Saturday, September 18, 2021

Matter of Import 63: Hot Shocker [EG Felago 1982]


 

Hot Shocker is a 1982 arcade game produced by Italian publisher E.G. Felago that's nowhere as lewd as the title makes it out to be. The player takes on the role of a Lineman name Dudley as he runs along telephone wire, laying it out in a spiderweb pattern. Also inhabiting the line-web are hot-spot sparks that pursue Dudley and will kill him wit a touch, and a trio of gooney birds that will temporarily daze him while the sparks speed up.

At a glance the game brings to mind line-laying games like Amidar, though you're not trying so much to capture geographic regions, as you are trying to change the color of the lines. This is fundamental to maze-chase games like pac-man, where the traversal of the maze is marked by devouring dots. While in the first level we're turning it from a dark blue to a brighter red, after that the lines are invisible until you've passed along them.

And, as in Pac-Man, you'll get a power-up in the form of a telephone. Answer it and not only will the sparks disappear, but you'll be able to catch the goony birds. Do so and they vanish for a spell, plus they give you more line to lay - this is a good thing, as in later levels you won't have nearly enough to cover the maze as it lies.

isually Hot Shocker fits well with other early 80s arcade titles, with a cartoonish look for Dudley and the goony birds. The developers were able to get around the need for a detailed backdrop with the black background against which the lines stand out well.

The gameplay isn't bad, but it lacks the depth found in other maze games; the birds and sparks don't lend themselves to the same tactical choices found in Pac-Man's ghosts, and while the theme of laying line is fairly unique, it doesn't have the same sort of draw.

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