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Thread: Atari 5200 Blueprint: A Review.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Aswald's Avatar
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    Talking Atari 5200 Blueprint: A Review.

    Atari 5200 Blueprint: A Review.

    Graphics: 8

    Sound: 8

    Gameplay: 7

    Overall: 7


    Blueprint.

    Blueprint, by Bally/Midway, was one of those arcade games one might have expected to have seen more often back in its time, but in all of the arcades I went to back in the early and mid-1980s, I only saw it in one of them. It simply wasn't as common as a number of other maze games.

    A pity.

    Blueprint was a maze game, true, but it was by no means a mere clone; in the era of the maze game it was an unusual one to be sure!

    The object of Blueprint was by then quite familiar: your protagonist, a goofy-looking fellow by the name of J.J., must rescue his girlfriend Daisy Damsel from the clutches of the vile Ollie Ogre, a purple potato-shaped creature chasing her across the top of the screen. To do this he must search a little village of colorful cottages in a maze made of hedges for parts to a weird ogre-shooting machine, complete with sneakers no less! He must match the parts to a big blueprint at the bottom of the screen, but luckily not in any particular order. Most of the cottages have parts to the machine, but a few have bombs; the only way to get rid of a bomb is by dropping it down a bomb chute in the lower right corner of the screen.

    If this was all there was to it J.J.'s life wouldn't be too difficult, but naturally this isn't all there is to it (is it ever?). For starters, there are four flower pots on top of the screen each of which Ollie can drop down on J.J., but when it hits the bottom- Holy Triffids, Batman!- it comes to malevolent life, bouncing away until it exits the screen. There is also a long-legged creature that lives in the bomb pit; while he cannot actually harm J.J. he can cause a partially-assembled machine to fall apart when he reaches the button that activates it; any assembly becomes impossible while he's there. The only way to get rid of him is to drop him right back down the bomb pit.

    Worst of all is an extremely dangerous fright-mask monster that patrols the maze starting at level three.

    J.J. does have one thing going for him: no, not power pellets, but super speed time. With it he can dash around quickly but it is soon used up- luckily, finding a machine part adds to it.

    Once the machine is assembled you can move it left and right at the bottom of the screen, shooting up at Ollie Ogre- sounds a bit like Space Invaders and the UFO, no?- hopefully hitting him before he catches Daisy Damsel. Don't worry, it cannot hurt her. Just remember that it does fire some duds, so don't get overconfident even if you are a crack shot.

    At first the maze has several ways in and out, but soon there is only one such way. It also means that there is only one way to reach a number of cottages.

    Every other screen is followed by an intermission starring J.J. and more and more Ollie Ogres.


    The Atari 5200 version of this game is, overall, pretty good, but there are problems- just enough to prevent it from getting a really good rating. Still, the good does outweigh the bad here.

    First, the graphics: while many 5200 games are lacking in fancy visuals, Blueprint is a splendid example of what this system can do. The cottages are colorful and detailed, and the maze itself is just as pleasant looking. The game characters are multi-colored, and animated. When the Bomb Pit Creature is about to appear two sneaky eyes appear in the pit- dropping a bomb down the chute at that point blasts him right back down. All of this has the charm and humor of the arcade version.

    This makes the ogre-shooter something of a letdown. In the arcade version it was a colorful assemblage of parts which moved from side to side on animated legs while J.J. turned a crank to shoot rapid-fire shots at the villainous villain. Here, though, the machine is all red; although effectively made to look like shiny metal it lacks the appeal of the arcade version. Worse still is the total lack of animation here- everything just slides like a still picture. Surely the 5200 could've handled some extra animation here?

    An even bigger problem is that, unlike the arcade version, it can only fire one shot at a time. It is possible for it to shoot a number of duds in a row; since you may only have seconds left to shoot Ollie Ogre after assembing the dratted contraption this may well mean that you will lose a life even if you are an excellent shot. This detracts from this part of the game.

    Sound is good. The tunes and background sounds are pretty much all accounted for in this version, doing a fine job of capturing the pleasant audio effects of the original version. The sounds of the appropriate creatures are here, too. No complaints here!

