London Blitz is another game for which I have no retro frame of reference. Not only had I never played it in the 1980s, I actually had never even heard of it. Just the other day I was looking for a game to review and was was going through my game box, when the Avalon Hill name caught my eye, so I thought I would fire it up and give it a shot.
The first thing you will notice about the game is that it is a 3D maze game. That blew my socks off (I am still looking for them). I mean this is 1983 technology and we are talking Kilobytes, but this title is able to deliver a pretty convincing approximations of a 3D environment, that is quick and smooth. Okay, now that I got the good thing out of the way, let me move on to the less fortunate parts of the game. The maze is impressive, but sadly making something look 3D does not leave a lot of room for anything else. So the maze is very repetitive in looks and therefore very confusing. I never knew London was so boring! They don’t even have doors there. That is okay on the first few levels, but as the game gets more difficult and the maze grows, it is very easy to get lost. A landmark or color change every once in a while would have been a huge plus. Thankfully they put in a mini-map. Oh yeah…they have a mini-map. I should mention that because much like 3D, having a mini-map on an Atari 2600 title is pretty impressive as well. Fortunately they have it and unfortunately you will be referring to it often.
Now the whole point of the game is to move around and diffuse bombs that have not yet exploded. You are a bomb ordinance guy during the London Blitz, hence the title, London Blitz. Now defusing the bombs is pretty straightforward you need to slide some switches to the right position (just like with real bombs), but as the game movies forward the “fuses” on those bombs gets terribly short and I never really felt very comfortable moving things around with either joystick I tried.
Oh and for some reason, you seem to be driving a giant tank around in London to all these bombs. At least that’s what the audio sounds like.
Technologically, London Blitz, is an impressive artifact from the last year of that initial Golden Age of video game consoles. But the game gets bogged down in its own technological achievement and you are left trying to play a dud of a game. Because of the tech it gets a bonus star and if you are a fan of interesting tech, you should at least check out the video, but I am going to have to give London Blitz only 2 stars.
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