Karnov, ZX Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum conversion of the Data East arcade game, Karnov, is a good example of a decent arcade conversion on the Spectrum.

The graphics are colourful, well-drawn, and avoid colour clash by using a black masking effect around the sprites. It’s quite a clever technique that works very well in this game.

Gameplay-wise: Karnov is an unforgiving arcade game, and this Spectrum conversion is marginally easier than its parent, helped in a perverse way by the frequent slowdown. It’s reasonable fun though and worth digging out if you like challenging platformers.

More: Karnov on Wikipedia

Karnov, Arcade

Karnov is a side-scrolling, run-and-gun platform game, developed and manufactured by Data East in 1987.

Considering the sophistication of many arcade games in 1987, Karnov could be considered a bit of a runt. The graphics are plain and not particularly imaginative. The gameplay is harsh and unforgiving. If anything, I’d say that Karnov is trying to be Ghosts ‘N Goblins, and failing miserably.

It’s not a terrible game, just not a particularly good one.

A number of 8-bit home conversions were released in 1988, developed in the UK and published through Activision, and there were also conversions for the NES, PC, and Mac. A sequel also appeared on the Neo Geo, called Karnov’s Revenge.

More: Karnov on Wikipedia

Bump ‘n’ Jump, Intellivision

Another excellent Data East arcade conversion, Bump ‘n’ Jump was released for the Intellivision in 1983 to some success.

Bump ‘n’ Jump is an overhead driving game, with a fast, vertically-scrolling track that widens and narrows as it zips past. The ultimate aim is to stay alive, at least until you can reach the finish line and the next level.

Other road users will cause you problems. Some cars will actively try to ram you into the side of the road (if that happens you explode and lose a life), so you must avoid that and smash them into the wall instead!

Even more problematic than other cars are gaps in the road, which thankfully you can jump over. Getting the timing right on the jumps is difficult though. You at least get a warning before the road disappears…

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bump_%27n%27_Jump

Diner, Intellivision

Diner is an unofficial/official sequel to BurgerTime, created by Mattel Electronics exclusively for the Intellivision in 1987. ‘Unofficial’ because it’s not really counted as canon, and ‘official’ because Mattel at least got permission from Data East before releasing it.

To many, Diner is the ‘killer app’ on the Intellivision, although, to me, it seems a little over-rated. It’s still reasonable fun to play though.

Again you play chef Peter Pepper, only this time you are kicking food down the screen and back onto a plate at the bottom. While at the same time avoiding the various chasing ‘rotten food’ that will kill you if touched. You can again throw pepper to stun enemies that are in your way, just like in BurgerTime.

Diner has four skill levels and a variety of different levels. What slightly sours the game for me are the enemies that inexplicably appear on top of you after regenerating, and the not-very-forgiving collision detection. The basic idea behind Diner is flawed, really. There isn’t a great deal to it and I can’t help but disagree with those who say that it’s the “best Intellivision game ever”. It isn’t. It’s not bad – it just isn’t that great either.

The development history of Diner is quite interesting too. It started out as Masters of the Universe II, written by Ray Kaestner. When Mattel re-evaluated their games in development they decided to change it into a BurgerTime sequel.

Doesn’t currently have its own Wikipedia page, though.

Lock ‘n’ Chase, Intellivision

An American conversion of a famous Data East coin op, Lock ‘n’ Chase is a stand-out title on the Intellivision, predominantly because of its solid gameplay and colourful visuals.

Lock ‘n’ Chase strikes a chord with me because it was the first Intellivision game I ever saw, running on an actual console (demonstrated at our local Asda, some time in the early Eighties), and is a compelling and challenging maze game where you play a robber on the run from the police, trying to steal as much loot as you can. It’s a very easy game to pick up and play, but not so easy to put down again…

The original arcade game had a vertical screen and this version adapts it to horizontal, which works fine.

Lock ‘n’ Chase on the Intellivision must be at least half decent, because it keeps getting re-released in various guises. I see it around more often than the arcade original.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock_%27n%27_Chase

BurgerTime, Famicom Disk System

This 1985 Famicom Disk System conversion of BurgerTime is just as good as the arcade original – excepting for the slightly less colourful graphics.

FDS BurgerTime is just as difficult as the original too. To get anywhere you really have to have tactics (not to mention the patience of a saint).

A worthwhile play for anyone who likes a challenge though.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, MSX

The official conversion of BurgerTime for the MSX was created by Dempa Shimbunsha and Data East in 1986.

It looks a bit like a Spectrum game, which is ironic because there is no official BurgerTime on the ZX Spectrum (there are plenty of bad clones though).

Gameplay-wise, MSX BurgerTime is relatively close to the original – ie. very challenging – and general BurgerTime play strategies work in this also. The controls are thankfully not very ‘sticky’ and movement between platforms and ladders is seamless.

The recognisable, warbling BurgerTime tune is comforting too. Overall this is an excellent conversion.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, ColecoVision

Mattel Electronics produced this ColecoVision console conversion of BurgerTime in 1984.

It is arguably the most authentic – and most impressive-looking – of the early console conversions of BurgerTime and it retains the vertical screen-style design of the arcade game levels (which is most welcome).

The sprites are a little flickery but don’t detract from the game too much. The famous BurgerTime tune is present and correct (well, mostly correct – it seems a bit out-of-time in places) and sounds like it’s even in stereo.

ColecoVision BurgerTime is a quality conversion and is still fun to play now.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 version of BurgerTime is extremely basic and contains little of the character and playability of the arcade original.

Yes: the gameplay is the same in essence – walk over, and drop the various layers of a number of hamburgers, onto plates below – but in reality it is hampered with ‘sticky’ controls and graphics that aren’t sure whether they are video game sprites or breeze blocks… The BurgerTime tune is recognisable though.

This might appeal to hardcore Atari VCS fans, but to the rest of us: Atari 2600 BurgerTime is little more than a joke. Pity, really, but the limitations of the machine are stretched to almost breaking point with this interpretation.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime

BurgerTime, PC

BurgerTime for PC MS-DOS was released by Mattel Electronics in 1982* and it is on a par with the Apple II version – at least graphically – and plays extremely well.

It’s actually very close to the arcade original – in terms of playability – but obviously lacks the graphical detail, with only a ‘hard-on-the-eyes’ four-colour CGA version available (if there is a VGA version, I couldn’t find it).

Don’t be put off by the lack of colour, though. DOS BurgerTime is good, wholesome, patty-dropping fun from start to finish.

* = Again: I don’t completely believe that PC BurgerTime (or any of the Mattel BurgerTime releases) were actually released in 1982, even though it says “copyright 1982” on the title screen. I think that refers to the arcade original. It’s much more likely, in my mind, that Mattel‘s releases were made in 1983, or later.

BurgerTime versions on The King of Grabs:
Arcade, Apple II, Intellivision, PC, Atari 2600, ColecoVision,
MSX, Famicom Disk System

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BurgerTime