Flash Gordon

by Icon Design Ltd
Mastertronic Added Dimension
Crash Issue 43, August 1987   (1987-07-30)   page(s) 22,23

Producer: M.A.D.
Retail Price: £2.99

The tyrannical Ming is intent upon destroying Earth. To save humanity he must be killed, and Flash Gordon is the man for the job.

Deposited in a dangerous jungle world pierced by pathways, Flash has 24 hours to complete his mission. Along the winding tree-lined routes he runs, jumps, and ducks to avoid poisonous spiders, rock-throwing gorillas and spear-slinging skeletons. Should Flash fall foul of the Pings in the foliage, he loses valuable time.

A map onscreen shows the jungle with identifiable features such as lakes, mountains, and a river. Mows along the paths point toward the Caves Of Barin, where Flash can find invaluable help.

For protection Flash carries a gun, and can collect extra ammunition from scattered paths-side chests. Some dangers need to be blasted several times before they're destroyed - but not all the advancing beasties in this flick-screen world need be shot. Some can be avoided with a bit of dexterous ducking and diving.

Once Flash has forced his way through the jungle's thickness, he meets Barin, owner of the cave. In combat, and uses a combination of his violent skills - fly kicks and punches to head and body. He has four minutes to win.

Should Barin succumb to Flash's violent charms, Flash becomes a biker with a powerful machine. Dismissing wardens and traffic cops, he vrooooooooms off in search of Ming. But his progress is hindered by flying guards, who must be overcome using the bike's aim-able blaster before Rash can reach maximum speed.

Exacerbation awaits: robot guards dropping explosive devices and, beyond them, a minefield. Both deplete Flash's energy levels, which can be restored if Flash passes through power gates (their direction is indicated at the top of the bike's control panel).

Beyond these perils is the jet-biking Ming. The missile system on Flash's bike can take out this personification of evil, once he's within range. But any inaccuracy or delay provides Ming with the opportunity to attack in a particularly efficient manner...


Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, SYMBOL SHIFT for fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface II
Use of colour: mainly monochrome with additional colour out of the playing area
Graphics: lots of them, but generally poor
Sound: average tune, meagre spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: three minigames, each with many screens

'Flash, I love you, but you only have 24 hours to save the earth,' Flash Gordon's sweetheart once said. I doubt he'd bother trying if it meant having to play this difficult and ultimately boring game. The graphics are small, and though they're quite well-defined they appear somehow cluttered, especially on the opening jungle scene. Flash himself looks rather like a deep-sea diver - and, come to think of it, moves rather like one as well. You may get some enjoyment out of Flash Gordon if you like this type of game, but I doubt it.

I'm surprised it's taken this long for a Flash Gordon game to appear - and I was expecting something a bit better than this. The graphics are poor, and Flash doesn't really live up to his superhero image. Sound is limited to the occasional spot effect and a repetitive title tune. And the gameplay itself is bland, with little action. Flash Gordon is quite easy to get into but proves unaddictive and uninspiring - it's a shame that such a popular hero is represented by a substandard game.

The graphics in Flash Gordon are pretty awful, and the game isn't very interesting either. The first sequence looks like Martech's Tarzan game, and Flash Gordon is just as boring as that - though it's a fraction of the price. Because of it's low playability and addictivity, I wouldn't recommend this except to collectors of Flash Gordon memorabilia.

Presentation: 60%
Graphics: 51%
Playability: 45%
Addictive Qualities: 38%
Overall: 42%

Summary: General Rating: A mediocre Commodore conversion which doesn't work to the full potential of the licence.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 20, August 1987   page(s) 36

Yee-hah! It's underpants over the strides time again, folks, cos Flash (ah-hah!) Gordon's here at last to save the universe front the evil Ming who's targetted earth with his planet killer missiles. All this mayhem and excitement comes to you courtesy of the new MAD game, Flash Gordon. And you get three games for the price of one here - its a sort of triple-decker sandwich all scrunged down into one game.

Part one of tins terror trio finds our hero crash-landed in the jungle and forced to find the fearsome Prince Barin's cave. Once Barin's been found, he might be persuaded to reveal the whereabouts of the evil Ming, and to give Flash the means to get to him. This bit's a strategy/mazey type of game, and you can't progress to parts two and three until you've completed it. Flash can leap creeks, and jump over, fly kick or shoot his jungly foes which range from incey wincey spiders to grumpy gorillas. You'll only escape this jungle peril by mapping and correlating this to the on-screen inset map. Lives can be lost, but your bullets can be replenished from ammo boxes secreted in the shrubbery. You don't score points, but you do lose time - and the on-screen clock. which only gives you twenty-four hours to save the universe, speeds up every time you tumble in the jungle.

Once you've located Barin, it's kind of kung fu time, 'cos the second section is a martial arts simulation. Simply put - you've got to biff Barin more than he biffs you. You have thirteen punch and kick options, so there's a chance you may be victorious - especially as Barin weakens the longer the fight continues.

Once Barin's been beaten, you go on to phase three. This is a whizz-bang arcade shoot 'em up as you zoom on your jet bike after Ming. You've got to blast him to smithereens before he blasts earth to bits, but first you've got to zap the robot guards, meander through the minefields and keep your energy topped up. Not an easy task, but it can't pose problems for a megahero, can it?

Sheer value for money outweighs the gluey graphics, making this fair on the wallet. If not the Flashest game around.

Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: A three-in-one arcade game based on the comic strip hero. It may be a cheapie, but it's a bundle of fun.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 66, September 1987   page(s) 64

A decade ago, you could go to the flicks of a Saturday morn' and see part of a weekly serial, probably the most famous of these being Flash Gordon. But, alas, it had to end. Many of the cinemas either closed down or simply just stopped showing serials. But Flash Gordon wasn't gonna stop there, no sirree. He was gonna fight for truth, justice and a computer licence. Being the great American hero that he is, he got it of course - from Mastertronic: one of the first heavy-duty budget licences Mastertronic has left it to Icon Design to come up with the goods and they have done it again!

Flash has to save the world. Fine, that's the easy part. He has to do it in 24 hours. Simplicity itself. First, though, he has to work out the controls and I found this nearly impossible.

Part 1 is travelling through a jungle, collecting items, just like Tarzan. Then, in Part 2, he has to fight Prince Barin to win his trust. Finally, it's a bike ride over a chequered landscape.

Flash Gordon is an average game idea, very well carried out.

I quite enjoyed it, after the shaky start of course, and I would well recommend buying this if you're a budget fan.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Icon Design
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Overall: 8/10

Summary: After a boring start, this multi-load arcade-adventure really gets going. Good budget release.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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