80’s arcade games-Rampage



Time to kick off giant monster week with a video game. I first played this game at an arcade in summer of 1987. I wasn’t playing video games that much at the time, but I couldn’t resist this one. You get to transform into a giant monster and destroy cities plus you get to fight those pesky military types. You can choose from a lizard wannabe Godzilla type called Lizzie, a King Kong copy called George or a giant werewolf called Ralph. I usually played as George. The rounds are complete when you destroy a city, but there are plenty of hazards including the army guys and their weapons, falling from a high building and eating non-food items. All of those things can drain your strength and make you revert back to a human. While eating food including people can replenish your strength so you can keep on destroying cities. Any fan of giant monsters would find some satisfaction in playing this game. It can get a little dull after a while as the idea is better than the actual game play. This game was fairly popular back then and has been released for many formats over the years and it had some sequels. The graphics are decent for the time. In the late 80’s I picked up a copy of it for my old Atari 2600 that was somehow still running and I played this game frequently then. I played it recently on an Xbox version with my kids and it’s still fun for a while. Although we all argue about who gets to be George. The film Wreck it Ralph is largely considered to have based it’s title character on Donkey Kong, but his actions in his game may have had some influence from these characters as well.



Action Shootout-Cobra vs. Raw Deal

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I’ll be…uh right here.


I drew dis here with my crayons.

It’s Sly vs. Ahnold in my very first action shootout and if no one reads it then it  could be the last action shootout. I picked these two films because they star probably the two top action stars of the 1980’s, both are lesser known films by these guys, the main characters are both law enforcement types and the films came out just weeks apart in 1986.

The plots in a nutshell although they got in those nutshells I’ll never know-In Cobra Sly is a cop who ends up protecting a model who witnessed killings by a serial killer and his gang. In Raw Deal Arnie is a former FBI agent turned small town sheriff who asked by his old boss to go undercover to bust a mob group in Chicago. Both plots start out kind of basic but become bigger and bigger and just more outrageous as the films go along. However I think by using the serial killer and witness angle that Cobra managed to put a little bit of suspense into the film and that made it just a hair more interesting. Point to Cobra.

The Stars- Sly plays  Arnie plays Mark Kaminski and Sly plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. Arnold was fairly in his action film career at this point as most of his bigger films were ahead of him. In 1985 Sly had done a Rambo and a Rocky so he at the top of the action star list at this time. Sly playing an Italian cop who can’t obey rules seems less of a stretch than big Arnold playing a former FBI agent trying to go undercover as a mobster. However Stallone comes as a shell of a hero most of the time who has chances to show emotions but instead just uses his gun to his talking. While certainly not a good performance Arnold gets the chance to add more of a balance to his character as he struggles with his marriage and his attraction to a woman who is pulled into a bad situation. Point to  Raw Deal.


Your hair is so slick.


Don’t we look cute in out matching threads?

Leading ladies-Brigette Nielson plays the model/witness in Cobra while Kathryn Harrold plays a woman tied up with the mob who befriends Arnold. Nielson in her Razzie nominated performance isn’t as bad as she is in other films, but yes she overacts a bit and gets worse as the film goes along. Arnold probably lucked out getting Kathryn Harrold as his leading lady as it’s not a fantastic part but she does well enough with it and mostly importantly didn’t stink things up like Nielson. Point to Raw Deal.

Villains-Cobra faces a serial killer with stud handled knife and his gang of thugs while Arnold faces a mob boss, his untrusting and really scary right hand man and a crooked attorney working for the wrong side. Yeah point to Raw Deal.

Action-This is fairly close. Both rely a lot of shooting, explosions and car chases. The explosions are bigger in Cobra an he has an awesome car, but I think action stands out more in Arnold’s film. It’s also more satisfying when the villains get what they have coming. Point to Raw Deal.

For my money the underdog Raw Deal takes this one as the better action flick in a 4-1 blowout.

Best line(s) in Cobra-

Killer at store-Get back! I got a bomb here! I’ll blow this whole place up!

