G.I. Joe by Epyx for the Apple II and the Commodore 64

Pictured above are screen shots of the Commodore 64 version of the G.I. Joe game, by Epyx Software. One of the earliest G.I. Joe games, it was available for both the Apple II and Commodore 64 systems. The game is dated 1985. Take a look at a close-up of the game's box or the cover of the manual.

Here is a review by Matt Roberts:

This game, titled "G.I.Joe" was made only for the Apple II series and the Commodore 64/128 computers and was released in 1984. I've never played the C64 version, but from the screen shots I'd say it's better than the Apple II version. The Apple version had a limited range of colors and sounds (even for that era), and while the C64 often produced graphics that were primitive, they matched the action figures fairly well. The theme song from the cartoon of that time period ("He'll fight for freedom wherever there's trouble...") was used in the title screen (without the words).

This first game featured sixteen Joes and eight Cobras. Duke, Scarlett, Recondo, Torpedo, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Spirit, Zap, Gung-Ho, Snow Job, Blowtorch, Stalker, Ace, Wild Bill, Steeler, and Clutch were available for the Joe team, and were pitted against Destro, the Baroness, Zartan, Firefly, Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Major Bludd, and Scrap-Iron. Zartan was really cool; he would take on the appearance and weapons of one of the Joes (even yourself) to fight you. There were actually two different types of games in this one. Each one was chosen by dots that appeared on a world map, and were represented by either a circle or a cross in a certain country of the world.

The first type of game was a one-on-one melee battle between a Joe and a Cobra which took place in a particular geographical location: a desert, an arctic tundra, a city, or inside a Cobra base. The Joe and Cobra would run around a single screen and shoot at each other. Each character had a different type of shooting weapon: a machine gun, grenades, arrows, missiles, etc. Some would reload faster, others slower. The bigger weapons were generally slower, and the characters that carried them moved more slowly, too. Different objects (which looked like Pac-Rats or FANGs or Sky Hawks) would attack both players.

The second type of game involved vehicular combat. This featured the Skystriker, the Vamp Mk. II, the MOBAT, and the Dragonfly, all flown by their respective pilots/drivers. HISS tanks, anti-aircraft missile launchers, and radar units were positioned on a 4-way scrolling field viewed from the top-down (the enemies were in the same place every time), and the pilot/driver could crash or would die if they got hit by so much as a single bullet or missile (flying too close to the ground or running into enemy vehicles would kill you, too).

The one-on-one was operated by a "best 2 out of 3" rule: whoever won twice captured the opponent. After the battle a picture of Cobra Headquarters or G.I.Joe HQ would appear, and Cobra would either gloat (Cobra HQ picture) or say "Curse you, G.I.Joe! You have beaten us this time, but we are not finished yet! Cobra shall strike back!" (G.I.Joe HQ picture) Prison bars would be placed over the characters picture if you/they lost. This game didn't have an end; once Cobra or G.I.Joe was down to one or two players, another would get free to fight again.

Overall, this game was a fair game. There were glitches in the programming (i.e. - I can't ever seem to win with the MOBAT - even when I defeat all the tanks; if a Pac Rat or something other than myself kills the enemy, sometimes the game would freeze up, etc.) The ability to choose between vehicle and hand-to-hand combat was intriguing, and increased playability. Even though the game is antiquated, it's still somewhat fun to putter around in the Joe vehicles or take pot-shots at the Cobra high command.

Box and manual pictures from the collection of Kevin Jones.

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