Atari 2600 Friday’s #49 – Desert Falcon
Sorry I have been so sporadic on these. I’ve been lazy since the holidays and I’m starting to run low on games, so I’m sort of trying to make them last. But I felt like doing this today so here we go!
The Story: You are the royal Desert falcon scouring the desert in search of priceless gems.
From the Manual: “All around you are long stretches of sand, ancient pyramids baking in the hot dead air, and constant danger. The legends that brought you here are 30 centuries old. The tales tell of thieves who plundered the Pharaoh’s tomb, loading bags of gold, silver, and precious gems onto their camels, then making off into the desert. But in the night, horrible desert beasts pursued the robbers, and the priceless treasure was scattered and lost. Not even a camel
was ever seen again. Now you search for the lost treasure, daring the beaks and claws of the desert guardians. As you scan the endless sand for the glitter of jewels, your eye catches sight of gliding shadows. Something’s coming! You could turn back now and be safe. Or you could go on, and dare to steal the Pharaoh’s jewels.
From the Box: “Dare to Steal the Pharoah’s Jewels! You are the royal Desert Falcon questing for precious gems and Eqyptian hieroglyphs hidden in the endless desert. Invincibility, warp speed, and quick shots are only some of the many magical powers you’ll gain on your search. Use them to capture a trove of treasures. But watch out for the evil ones! Mythical flying beasts, blazing firepots, and howling sphinxes guard the jewels you seek.”
The Game Play: You fly around the desert collecting gems and avoiding the enemy creatures. You can protect yourself by firing darts. You start with five lives, and lose one each time you are hit by an enemy or crash. You gain a bonus life every 10,000 points up to a maximum of 4 extra lives. The end of each desert track brings you to a sphinx you must shoot in the middle of it’s face, while dodging enemies and darts, in order to continue on. Destroying the sphinx lets you into a bonus round, where you grab as many treasures as possible in the time allotted with no enemies attacking you. Hop over any three hieroglyphs to gain super powers. Hieroglyphs are Ankh, Bowl, Eye, Man, Bird, Cane, Feather, and Sun Over Water. The powers are mostly helpful, but some at higher difficulty levels are actually detrimental.
Super Powers are: Air Bomb, destroys all flying enemies and darts on screen. Decoy, enemies will attack this instead of you. Hold Sphinx, the Sphinx is unable to spawn enemies or darts. Invincible, you cannot die. Omnicide, all enemies on screen are destroyed. Points, you get free points. Polywater, you can fly and hop but not swim. Roulette, you get two random hieroglyphs with the next determining your power. Shackles, you can fly and swim but not hop. Warp, you fly at lightning speed to the sphinx.
The Controls: Left/Right moves Left/Right. Fly/Gain Altitude by pulling the handle back. Land/Hop/Swim by pushing the handle forward. Red Button to Fire Darts. Quickly push Red Button twice to activate powers.
Post Review: This game is hard. Hard. Enemies and darts are barely on screen long enough to dodge, you have to be quick. On higher levels it feels like they home in. I quickly adopted a strategy of weaved flying and avoiding treasures and points just to reach the sphinx. Resulting in little to no points. The sphinx is a whole new issue, I’m not sure how many shots he takes to kill. One death resets you to a checkpoint just before the sphinx, I fired many shots at him towards the face without killing him, and his projectiles have even less time to dodge essentially coming from half a screen away. So lets recap, even on novice I never completed a level. This game would require more practice and effort than I normally put into these reviews, which as you all know by now I purposely only do a few attempts through the game for a beginners view. Be prepared to spend a little longer at this game to get good at it and focus on survival more than points in the beginning.
High Score: 1500 Novice, 850 Standard.