the VCS. But that limited hardware gave a unique taste to all VCS games. At first, games were produced by Atari itself but then a bunch of people left Atari and started their own game company, Activision. They started producing very cool games and became, among the others, the VCS game developing leaders. Today, I’d like to review one of their game that I like very much: Enduro.
Enduro is an early racing game using pseudo 3D motion. You control a supercar that has to overtake a number of cars. Then comes the next round but with limited time and so on. You’re driving trough day times from the noon, afternoon, evening and night to the morning and even a you even meet snowy and foggy sections. All of this is repeating but as fast as you drive, the bigger bonus you get when you overtake all required cars. In the night, you see just red stop lamps of the cars and then the horizon of visibility is limited so you must slow down. On the icy road the steering is more difficult.
The graphics is good for the 2600. Activision set the VCS games graphics standard to a new level and this game is one of them. On the bottom there’s Activision rainbow logo, above it are information about score, level and number of cars remaining to overtake. In the middle of the screen there’s main playfield displaying a nice 3D road with your car and the opponents. On the top there are mountains scrolling as the road turns left or right. The background color of the playfield and the top part is varying according to what time you’re driving, i.e. day, evening, night, deep night, fog, snow, morning, etc. It nicely demonstrates the VCS’s nice color capability. Sounds aren’t bad as well. There’s a really strong engine buzz sound of your car and some other whistles when you crash. A simple melody plays when you reach the level’s end.
The game is incredibly fast. You can drive like a mad man, and if you have enough perception, you reach your goal pretty soon. As fast you drive, as crazier the game play is. When you crash to an opponent car, your car is put on the side of the road and you must speed up again. The opponent cars go in three lanes and it’s extremely hard to zigzag between them in high speed. It’s even harder in the fog course, because you see only rear lights and the fog is so dense that the visibility of the lights is reduced. All in all, the game play is about fast driving and adrenaline when passing other cars in a high speed. When you reach the goal of 300 overtaken cars, you have to complete the route till another morning when the car countdown begins again and the game level increases.
Enduro is very addictive game, fast like hell and it’s surely a gem in everyone’s VCS game cartridge collection. It’s nicely done, squeezing the limited hardware toughly to bring the player really good driving experience.