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|Manufacturer:||20th Century Fox|
|Rating:||2.5 out of 5|
The 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage has taken on several forms including books, an animated series and an Atari 2600 video game! This is a pretty cool notion for a 2600 game, even though 20th Century Fox often licensed movies for game productions as opposed to original story lines.
On a certain level it makes sense to miniaturize a fighting force to enter the human body and battle rogue diseases. The Atari 2600 is up to the task of delivering a scrolling shooter. Alas, it's the manual that fails this game. Some objects seem misidentified and strategies of avoidance versus shooting are a bit confusing.
Similar to the movie, you and your submarine will be injected into the bloodstream of a critically ill patient. Your mission is to blast your way through several phases of arterial obstacles and destroy a life threatening Blood Clot. Along the way you will encounter a variety of obstacles that must be shot or avoided as the heartbeat signals the end of your timed mission.
Fantastic Voyage opens in demo mode and starts the game when the reset switch or fire button is toggled. The Difficulty Switches are not used, but the six game variations offer extended play as well as enhanced difficulty. Your mission is to get to the Blood Coot and destroy it!
The vertical scrolling - similar to River Raid - shows your submarine's path as it travels through the arteries. You are timed on your travels, but the timing mechanism isn't as clockwork as we'd like. A heartbeat quickens as time runs out, but it's really hard to gauge your progress.
When your ship colides with arterial detritus, you loose time, but again it's hard to say how much time is lost and how damaging each collision is to your mission. In the final phase, you will encounter Clotlets which are indestructible. When you clear them, you need to get 15 shots at the Blood Clot to destroy it.
I like the control of the miniaturized submarine. You can easily move around the screen during the vertical scroll. Once you know which items to avoid, navigating the screen takes on new importance. The submarine's movement is quick and precise enough to line up your laser shots while dodging a slew of other gross floating things.
As I understand it, the "Clotlets" shown in the middle image are actually blood cells. The clotlets need to be destroyed as you approach the clot (lower image). Whereas blood cells should be avoided and not destroyed.
Knowing little things like this makes the game much more enjoyable. The various sprites are not very vibrant or colorful, but their shapes are easily differentiated as you encounter them.
I'd love to see a hack of Fantastic Voyage where some more color was added. This would be a lot more fun with a Demon Attack styled upgrade to the arterial items.
The last page of the manual has tips from the developer that use some ambiguous tips that I'm not sure I understood at all. You won't get a medical degree after removing the clot, with laser precision, but you can move on to the next patient.
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