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20th Century Fox Video Games
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Planet Of The Apes is a latter-day 20th Century Fox Videogames title that never saw the light of day. Though advertised, the game's release never happened due to the studio's folding of its game division during the industry crash that brought the Atari VCS era to a close. Ironically, this prototype ROM has been floating around for about three years, having been found in a case marked "Alligator People." With no docs and nothing to give any indication to the contrary, collectors puzzled over what the game might be and how to play it. Collector Matt Reichert, webmaster of AtariProtos.com, uncovered the game's true identity in 2002. Gameplay is a bit less than thrilling, but graphics are adequate; Planet Of The Apes was still in the prototype stages when development was halted, so undoubtedly more features would have been added prior to the cartridge hitting retail shelves.
In what may be the first video game ever to put you in the shoes of Charlton Heston, Planet Of The Apes for the Atari VCS places you in charge of the fate of lost-in-time astronaut Colonel George Taylor, stranded on a future Earth where apes have risen to the top of the food chain and keep human beings in cages. The action takes place over several screens: deserts, forests, the apes' village, a river crossing, subterranean caverns, and the climactic "ruins of the Statue of Liberty" scene from the film. Smaller apes are no danger to you, but you can still shoot them to get them out of your way. Larger primates will confine you in a cage in the ape village, and will shoot back at you. During your adventures, keep an eye on Taylor's "life energy" (a number which is diminished whenever he is shot) and his handful of "escapes" (which allow you to escape the cages, but also cost you a few points of life energy). When the life energy hits zero, the game is over. In a worst-case scenario, you may get trapped in a cage after you've run out of escapes, unable to do anything but wait until the apes shoot you to death. Your ultimate goal is to reach the Statue of Liberty level, at which point your health and escape ability will be recharged, and the game starts over at a higher difficulty level. ~ Earl Green, All Game Guide