Cobra- Go ahead. I don’t shop here.

Best line in Raw Deal-

Kaminsky (after his drunk wife goes off and throws a cake at him)- You should not drink and bake!



Sly got a better car than me!


Yeah he did.

’80 arcade games-Express Raider

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The western video game is one of those sub genres that has been around as long as video games themselves. Yet it’s certainly not as popular as space games or war games. I first saw this game at a pizza place that I only went to a few times in the mid-80’s They had two games a wrestling one with several kids playing it and this one sitting all alone by itself. I gave it a try because it was a video game and I had a quarter burning a hole in my pocket. You are a bank robber, but you will earn the money because the levels are not easy. The first level is a side scrolling fighter. You have to beat up a banker and kick some dogs just to get on the train. Once on it you are trying to get from the caboose to the engine. However each car has a guy on top who is tying to stop you by fighting and throwing junk at you. If that wasn’t mean enough there is a bomb sitting on the coupling between each car and if you can’t defeat the guy in time the bomb goes blooey, the cars unhook and you lose a turn. If you get past this level then you are on horseback in the foreground trying to shoo and defeat guys in the train car. They of course shoot back at you and you have to move your horse or duck down to avoid it. It’s fairly close quarters on this level so you have to be fast to dodge those bullets. If you beat that level then you start over with the same levels becoming more challenging. The game play is similar to another western themed game Iron Horse from Konami which also came out in 1986. For the year it came out the graphics here are quite decent. The game play on the train top level is simplistic and other games would do it better a year or two later, but for the year came out it was a little ahead of where scrolling fighting game were. The shooting level has more graphic shortcoming, but playing wise it’s still a challenge. I wish there had been more levels. This is a Data East game so you can some similarities in play to the previously released Karate Champ and later released games like Sly Spy and Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja would take what was done here and improve upon it. I had almost forgotten about this game until I played it on a collection for the Wii in recent years.


Flight of the navigator

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Who’s in this?

Joey Cramer as Bobby the boy who gets to fly around in a giant metal seed. He only had a few acting credits which also includes being in Stone Fox and Runaway.

Cliff DeYoung as Bobby’s dad Bill. DeYoung was a former musician turned actor who had tons of credits in movie and TV including lots of made for tv movies.

Veronica Cartwright as Bobby’s mom Helen. Come on she was in the Birds, Alien, Leave it to Beaver and tons of other stuff. Plus she is the older sister of Angela Cartwright (Penny from Lost in space like you didn’t know).

Paul Reubans (listed as Pall Mall) voices Max the computer. You know him best as Pee Wee Herman.

Howard Hesseman as Dr. Faraday the government scientist trying to stick his nose to everything. You know Hesseman as Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati and later he starred in Head of the class plus he has been tons of other stuff as well.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carolyn who works where Bobby is being held and she feels bad for her. I remember her most for Square Pegs, but then later in life she did Sex and the city of which I am proud to see I have never seen an episode of.

What’s this about?

So this kid who looks very 1980’s is supposed to be celebrating the 4th of July in 1978. Apparently back in the 1970’s dogs catching frisbes was a major form of entertainment. Just kidding, the dogs were great. Bobby is getting razzed by his bratty brother. Later Bobby ends up going off into the woods as he thinks something is out there you know like a lizard or a bird or a spaceship. He falls down and goes boom. Then he wakes up and goes to get back to his parent’s house only to find that they are no longer there, what the heck? In fact turns out he has been missing for eight years and hasn’t aged a day. Nifty trick if only it wasn’t freakin’ everyone out. The governments sticks their noses into this and grab Bobby to run tests on him and poke and prod him too just for fun. Turns out the govs also have this spaceship they think took Bobby. Apparently Bobby was taken by this ship in 1978 for a couple hour trip to another system way out there in space. They did bring him back but didn’t realize that he would only age a few hours because they traveled at the speed of light. However everyone he knew back on earth would age 8 years. Who-eee that science stuff hurts my brain. Bobby gets all restless and gets out of his room at the poking and prodding place. He gets into the spaceship where the computer talks to him. Bobby is supposed to know how to fly this thing and he gets it out of the compound which really causes the suit types to get all antsy in their pantsys. They go after him and his seed shaped ship. Bobby avoids them and eventually he has to choose to stay in 1986 or let the ship try to return him to 1978. He chooses to return to the past despite the danger that he may die because he thinks if he says in 1986 he will be forever studied and treated like an oddity. Good news for him is that it works and he makes back to 1978 where he is glad even for his bratty brother. Oh and he brought an alien bat looking critter back with him too.


