AGH Atari 8-Bit Computer Review:

by Electronic Arts

Hard Hat Mack
Hard Hat Mack is a real man. Instead of wasting his time rescuing prudish women, Mack is out to complete the construction of a building -- a real man's job. In the opening scene the player must pick up four girders and place them in the openings in each one of the structure's four floors. Once this is done he must rivet them in place. Occupational hazards include vandals, OSHA inspectors and flying chunks of metal. Of course, you can also fall to the ground and lose a life that way too. Unlike most video games where play gets more difficult as you progress, Hard Hat starts out tough and gets tougher.

There are a total of three different screens, and each one requires you to perform a different job. In round two the object is to pick up all of your tool boxes. Once this is done you must properly time your ascent to the top floor so that the large magnet will pick you up. In the final sequence you must drop all the steel blocks lying about through the holes in the framework into the rivet machine resting on the bottom of the screen. The objectives may sound simple, but executing each task is by no means a cakewalk. Unlike Donkey Kong (and more like Miner 2049er), Mack pretty much forces you to cover the entire playfield in the line of duty. You can start at the top, the middle or the bottom. Regardless of where you choose to begin, you must complete the specified task on every floor before moving on. There are many more obstacles present here as well. You not only have to look up to see what's coming down, but also down to see what's coming up and sideways to avoid whatever is coming at you. Each and every screen of Hard Hat Mack is bubbling over with activity, so much so that you almost have to look everywhere at once. Action as busy as this demands and gets your complete and utter attention.

Graphics-wise, Hard Hat Mack stacks up well against its peers. Colors aren't quite as vivid as Atari's Donkey Kong cartridge, but it's definitely a cut above Miner 2049er, Lode Runner and Jumpman.

If any complaints are to be voiced, it would be in the degree of difficulty and the number of screens (or lack thereof). You must start over from square one whenever Mack falls or is otherwise eliminated. In round one, for example, each unriveted girder pops back out when a game life is lost. But alas, being close only counts in nuclear weapons and darts. In addition, in an age where Miner 2049er astounded gamers everywhere with ten unique screens, Mack pales in comparison.

Title Hard Hat Mack
Publisher Electronic Arts
System Atari 400/800/XL/XE
Graphics 7
Sound 5
Gameplay 6
Overall 6
Reviewer Keita Iida

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