Head-On (Raster/Radek Sterba) Review | RGCD - Everygamegoing


By Raster Radek Sterba
Atari XE/XL

Published in RGCD #1

An 8-bit Atari port of the game that Pac-Man copied.


Head-On is a faithful port of Sega/Gremlin's 1979 arcade game of the same name for the Atari XE/XL. Coded for the ABBUC SW Compo 2006 by Raster/Radek Sterba and achieving a respectable second place, Radek has successfully created a solid and enjoyable little game for Atari's 8-bit underdog.

The original on which this is based was actually one of a series of early arcade games developed by the partnership of Sega and Gremlin (the most famous of which was arguably Frogger), and is reputed to be the first game of it's type whereby progress through the game relied upon collecting dots and avoiding enemies. Note that this was almost year before the release of Namco's world-wide smash Pac-Man (or Puckman, depending on what continent you are from). Unfortunately, although Head-On was (and still is) a good game, it was competing in the arcades with the likes of major coin-eaters Space Invaders and Asteroids, so it's no real surprise that it has faded into relative obscurity when compared with many of the early classics.

Radek's port of Head-On is a fine addition to the Atari XE/XL's game catalogue. The game-play is identical to the original, with the player's goal being to navigate around the track collecting dots whilst avoiding collision with the computer controlled cars by swapping lanes. The in game graphics and sound are suitably retro and near identical to the arcade version - in fact, the only real improvement that has been made to the game is the inclusion of a title screen complete with a decent little chip tune (from which you can change the game's difficulty setting by pressing the 'Select' key).

Essentially Head-On is a decent release, but I can't help but feel a little disappointed that Radek failed to either improve the basic in-game graphics using the Atari's wider colour palette or add any new elements to the overly-simple game mechanics. However, as it stands the game is a tribute to the original and definitely a worthy addition to any Atari XE/XL owners' collection.

James Monkman

Other Atari XE/XL Game Reviews By James Monkman

  • Animal Party Front Cover
    Animal Party
  • Crownland Front Cover
  • Znax Stub Front Cover
    Znax Stub
  • Jetboy Front Cover
  • Mind Blast Front Cover
    Mind Blast
  • Swapz Front Cover
  • Loops Of Zen Front Cover
    Loops Of Zen
  • Eckn Front Cover
  • Jet Set Willy 2007 Front Cover
    Jet Set Willy 2007
  • Scorpions 2.0 Front Cover
    Scorpions 2.0