|The arcade game was released
to coincide with the 1980 movie Popeye.
Popeye the Sailor Man... I guess what was cool back in the 1930's
seems pretty lame now, but Popeye was one of the toughest cartoon characters
of his day. Popeye would usually spend his time beating the crap
out of local trouble maker Bluto who was constantly kidnapping his main
girl Olive Oyl (get it?). Somewhere down the line they added a baby
named Sweetpea to the cartoon who was usually used as a plot device to
lure Popeye into some dangerous situation or another. Ok so it wasn't
the greatest cartoon on earth, but it makes for a nice video game
In 1980 someone in Hollywood thought that Popeye would make a good movie
(big mistake), so Nintendo decided to make a game to coincide with the
release of the movie. While it didn't exactly take the arcades by
storm, it was a big enough hit for Parker Brothers to port Popeye to just
about every system they could think of including the 2600. The 2600
version plays pretty close to the arcade game, but as is the case with
most 2600 arcade ports, it was watered down severely.
For some reason PB decided to make all the characters one color,
this wouldn't be bad if they were well drawn but as you can see this isn't
the case. Popeye looks like he has a bad case of the Mumps, Bluto
looks like the Incredible Hulk on a bad day, and Olive Oly could double
for the wicked witch of the west. If this wasn't bad enough, the
second level was changed around all together completely eliminating Wimpy
and Sweetpea. Why PB felt the need to change the second level is
a complete mystery, but it may have had something to do with the number
of characters the 2600 could display on the screen at once. This
version also seems alot harder as the bottles fly much faster than in
other versions and Olive's love tokens seem to fall straight down the
middle of the screen like they're made of lead! Speaking of the
bottles, the Sea Hag has been removed from this version as well making
the bottles look like they appear out of thin air. The bucket and
punching bag (which Popeye could use to temporarily disable Bluto on the
first level) have also been removed for no apparent reason.
Given the limitations of the 2600, this really isn't
a bad version. Parker Brothers did manage to keep the gameplay consistent
with the arcade game and that's the most important thing (isn't it?).
Still this version is pretty ugly, and takes away some of the magic
of the arcade version. If you could imagine Robin Williams as Popeye,
then pretending that an orange blob is Popeye isn't much of stretch.
||Atari 2600 Popeye 8K PAL RLS.1
to 2600 Software