This classic platform game is one of the top-ten all-time most "ported" classic video games on 8 classic home systems - all made by Parker Brothers!. Tied for ninth on my 2000 classic home video games list see: http://members.core.com/~hewston/2000VG.html
Popeye is a frustrated hero who is only allowed to defend himself, save for once per round where he grabs his can of spinach and fights back. I'd love to go a whack Brutus more than just once a round, but any contact with him (sans Spinach power), and you're sent overboard. On each round (screen), there are 4 different floors (platforms) #1 through #4, where #1 is at the top. In all 3 rounds, Olive Oyl, throws tokens from the top of the screen that you must collect. Hearts, then musical notes, then X's (smootches), and you must catch all 16 to 24 (varying with version and round) to complete the round. Brutus chases Popeye around the screen, and although he cannot access floor #1, he can jump upwards and grab Popeye, or reach or jump down to any floor below. On all rounds, and all floors, Sea Hag can throw bottles inwards towards Popeye from the left and/or right edges of the screen. Popeye can either move away from them or punch them and score points. Get hit and you lose a life. Brutus can also throw bottles at you, most often in combo with the Sea Hag. Time is also your enemy as you must collect the tokens before they sink beneath the water. After swaying left and right during their fall, the tokens will eventually hit the water, where a warning song is played - telling you that your time is almost up.
Round 1, Sweet Hearts: All floors but #1 extend all the way across the screen. Floor #1 has a "THRU" ledge or tunnel, that permits you to leave the left/right side of the screen and enter the other. Brutus cannot use this THRU. The other floors all have diagonal stairs going down/up at the edges. Floor #2 has a down ladder, which only Popeye can use. On the Atari 8bit, 4200, C64 and CV, once you move done, you fall down all the way. The other ports allow you to descend part way, duck a bottle or confuse Brutus and then come back up. Floor #1 has a punching bag in the middle that you can punch. A well-timed punch will send the punching bag into a large barrel (hanging there), and upset it so that it falls straight down. Time your punch just right and trap Brutus inside the barrel. This will score you some bonus points and keep Brutus busy for a few seconds. Once used, the barrel only reappears if you lose a life.
Just as in the cartoons, Popeye's can of spinach will save the day. Once eaten, the Popeye theme will play, and if you chase down Brutus before the music ends, you score 3000 points. In round 1, the spinach randomly appears along the far left side of floors #2 and #3. In all rounds, there is only one can of spinach available.
Round 2, Love Notes: Olive now tosses out love notes. The THRU ledge is on floor #2. A sea-saw is at the left edge of the screen on the bottom of floor #4, upon which you can jump down from #3 and bounce up to #1 or #2. #1 is reached only if you time it right to touch Sweat Pea (or equivalent) hanging above floor #1. The spinach will be found on the sea-saw, but can only be retrieved while walking on floor #4.
Round 3, X's X's and more X's: Olive now sends out X's, or Smootches. Instead of a THRU ledge, floor #1 now has a large gap, that can be traversed via a slider. Step and slide over to the other side, or step and fall through to floor #2. Floors #2 & #3 have openings that only Popeye can use to move to the next lower floor, whereas Brutus walks on air crossing them. The spinach can be found randomly moving from far left to far right side on floor #4. Watch out for the Sea Hag’s swooping Vulture attack, but enjoy the thrill of punching a vulture at 1000 points a pop.
Version Differences - Some versions have differences, that impact the Gameplay, but not too much: faster falling tokens on the C64; Brutus reaches down first, before jumping down, or cannot just jump down anywhere, Sweat Pea is missing completely or is not seen but there is still a bonus; the Atari 2600 round two has 2 trampolines instead of a sea-saw; Vultures may be missing; Bonus lives vary at 30K and 40K; ladders are an all or nothing move up/down - so learn each version - if the move is manual, or automatic.
[Wife Q: Why do I need ALL these versions? A: To be able to write the “Many Faces of . . . ” ]
Arcade Game Designed in 1982 by: Nintendo
Classic Platforms: Atari 2600 (Joe Gaucher), 5200, 8 bit, Odyssey II, Ti 99/4A, Intellivision, Colecovision, Commodore 64 - all 8 versions by Parker Brothers.
No luck with any other programmer credits.
Categories: Gameplay, Addictiveness, Graphics, Sound & Controls
More info on Popeye can be found at: http://126.96.36.199/popopedia/shows/arcade/ag1107.php
Disqualified: Odyssey II (N/A)
We're Not Worthy:
Intellivision (29), Atari 2600 (31)
The Atari 2600 had no chance here mostly due to the mediocre Graphics (5) and Gameplay (5). The Graphics are almost too dark to play the second round, and the Gameplay lacks any options, and is missing too much. The Sound is decent (6), and the Addictiveness is good (6) enough to bring you back for more. The Controls are outstanding (9). I did not give any 10's this month, as I find that even though if you master the Controls to any version of Popeye, there is still a programming element or complexity to punching and climbing those ladders and stairs that makes you err a bit too often.
The Top 5:
Just missed it: Atari 5200
(37), Atari 8bit (39)
Gold Medal: Colecovision (40).
TI 99/4A (40), C64 (40)
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