Pop Flamer
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  • Action - Maze / Ladder (example - Pac Man)
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5  |  Should Have Sizzled, But Instead Fizzled In the Arcades
Darryl B. , 6/26/2010 4:33:12 PM

Pop Flamer pic - fatmanpopflamer.jpg(Or, "Wizard of Wor + Balloons + Flame Throwers = Pop Flamer" could be another title, which I couldn't make up my mind which to use, so they're both here :) ) 

Here's a game that I recall playing back in the day, but couldn't remember the name of it until I played it on MAME years later, as it was included with a batch of ROMs that a friend of mine had sent me at one point.

Oh, hello, old...meh.

Wizard of Wor was an interesting classic where a player in a set of mazes would shoot a variety of creatures, and having a second player simultaneously in a game added to it's fun factor.

This is kind of like Wor, although it changed the players and creatures, had a set of scrolling mazes that are much larger (they spanned two or three screens vertically) and replaced the laser guns with flame throwers that have far less range than the guns in Wor, but ensured more devastation. And plus players had to pop balloons too.

Yes, you had to pop all the balloons possible in a level to advance to the next one. And flame animals as well. Pretty politically incorrect, and it would've been even more so if the horrid PBS entity of Barney the Dinosaur was around back then, as a purple dino in the game looked suspiciously like him, although a bit more fierce (although that's easily done by pretty much anything on the face of the planet, even by things that aren't dinosaurs). Unfortunately if you used your flamer too much, it's charge would go down, but it's level would go back up with the pop of every balloon (whatever THAT has to do with replenishing a flamethrower!).

 Also helping the players out is some kind of magic drink that would somehow turn the players into some kind of gigantic, gulping mouth for several seconds, and whatever creatures were nearby would run into the mouth (since the player was rendered immobile during that time). Great deal! It would be nice if this could work in real life, like gobbling up tons of oil that some careless company caused to spill into our oceans, or for taking out some mad world leader that wages wars/executes the innocent in the name of their supposed religion, or some like nonsense.

The graphics weren't that great for back then, although the sound effects were adequate, and I don't recall how the control was all these years later, but either good or sufficient (I don't think they were bad though), it didn't help the game at all, as it wasn't very fun, and the game's high difficulty level didn't help it any either (try just getting to the third level, really). Like with Pac-Man, the monster pen is in the center of the screen, making it difficult to get past the monsters (to pop the balloons above it) without having to use up a lot of your flamethrower, and it takes several seconds to sip the power drink thingy before you can gobble up a few of the annoying creatures. Granted, maybe I just sucked at the game anyway, but it wasn't a huge hit (Wor did a lot better), and never got a home port ever, I don't believe.

Here's a game that, on paper, might sound like it could have set the arcade world on fire, but instead it just fizzled out. 5/10
 

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