Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
GORF Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 57%
  • Review Score:

  • C+
Go ahead and snicker. I know you want to. I know I did. Everybody snickers when they look at the title. GORF??? *snicker*

When you're done laughing, naturally the first question to come to mind is, "What the hell is a GORF?" Well, GORF is an acronym for "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force," but no one playing this arcade port needs to know that. All you need to know is that it's a fun little mix-up of shooter tropes, and it arrived on the ColecoVision largely indistinguishable from the arcade version.

Gorf (ColecoVision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game is split into four screens that cycle, getting harder with each time the cycle starts again. The first screen has your little ship moving around behind a shield blasting rows of aliens that go back and forth across the screen, coming closer with each direction change and getting faster with every alien killed. You can even nail flying saucers for bonus points. Now, does that sound familiar? It should; that's the exact same set-up as Space Invaders. Don't worry; the plagiarism is just beginning.

The second screen has a formation of aliens that break apart, come back together, and shoot long laser blasts at you. It hearkens back to Galaga, but, fortunately, it is not as shameless a rip-off as the Space Invaders screen.

Screen three takes on a behind the ship perspective. You fly through a warp tunnel as enemies come out from the center, looping around and shooting. In this case, instead of this screen ripping off another game, the folks at Konami must have been looking at this stage for inspiration when they made Gyruss. The only difference is your ship is still stuck to the bottom of the screen while, in Gyruss, the ship can loop all the way around.

Gorf (ColecoVision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The last screen involves blasting at a mothership. The boss is behind a shield, its weak point glows, and it's in the center of a ship that get blasted piece by piece to reach it. Chalk it up to a rip-off of Phoenix.

As you can see, the biggest issue with GORF is an absolute lack of originality. With the exception of the third screen, all of the other screens are rip-offs of other popular shooters of the time. They play well especially since your ship can move up or down a little bit in addition to going left and right, but there's no denying the derivation. Also, while the ColecoVision port matches the arcade original for the most part, there were a couple of omissions. The synthesized voice was removed, but that isn't a big deal. More severe was that there are four screens cycled in the ColecoVision version where there were five in the arcade. For those curious about the missing screen, it was a shameless Galaxian rip-off.

I'm torn about GORF. I honestly had a good time playing it, but I can't deny that it was nothing but four other shooters mashed into one. If you care about fresh ideas in your games, you won't find them here. I can't tolerate a lack of originality in the music I listen to; why should I tolerate it in the games I play?
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