Friday 26 June 2015

Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park (Colecovision review)

Developer: Konami Corporation
Publisher: Coleco Industries Inc
Released: 1984

Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park is an action platformer that was released towards the end of the consoles' lifecycle.

You play as Anna Lee who decides to take an adventure through the park and get a workout! The game is broken into stages that consist of ten static screens each. Your mission is to work through them and get back to the park entrance in order to move onto the next stage. A host of enemies attempt to stop you and your only means of progressing is to avoid them entirely as contact spells instant death. You start off with three lives but you earn more the first time you gain 10,000 points and then every 20,000 points thereafter. Each few screens bring new environmental hazards into play including bouncing balls, moving platforms and trampolines. It clearly takes inspiration from Activision's Pitfall (1982, Atari 2600) as the second screen features moving vines that you can grab onto to swing past the treacherous hazards below. While it's a simple arcade game in principle and you're eased into the action it does become very challenging. By Stage 3 you'll face several enemy types on one screen and learning the best method through them is part of the addictive nature of the game. It has that classic 'just one more go' factor and thankfully the controls are incredibly tight so you feel in total control of your character. There's tons of different stages and you'll need some serious practice if you want to see them all. The backgrounds are brilliant with distinct scenery to help keep the environments feeling fresh. A minor complaint is that some screens are completely devoid of obstacles and enemies. The music is good but it does get repetitive after a while.

Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park is a hidden gem in the Colecovision library and it shouldn't be overlooked because of its kid friendly visuals. The sheer amount of stages and gameplay features is fantastic and the steadily increasing difficulty makes it fun for platform newcomers and those looking for a tough challenge.

Random trivia: In 1984 the Colecovision was really struggling in the marketplace partly due to the video game crash. The Cabbage Patch Kids was a popular franchise at the time and the license was used for this game as a last ditch attempt to pick up sales of the console.

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