Review: Revenge of the ‘Gator (Game Boy)

In this review, we take a bite out of the Game Boy game Revenge of the ‘Gator. We find out how well this pinball game plays.

This game was released in 1990.

The game features one single player mode. In this mode, you get a single pinball machine to play with. Standard rules apply. You get 3 balls. If all three balls drain, then it’s game over. Use your flippers to keep the ball in play for as long as possible while racking up points.

There are basically three main areas on the table. You first encounter the second area. Using your flippers, you can hit a number of things here. You can send your ball through the upper area which contains 4 heart icons. Luckily, you can’t turn them off until all four are lit, so you can keep trying with little risk. Light all four hearts and you activate both gator kickers and the gator center pin.

There are three side targets on the table. Knock down all three and you’ll open the small gate. The chute leads up to the third area, though getting enough power to make it all the way up cn be tricky.

On the right hand side, there is a small chute with a spinner. The spinner racks up points for each rotation. If you make it all the way through (doesn’t matter the point of entry), then you can activate the slots in the middle. Most of the time, you’ll get nothing, but the slots can also give you a number of different bonuses. If the ball drains in this area, you’ll be taken down to the first area.

If the ball drains in the first area, you’ll lose your ball to the gator who will happily eat it. There are three creatures that randomly open their mouths. Your ball will get taken to another part of the table if any of them swallow it. One of them leads to the bonus area. A second will lead to the third area. The third, leads to the second area of the table.

There is a small hole located on the right hand side of the screen. If the ball falls in here, a gator will smack the ball upwards. If you keep your left flipper up, your ball will fly up into the second area. If not, then it will bounce above the bumpers for a little bit.

The third area can be a little tricky to get to. The easiest way is via the ball draining in the first bonus area. In the third area, there are a number of targets in the left and right hand side. If you get through them, you’ll gain access to the tooth drop targets. There are also three bonus targets near the flippers you can hit. Light them all up and it’s possible to receive a bonus. If the ball drains in this area, then the ball will enter the second area with the preventative fence going up after.

The bonus area features a number of targets here. The goal is to hit enough for the alligator to fall down. Hit the alligator for bonus points.

I have to say, this is probably one of the more limited games I’ve played. The reason for this is the single table. While the table itself is actually decently laid out, the lack of multiple tables make for a limited game. Once you get bored of playing that one table, then there’s no real reason to keep playing this game at all unless you have a second person with a second Game Boy and cartridge willing to play head to head. In all honesty, after an hour or so, I got bored playing this game.

One positive is that the game manages to retain what would be a fully-featured pinball machine inside the small screen. The dividing up of the different areas works very well in that regard. You might think that dividing the gameplay up in small areas might spread things out too much, but I really didn’t find that to be the case at all here.

Generally speaking, while the table presented is decently laid out, that is all you get. Getting a mere one table for single player use makes for some extremely limited play. As a result, you don’t need long to get bored of this game. As a result, it’s a bit disappointing.

The graphics is hit and miss. The hit for me is the way the different alligators were animated. Both the intro screen and on the table featured alligators with so much personality. That is certainly something to be praised for a game on this system so early on. The downfall is the blurring that happens whenever the ball is moving quickly. It can be hard to track where the ball is from time to time. This can affect gameplay somewhat. If this game featured some more detailing, I think it would have been better. There is some blank spacing issues here. So, decent all around tanks largely to the animations presented.

The music isn’t bad. the only real thing that holds the music back is the limited gameplay. The sound effects are OK, but nothing too memorable.

Overall, the single table really hurt this games chances for success. Once you are bored with the one table, then there’s nothing more to experience unless you can take advantage of the multi-player features. This issue held up a lot of different aspects of the game including in audio and graphics. The table itself is not that bad. The mult-area layout worked well in creating a fully-featured pinball machine environment. The graphics were decent enough. There were some issues with blank space and blurring, but the animations worked wonders here. The audio, while decent, was limited by the limited amount of game available. The sound effects were OK, but nothing huge. Can’t say I’d recommend it myself even if the game isn’t necessarily terrible.

Furthest point in game:
High score: 86,040

General gameplay: 17/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 62%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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