I am a big Muppet fan, so it always bugged me that I never tried the Muppet Show inspired title for the Atari 2600, Pigs in Space. I kept trying to score a cheap copy at a garage sale or eBay, but kept getting skunked. Last week I was digging through a box of junk and their rubber-banded between 2 other games was a copy of Pigs in Space. I ran to the TV and fired it up immediately. I have since played it a bunch of times and I really have to say, the game is a mixed bag. First lets look at the positives.
The graphics in the game are impressive. You got a title screen, you have a game select screen, you have several different heroes and bad guys all who look approximately like what they look like. The standout is the Gonzo mothership during the Space Invaders phase of the game. Yes I said phase.
This game has 3 separate games that you select from a main screen. Once you finish that screen you can select another one to play. Which is pretty cool and not a common feature on the Atari 2600. Here are the phases:
1. Chicken themed Space Invaders game.
2. Frogger Style get across the road game.
3. Odd shooter in the style of River Raid where your shots move in a parabola.
Now I just want to reiterate that the game looks great (not bad sound either) and the game features are innovative and polished before I move on to my next statement. This title is as boring as all get out!
Once you get over the sparkle of novelty and tv show tie-in, the game is tedious and repetitive, plus you start to realize that while they really made 3 games in 1, they really should have concentrated on making ONE of them decent. By the time this title came out in 1983, you could pick up copies of all 3 games that this game includes for a 10th of the price and be a lot more satisfied with the gameplay. Now I know this game was made for kids and I can see them enjoying it for what it is, a dumbed down version of some Atari 2600 classics in a Muppet wrapper.
I have to admit, I really wanted to like this title and part of me wants to review this title as a kid. I wanted to say this was a forgotten gem, but while it has the shine and polish of a gem, it really is just a polished turd. I give Pigs in Space 2 out of 5 stars only because I really think the graphics and other aspects take it step above 1 star.
Note: If I was to rate this for kids, I guess I would need to give it 3 stars.
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