Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Up 'N' Down (Colecovision review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1984

Up 'N' Down is an overhead driving game that was first released in the Arcades in 1983.


In many ways it's a variation of Pac-Man and your objective is to drive around avoiding collisions with other cars and collecting ten flags to move onto the next level. Each part of the road is single lane only and incoming cars can advance on your position from both the top and bottom of the screen. Luckily you have a jump button where you can either leap over vehicles or smash them from above for bonus points! Care needs to be taken though as jumping too far will see you careening off the track and you'll lose one of your five lives. To make things more difficult you'll have to drive over hills which require momentum and inclines that speed up your vehicle. The track loops and some memorisation is needed to remember the location of the missing flags. To be honest, I would have preferred to see a small mini-map (similar to Rally-X) which shows you the layout of the stage and the location of the flags. Without it you just end up driving around aimlessly or slowly reversing your vehicle. Doing the latter is extremely dangerous as the game doesn't allow you to jump and other drivers always seem to be on your tail. I also don't like that you can't see much of what's ahead; while you get bonus points based on how quickly you collect all the flags the limited visibility encourages you to drive slow and take less risks. The graphics are poor for a game released so late in the console's life and the scenery is bland and lacking detail. The music is unbelievably annoying and you'll be reaching for the mute button within seconds!

Up 'N' Down is a game that lots of people seem to enjoy but I just couldn't get into it. Although the core mechanic is good it's not very well executed and as a result the gameplay ends up being more frustrating than anything else.



Random trivia: Ports of Up 'N' Down were also released for the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64.

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