From C64-Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Game No. 357
Developer {{{Developer}}}
Company Parker Brothers
Publisher {{{Publisher}}}
Musician {{{Musician}}}
HVSC-File GAMES/ M-R/ Popeye.sid
Release 1983
Platform C64, Amiga, Arcade, ColecoVision, Atari, TI-99/4A, NES, VIC20
Genre Arcade, Platformer (Single Screen)
Gamemode Single player
2 players (in turns)
Operation {{{Width}}}{{{Width}}}
Media Cartridge-icon.png
Language Language:english
Information Other thematic games: Popeye II, Popeye 3: WrestleCrazy


Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
6.45 points at 11 votes (rank 510).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 6 28th June 2013 - "good" - 18884 downs
Lemon64 7,5 28th June 2013 - 105 votes
C64.com 7,5 28th June 2013 - 10705 downs
Kultboy.com 6,68 28th June 2013 - 19 votes
Happy Computer Test without evaluation Issue 05/84



Popeye is a mixture of platformer and collecting game by Parker Brothers, who released the game in 1983 as the home version of the arcade machine by Nintendo. The player controls Popeye, the spinach sailor known from comics and cartoons, with the task to collect the symbols that his beloved one, the fancy beauty Olive Oyl, throws at him before they drop into the water. The roles of the antagonists are occupied by Brutus, the always jealous dislikeable chief brute and the sea witch with her biting vulture Bernard, who leave nothing undone to bean Popeye. A level is finished when you have made it to collect a certain number of symbols, whereupon the turbulent ado continues in the next of altogether three different screens. Popeye starts with four screen lives and gets a bonus life every 40.000 points.


Spinach: abound in valuable trace elements as molybdenum, strontium 90 and unununium.


The C64 version is unfortunately not able to hold a candle to the graphics chip that was used in the arcade version for the sprites of the characters. Popeye can be just about recognized with some effort of the own fantasy / much good will, but Olive and especially Brutus are displayed as a misshapen caboodle. You need to cut back less on the background graphics, which were rather meagre also on the arcade original, but they do not quite want to please the eye, which means: everything looks quite blocky and angular. The sprites are also rather sparsely animated, most of the time there are only two animation phases by which all sprites own a rather wooden moevement scheme. It looks very bad with the bottles that are thrown by the sea witch and Brutus; additionally they also flicker awkwardly. Some details from the arcade machine graphics were completely omitted, so you do not see at the end how Popeye hands a flower to his jubilating love and Swee'Pea, Popeye's adopted child is mentioned in the manual, but is missing in level 2. But after all the C64 version is at the end of the day the most acceptable of all home versions, which is why one can with a clear conscience point a naked finger at screenshot from e.g. the Atari 8Bit or Nintendo Entertainment version while laughing, if you think this meaningful.


The short and happy melodies at the start of the game, the level end and collection the spinach sound acceptably popeyesque, i.e. there is some recognition value to the music from the cartoons here despite the blaring obliquity. The background music of the single levels are designed rather conservatively, in level 2 even some tacts of Harry Bellafonte's "Matilda" are played, while at the beginning of the third level a dramatic tune underlines the kidnapping of Olive by Brutus. The Popeye characters got equipped with a strange and not quite unobtrusive movement sound, which even starts to wallow when a lot is going on on the screen. The music and the otherwise acceptable other sound effects are - depending on the listener's tolerance for suffering - either not ideally complemented or torn down into a cacophonic abyss.


Level 1[edit]

With the tricky punching ball - water barrel combo is Brutus often distracted for a long enough time to be able to finish the level unmolested.

Olive Oyl, always unsure about her affection towards Popeye, has found a new challenge for Popeye to test his loyality: Popeye is supposed to collect 24 hearts Popeyehearts.gif and if even only a single one sinks into the water at the lower border of the screen, he has to pay for this with one of his lives. While Olive, who waddles to and fro between the two houses, now unbosoms herself, Brutus gets wind of this and tries, furious from jealousy, to hamstring Popeye's mission. When Brutus gets him or a bottle thrown by Brutus Popeyebottle.png hits Popeye, this is as deadly as losing one of Olive's hearts.
Popeye can fend off bottles with a fist punch, but he can only match Brutus if he collects the can of spinach Popeyespinach.png, that appears in turns at the left border of the second or third storey.
If he can collect it, the known Popeye fanfare sounds, he gets green from all the spinach power and has to ram Brutus, who in the meantime has taken flight, to throw him through the air and finally into the water.
During Popeye's spinach flush, which only lasts for a short time, Olive's hearts do not move further down and also count twice the points. Brutus on the other hand is ready for the fight again after a short break, which is tragic for Popeye, because the spinach appears only once per level.

But Popeye has another method to elimiate Brutus, which, however, is a bit harder to accomplish: If he hits the punching ball Popeyepunchingball2.png next to the platform at the upper right at the right moment, it will hit a barrel Popeyebarrel.png, which falls down, makes Brutus harmless for a few seconds and gives bonus points.
Another peril for Popeye is the sea witch Popeyeseahag.gif, which appears all of a sudden at the left or right border of the screen (or at both at the same time!) to throw also empties at him.
The sea witch cannot be defeated, you can only try to box away the bottles or to change to a different platform.
The signposts Popeyesign.png are shortcuts with which Popeye can change rather quickly to the other side.


