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 Post subject: Plaque Attack (Atari 2600 - PlayStation 2)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:51 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Edutaiment is the term used on videogames meant to educate kids while playing. Examples are somewhat common, the mostly known examples are Mario's Time Machine and Sonic's Schoolhouse.
But before those games, there was a shmup made by Activision that was meant on help people, mostly kids, to develop the good dental habits and keep'em away from cavity. That shmup was Plaque Attack on the Atari 2600.

Yep, this is gonna be another Atari 2600 shmup review, so don't expect me to write a long novel for a review.

Saving Homer Simpson's teeth? D'oh!

Plaque Attack is a vertical shmup which has a gameplay that can best be described as a Space Invaders clone just like Megamania. But unlike Megamania, where you the objective was to avoid to get hit by the flying food, in Plaque Attack, it is more similar to Defender as the objective is to prevent the food to get in contact with the teeth. If something touches a tooth, it will turn yellow for a few seconds before it is dissolved, but if you destroy the food touching it when its yellow, it will turn white again. Unlike Space Invaders or Megamania, you are allowed to aim up or down since you'll be facing enemies from both directions. But keep in mind, your bullets are limited (you'll notice it as your toothpaste tube gets squished more and more), but you have plenty of shots to clear the stage. You can win an "Extra tooth" which is installed on the next stage to either recover a lost one or add an extra one if you still have your initial 8 teeth intact. Adding extra teeth to the mouth adds much more challenge since you have one more object to protect, and the enemy movement patterns will vary on each stage, and after 3 or 4 stages you'll be outnumbered and overwhelmed at the point of losing 2 or 3 teeth. Unlike any other shmup, you don't die if food gets in contact with your toothpaste tube (your ship), an obvious proof that this game was targeted at younger audiences.

Outside of the Atari 2600, this game was released on the PlayStation 2 as part of Activision Anthology, where it was included along with other shmups like Megamania, Chopper Command and River Raid.

Graphically, this game throws away the science-fiction, fantasy and military to focus on one unique theme: Teeth care and mouth hygiene. Your ship is a tube of toothpaste that has to defend a mouth from food-based enemies like burgers, donuts, strawberries, cherries, candy canes and ice cream since they're sugar containing foods and we all know what sugar does to our teeth (not to mention our blood with Diabetes, but that's another story).

As part of Activision Anthology on the PS2, the game adds plenty of bonus contents. Getting 7,500 points unlocks the "Whirl Mode" which is one of the additional modes to distort to the screen with crazy effects.
Also, you have a lot of licensed songs in the game to hear and in Plaque Attack's case, its good to have songs like Twisted Sister's "We're not gonna take it" and A-ha's "Take on Me" because this game doesn't have music and only a few sound effects cut the silence during the gameplay.

- Steve Cartwright designed this game. He said this game was meant to help people develop good dental habits.
- Activision granted "The No Plaque Pack" badge to anyone who was able to reach above 35,000 points in the game. The reward patch came with a congratulatory letter.
- The Activision Anthology port unlocks the badge by getting 10,000 points.

Plaque Attack is an example of how an Educational game can be fun when its done correctly with family friendly gameplay and straight-to-the-point references to the consequences of being careless with your teeth.

Remember everyone, wash your teeth not just 3 times a day, every single damn time you eat something. The cleaner, the better.
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