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A game that boldly wallows where no game has wallowed before!


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Spoofs Star Trek (1966) See more »

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Stuck in the muck on planet Cluck
10 May 2005 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Before the Henson kids sold their fathers legacy to Disney, Muppet humor was still equally appealing to children and adults alike. This classic cartridge is a good example: although produced under the Atari's kids games banner, older gamers could enjoy three different games that spoofed some of the industries earliest hits, one for each of the main crew pigs. Dodging copyright issues, Gonzo was not allowed to use his Darth Nader alter ego, but still leads an army of evil Space Chickens against our heroic trio. The piggies appear to be more purple than pink, but in those days the thrill of being able to influence things on your TV screen made us accept the crude images more easily and use the imagination to fill in the blanks.

The heroic Captain Link Hogthrob gets the funniest game and the best likeness of the lot, shooting sausages (from his middle finger) at a flock of chickens coming down at him 'Space Invader' style. This segment is not called "Chickenvaders" for nothing. Gonzo hovers above them in a funky saucer shaped like his head (a design they really should have revisited in 'Muppets from Space'). Not only does Link have to dodge deadly eggs the chicks keep hatching on his head, he has destroy the Hen Army before his shooting finger slips between the muck of Cluck (extra points for the mother ship). Despite this description, computer games were a lot less violent in the mid eighties: Link is restricted to one sausage shot at a time, and if an egg hits him, he literally turns chicken and takes off. 'A fate worse than bacon' according to the hilarious instruction booklet.

9 out of 10

First Mate Piggy does her best Mario impersonation (no fat jokes, please) in "Pasteroids", being forced to scale a mountain of Italian food in order to make it back to the Swinetrek, karate chopping meatballs and evading spaghetti strands all the way. Piggy was given a less flattering conversion into pixels than her captain (who would not have it any other way) but even though she is not sinking away at the bottom of the screen, she is also portrayed without legs. Oh well. kids have to figure out sooner or later that the Muppets have nothing below the waist. In true 'Donkey Kong' style, Piggy has to start all over again from the bottom each time she collides with a bit of food (couln't she just devour it?) If this takes too long, the Swinetrek takes off and leaves her behind. This is the least interesting of the three games, despite the fact that it may just feature the very first female protagonist in a computer game (eat your heart out Lara).

7 out of 10

Since Dr Julius Strangepork is much to old and nerdy to be a game hero, we pilot the good ship Swinetrek instead, in "Escape from the planet of the Gonzoids". The aim of this game is to maneuver the mighty vessel through a dangerous pizza mine guarded by metallic versions of Gonzo who keep tossing explosive pizzas! Luckily Strangepork has invented a handy 'Boomeray' to shoot around corners (see, he did make a contribution after all) Obviously this is the trickiest of the three games, as you have to figure out how to fire the Boomeray without it ricocheting and destroying the Swinetrek. All the while you have to keep evading the flying pizzas, the Gonzoids and even the walls of the tunnel. Let's face it you're not allowed to touch anything in there. Arguably the best bit about this cartridge is that the player chooses which game to play, indefinitely. This way you can spent a whole day evading pizza discs or sending those pesky hens to the bird dimension (yes, that's another quote from the booklet)

8 out of 10, adding up to an average of 8


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