Company: Activision
Model #:
Paul Willson
Year: 1983
Based off of Atari's 1978 Coin-Op Avalanche


Perhaps one of the best known Activision games, Kaboom has long been a favorite with casual and hardcore gamers alike due to its easy to learn, yet hard to master gameplay.  Although the concept may seem original, Kaboom is really a port of Atari's little known 1978 Coin-Op Avalanche.  However instead of having to catch falling rocks dropping from Breakout inspired rows at the top of the screen, Kaboom has the player catching bombs being dropped by a mad bomber.  Same concept, but a much better story.


The concept behind Kaboom is simple, catch the falling bombs in your buckets of water before they hit the ground.  You start the game with three buckets (arranged in a stack), each time you miss a bomb you lose a bucket.  The more buckets you have out on the screen, the easier the game is as you have more chances to catch the bombs in (it has to fall through three rows of buckets before hitting the ground).  As you lose buckets the game becomes harder as you have less chances to catch the bombs, thankfully you can get a new bucket every 1,000 points.  If you're feeling particularly brave, you can opt to use smaller buckets (with less surface area) making the game a whole lot more challenging.


Unlike most of Activision 8-Bit conversions, the enhancements made to Kaboom went beyond simple graphical and sound adjustments.  The 8-Bit version adds a new two player mode in which one player controls the bomber, while the other controls the buckets.  This simultaneous two player mode adds a lot of excitement and playability to Kaboom, and probably should have been in the 2600 version from the start.  Another addition to the Atari 8-bit version is music.  The original 2600 version had no music during the game, just the sound effect of bombs and water.  The 8-Bit version plays a passable version of the 1812 Overture, but the catch is that it only plays a note when the player catches a bomb.  The upshot of this is that at first the tune sounds very slow due to the bombs falling slowly, but as the game progresses the tune becomes amazingly fast due to the speed of the bombs increasing.


Kaboom remains one of the most addicting games ever released on a classic game system.  It's easy to learn, but hard to master style of gameplay makes it as fun to play today as it was in 1983.  Kaboom's fast and furious gameplay lends itself well to contests, so its not uncommon to find Kaboom tournaments at classic gaming events even to this day.  In the mid 90's an updated version of Kaboom (along with River Raid) was planned for the SNES, but was mercifully canceled.  There are just some games that shouldn't (or need to be) be updated, and Kaboom is one of them.


Version Cart Text Description
?????? HCS Kaboom Prototype 240 Final Version


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