I was pleasantly surprised by Q*Bert for Intellivision. I wasn’t too impressed by the screenshot graphics that I had seen, and after the disappointment that was Popeye I didn’t expect much from another Parker Brothers port. But this game is really responsive to the controls and feels a lot like playing the original on my arcade cab.
All the arcade elements appear to be here. The sounds as well as the music are very close to the arcade game. The graphics are a bit mono-chromatic on the various entities, but they are very passable. The wrong-way guys show up, the little green guy that changes the colors back is here, and of course coily is here too. I played it enough to get to level 2 (board 5) where you have to jump on all blocks twice to get them to the target color, so that bit of game play is here also.
I give it an arcadeability score of 5. There isn’t much that could be better with this port.
The controls mapping for this game is very simple. Movement controls and one action button are all you need for gameplay. There’s also the number of players and starting level – both of which require a “1” and “ENTER” from the keypad. However, the up/down/left/right controls probably (maybe?) need to be reconfigured. On my cab, I have a dedicated Q*Bert/Congo Bongo joystick that is rotated 45 degrees. So when I push diagonally up-right on my joystick, I’m really just pressing up. The other three directions are modified similarly. To use this joystick with the jzintv emulator, I need to map UP to disc direction northeast. Then DOWN becomes southwest, LEFT becomes northwest, and RIGHT becomes southeast. That really only affects 4 lines in a keyboard hackfile:
With this modification made, I’ve saved off a qbert.kbd file to use for this game.
How does it compare to the original arcade game?
Pretty well! Definitely spot-on in terms of gameplay and sound. The graphics could probably be a bit better. I think I would have enjoyed having this cart back in the day. This is a very good port.