So it is a hot day outside and your visiting the local carnival. How do you spend the time? Why trying to cool
off of course, and what better way to do that than to enter a huge food fight contest where the prize is an ice
cream cone! You have to give Atari some real credit in the originality department on a lot of their games. Food
Fight certainly ranks in as one of Atari's strangest ideas that is also very entertaining to play. Here I take a
look at the Atari 7800 conversion of this arcade classic. So how well does Atari do on this port over? Well, let's
|Game:||Food Fight (Atari 7800)||Company:||Atari|
The story is the weakest aspect of this game. Basically you play a boy named Charley Chuck (wonder how long it
took them to come up with that...) who is visiting his local carnival on a hot summer day. Charley as it turns out
loves to eat and so it only seems natural that he should enter a Food Fight contest where the prize to be won is a
huge ice cream cone. Yeah sure that is how I would prefer to cool off?! Wouldn't you? As I stated the plot is very
thin indeed. Thankfully there is a lot more to the game that more than makes up for this.
The graphics in the 7800 version are pretty accurate to the arcade in that all the food items seem present and
the layout of the playfield matches. The game on either the arcade or the 7800 really doesn't have much in the
graphics area, as they are both very simple and similar. So similar in fact that I won't even post comparison shots
for this game. The sprites are decent sized and proportional to the arcade. The animation on the 7800 version is
very good as all the animation including the expanding mouth effect on Charley as he eats his prize are complete and
fun to watch. There are a few things on the graphics that I think Atari could have done more with. For one the
chefs while appearing different could have had a little more detail added to them. Also the food looks as it should
but some items like the pies and bananas I know could have been done better graphically. The pies look like 2600
type stuff and the bananas look like jack knives (ever notice all bananas in Atari games look like that?). I can't
really give that high a mark for such a simple game graphically.
The sound is standard 7800/2600 TIA sound chip fanfare. In other words there isn't much in the sound to this
game. There is an opening tune which plays before the start of each round. This tune however never changes and
does get very monotonous. Also the sounds aren't varied. It sounds the same whether I smack a chef in the face
with a banana or a chunk of watermelon. Also the sound of the actual throwing of the item sounds the same. Somehow
I would think that a hard object would sound different upon the throw and impact to that of a soft object such as
the pies or spinach. No real high marks here either I am afraid.
The game is played on a very simple idea with simply control and this is the strong point of the game. The game
basically has you as Charley running around the chefs clocking them with food, which is scattered randomly on the
playfield. To add to the challenge not only must you dodge the chefs but they chefs can also throw food back.
Another Old Man Murphy thrown into the mix is the fact that the chefs appear from manholes, which are also randomly
scattered. Charley has to be careful while he runs around the screen that he doesn't fall into an open manhole,
otherwise a life is lost. At the end of the playfield will always be the ice cream cone prize waiting for you.
Atari figured the chefs, manholes, and the throwing of food wasn't enough because all the while your doing this, the
ice cream is slowly melting away. Yes there is a time limit to each wave. If you spend too much time tossing the
salad at the chefs an alarm will sound to indicate the ice cream cone is almost melted. You will also see the ice
cream slowly drip away from the cone and grow smaller (nice touch). You then have only a few seconds to grab the
ice cream and end the level to continue onto the next screen. As you progress the game will increase in difficulty
in several ways. The chefs will become faster and throw food more often. Also the chefs get much smarter at where
to throw the food and almost seem to be able to predict where you will go. On some levels food will not be as
plentiful to fight off the chefs with. There is one other feature that was present on the arcade version that Atari
did port over thankfully. It is the one feature that really makes this game fun to play. If you should really kick
some serious chef hat in the wave you will be awarded with an Instant Replay, which shows the wave again while
playing some fun slapstick comedy type music in the background. Very nice touch! There are a few gripes I have
with the gameplay. For one all the food will travel the full length of the screen with the exception of the spinach
and salads. While this is a valiant effort to vary challenge, I feel that Atari could have made each food type
travel with a different distance depending on such factors as weight and consistency of the food. Perhaps that is
asking too much from such a simple game.
Controls and challenge I shall group together in this paragraph. The controls couldn't be easier. You run
Charley around using the joystick and throw the food by pressing the fire button. You can control the direction of
the throw once again with the joystick. It feels natural as if I were in such a food fight as Charley I would be
running in the direction of my throw also :). Only recommendation is to use a joystick your comfortable using for
this game, as the play will get fast and more furious as your progress. The game bases the score on several factors
which all depend on how you play the waves. You are awarded a bonus at the end of each wave for the leftovers.
However, you get points in a progressive manner the more chefs you can smack with food in a wave. Also you get more
points for tricking the chefs to walk back into the open manholes from which they appear. Overall there really is
no right strategy for gaining the most points. For me I have more fun smacking the chefs around with the food than
trying to leave food left over. Also the Instant Replay will never appear unless you really throw a lot of food
around and make slick narrow escapes between thrown food or chefs. There is a nice feature in the game in that when
you start a game you can select your starting level. There is also a two player option in this game but sadly it is
the standard one player at a time approach where the next player doesn't start until your hit with food or fall into
a manhole. Atari could have added a simultaneous mode to this game making it either co-operative or competitive
where your thrown food either hurts the other player or passes through them. Even a two player slip screen where
whoever got the ice cream first would win the points would have been possible. I think even a duel mode of just you
and player two against each other would have been a cool touch.
Food Fight is another of Atari's great arcade classics which was ported to almost 100% accuracy to the 7800
system. The graphics are adequate though simple, yet the gameplay is addictive and keeps you coming back for more.
More obstacles in the playfield would have added to the challenge and variety but overall this version is a truly
faithful converion. The faults that the game has are present on the arcade as well and really aren't any fault of
the 7800 version itself. I have fun playing this game from time to time when I want simple throw something fun. I
would recommend this game to anyone with a 7800 especially if you're a fan of the arcade original you cannot be
disappointed here. Have fun!