Friday, July 22, 2022

Frenzy (1982)

Time:30 minutes
Won:Not possible

It feels like forever since I've played Berzerk, but it hasn't been much further away than this sequel was released in reality. Funny how that worked out, I doubt I'll ever get that lucky again. Frenzy is advertised as much the same as the original, ton of evil robots, shoot them, watch out for big nasty bad guy Evil Otto. Simple, but hopefully effective.

The dotted walls are shootable while the others reflect shots
Starting the game up, I'm actually struck by how surprisingly bad the game. A major arcade game that's still a single stick shooter? What madness is this? Just wander around some rooms shooting at things to get a highscore. Compared to the other hits of 1982, this feels downright boring. Wow, two different enemies types along with a special boss monster that instantly reappears, how interesting. Shootable walls that don't kill you, just like Snipes. And I'm out of interesting things to say.
If its not clear, I don't think very highly of Frenzy. It just feels like it brings nothing to the table. While credit must be given to the original Berzerk for its important place in gaming history, Frenzy feels like a rehash of the original. Other people had expanded quite well on the formula since the original's release as titles like Shamus and Snipes, while not the greatest games ever made, tried to create consistent level design and expanded on the random level design respectively to some success. Frenzy has four variations on single-screen mazes and those variations don't actually do anything, though you could be tricked into thinking they did.
I've seen difficulty suggested as to the reason why people dislike this game, and I think that's a load of baloney. Sinister and Robotron, both harder than this, but they had a key element. They were exciting, dying felt frustrating, and Sinistar was terrifying at times. I feel mild annoyance at having died in this game. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like I lost in a fair fight, but at the same time, I don't care all that much. Its not fun and it doesn't add anything to the formula.
Generic laser weapon. 1/10

Two different sprites for a slowly approaching enemy that shoots at you, along with Evil Otto, who just runs at you, through walls, and can now be shot and killed. He just respawns and returns faster. You no longer die by walking into enemies, but that's something that so rarely comes up I'm surprised anyone ever noticed. Interestingly, the enemies shoot much the same way as the player. 1/10


You'd think a level where you can see a giant Evil Otto would be special, but no, all that happens is that if you kill Otto four more pop up. Otherwise the design of this game feels like it puts the player in unavoidable deaths an uncomfortably high number of times. 0/10

Player Agency:
It is a pain to shoot diagonally in MAME. I have died quite a bit because I meant to shoot diagonally, but couldn't, or didn't mean to and did. I do feel like the aiming in this game is slightly crap in general. You don't get a proper center for things, so you aim quite offset from where you should be aiming in some directions. To add insult to injury, the player moves at a slow pace. 2/10

You can shoot some walls, while others reflect shots. This is universal among you and the enemies. 2/10


Its depicted simply but effectively. Which should be the end of it, but for some reason the color of everything changes between levels and it drives me up a wall. 0/10


Simple, flat 8-bit or so sound effects. 1/10

That's 7, which is actually 2 above Berzerk and about equal to the game I said was better in some regards, Shamus.

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