||Rom released to the public
Kabobber is just one of those games that defies definition. Looking
a bit like a cross between Q*Bert and Frogger, Kabobber is a game as strange
as its name. Along with Thwocker, Kabobber is one of the lost Activision
titles that people all knew existed somewhere, but it wasn't until 2001
that a prototype was finally confirmed to exist and the rom was released.
Kabobber was never advertised or mentioned in any Activision
Since no instruction manual was ever made for Kabobber, we can only
guess at what the storyline might have been. Atari Age hosted a
contest to come up with a story and manual that best fit the style of
the game. While we'll never know how close the winning entry was
to the real storyline, it probably isn't too far off. The story
(such as it is) tells the tale of greedy Princess Buvsky who is attempting
to devour the rainbow energy source of Kabobberland. You must take
your army of Buvskies and attempt to catch Princess Buvsky before she
can reach the rainbow on the other side of the screen. Along the
way you must contend with the dangerous Kabobbers who are attempting to
destroy your rescue party.
The basic gameplay of Kabobber is very simple; you must
hop on the enemy before he hops on you. To help you gang up on the
enemy you are given command of an army of Buvskies. Your Buvskies
troops appear in each of the squares immediately surrounding your character.
When first summoned your Buvskies are only babies who must first
conquer an enemy Kabobber to be promoted to full strength. Baby
Buvskies can only conquer the green Guvskies and are crushed by all other
enemies, so you must protect them until they reach full strength.
You are given a limited number of baby Buvskies (displayed at the bottom
of the screen), although you can gain extra Buvskies by conquering enemy
troops (you are limited to nine reserve Buvskies). Your army moves
with you in a square formation, so the more troops you have on the screen
the bigger the target you are. However the more troops you have
the more enemies you can crush, and you'll have a less chance of being
totally annihilated by a rampaging enemy mob.
Along your journey across the Kabobberland Grid, you'll
encounter various kinds of enemies.
| Look just like your character except they're mean
and green. Guvskies are the basic foot soldiers of the Kabobber
army. Crush them, promote your baby Buvskies, and move on.
|Cholos look like a squat red man in a hat. These
little guys are a bit more erratic than the Guvskies, and can cause
trouble if left to their own devices. Take caution when attempting
to hop them.
| Struvskies are the mean red dudes with an attitude.
Not only are the stronger than your average Guvsky, but their
lightning fast too! Unless you're an experienced Kabobber, it's
best to avoid Struvskies all together.
| The Boot is the absolute deadliest monster in all
of Kabobber land. These evil footwear demons can literally crush
your Buvsky army in a blink of an eye! To make matters worse,
Boots are totally indestructible. Avoid Boots at all costs or
you'll find yourself a pile of goo under a shoe err... Boot.
|While Eggs themselves aren't dangerous; they have
the potential to hatch into any of the four monster types. Thankfully
Eggs are stationary and can be quickly hopped upon to prevent hatching.
Take caution when approaching an Egg or you may find yourself
face to face with a Boot (or something worse!).
|She's the pink gal you're trying to capture. Princess
Buvsky looks just like your character, except she's hot pink. Grab
Princess Buvsky as soon as you see her or she'll take off towards
the rainbow again.
As the boards progress the enemies become faster and more
numerous, and Princess Buvsky moves towards the rainbow faster. The
game ends once all your troops are lost or Princess Buvsky reaches the
energy rainbow. On the later levels it's all about strategy, simply
jumping non-stop towards the Princess won't cut it anymore. You
must carefully decide which enemies are worth conquering, and which are
best left alone. Don't take too long however, as the Princess has
her eye on the prize.
Kabobber is an excellent action/strategy game by Rex Bradford,
the man responsible for Jedi Arena and Empire Strikes Back. So why did Kabobber never get released? According to Rex:
"What happened was that I "finished" the game in the standard 4K cartridge size, then Activision said they liked the game and would like me to expand it to an 8K cartridge and keep working on it. I had basically run out of ideas for the game at that point, and resisted. Anyway, I didn't feel like working on it more, and Activision didn't want to publish it as is (and was probably a little miffed at my attitude, though they never said so), and that was that."
It's a shame Activision didn't want to release Kabobber as is, because it's a lot of fun and didn't really need anymore retooling. Kabobber is proof that sometimes it's best to release games as is instead of reworking them to death.
||Kabobber Confidential Activision Inc.
||Only known prototype
to 2600 Software