The Odyssey² had quite a few multi-cart games available early in the console’s life. These games were typically not deep enough to stand on their own so the developers threw a few similar but just different enough games on a single cartridge to warrant their purchase. The three Odyssey² carts in this post all have that common thread.
Blockout/Breakdown is Magnavox’s answer to Atari’s Breakout, with a twist. The twist being that you can play as either the bar and ball that you are attempting to break the blocks with in order to get your ball to the top, or you can play as the “demons” that live inside the blocks and must rebuild them as they get destroyed, preventing the computer or a second player from getting their ball at the top. Whoever can get the ball at the top of the screen fastest wins the match. The problem I have with this is that the demon control scheme is way more convoluted than it needs to be and I would have preferred simple scrolling through the four levels of demons using the controller button or joystick. The other version of this game is more of the same but you’re trying to clear the screen of blocks instead of just getting your ball to the top. I much prefer to play Super Breakout but Blockout/Breakdown is far from horrible and can stand alone as either a one or two player game, which is nice.
Out of this World/Helicopter Rescue is a forgettable game where you compete to either land spacecraft or rescue people in helicopter. For real…those are the games. Out of this World isn’t horrible at least. Unfortunately, it’s a 2 player only game where your spaceship is given a finite amount of fuel and you must safely land on the surface of an unknown planet then blast back off into space to make contact with your mothership. First player to do this successfully 10 times wins! The fuel aspect comes into play because you use up fuel while slowly landing and you must have enough fuel to take back off towards the mothership as well. Crashing your ship will drop your fuel to zero so you have to wait several seconds while your ship is rebuilt and refueled, losing precious time versus your opponent. Helicopter Rescue requires you to only play against the clock, rescuing as many people as you can from the top of a building and then transporting them safely to the ground in a minute and a half. Unfortunately, Helicopter Rescue offers no challenges, risks or interesting gameplay and becomes boring 30 seconds in. The longest minute and a half you’ll experience playing a video game and definitely drags down the aggregate rating of this game.
Speedway/Spin-out/Crypto-logic is a three (!!!!) game cart so hold onto your hats. In Speedway, you race a car for 2 minutes (assuming you don’t bother with the qualifying option) moving either left or right to avoid cars that you’re passing and adjusting your speed all the while scoring points for how far you get within your time limit. Crashes prevent you from getting further so the max score you can achieve would be to go as fast as you can without any mistakes. I suppose that is the goal of this simple game and can be addictive until you master the patterns of the oncoming cars. Spin-out is a two player only racing game that shows the entire course from above while you race your small cars against each other without hitting the sides of the course, any barriers that exist within the course (depending on the course you select ahead of time) or each other. You predetermine how many laps you want to race (3 or 15) and off you go until you and a friend determine the winner, winner, chicken dinner. Finally, Crypto-logic is a basically a 2 player word scramble game. One player types in a word or phrase and then scrambles the letters and your opponent must figure out the word with the fewest amount of mistakes. Pretty pathetic excuse for a video game but it was the late 70s after all. These games really don’t offer much entertainment value today but I suppose they weren’t too bad “at the time”. Still, I can’t really recommend this title.
Currently in my collection:
Blockout/Breakdown – game, manual, box C
Out of this World/Helicopter Rescue – game, manual, box D-
Speedway/Spin-out/Crypto-logic – game, manual, box D