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Oink! - The Atari Times


It's not a game, it's a fairy tale
by Brian C. Rittmeyer

August 15, 2001
A classic game, Breakout, gets turned on its head, and a classic children's story is turned into a video game in Oink! by Activision.

The game casts you as one of the Three Little Pigs, and the objective is, of course, to prevent the Big Bad Wolf from blowing your house down. You get to play as each of the three pigs as the game progresses - first in a house of straw, then wood and finally brick. The game changes levels after the wolf penetrates your house and pulls you out with his breath - so his breath turns out to be a little like a laser-tractor beam combination. Your little pig scurries off the screen, likely to some off-screen butchering, and then you start with the next pig.

Oink! is like Breakout in reverse in that instead of breaking through a wall with a ball, you're filling in the holes blasted by the wolf. Outside the house, the wolf uses his breath, which looks more like a solid laser-like line, to take chunks out of three layers of blocks one at a time. As the pig inside the house, it's your job to grab the "bricks" from the single row at the top of the screen and fill in the holes. It's easy at first, but the wolf speeds up, and eventually he'll clear enough to get a shot inside the house. But not to worry - at least not yet - he has to clear a hole wide enough not to just hit you, but to pull you out of the house - and since you're a healthy pig, he needs a BIG hole. Only then are you captured and turned into a ham sandwich.

What's tricky is that the bricks you have available to fill holes are not always where you need them, so you have to scamper back and forth to get the bricks and get them to the holes. Only after you use all the bricks in the row does it refresh. At first it's pretty easy to fill every hole and keep all three rows solid; but that becomes increasingly difficult as time passes. Eventually, the best strategy is to prevent holes from appearing that are big enough for your character to fit through - remember, even if the wolf hits you with his breath, you're only in danger if he can pull you out.

The two two-player versions of the game are interesting in that players get the choice of a strictly competitive game, each taking turns playing the pigs, or a competitive game, where the players take turns playing the pigs AND the wolf. An interesting idea, effectively letting the player take the role of the "bad guy," although coloring the pigs blue to differentiate the players is kinda weird.

The three types of houses are only different in their color. The characters look good enough for the 2600's graphics - the wolf looks like a wolf and the pig looks like a pig, although the pig seems slightly better - but the arms on both are pretty bad, not much more than lines. Sound and music in the game are minimal, but adequate - there's the sound of both characters moving, the wolf's breath and "ding" sounds when you grab and drop bricks. There's a rather distressed sound when your pig gets hit by the wolf's breath, not too sure if it's supposed to be a squeal, and a little ditty that plays when your pig is ultimately and unavoidably captured.

Oink! by Activision is among the unique games for the 2600. It's a fun game that puts you inside a fairy tale. Worth picking up if you can find it.


(c) Activision

Get ready to run like a mad pig!
I'm guessing that's wind coming out of the wolf's mouth, but it looks like his tongue.
"Arrgh! Help! The wolf's tongue has me!"
Finally! We made it to the brick house. Too bad the pig's brothers were already savagely eaten by the wolf!
System: 2600
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 75%
Gameplay Score: 90%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 80%

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