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Blueprint for the Atari 2600
I've owned Blueprint since my childhood days, and one thing remains vivid in my memory—my recurring frustration while playing it. This frustration primarily stemmed from the game's maze component (among other parts). Right off the bat, the game swiftly revealed the specific houses in the maze that I needed to visit. While there were instances when I was sharp enough to recall these directions accurately, there were also moments when my attention wavered (being a kid, after all). This lapse led to a sequence of trial and error, wandering from the wrong house to another. This misguided journey resulted in having to backtrack and disarm a bomb.
Putting that aside, Blueprint boasts impressive craftsmanship and visual allure. The objective involves crafting a weapon to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend from a relentless pursuer. The manual masterfully enhances the narrative:
That nasty old troll, Ollie Ogre, is at it again. He is chasing poor Daisy Damsel all across the neighborhood! So what are you waiting for, hero? Get out there and stop him! You have the blueprint (plans) for the only contraption that can knock him off. All you need now are the parts with which you build it and they’re hidden in the houses of the neighborhood. What you don’t need are the bombs you may pick up and encounters with fiendish Fuzzy Wuzzy! But if you complete your contraption in time you’ll be able to stop Ollie and save Daisy!
Your task is to complete this contraption, fire its leisurely projectile at Ollie (the fiend), and emerge victorious. Well, at least in that level. Succeed, progress, and brace yourself for escalating challenges with each subsequent level.
Considering this Atari VCS (Video Computer System) game, it's remarkable how multifaceted it is—mazes, weapon assembly, bomb disposal, and even a sort of boss encounter. Throughout the game, you're treated to decent in-game sound effects, music, and graphics that genuinely resemble what they're meant to represent. The concept looks promising on paper, and initial plays, even on revisiting it as an adult, unveil its unexpected complexity. My grown-up attention span assisted in memorizing house locations, curtailing the bomb search struggle.
While tempted to dub this game a classic, I find myself hesitant. The memory-testing aspect remains just that—yet another memory game. Beyond that, the gameplay, though commendably intricate for the VCS, fails to captivate. It appears cobbled together, akin to a patchwork creation that fails to eclipse its individual components. Even the music, initially a delight, eventually evolves into an incessant loop, a distraction as I attempted to decipher neighborhood layouts or time my shot with the peculiarly sluggish weapon.
Blueprint does possess its appealing traits, but it buckles under the weight of repetitive play. I'm inclined to agree with my younger self: this game falls a bit short. As a collective consensus, we grant it 2 out of 5 stars, after you've endured four plays or once the novelty dwindles. (3 stars during the initial four games, though.)