A port of the cult classic coin-op, Crazy Climber has the
honor of being the first Atari Fan Club exclusive game.
Why Atari decided not to make this game available to the
general public is unknown, but due to this Crazy Climber is one
of the rarer games in the 2600 library. Perhaps Atari
thought the game had limited appeal, or maybe it was a marketing
ploy to get people to join the fan club? Either way, many
players were denied access to this fun and decidedly wacky game.
For those of you not familiar with the arcade game (which was fairly rare), Crazy Climber is a vertical scrolling climbing game in which our daredevil hero must scale the tallest skyscrapers in an attempt to... err... be the first man to scale the building I guess (ok so the game plot wasn't that deep). However your task isn't going to be an easy one, your arch-nemesis The Mad Doctor (didn't he used to fight Batman or something?) is out to foil your attempt at fame and glory (what else is an arch-nemesis for?). Along the way you will also have to dodge loose girders, electric signs, and closing windows on your trek to the top. Oh did I forget to mention the giant condors?
The movement scheme in Crazy Climber is unique and frustrating. The arcade game used two joysticks, one to control each arm/leg. Movement was accomplished by moving one leg/arm up, and then moving the other leg/arm up (to sort of pull yourself up). Since many people found this control scheme too difficult (which was one of the reasons so many veteran gamers like the arcade game), Atari decided to simplify things for the home release. The 2600 version combines both of the arcade joysticks into one, so all you have to do to move is push up and down on single joystick. Crazy Climber will crouch when you push down and stretch when you push up, completing this movement cycle will cause Crazy Climber to move up one section. This same motion is used to move left and right on the building, but tends to be a little more difficult. To have any chance of surviving you must rapidly move the joystick up and down (or left and right) in a quick rocking motion, however this can be difficult and painful to do. If you move the joystick too quickly the game won't pick up your movement and throw off your rhythm. Trail and error is the only way to figure out the best rhythm for climbing.
While the gameplay may be top notch, Crazy
Climber's graphics are bit on the weaker side. Although
not completely out of place for mid-1982, the graphics are bit
blocky, especially Crazy Climber himself who could have looked
much better. The sound effects are decent (a few beeps and
short tunes when various bad guys appear), and the music before
each stage is actually fairly catchy. Too bad these musical
interludes are few and far between. Crazy Climber is
definitely one of those games that take a while to grow on you,
but it great fun once it does.
The story about the development of
Crazy Climber is an interesting one. Originally started by
Alex Leavens at Roklan (their first Atari contract), the game
development was progressing but a bit slowly. Roklan
then told Alex (who was working remotely) that he needed to put
more effort into finishing the game as they wanted to impress
Atari. Then, (depending on who ask), Alex either quit or
was fired from Roklan leaving programmer Joe Gaucher to finish
up the game. When Joe took over the main game engine
(kernel) was there, but it needed a lot of debugging and clean
up. There was also only one level so Joe had to add the
others as well. Joe is quoted as saying that although he
managed to clean up most of the bugs, one major one escaped his
notice and is in the final game. As Crazy Climber is noted
for having several bugs in it, it is unknown as to which
specific one Joe is referring to.
|?/??/82||Very late beta|