Game Review: New York Blitz (Vic 20, Mastertronic)

New York Blitz - Vic 20
New York Blitz, Vic 20, Mastertronic - Number IV0034
  • 7/10
    Score - 7/10
7/10

Summary

New York Blitz would be considered to be a controversial, if not banned game today. While lacking depth, it’s simplicity does offer a degree of short-lived fun. Not something for lengthy gaming sessions, but an ideal time waster for a few minutes between bigger and better things.

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The games industry back in the 80s managed to release titles that would be rejected in an instant these days. New York Blitz, and those that inspired it, was one such title. There were so many individual elements in the game looking back that would see this rejected by almost any publisher. But this was 1984 and times were somewhat different…

New York Blitz – A Controversial Plot

At the time, there was nothing wrong with the game or its plot. But history can change our perception of events, and setting this game in New York certainly did that. In New York Blitz you take the role of an airline pilot flying over – you guessed it – New York. Out of fuel, you’re heading for a crash landing so the only chance you have for survival is to destroy the city below.

Looking back, the concept to this sounds ridiculous. How many passenger jets are going to equipped with bombs? That’s the first dubious element of the game. But if it had been changed to a military setting, no doubt it would have been even worse and actually been withdrawn from sale. The cover art implied a futuristic setting and maybe that would have been a better angle to take..?

I  Recognise That Game…

Moving away from that, in a way this was a surprise release for Mastertronic and was a risk commercially. About 18 months earlier, Commodore released their starter pack bundle for the Vic 20. As well as the computer, it included the cassette deck, An Introduction To BASIC Part 1 and a tape featuring four games. The games? Hoppit (a Frogger clone, Race, Type-A-Tune, and Blitz.

So with a huge number of the user base already owning a version of Blitz (myself included), did we really want to buy another copy of the game? Well, despite Commodore’s own release, New York Blitz still went on to sell almost 40,000 copies for Mastertronic. In fact, I was one of those and still added it to my collection back in the 80s. Certainly Mark J Brady’s artwork on the cover must have accounted for a lot of those sales.

New York Blitz - Vic 20
New York Blitz – Vic 20

Gameplay

Gameplay in New York Blitz is simplicity itself. The plane is in constant flight from left to right, wrapping around and dropping steadily each time it reaches the edge of the screen. You drop a bomb by pressing the space bar and you have get the timing right to hit one of the buildings. Get it right and it demolishes it. You’ve only got enough time to drop one bomb per flypast so you need to minimise the number of misses.

As your plane gets lower you do get the chance to drop a couple of bombs, but you get closer and closer to the top of the buildings. Collide with one of them and it’s game over.

Keep It Simple

New York Blitz runs on an unexpanded Vic 20, so as you’d expect the graphics and sound don’t really stretch the hardware. They’re simple but effective enough though and do the job. Graphics are smooth enough to ensure that you can time your bomb drops accurately enough, and while the sound is fairly basic it does the job. And talking of BASIC, that’s what the game was written in so it’s quite impressive to run as quickly as it does.

New York Blitz - Vic 20
New York Blitz – Vic 20

Overall

Overall, New York Blitz is a simple, but fun game to play. It’s not one that you’ll load up and spend hours in front of the keyboard. But being such a small game, it loads quickly enough so it’s perfect for short 10-15 minute gaming sesssions. Granted, it’s not one of the best from Mastertronic, but it’s fun and was certainly worth the asking price when it first came out.

Mastertronic - New York Blitz Vic 20

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Vic 20 Mastertronic Checklist - Mastertronic Collectors Archive
  2. Mastertronic Collectors Archive Weekly Digest - 10th September 2023 - Mastertronic Collectors Archive
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