A port of a Nintendo platformer, 5200 Popeye has a definite Donkey Kong feel to it. Popeye must collect hearts, musical notes, and the letters H-E-L-P that Olive Oyl drops from the top of the screen. These icons float slowly to the bottom and must be picked up before they disappear. Brutus chases Popeye around and is aided by the Sea Hag, who appears on the left or right side to throw bottles at Popeye. Brutus can also throw bottles, and he can grab Popeye when he is directly above or below him. The bottles can be punched by Popeye for points (and safety). Oh, and what would a Popeye game be without Spinach? Consumed once per level, Popeye's famous theme plays for a few seconds and Popeye can lay out the big thug with one punch, sending him crashing down to the water below.
Popeye is a nice game, a bit slow, in the vein of Donkey Kong, but not as good. All three arcade levels made it to the 5200 version -- these repeat, getting harder & harder. The graphics are pretty faithful to the arcade's, but with less detail and blockier. There seems to be no additional options, but cameo's of Olive Oyl, Sweet Pea (if you recognize the lil guy, that is!), Wimpy, and the Sea Hag & buzzards are nice to see. Brutus and the Sea Hag's behavior very accurately mimics the arcade version's behavior. Also, the animation is surprisingly well done! Brutus swings his head back & forth, warning you of a direction change, and he grabs for Popeye when he is directly above & below. Popeye's shuffle up & down the stairs looks great!
Music & sounds are quite pleasant and add to the simple atmosphere. And there is nice background music! In fact, of all my 5200 games, I can only think of two other games that have actual background music during gameplay (those games being Pitfall 2 and Moon Patrol). Like in Donkey Kong, Popeye has "charge music" after he eats his spinach -- the famous Popeye theme song I'm Popeye the sailor man, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, I'm strong to the finitch cause I eats me Spinach, I'm Popeye the sailor Man! TOOT TOOT! Well, of course the lyrics are omitted in the game. :)
Although Popeye is a bit too slowly paced, it's still a nice, rather obscure game, and the 5200 version shines.