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Game Over Online ~ Pong

GameOver Game Reviews - Pong (c) Hasbro Interactive, Reviewed by - Drexel Spivey

Game & Publisher Pong (c) Hasbro Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 74%
Date Published Thursday, October 28th, 1999 at 08:56 PM


Divider Left By: Drexel Spivey Divider Right

The year was 1974 when Atari's Pong first made it's appearance in the home interactive entertainment industry. It became an instant classic, a legend among video games. Twenty five years later, Atari and Hasbro Interactive have teamed up to bring PC gamers the addictive game that started it all. The premise is the same - a table-tennis style game where the object is to lob a ball back and forth, keeping your opponent from scoring against you, while attempting to score against him. This time around though, we're treated to a 3D experience including single and multiplayer games with over 20 action-packed levels to select from. It's Pong for the 90's, and it's hardly recognizable.

While it might have been fun in it's time, the premise behind Pong isn't one for the ages. It was a very simple premise that might have worked in the 70's, but let's face it folks, a lot has happened in the last 25 years of gaming. The biggest issue Atari and Hasbro had to address was bringing Pong up-to-date in a way that would make gamers want to play it all over again. A simple table-tennis style gameplay wasn't going to cut it anymore. The good news is they've done a great job in the gameplay department. Atari has included 20 action-packed levels that are unique and fun to play. They've added offensive and defensive power-ups, obstacles and characters in each level, hidden bonuses, paddles that can catch, throw and spin the balls, and much, much more. The one thing I would have liked to have seen, was an option to play the original version of Pong, besides the new levels. That aside, there is loads of new gameplay in this updated version of Pong.

Just to give you an idea what kind of levels are found inside Pong, let me run down a few of the levels from the game. I don't want to spoil the levels for you, so I'll keep it to the first three levels, two of which can be played in the Pong demo that is currently available from Hasbro Interactive. The first level in Pong is called Penguin Pong, where you play table-tennis on a sheet of ice. The objective is the same, but this level has a pair of penguins sliding along side your paddle. Besides deflecting the balls, these little guys will also add a ball into play from time to time, increasing the difficulty as you progress. The second level is called Soccer Stars and plays similar to a game of Fooseball. In this level, you control a pair of paddles. The first guards your net, while the second sits in front of their net, trying to put the ball past their defensive paddle. The third level is called Log Jam, which I'm sure you can guess is full of logs ready to deflect balls all over the place. As the levels progress, the amount of difficulty rises, as does the number of different objects, powerups and abilities you'll be able to obtain. The later levels feature paddles that can catch, throw and spin balls, making it much harder to defend your side, but easier to put the ball past your opponent.

The visuals in Pong aren't superb, but they certainly are colorful. All levels feature bright colors that give life to the game, but the graphics aren't particular sharp. In some instances, they appear very blurry. Obviously graphics aren't going to drive a game like Pong, but I think a little more effort could have been put into the graphics to make this title that much more solid. The audio in Pong also could use a little work. The game features an assortment of sound effects, but a lack of music really hurts this title. It would have been nice to hear some tunes for each level besides the usual collection of effects.

When you begin playing Pong, you're limited in the levels you can choose to play. You must complete the previous level before you can progress to the next level. To do so, you have to score 10 points against your opponent. You can alter the difficulty setting, among other things, in order to make the game more challenging, but you should be able to clear all 20 levels within a reasonable period of time. I would have liked to have seen more levels, although the addition of multiplayer does make this game more enjoyable. You can play with up to four players over the Internet, LAN, or modem connection. The controls in the game are extremely simple to use as is the menu system. You should be able to start a game of Pong without running into any problems whatsoever.

So is Pong ready for the 90's? Are we ready for Pong again? Atari and Hasbro Interactive have done a great job bringing this classic hit to the PC, so much so that it really is unrecognizable. They've put together 20 levels of Pong action that is sure to please fans of the classic. Those of you who have never played the original Pong (heck, I wasn't even born in 1974) might find the gameplay to be very simplistic, especially considering some of the advancements in the last few years. It certainly isn't the most complex game, but Pong does feature some great arcade action. It's Pong with an attitude, so get your paddles ready!

 

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Rating
74%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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