Friday, January 18, 2013

The Top 30 Vertical Shooters for the Atari 2600 #14


What?  Wabbit?  Better than Galaxian? You are telling me that a third tier Apollo game about throwing eggs at rabbits is better than one of the most iconic vertical shooters of all time? 

Yes.  That is what I am telling you.  Stay with me.

Wabbit is an extremely challenging game with tons of replay value, a twitch factor and minimal frustration.  Sure, it is a non-traditional game where you are pitted against a rampaging horde of rabbits looking to make off with your entire carrot crop.  And while the only way to fend them off might be to lob rotten eggs at them, that doesn't take away from the fact that Wabbit is very challenging all the while being very fun.

It's all about balance.  Wabbit is tough right out of the gate, but you always feel like you are in the game.  Since you don't game over until the rabbits take 100 carrots, there is no instant kill.  You are given a fighting chance every time.  That being said, don't expect Wabbit to be a push-over.  Those rabbits are quick and only get quicker.  You'll need quick reflexes and a keen eye to keep your root crops safe.  Wabbit is a twitch game where eventually you have to turn things over to your eyes and hands and take your brain out of the equation.

But the great thing about Wabbit is that the challenge never gets really frustrating.  There is tremendous replay value because you are always left feeling like you could do just a little bit better the next time around.  Because your score is based on hitting the rabbits and protecting the carrots, there are is a lot of risk/reward.  You score more points for hitting rabbits that are on the way back to their hole after taking a carrot, so the the temptation is to wait and let them take the carrot, then hit them.  However, this greatly increases the likelihood of them succeeding in stealing the carrot and putting you one root closer to your doom.  Risk/reward.  There is an opportunity for point scumming, but that too comes at a price.  If you can leave a single carrot on a lower row at the far side of the field, the rabbit will always come from the opposing side and you can reliably hit him before he can get away with the carrot.  Ideally you could sit there all day and just rack up the points.  But the rabbits get faster and you will miss.  And when you do, you pay for it because by then you will have advanced the difficulty so far that when the next round starts, little white streaks will clear your field in about 15 seconds. Risk/reward.

Wabbit features well-drawn, bright and colorful graphics.  The backdrop is on par with Activision-level work; just look at that sun!

Wabbit provides a tremendous amount of challenge balanced with great action and fun.  Those who are not afraid to venture off the beaten path a bit will find this game to be an instant favorite.

My Top Wabbit Score: 740

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