Release Date: 1983
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: SA-217
Programmer: Mark Turmel
This shooter simply runs out of gas before getting entertaining.
Hop behind the wheel of an intergalactic laser canon equipped hot rod, and scream across the tundra on a quest to burn as much fuel as possible while gunning ships that may or may not be your enemy. Your vehicle also comes equipped with a springy suspension, which allows you to leap over enemies and holes alike. Ironically the one feature this Gas Hog doesn’t have is a fuel gauge, which makes like incredibly difficult.
The main goal of the game, outside of wasting fuel, is to get your vehicle across the entire play field, that is represented by the radar across the bottom of the screen. Every time you cross over one of the white lines it will trigger more enemies to get in your way. With the exception of the flying saucers overhead that drop bombs at you, everything else kills you by ramming you.
When you are on the top portion of the screen you move from left to right, and can speed up or slow down by pushing in the appropriate direction. Your car has incredible control, even when jumping, which is vital when trying to dodge an enemy while trying to avoid falling in the random holes. If you do fall through the ground you will reverse course and drive right to left until you can make your way back up. While this is inconvenient it is necessary since the only fuel pods in the game are located underground.
Without a doubt, the fuel management is the most infuriating portion of the game. You burn through gas quickly, and the car comes with a loud annoying alarm when you are getting close to empty. The problem is that there isn’t a way for you tell how long you have before you hit E, which as you can imagine makes managing your fuel level next to impossible. To make things a little more difficult, the fuel pods randomly show up, so you can backtrack through an entire quadrant before you have the opportunity to snag one. Taking all of this into account, the only hope you have of making it to the end is to put the pedal to the metal and pray that you don’t run out of lives before you get there.
Even without the problems this is still a pretty lackluster game. There are better examples of the vehicular combat genre on the 2600.