<table> <tr> <td class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </td> <td> <table class=headerright> <tr> <td class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png"></a> </td> <td class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1"> <input type="text" name="q" size="30"> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search"> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </td> </tr> </table> <table class=headerad> <tr> <td> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-5230184257141993"; /* HG101 */ google_ad_slot = "4961941287"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table>

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Q*bert

Page 2:
Q*bert's Quest
Q*bert's Qubes
Q*bert (MSX)
Q*bert for Game Boy

Page 3:
Q*bert 3
Q*bert (1999)
Q*bert 2004
Q*bert 2005

Page 4:
Q*bert Rebooted
Other Appearances
Clones

Back to the Index


Q*bert's Quest - Pinball (1983)

Artwork

Gottlieb being chiefly a manufacturer of pinball tables, of course the company didn't hesitate long to tie in its new star with the main business. Looking at the table, the four flippers immediately attract attention. They are even weirder than they look: Pushing the left button triggers the upper left flipper, but also the lower right one. The lower left flipper is equally reversed. Essentially the two added flippers act as an extra safeguard against losing a ball on the sides, so Q*bert's Quest might have been intended to ease fans of the video game into the pinball hobby.

Several of the table's elements are inspired by the video game: In the center stands a pyramid, and it's possible to light up all its cubes (only six here) for a score bonus. The familiar villains Ugg, Wrongway and Coily - here represented by rows of arrows - turn off the lights again if they reach the pyramid, but can be pushed back again by hitting certain targets.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Gottlieb

Publisher:

  • Gottlieb

Designer:

  • John Trudeau

Genre:

Themes:


Q*bert's Quest


Q*bert's Qubes - Arcade, Atari 2600, Colecovision (1984?)

Arcade Cabinet Artwork

American Colecovision Cover

Mylstar sure took its pretty time with producing a video game follow-up to Q*bert. After shooting off Davis' update - presumably to exploit the successful base game for as long as possible - the company got Neil Burnstein on the job to produce an all new sequel. But while the title screen reads "1983", no magazine ever mentioned it then, which would be very odd considering the popularity the franchise enjoyed at that time. So it seems very likely Q*bert's Qubes wasn't released before well into 1984, when the industry had pretty much crashed and no one cared about video games for a while. In fact, the game wasn't even mentioned in Electronic Games' "obituary" for Mylstar after the company's closure in September 1984, so it must have been an extremely small under-the-radar release, if there was any formal release at all. Apparently it was also only ever available as a conversion kit for existing Q*bert cabinets.

Q*bert's Qubes is not at all the typical cash-in sequel, and is at least as creative as the original. In a way it resembles the Rubik's Cube puzzle, as it's all about turning around cubes to match their colors. These cubes are aligned in 5x5 diagonal lines for a diamond shape, and whenever Q*bert jumps off one of them, it turns towards the direction of the jump. When a cube's positioning is matched with the target that's displayed in the upper left corner, it gets locked in and turned into a wireframe. But Q*bert can only clear a line by matching complete lines of five ("tic-tac-toes").

In the beginning, one line is enough, and the cubes only have two different colors. As the game progresses, they first get an asymmetric pattern, then a third color, and finally a different color on all six faces. The game then proceeds to increase the number of required "tic-tac-toes", and from stage 6 onwards cubes keep turning around even when they are matched once. At its highest complexity, Q*bert's Qubes is almost as hard to solve as the real Rubik's Cube.

But of course that is not all. Once again several mean critters get in the way. Rat-a-tat-tat is essentially the same as Coily from the first game, only he's - who'd have guessed - a rat. Since there are no flying discs in this game, Q*bert can defeat it by jumping off a cube just the moment Rat-a-tat-tat leaps towards him, whereupon it plummets into the bottomless pit. Sam and Slick return, although they are now identified as "Shoobops", and have the annoying habit to turn around cubes as they move downwards, even if they had already been locked in with the target pattern. The red balls of the original are essentially replaced by the Meltniks, although those sink into a cube if they jump on a surface whose color matches their own. The green ball returns without any notable modifications, accompanied by a second green "power-up": When Q*bert touches Sheldon the turtle, monsters are slowed down for a short while.

The original Q*bert only introduced a bonus round in its never published update, but the sequel comes with one right out of the box. After every fourth round, before ascending to the next level, there comes an enemy-free diamond, and Q*bert can freely turn around each cube without jumping, until it's matched to the target and the noser gets automatically transported to the next. Since there are no threats in this round, of course there's a time limit, which actually starts counting down in the normal stages (to a minimum of 15 seconds), and whatever time is left after completion can be used in the bonus round.

Q*bert's Qubes doesn't take long to get more challenging and involving than the original, but for experienced players it offers the option to start at any of the first four levels. Beginning the game with the need for three tic-tac-toes with countless enemies swarming the playing field should be enough of a challenge for most. Arcade operators also could set the game to hard difficulty. While all the regular enemies start at the top, here purple bats and birds come jumping in from the lower borders and cling to the sides of the cubes, much like Wrongway and Ugg before them. They are kind of unique in the Q*bert universe because they're the only creatures who are never named.

Probably due to the industry crashing, Q*bert's Qubes never got the attention it deserved, even though it has more enduring gameplay than the original Q*bert. Only two home ports where released, for the old Atari 2600 and the ColecoVision. The good old VCS only manages rows of 4x4 cubes, but starts with all six colors on the cubes to compensate in difficulty. Unfortunately, because two of the visible cube surfaces are interlaced with black lines and the top is nothing but a thin line, it's rather hard to parse the screen. The higher difficulty level simply makes the game start at level 6 (where all cubes keep rotating), and the birds and bats are nowhere to be seen. For some reason this version also doesn't display all status information on screen, so the current level number and bonus time are missing.

