Venture - The Atari Times
Have Fun With Your Winky!
by David SherwinApril 8, 2014
Let me get this right out of the way - Venture is not a perfect port of Exidy's 1981 Arcade favourite. It is, in fact, a perfect port of everybody's favourite $2 garage sale ColecoVision game. Yes - CV Venture has finally made it to the A8 line after 32 years! The choice to make a port of a port instead of referencing Sacred and Hallowed arcade origins has, apparently, caused much teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing over in the forums for reasons that have left me completely flummoxed. I am, however, quite amazed that the release of any game for the A8, in 2014, has caused a kerfuffle. And finger-pointing. And bitter recriminations. You can't make this stuff up, folks!
Reviewing this game is essentially pointless. It's Venture! I refuse to believe in my own mind that anyone could not have played this game before. I will, however, take up valuable review space to point out that the world-record holder for Venture arcade (set in 1982) lives (or lived) in a small town 83 km away from me. Northern Alberta represent!
Some have quibbled over the fact that this port of Venture hardly taxes the A8's still-amazing architecture and that the graphics look like something that's been imported from the VIC-20. The in-game music's not that great, either, but it's better than the CV version and - to my taste - the arcade original. All of this is a minor piffle, however, because Venture has the most awesome video game hero of all time - Winky!! Winky is so amazing, in fact, that he has two different shapes in the game: in the Map Rooms, he's represented by a super-stealthy and sneaky tiny red dot. To get by those Hall Monsters, you know. When he enters a room, though, he turns into a big smiley face with a pointy arrow thing (quiver and arrow combination?) on the top of his head. He never changes his expression (as is only appropriate), even when Hall Monsters appear (these are time-limited challenges!) in an attempt to smash him to a pulp. He's an inscrutable cipher, the Clint Eastwood of smiley faces, and I can only imagine the emotional turmoil behind that visage as he battles endless streams of Goblins and ‘Two-headed' monsters (my favourite!). I'm telling you, Lara Croft and Gordon Freeman have nothing on this dude.
Venture has three map rooms (and therefore three different screens of monsters); after that it's wash, rinse, and repeat. But harder. Awesome! Fans will be pleased to see that all of the classic 'treasures' are available to collect here, as well, and they're all pleasingly low-res. Most are standard gems and valuables, but some are just…odd. That female corpse in the Spider Room is both a disturbing and hilarious 'treasure', and represents, I think , yet another facet of Winky's complex character. What does he do with these things???
I admit it: this review is 100% biased. And I'm going to stick to my story that Winky never, ever threatened to take me out if I gave him a bad review. There's absolutely no reason not to send your hard-earned cash to Video 61 unless you cannot accede to the amazingness that is Winky. Venture comes in a clear, resealable clamshell and requires a minimum of 48K.
Classic status: 100%
Arcade faithfulness: 85%
Current Playability: 75%