Review by Agent Eqze

Reviewed: 04/22/03 | Updated: 04/22/03

An unfinished prototype, and a pretty good one at that.

Back in the days of the Atari, specifically 1984, there was a video game crash. At this point, people were becoming very uninterested in video games, and sales were way down. This contributed and led to the cancellations of many games, one of which included Garfield.
Atari didn’t want to pay for a Garfield license, and besides: the game probably wasn’t worth it. But it was a very good prototype in the making, and it’s unfortunate they cancelled the project. The creator of the Taz video game programmed it, and many elements from that game are present, including the trademark green triangle at the bottom of the screen, and the simple hamburgers, which Garfield eats. The game is not finished, and wasn’t even a licensed video game as of yet; only recently did Paws Inc. give permission for it to be legally distributed as a ROM image on their website.
So what was the game about? Try to rescue Nermal (weird concept for Garfield) and stay away from Odie. The graphics were simple, but actually very good for the Atari 2600. You moved by hopping from one fencepost to another with the Fire button, and not the joystick, which works very well. You eat hamburgers and dodge flowerpots by ducking, and time yourself so you don’t hit Odie as you go over the roof. Eventually you’ll see Nermal, so just run up and grab him, and you win!
This game is not a finished game, so you can’t blame it for being so bad. The stages are clearly incomplete, and very little game play is involved (the hamburgers and flowerpots are infinite, and only on respective screens do you actually see them). But if finished, it would’ve been a great Atari game, and a big one at that. The game is four times as big as most (in code)! So, thanks to the help of www.Atariprotos.com, you can find out a lot about a to-be-great game. You can find out more about it online, or even play it with an emulator; that’s right, Paws Inc. has allowed the ROM to be distributed throughout the web, so all you need to do if find the game (not too hard, www.AtariAge.com has it), turn on the emulator, and play! It’s actually rather fun for only a demo. The Odie level looks kind of scary, though…

I gave this game a 7 out of 10. Sure, it’s not finished, but it was great work—only two months, and you got an up-and-running multi-screen engine, good-looking graphics, a plot, and it’s fun, too! I wonder what it would’ve been like if it was complete…

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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