I know what your thinking, how is a child of the 16-bit era with latter 8-bit tendency’s, going to be able to objectively review a game of the early 8-bit era? well I’m not, this is going to be tricky but I will for the sake of the 8-bit gods try my damnedest.
Do you know many games where you can control a horde of allies? Yes? OK do you know many games where you can control a horde of allies instantly? Not so many but a few of you. Right then, do you know a game where you can do all this but on hardware made in the 70’s and software made in 1983? if you can then it is only this game that you could possibly be thinking of. Killer Bees is defying my attempts to fit it in the reviewer friendly genre box (do we just have a ‘Fun’ section?). The basics go like this: You are a swarm of bees. You fly around the playing screen and sting people to death… How awesome is that? In fact when you kill these people (referred to as beelings) they turn into gravestones! The only thing in the way of your total world domination are enemy swarms that when they touch you will bring down you health. Now in some modern games you don’t get a HUD displaying your remaining life, it just shows on the state of your character. I bet most of you out there thought that this was a 7th gen invention (please put your hand down CritAnime) well in fact it wasn’t. In Killer bees! you don’t get a health bar either, your swarm slowly diminishes to a few lonely bees the more you get hurt. When all your bees are gone, game over, no lives, no continues that’s it. Sounds intriguing to you? lets get a little dirty and rummage around in the separate parts of this game
Graphics: Right um.. how do I say this? The graphics are blocky… very blocky but you were expecting that from 1970’s tech right. Push that aside and bear in mind that the Odyssey 2’s tech is well below the Atari VCS 2600. The graphics for this particular game are pretty damn good. The way you and your enemy’s swarms… swarm (it’s grammatically correct, go check) looks great and the way the gravestones appear is pretty cool too! If played on the G7400 (the update of the G7000 sometimes known as the ‘+’) you are treated to some beehives and bee illustrations along with a honeycomb playing field.
Sound: Sound for the game is the usual fair for games on what is known in Europe as the Phillips Videopac G7000 pretty clicky and bleepy, unless, that is, you own the voice synthesis upgrade. Then, the sound is awesome! I would never have thought that a console this old could sound so great and even compared to other games on it Killer Bees! is top of the class.
Gameplay: The shining jewel of killer Bees! and for that matter the Magnavox odyssey 2 is the 360° full analogue movement. It is so fluid, so quick that it would be many years till a controller would better the analogue movement. Going through the levels killing beelings who become faster each level, avoiding enemy bees and using your … bee canon? I guess its a bee canon let me look at the instructions… Apparently is a “Broad and lethal Sting ray” O… k… Well anyway, using your broad and lethal sting ray to kill enemy swarms on the same horizontal row as you who become faster as the game progresses is so ridiculously addictive you may not realise you have been playing what on the surface is a very simple game for the last 4 hours
In closing I would like to remind my readers out there that I have not played all 50+ (some say 70+) of the games released on what the Brazilians call the Phillips Odyssey, but I have played a fair chunk of titles and this is the best one on there and if it wasn’t for the fact that Atari’s VCS (being made at the same sort of time) could do some things a little better this would be a 5 star game, without a doubt and if this was a Magnavox only site then this is the best game you could own… but its not so I give this game a solid 4 out of 5 stars
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