  • Collect heart: depending on the height the are caught 500, 300, 100 or 50 points, twice the points during spinach flush
  • Beat up Brutus: 3000 points
  • Smash bottle: 50 points
  • Hit punching ball: 30 points
  • Hit Brutus with barrel: 1000 to 4000 points (the lower Brutus is, the more points)

Level 2[edit]

When Brutus flies around, the screen quakes impressively.

Here you need to collect notes instead of hearts, but only 16 of them. In return is the buildup of the level a bit trickier. At the lower left of the screen is a seesaw, at whose upper end is J. Wellington Whimpy either defying the rules of gravity or filled with helium Popeyejwellingtonwhimpy.png, to catapult Popeye and Brutus to either platform 3 or 4 when they jump on the seesaw from platform 2.
The shortcuts cannot be used by Brutus.

Points: As in level 1 and additionally:

  • If Popeye lands on platform 4 with the help of the seesaw he gets 500 bonus points.

Level 3[edit]

Finale Grande at the open sea.

In the third and last screen Brutus has kidnapped Olive and brought her to the crow's nest of his boat, where she now cries for help. Popeye now has to collect these, whereby each time a new step of a rescue ladder forms with which Olive can finally be freed. This time, Bernard joins in, the pet vulture of the sea witch Popeyevulture.gif that flies through the screen from left to right and tries to collide with Popeye. Popeye can eliminate it with fist punches and get bonus points, but shortly after that it starts a new attack. There are no shortcuts in this level, instead there is a moving platform directly below the crow's nest Popeyeplatform.png, which can transport Popeye over a hole in the ground to the other side. Beware: During the ride on this platform your are completely helpless concerning Brutu's grabbing and you can easily collide with the vulture without being able to eliminate him by a fist punch.

Points: As in level 1and additionally:

  • Beat up the vulture: 1000 points

Joystick controls[edit]

press fire button: Popeye boxes bottles, vulture, punching ball or Brutus (which has no effect and is deadly) or collects spinach. In all directions: Moving the character into the direction chosen by the player


  • 1 : start single game
  • 2 : start game for two or play alone against yourself (if you feel lonely)
  • F1 : abort game


  • Beware: Brutus likes to grab one platform lower or tries to seize Popeye's legs when he is near!
  • If possible do not let the hearts/notes/cries for help drop too deep, because this gets you less points.
  • The "Thru" shortcuts in the first two screens are utterly helpful to outmanoeuvre Brutus. In level 2 you should us the seesaw intensively.
  • The ladder in the first screen can only be used downwards by Popeye, the rescue ladder in the third screen not at all.
  • As you only have to collect 16 notes in the second screen, you have to take care that you do not forget to collect the spinach and beat up Brutus out of eagerness.
  • If the sea witch appears on both sides of the screen, the worst place to be is the middle of the screen, because then there is no time to fend off the bottles from both directions.
  • In contrast to the arcade machine version Brutus cannot simply jump to a lower platform.
  • You best collect the spinach when as many hearts as possible are reachable, because their value will double.
  • In the first level after taking spinach hit Brutus and can try to hit him again with the barrel on fly, if you succeed Brutus will be blocked for the duration of the level.


The version by Nostalgia (NO) has ten trainer options. It additionally contains an inofficial title screen and a manual.

As an alternative you can use the following POKEs (not tested, no liability, if the computer then spontaneously bursts into flames or the floppy prints money.)

Unlimited lives player 1: POKE 33040,181
Unlimited lives player 2: POKE 38327,173
or POKE 2405,255: POKE 2406,255
or POKE 2178,255


Robeye the beer sailor: "The game itself is not that bad, but with only three screens it lacks diversification and the difficulty hardly rises, which leads to drawn out and rather boring sessions. If they had kept the insane speed of the arcade original, my motivation to get the game out more often would be significantly higher and this is despite the rather lowly graphic and sound characteristics. I give this slightly sluggish but otherwise really cute game 6 out of 10 points."



A Popeye arcade machine.

The arcade version of Popeye was conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creater of Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong was originally only an emergency solution, as Nintendo negotiated with King Features/Paramount the rights to use the popular comic-strip character without success at that time. So using Popeye, Olive Oyl and Brutus dropped out and the game perforce had to be converted completely and instead a new plot around a huge monkey, a nameless beauty and a savoir named simply "Jumpman" in the early stages was created. A year later the deal then was formed and Miyamoto, who meanwhile had advanced to be a star through the success with Donkey Kong, smoke a big pipe of spinach and karata-chopped a Donkey Kong circuit board ("Banzai!"), whereupon - how exactly only the japanese Tenno knows - the fragments miraculously formed back together into a complete Popeye board.

Screenshot comparison of different conversions[edit]

Atari 8Bit version.
TI 99/4A version.
NES version.


Longplay through all three levels by DerSchmu.

Contemporary commercial.




Popeye cartridge (with suspicious traces of spinach!).


Double-sided advertisement for the game.
Advertisement with tips for your nutrion.


Topscore of PAT
  1. PAT - 141.300 (15.07.2016)
  2. Robotron2084 - 132.800 (28.06.2013)
  3. Ivanpaduano - 100.830 (28.07.2018)
  4. TheRyk - 56.670 (14.07.2013)
  5. Werner - 54.370 (06.07.2013)

#2 Robotron2084 #3 Ivanpaduano
#2 Robotron2084 #3 Ivanpaduano


WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Popeye_(video_game)