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Prehistoric Safari (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

Prehistoric Safari: Sounds like thunder; tastes like chicken.Prehistoric Safari: Sounds like thunder; tastes like chicken.Shooting Gallery is an add-on for the Magnavox Odyssey. It comes with four games, each with its own Überlay. Three of the games use the included game cart #9 and the fourth uses #10. The add-on comes in its own box with a GUN! A realistic looking rifle type of gun that plugs right into a socket built into the Odyssey! This gun is the kind of "non-orange" fake gun that will get you seriously killed if you "playfully" aim it at an officer of the law. So, uh, DON'T do that, 'kay kids?

In Prehistoric Safari, you USE the GUN! You are the MIGHTY HUNTER! However, you've lost most of your ammunition in the volcano (see it on the uberlay?) so you only have 15 shots. After 15 shots you'd better get back to your own world, using whatever method got you there (time machine, submarine or tiny raft). PlayerTwo is just the assistant, whom we always call "Jim". Jim's job is to move the target light behind each of the hideous beasts from before time. The Hunter should attempt to obliterate only the beast behind which the light is sitting. Jim keeps the light still until the Hunter takes the shot, and then, hit or miss, 'ol Jim moves the light behind another creature that should not be! The player's roles are reversed after 15 shots, and the person with the most "kills" after one round wins the game.

There's a variation on the contest which involves the awarding of points for each foul creature destroyed--the "flying lizards" are worth the most--but we decided it was more fun to just blast away the critters in "cold blood" (heh, reptile joke) without doing any more math than counting backwards from 15.

The "flying lizards" (which is what the Odyssey manual calls them) are the toughest to hit. Truth be told, I am unable to hit them. I think that it is because there is such a tiny area letting the target light shine through the Überlay, that if one doesn't aim just right, the rifle doesn't detect the light and it is a miss.

I should mention what happens when one "hits" the TargetSpot. Quite simply, it merely disappears. However, you should feel free to instruct Jim to imitate the horrible convulsion noises and vocalizations of a huge dying beast to add to your satisfaction. When you reset the gun, by using its pump action, you're essentially activating what is the equivalent of the reset button on the normal controllers. This restores the light for further brutality.

It is possible to cheat by pointing and firing the gun at any other light source. The gun apparently reacts to any bright light including lightbulbs, other TVs showing the Odyssey, and especially, the sun of the world you call "earth". Again, the Odyssey doesn't keep score for you, but when you hit a bright target off-screen the little bright square on-screen does disappear. If your play-buddy isn't paying attention or is particularly slow-witted, you might convincingly cheat. This could probably be considered the first "cheat code", um, whatever a "cheat code" is.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, the flying lizards are hard to hit which leads me to the other creatures.

The other creatures are easy to hit, especially since they sit nice and still. Heh-heh. My son, at 7 years-old, wasn't able to do this shooting gallery game. I don't think he "got" the idea of lining up the gun sites to properly aim. At the time he also found the gun to be a little heavy. *sigh* I'll just have to teach him to kill virtual things with a lightergun from a later era (probably zombies on the Saturn).

The Odyssey Rifle does have a nice weight to it. It makes a very satisfying noise when fired and provides a great feeling of getting ready for one's next shot when pumped. Its only drawback is that it is a little cumbersome for a child to handle. However, one could argue that this is a Good Thing depending on one's feelings about fake guns and children playing with them. Regardless, I'm going to give a full point to the Odyssey for Prehistoric Safari. I could kill dinosaurs all day!

The Score: Ultraman 4, Odyssey 7.

Next entry, videogame homicide is created in Shootout!


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