I had never seen this before the other week. It’s a decent film for the family. A little slow at first, but it warms up. The effects were probably cool for the time and they do show quite a bit of the ship. I like that it’s flying over land and see instead of just the usual space.

Star Knight (El caballero del dragón)

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Who’s in this?
Klaus Kinski as a wild haired, bug eyed loon (wait that’s every film he’s in). Ohe he’s a magician of some sort in this one.

Harvey Keitel as Klever. Get it Klev-er (clever), but he’s really an annoying oaf. Oh the irony.

Maria Lamor as Princess Alba. She wants a boyfriend so she flees her father and the kingdom. You know how these princes stories go-she goes skinny dipping, disappears under the water for days and then pops back up longing for a spiked haired, silent space traveller. Ah those classic fairy tales.

What’s this about? Get this, a poof haired magician prays for an angel and lights suddenly descend from the heavens and go on past him. Guess it wasn’t “his” angel. However strange events start going on outside the kingdom. If the knights and villages didn’t already clue you in to this being set in medieval times than the awkward use of dost and though will let you know this is the times of castles and fake dragons. Princess Alba flees the tyranny of her father the king (the least royal King I have ever seen on film). She then strips, dives into the water and a whole worthless plot is set on course. She vanishes, her father frets and sends his clattering collection of clanking clods (thanks for the inspiration, Dr. Smith) off to slay the dragon who lives in the water who must have taken and or eaten the princess. Knights get dumped into the water during this rescue mission ker-splash. Klever (the not so clever) rants on about wanting to be a knight and try to slay the beast and get the priness back…blah, blah, blah…he goes on. Eventually it’s revealed there is no dragon, buy instead the glowing pingpong ball monstrosity is a spaceship containing a skinny traveller wearing a bubble helmet spacesuit. The princess re-emerges and tells of her hazy memories of being naked in the water and somebody finding her. In this film even the nudity is kind of boring. At some point the new wave looking space traveller goes to yonder castle as he dost scale ye old wall, wait now I’m doing it. Okay there are some tremendously tedious and unfunny fighting between the space guy and Klever. If only they had both exploded in a ball of flames I would have been happy. It’s obvious that the princess wants the space dude for her husband, but Klever attacks the space age bore once more (a rhyme to honor the upcoming birthday of Dr. Seuss). Klever ends up hitting the secret panel that puts the spacesuit on him and leaving the least interesting space traveller ever naked. Klever runs inside the spaceship screaming about having power or needing to pee and not having a zipper on the suit or something. Anyways ship takes off with him- blastoff. Naked guy gets some stinky old clothes, the princess introduces him as her boyfriend or something so everything excepts him- 80’s hairstyle and all. Hip hip hooray and roll the credits please.

Negatives-Even Klaus Kinski can’t summon up enough oddnes to bring interest to this film. Any film with a traveller from another time going to medieval times should be compared to that great classic A Connecticut Yankee …..Army of Darkness. This film doesn’t come near that film. Actually this film is so flat that it makes The Unidentified Flying Oddball look pretty good.

Positives-The scenery and some of the sets are well done even if they do use the sames ones over and over. There is a chase scene up high on top a castle-whether it was real or a set doesn’t matter it looked very good.

If you dare to take on this beast of a movie be aware then you be wishing it was over and then realize there is another 40 minutes left..sigh.