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Cosmic Creeps - The Atari Times

Cosmic Creeps

by Ethan C. Nobles

October 23, 2006
Here is yet another game for the Atari 2600 which is fun from time to time, but certainly isn't going to top anyone's "best of" lists. You know what I'm talking about - it's not a bad game at all, but it's certainly not classic. Cosmic Creeps is a unique title I'm glad I have in my collection, but I've never used this one to show off my Atari.

In Cosmic Creeps, the player starts out controlling an "Orbinaut" and is charged with the duty of getting him from the bottom of the screen to a space station at the top. The Orbinaut has to avoid stationary splotches of red plasma on the screen and dodge darting, rock-like things called Space Skeeters.

Yes, the stage does remind me a lot of Frogger, only it's a lot easier. Once the space station is reached, Cosmic Kids will emerge, one at a time. The kids attempt to get to the top of the screen to the Space Station while avoiding the nasty and evil Cosmic Creeps. The player can lay down some "cover fire" to protect the kids - he has control of the space station and can fire at will. However, it's kind of depressing when a Cosmic Kid is shot instead of a rotten Creep.

If a Cosmic Creep reaches the top of the screen, the game ends. Similarly, if the planet from which the Cosmic Kids are attempting to escape falls out of orbit, the game ends. The planet scrolls along the bottom of the screen, disappearing a bit with each pass. Indeed, games don't tend to last long at all.

One thing odd about this game is that non-violent themes are stressed heavily. Sure, it looks like a Cosmic Kid is blown to bits when shot by accident or nabbed by a Creep. Sure, it looks like the Creeps are also blasted when hit with a shot from the space station. However, the instruction manual states the Creeps merely send children back to the planet when they catch them, and that both the Creeps and Kids are "bopped back" to the planet when hit with a shot from the space station. Weird. This game was published by Telesys - way on back in 1982, by the way - and that company tended to avoid violent video games.

Graphically, this game isn't bad at all. The Kids, Creeps and Orbinaut are all quite colorful and very large. There's no animation to speak of in terms of the aforementioned characters because they are very static and just sort of move. The Space Skeeters, however, are animated fairly well. In spite of the static characters, the game looks nice. Even the space station is colorful and well-drawn. Oh, and the Creeps look more comical than menacing - I'm not complaining about that, however.

The sound is fairly sparse, but what else is new? Most games for the Atari 2600 feature a few "bloops" and such, and Cosmic Creeps is certainly no different. The "whooshing" sound made when a shot is fired is fairly impressive, but the rest of the sounds are about typical.

The control is pretty good, too. So good, in fact, that it really eats into the gameplay. See, it's very easy to time a shot to knock out a Cosmic Creep, even it it's directly behind a Kid. This game becomes amazingly easy with just a little bit of practice. Still, it is fun to rescue as many kids as possible before the planet falls out of orbit and the game ends.

All in all, this game has certainly been worth the $5 I paid for it around 1985 when everyone was liquidating Atari cartridges. Still, it's fairly scarce, and not worth paying too much for on the open market.

Cosmic Creeps

(c) Telesys

Ok, so I'm expecting to see some nasty monsters here...
Instead I see some kid trying to get to his spaceship.
Follow the leader!
Cosmic Creeps
System: 2600
Publisher: Telesys
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 70%
Gameplay Score: 75%
Control Score: 90%

Final Score: 75%

Reader Comments for Cosmic Creeps

Thumbs also up by Darryl B. on 2006-10-22 22:10:14
I'm glad you understand this game Ethan; I've seen goofy reviews where they complain that there's "only" two stages of this game, which there's a lot of Atari games out there that only give you one thing to do! (This isn't Raiders of the Lost Ark!)

I agree with most of the review, especially the graphics, as I always LOVED the way the ship was rendered. It's too bad Telesys came out "too late" (i. e. right before the crash), as they were trying different things like this, and rather than spending millions on tv ads, the opted to lower prices on their games instead (which I still have a letter from them from back then telling of this). It just makes you wonder what they could have done, since they were also going to get into the computer gaming market, but they were killed off by the crash before that happened.
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