Monday, September 27, 2021

Matter of Import 73: Funky Bee [1982 Orca]


Today’s Matter of Import is another rushed-feeling arcade title from Orca, and another horitzontal shooter. This time the player is a bee dodging trees and other insects, trying to fly over flowers while avoiding the hostile insects doing their best to collide with you.

To protect itself the bee has a stinger, a projectile whose slow movement speed provides much of the game’s difficulty as you only get one on the screen at a time and it takes forever to reach the top if you miss your target. Fortunately most of the insects’ movement patterns seem to ignore you, so learning to lead them is something the player can pick up fast.

At the end of each level is a honeycomb you can fill with nectar gathered from the flowers you hit along the way, accruing a massive bonus.

My evaluation is similar to my thoughts on the other Orca titles I’ve covered - they’d have been middle of the road if released years earlier. As it is, your bee controls poorly, the difficulty is provided by the frustration your attacks cause, and the sprites are both simple and poorly designed.

If Funky Bee has a good quality, it’s the music - even if short and repetitive, it’s not a tune I’ve heard in a hundred other arcade titles, or poorly digitized public domain money-savers.

Is it enough to save the game? No… it’s just “okay.” But at least it doesn’t add to the irritation of having to play the game long enough to form an opinion.

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