Review: Bounty Bob Strikes Back (Atari 5200)

In this review, we go back to the mines in the Atari 5200 game Bounty Bob Strikes Back. We find out if this adventure game is worth the replay.

This game was released in 1984. It is a sequel to the game Miner 2049er. Since that game scored so well, we thought it would be worth trying this game as well.

Much like the prequel, you play Bounty Bob. The goal is to cover all the ground in the game while avoiding enemies.

Along the way, there are various items that you can collect. For every item you collect, you briefly turn all the enemies green. While they are green, they are vulnerable. Touch them and eliminate them from the screen for added points. If they are flashing and you touch them, they will kill you.

One thing that is added to this game is the fact that the game saves your progress if you die on a level. For every enemy you eliminate or every piece of ground you cover, you keep that when you respawn. The items, meanwhile, respawn after every death, making the level easier.

There is also a new set of levels. These levels are actually substantially more difficult than the prequel. It’s as if the developer decided that the problem of the game is that the game was too easy and decided to make this one more difficult. Even after getting a good distance into the previous game, I couldn’t get past level 2. So, definitely a sequel you want to play after the prequel to even have a chance to say the least.

Probably the most interesting element in this game is entering your name in the high score. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a system that involves two bulldozers before. It was a little confusing at first, but I did get the hang of that part by the second attempt.

The problem I have with this game is the difficulty. Because it is so much more difficult, it makes this game less approachable than the previous game. This is a shame because I did like the prequel a lot.

One good thing about this game is the fact that the developer at least tried to innovate with the levels. The lift, in the second level is one such example. It is a bit of a pain to learn how to use, but it is possible to master. What else is in this game, I don’t really know because I never made it to level 3.

While the prequel was interesting, this sequel does suffer from being a little on the primitive side. There are a number of isometric games. A few have interlocking level segments. This game sticks to the single screen levels. So, it does fall a little bit behind others at this point in time.

Generally speaking, there are some minor tweaks to make this game more interesting. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in the gaming industry in the short period of time between prequel and sequel. As a result, because so much hasn’t changed in the game, this game finds itself lagging behind others. The increase in difficulty did this game no favors as it makes this game much less approachable. Because of all of this, this game is much less exciting than the prequel.

There is one improvement this game makes over the previous game. The floors are improved so that they have a slightly more 3D look to them. Unfortunately, this is only a very minor improvement. There is still that bleak black background and the most basic of graphics. Very little has otherwise changed in this game as far as gameplay is concerned. The big changes revolve around the animated letters where the birds collect and place them in the proper order. This, unfortunately, ends up being a long and drawn out process. This is repeated in the high score area which also take a while to complete. The graphics in the enter name section are half decent. Still, this game does find itself falling behind other games in this area, so it’s not bad, but nothing spectacular.

There is small amounts of music that do help this game along. Unfortunately, during gameplay, you don’t get any of it. The sounds have largely stayed the same. Because of that, this game does find itself falling back in into the pack as other games begin to experiment with a bed of music during the gameplay itself.

Overall, it is interesting to see a sequel to a great game. Unfortunately, a lot of the game has largely stayed the same during a time when the gaming industry is moving forward. It ends up having a dated feel to it. The small innovations such as a new input name system and the lift work nicely, but the difficulty of this game pulls this game back a few steps. The graphical improvements are large stuck outside of the gameplay. This causes the game to seem that much more dated. The music does help a little, but because nothing plays in the gameplay itself, the game ends up being rather bland. The unchanged sound effects won this game no favors. So, it is an interesting continuation of this series, but it takes too many steps back for me to consider it as good as the original. Decent, but nothing amazing.

Furthest point in game:
Died on level 2 (managed to almost complete different halves of the level, but could never convert that success on the other half in the same game to complete the level)
High score: 13,300

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 6/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 64%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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