Up 'n Down
I love the 2600. I'll defend it to the end against people who laugh and snicker at its "primitive" graphics. But even I have to admit that there are just some games the 2600 shouldn't attempt to do. Up 'n Down is one of these games. Why Sega would attempt to port a 3/4 view racing game full of diagonals to the 2600 is beyond me. Needless to say the results weren't pretty..
It's hard to believe that anything could be as blocky as Up 'n Down and still play as well as it does. Due to the limitations of the 2600, all the roads and ramps had to be done using playfield graphics. For those who aren't "in the know" when it comes to 2600 programming; background graphics on the 2600 are done using an extremely low-resolution graphics call playfield graphics. These graphics can be used to do simple background (such as a field with a few trees), but were never designed to do complex backgrounds like diagonal roads, or 3D ramps. Unfortunately there was no way to get around this in Up 'n Down, and the results looks like somebody threw up on the screen (I'm being kind). The car graphics are slightly better, but are a bit too large and tend to look blocky on the diagonal turns.
Once you get past the horrid graphics, you soon realize that through some miracle of programming all the gameplay from the arcade game was left intact! All the fast paced car bumping and ramp jumping excitement is still in the game! While the controls are a little sloppy, they don't seem to distract much from the game. Unfortunately, like it's arcade counterpart, Up 'n Down is a damn hard game! If you can get to level three within the first 10 times you play, consider yourself lucky. If anything, the 2600 version is slightly harder than the arcade game due to the blocky graphics making the road hard to see in some places. The music is a mixed bag, as it will either drive you nuts or stick with you for days. Dum da dee dum dum dum da dee dum dum.
Your goal in Up 'n Down is to collect all the colored flags scattered around the twisty race track. Along the way you'll run into other cars who will attempt to ram your bug off the road. You can jump on these cars to destroy them (ala Bump 'n Jump), or just jump over them to get out of the way. Your car can go forward and backwards, but you cannot jump while in reverse. Enemy cars will suddenly change directions in an attempt to smash your car, and with the 2600 version's blocky graphics it's hard to tell the front of a car from the back (ouch!). You can even jump from road to road, but depending on your difficulty level (selectable with the left difficulty switch) you'll have to be dead on with your jump or you'll crash. In later rounds you'll have to chase down and jump on enemy cars that are carrying the flags you need.
While it ain't pretty to look at, Up n Down is fun game that provides lots of challenge. Still, games like Up 'n Down raise the question; just because you can to a game on the 2600, does it mean you necessarily should? Up 'n Down, although nasty to look at, turned out quite well, but many other games in this situation did not. There's a fine line between pushing the 2600 to its limits, and trying to make it do something it was never meant to. Up 'n Down comes dangerously close to crossing that line.