Frenzy (video game)
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright and cocktail|
|Display||Horizontal, Raster, standard resolution (Used: 256 x 224), 19 inch|
Frenzy followed the basic paradigm set by Berzerk: the player must navigate a maze full of hostile robots. The goal of the game is to survive as long as possible and score points by killing robots and travelling from room to room. The game has no end other than the player losing all of his or her lives.
The player has a gun with which to shoot the robots, and simple intelligence of the robots means that they can often be tricked into shooting one another. If the player lingers too long in a room, a bouncing smiley face (known as "Evil Otto") appears, and relentlessly chases the player. Evil Otto will destroy any robots in his way, and can move through walls.
Differences from Berzerk
In Berzerk, the walls are all electrified and kill the player on contact. In Frenzy, some of the walls of the maze are composed of "dots" which can be shot. This opens up strategies such as blasting a hole in the side of a room through which to escape when in trouble. The solid walls, on the other hand, now reflect shots. The player can trick robots into killing themselves by standing on the opposite side of a reflective wall and letting them shoot themselves. The only wall that simply absorbs shots harmlessly as in the original is the closed door that appears behind the player when he enters a new room.
Neither type of wall is electrified in Frenzy, allowing the player to touch them without dying, and robots do not kill the player on contact, only by shooting him. It is no longer possible to kill robots by tricking them into walking into the now-harmless walls. There are two types of robots: skeletons and tanks. The two types have identical behavior, but the skeletons are more difficult to shoot from above or below due to the thinness of their sprite.
In Berzerk, Evil Otto was unkillable and unstoppable. In Frenzy, shooting him once changes him from a smiley face to a "neutral" face, and another shot converts him to a "frowny" face. Another shot kills him. However, each time Evil Otto is killed makes him a little bit faster the next time he appears, which is usually immediately.
Every four mazes features interactive, decorative elements that were not present in Berzerk. In one room is a huge statue of Evil Otto, for example. Each one has a specific effect on gameplay for that one room. The order is: Big Otto, Power Plant, Central Computer, and Robot Factory. The Power Plant and the Central Computer are surrounded by walls made entirely of "dots", while Big Otto and the Robot Factory are surrounded by reflective walls with only one breakable "dot" in the corner, making them more difficult to hit.
In the Power Plant room, shooting the power plant once will disable it, and all robots in the room will stop moving. In the Central Computer room, shooting the computer will cause all the robots to start moving and firing erratically. While they are in such a state, the walls can kill them. The Robot Factory will continue to spit out additional robots while the player remains in the stage, taunting as it does so. Shooting the factory normally has no effect; however, in the Coleco port, shooting the factory will disable it and stop the endless stream of robots.
In the Big Otto room, if the player kills Evil Otto, not only does he immediately respawn as usual, but the Big Otto sends four more Ottos onto the screen, all moving at top speed. Like the Robot Factory, shooting Big Otto has no effect. Big Otto starts out with closed eyes and a neutral expression, but his expression changes to one of rage, with glowing red eyes and a frowning mouth, when Evil Otto is killed. He also smiles when the player dies, though his eyes remain the same as before, either closed or open.
Finally, the robots in Frenzy are less talkative than those in Berzerk, only speaking in a few specific situations. They say "Robot attack!" when Evil Otto appears, "Charge attack shoot kill destroy" when the player kills Otto, "The humanoid must not destroy the robot" when entering the Big Otto room, "The humanoid..." when shooting the Central Computer, and the dialogue randomly alternates between "A robot must get the humanoid" and "A robot, not a chicken" when the Robot Factory dispenses a new robot. The constant background chatter of the original game is gone.
Frenzy was a less popular game than Berzerk, possibly because it was even more difficult. Frenzy was ported to the ColecoVision home video game console and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer in 1983. More recently, a port was developed for the Atari 7800 and published by AtariAge.