The original Masters of the Universe cartoon is awesome, but its Atari game follows the nature of most licensed titles before it and after, which tend to suck beyond any reasonable level and bring the TV show, comic, movie, or whatever else it’s based on to pure shame.
The Power of He-Man has the basic structure of a Masters of the Universe show. Just dodge and defeat Skeletor’s goons, get to Skeletor, and he runs away. How could they screw that up? Apparently, it’s possible to do with utter ease.
The first part of this game is just making it to Castle Grayskull, which is 30 miles away, on your Wind Raider while dodging enemy fire. To combat this enemy fire, you can just blow up the tracking bombs and guys on the ground. This doesn’t seem like much of a problem, except there are three major flaws in the program that make this more difficult than it ever should be:
1. When you go to the highest point of the screen, the tracking bomb can get slightly higher than you, putting it above where your gun can fire.
2. Sometimes enemies will shoot both a tracking bomb and a gun at the same time, and if you are hit by one, you will easily be hit by the other. You basically end up losing two of your three lives in one shot.
3. Since you can move back and forth in a Defender-like motion, you can dodge stuff better. But for some reason, defying basic physics, the guns that the enemies shoot upward tend to move back if you push the screen the opposite way with the Wing Raider. Tsk tsk tsk.
Once you finally make it to the castle, you must hit Skeletor. In order to do this, all you have to do is dodge his projectiles and make your way through the guarding wall “cyclone”. After this simple task is done, it’s time to chase the fool down again. Fun…
Graphics seem to be the only thing this game has going for it. I have to say I enjoy the title screen, with the portrait of He-Man transforming, and the ship graphics in the first part. Too bad the part where you fight Skeletor is horrid and seems lazily done from the rest.
The sound is…meh. Nothing special, really; just mediocre Atari 2600 sounds.
Really, I try not to give games such bad scores, but this one sure earned it. The Power of He-Man is barely worth owning as a joke. Just don’t waste your time with it; play Ms. Pac-Man or Cosmic Ark, or just something besides this crappy excuse for software.