The ColecoVision version naturally is much closer to the arcade, but it also lacks the hard difficulty from the arcade, only allowing to choose any of the first four rounds to start from. Sheldon the turtle also never appears in this version. The bonus round works a bit differently here. Q*bert is still locked in place until he matches the colors of the current cube, but afterwards the player has to steer him to the next available block manually. The manual also contains instructions for Commodore 64 and Atari computers, but those ports were never released.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Mylstar

Publisher:

  • Mylstar (Arcade)
  • Parker Brothers (home)

Designer:

  • Neil Burnstein

Genre:

Themes:


Q*bert's Qubes (Arcade)

Q*bert's Qubes (Arcade)

Q*bert's Qubes (Arcade)

Q*bert's Qubes (ColecoVision)


Comparison Screenshots


Q*bert (Qバート) - MSX (1986)

Japanese MSX Cover

Konami had distributed the original arcade game in Japan, and apparently snatched the rights to also make a home computer adaption from the license. Although the resulting MSX game is titled just Q*bert, it is actually based on the sequel - based very loosely, too.

What stands out immediately is the fact that Q*bert isn't actually in the game. Instead the software stars Wrappy, a little dragon that bears an uncanny resemblance to the heroes of Taito's Bubble Bobble. The enemies, while they follow the same patterns as those in Q*bert's Qubes, have also been mostly replaced to feature ghosts and Konami's infamous Moai heads.

The real news are the stages, though. For the first time in the series, the layout of the cubes changes after every round, for a total of 50 different stages. The complexity increases by the same mechanics as the original (although this version never goes so far as to make the player turn back once conquered cubes), but most of the challenge now comes from the layouts, with bottleneck passages and even gaps in the structure, which can only be crossed by a long jump.

To achieve this, Wrappy first has to touch a red blob, who grants him the ability to leap over the range of two tiles by holding the space bar until the end of the round. The game introduces a whole range of these colored power-up blobs: The green ones still stop enemy movement for a brief period of time, whereas brown blobs make Wrappy faster, grey ones kick out all enemies currently on screen, and blue ones make the hero temporarily invincible.

Konami also added a two-player simultaneous mode, which is so brilliant it's baffling how Mylstar and Parker Brothers only ever did alternating modes. Each player is assigned a different target cube alignment, and both have to compete to either be the first to complete a line of five, or have the most completed cubes after the time runs out. The fun part comes when players keep messing up the other's "finished" cubes instead of concentrating on their own. When one player is already standing on a cube and the other jumps at it, the former inhabitant gets pushed away a step. The alternative method to win is pushing the opponent off the grid three times. While in the first mode the players have the cubes to themselves, there is also a second mode where enemies spawn. Should a round unexpectedly end with a draw, the two cute dragons settle the score with a round of rock-paper-scissors (where the outcome is determined randomly).

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Q*bert (MSX)

Q*bert (MSX)

Q*bert (MSX)


Q*bert for Game Boy - Game Boy (1992)

American Game Boy Cover

Japanese Game Boy Cover

In September 1984, Not long after the video game crash, Columbia / Coca Cola had closed Mylstar Electronics and all of the Gottlieb pinball assets, but held on to the Q*bert franchise. From the late 1980s to early '90s, a company called JVW Electronics was managing the license, which led to a 1988 Atari 2600 re-release and the NES Version by Konami. Only in 1992, JVW's sublicense found itself in the hand of a developer who used it for original content, and that developer was Realtime Associates.

The first of two new Q*bert games arrived for the Game Boy early that year. It was a much more traditionalist effort than Qubes, using the exact same core mechanics as the 1982 game. The main difference comes with the changing stage layouts like in the MSX game, but they're nowhere near as adventurous. Since the 64 arenas don't fit on the Game Boy screen, it's possible to pause the game to have a look at an overview map. Even though enemies are not shown on the map, this allows to analyze the current situation at leisure, which takes out much of the frantic pressure that made the arcade games so exciting. With the varying stage layouts, enemies can appear at very different positions each time. To prevent the game from unfair trial and error, their appearance is announced beforehand by a blinking crosshair. The only new type of enemy is a drop that goes up and down the structure and never falls off, but it is deleted together with all other objects when Q*bert traps a Coily. Every once in a while, fruit comes dropping down that can be picked up for extra points.

Considering that the vibrant colors used to be one of the defining characteristics of Q*bert, the Game Boy cannot hope to fully capture the charm of the cartoon world, and the many varying tilesets abandon the Escher effect, but at least the characters are fairly big and recognizable. Every few stages, the player is rewarded with a clip from "Q*bert the Movie", which depicts the noser's comical war against a palm tree. When all the scenes are strung together, though (which the game does after the final stage), it amounts to little more than a minute of footage or two.

For a handheld game in 1992, Q*bert for Game Boy is adequately competent and has a few good ideas how to lend some more complexity to the classic concept, but ultimately it just feels like a sedated shadow of the arcade game, which lacks both the bite and the flair needed to make it as great.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Q*bert (Game Boy)

Q*bert (Game Boy)

Q*bert (Game Boy)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Q*bert

Page 2:
Q*bert's Quest
Q*bert's Qubes
Q*bert (MSX)
Q*bert for Game Boy

Page 3:
Q*bert 3
Q*bert (1999)
Q*bert 2004
Q*bert 2005

Page 4:
Q*bert Rebooted
Other Appearances
Clones

Back to the Index