Beauty and the Beast (Intellivision) Review

Disney is well-known for bastardizing the fairy tales they make into animated features. Tales like Snow White and Alice in Wonderland were originally very dark, frightening stories, filled with death and nightmarish imagery, but Disney dramatically toned down and changed these classical works to make them more palatable to their young audiences. By far the most dramatic of these so-called “Disneyizations” was their take on Beauty and the Beast. Disney’s version was a lot of hullabaloo about a woman falling in love with a prince who’s been cursed to live as a hideous beast. This couldn’t possibly be further from the original fable, which was about a large bearded man stealing a woman and being chased up a skyscraper by her lover. Luckily for those of us who prefer our fairy tales undiluted, this Intellivision catridge has reproduced the events of the original tale in painstaking detail.

Okay, that intro; not so good. I know it, you know it, so let’s just move on. Beauty and the Beast is basically developer Imagic’s take on Donkey Kong, though they sort of avoid rip-off status by going above the Donkey’s head, instead ripping of King Kong directly. This was a pretty artful move, since you aren’t as likely to cry plagiarism when you’re forced to remember that DK himself is ripping off the Kong that came before him. And since the Intellivision version of DK was such a Christmas-destroying disaster, this game filled the niche quite nicely.

As you might have gleaned from my misguided introduction, Beauty and the Beast’s gameplay revolves around the ascension of a tall building, which looks suspiciously like the Empire State Building. At the top of the screen is the Beast, whom you reach by climbing the building level by level, using open windows for footholds (and naturally these windows open and close at random). Once you reach him you move on to the next higher section of the building, and the process repeats several times until the climactic finale at the top of the tower, after which the Beast goes tumbling off the edge, hitting the pavement below with a thundering crash. How exactly this occurs is unclear, since the beast (whom the manual refers to as “Horrible Hank”) is roughly four times the size as the player (“Bashful Buford”). Maybe the maiden (“Tiny Mabel”) pushes him off, but regardless of how it happens, it happens, and afterward you begin the whole process again, but with slightly increased difficulty.

Beauty and the Beast might not have a damn thing in common with the fairy tale it’s named after, but it’s still one of the best exclusive Intellivision games around. The controls are tight, with nice simple mechanics (meaning you don’t need to pay extra to get the controller overlays), and the pace of the game is fast and smooth. Imagic is my favorite developer for the InTV, and one of my favorite 80s developers in general. Beauty and the Beast is a perfect example of why that’s the case; it’s action-packed, beautiful, and practically flawless.


~ by Krooze L-Roy on January 8, 2009.

One Response to “Beauty and the Beast (Intellivision) Review”

  1. “Bashful Buford” ranks right up there with “Clumsy Clarence.” I wonder where the manual-writers for Imagic are today…

    Loved this game back in the day. I especially loved how when Hank fell, the action zoomed waaaaaay out so you could see him hit the ground, and the reunited stick-figures at the top were picked up by some guy in an advertising biplane. (Top that for immersive eye-to-details, Bioshock!)

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