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April 2015 Retro Gaming Article


April 27, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Neca's Cornelius Scaler reminded me of the lost Planet of the Apes game for the Atari 2600

Planet of the Apes, Cornelius Scaler While perusing Toys R Us for a birthday present, I saw cornelius, from Planet of the Apes, out of the corner of my eye. I loved the early films and remember watching the short-lived 1974 POTA TV series! In the action figure aisle, I'd seen a Scaler - a 2" figurine from Neca that clings to all sorts of cables and cords. For no good reason - I had to have it!

The original Planet of the Apes trilogy of films bring back so many memories from childhood. The films fascinated me and terrified me. I particularly loved the original film in which the astronauts wake in a new world unaware of what had happend during their journey. When they first see apes on horseback corralling humans, always sent chills through me. And when they encounter the Statue of Liberty's torch, the realization of what transpired rushes into one's consciousness. There's only one first-time for that realization and I still remember the feeling I got from it. Such a classic film!

Planet of the Apes But what about video games? With the original film dating back to 1968, there obviously weren't any tie-in games at the time, but It's a film that resonates with many people and has been re-made a few times now. Interestingly, PlayStation and Game Boy Advance games were released in support of a re-make, but followed the plot of the '68 film.

Planet of the Apes for Atari 2600

I was most interested to learn that there was a POTA video game in production for the Atari 2600. Never released, this prototype from 20th Century Fox was scrapped as the crash of '83 came to fruition. Deemed "lost" for many years, it was determined that the POTA proto was hiding in plain sight as "Alligator People" - another proto from 20th Century Fox! this was discovered by Matt at Atari Protos.

Planet of the Apes Screen shot Atari 2600 Neither the PlayStation or Game Boy Advance versions of Planet of the Apes were well received. The cinematic cuts in the Playstation game were quite well done for it's era, but the game play on both was quite bad. With mad passion for the original POTA films, I wasn't too stoked about the re-makes and didn't really pay any attention to the game releases. I assumed they'd follow the remade plots.

Having seem some play-through videos, the game play is below par for both platforms.

Planet of the Apes for PlayStation Planet of the Apes video game for the original PlayStation uses a over-the-shoulder view, but the camera tends to lag too far behind the character which restricts viewing of upcoming enemies.
Planet of the Apes for Game Boy Advance Planet of the Apes video game for the Game Boy Advance is a side-scroller.

The real take-away here is that you can fire up Stella and play Planet of the Apes for the Atari 2600! Yay!

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