    Gameplay is, overall, like the arcade version, but there are problems. The flowerpots are a good deal more dangerous here, almost vicious in the way they try to get you, so much so that if you are anywhere near the top of the screen when Ollie knocks one down you have almost no chance of dodging it. The single worst problem, though, is that maze-wandering monster mentioned earlier: in the arcade version it moves about much like the ghosts in the Pac-Man games; here its motions are completely random. As a result it may move back and forth between two close points for quite some time; since most parts of the maze can be reached by one and only one path this means that there is quite literally no way for J.J. to reach a cottage hiding a machine part or the maze entrance/exit, and for that reason a player may lose a life. This is extremely frustrating! Strangely enough, in later rounds, when that monster moves more quickly, this can be less of a problem since it may move away from a place sooner.

    Of course, this also means that the monster might stay in a part of the maze you've already cleared, thus making it much easier for you. This happens less often than it being in a place you DON'T want it to be, unfortunately.

    Therefore luck plays a much bigger role in the 5200 version than in the arcade version. This detracts from an otherwise fine game. Really, CBS should have paid more attention to this aspect of the game.

    So this is a flawed, but still enjoyable, version of a game that deserved more attention in the arcades than it received. The graphics are good, the sound is good, most of the whimsical charm is there, and it is certainly fun to play. Even the intermissions are entertaining. 5200 owners who were fans of Blueprint should certainly like the home version, but should also expect some gameplay flaws. The arcade-to-home rating would be about a 7 instead of a 9 because of this.
    Interesting stuff, here (COMPLETELY unbiased opinion, hehhehheh):

    http://griswaldterrastone.deviantart.com/

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    Bell (Level 8) fergojisan's Avatar
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    I found out about Blueprint in the mid 90s because of the 5200. I wasn't very good at it, I don't think I ever made it past the second stage. Really fun and unique game though. I don't have a 5200 any more, but I do have the game on the 2600. But I think I will dig up my 8 bit version and play that instead.
    "Where my finger goes is none of your goddamn business." -Metropolisforever

    "my house is burning down as I type this because of a Sega AC adapter" -Oobgarm

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    What's this? A 5200 game that actually sounds/looks fun? Where have I been? No offense to anyone but normally the 5200 is my least favorite Atari system, maybe one of my least favorite systems ever. Thanks to your well written review I actually want to play this now.

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    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.Buster2184 View Post
    What's this? A 5200 game that actually sounds/looks fun? Where have I been? No offense to anyone but normally the 5200 is my least favorite Atari system, maybe one of my least favorite systems ever. Thanks to your well written review I actually want to play this now.
    There are plenty ( fun games on 5200), actually the 5200 has almost no duds, that's the beauty

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    Bell (Level 8) fergojisan's Avatar
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    Yes, there are a lot of good and good-looking games on the 5200, but those fucking controllers. I have an 800 with most of the 5200 games, so I'm sticking with that.
    "Where my finger goes is none of your goddamn business." -Metropolisforever

    "my house is burning down as I type this because of a Sega AC adapter" -Oobgarm

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    Default Atari 5200 Blueprint: A Review.

    One of my favorite 5200 games! Great review too! Just picked up for the C64. Not a bad conversion either.

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    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    I played it just last week....on VCS. Excellent version too, got all the hidden letters (shame nothing ever came from this, maybe the word was a reference to the upcoming game Wings, which never happened)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fergojisan View Post
    Yes, there are a lot of good and good-looking games on the 5200, but those fucking controllers. I have an 800 with most of the 5200 games, so I'm sticking with that.
    This is the best way to describe it. The 5200 is a very good system bought down by horrid controllers.
    SEGA!

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    I actually don't mind the 5200 controllers at all, once they've been rebuilt that is. Just replace the flex circuit, stick some aluminum or copper tape on the button contacts, and you'll never have to fiddle with it ever again.
    Quote Originally Posted by starsoldier1 View Post
    GUY WAS SUPPOSE TO PLAYABLE IN THE GAME
    My collection

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