Release Date: 1983
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Players: 1 – 2
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: PB5920
Programmer: John Emerson
One of the most iconic franchises from the 1980s is coming to the 2600! Well, sort of.
G.I Joe, the real American hero is in need of your assistance. Their arch nemesis Cobra has created a gigantic killer snake and set it loose upon the Joes and their new recruits. Since all of the high ranking troops like Duke, Snakes Eyes and Scarlett can’t be bothered to help out the newly trained forces, it’s up to you to protect them while fighting the out of the ordinary threat.
The single player game has you in control of a tiny shield that doubles as the aiming device for the anti-snake turrets. The giant cobra slithers back and forth, occasionally firing out venom from his fangs and lasers from the eyes. If you are unable to block the projectiles and they strike a recruit, they are vaporized and taken to Cobra headquarters where one can only assume what nefarious things will be done to them.
Cobra’s assault lasts until four of the newly minted Joes have been destroyed, giving you a limited amount of time to shoot missiles into the snake’s forehead. It’s impossible to destroy the reptile, although the game is nice enough to keep track of how many times you score a hit. Granted this is easier said than done thanks to the fact that aiming is problematic.
The position of your shield coupled with the direction you were last traveling determines the angle of the shot, and it only lasts as long as you are holding down the fire button. To make things more infuriating, when there is a missile on screen your shield is immobile. This forces you to make a choice, deliver a decently aimed shot and expose your troops to danger, or focus on protection and hope you get lucky.
While the game is playable alone, the real fun begins when you bring along a friend or two. With a friend you can join forces against Cobra, or your friend can stab you in the back and face off against you. The three player game is by far the preferred way to play, since one person will control the shield and one controls the gun as their former friend attempts to destroy their troops as Cobra.
As far as licensed titles go, there are definitely worse ones out there if you are flying solo. However if you have two friends ready to do battle it is worth checking out.