Compilations have been burgeoning recently, but Elite's Trio is different. All three games on this compilation are new.
First off there's the follow-up to Elite's successful TV licence Airwolf, not unsurprisingly titled Airwolf II. This sequel departs dramatically from reality as Stringfellow Hawke and his magnificent all-singing, all-dancing helicopter are sent to destroy a terrorising alien craft.
The chopper can move in any direction within the two-dimensional onscreen space zone. Bulbous beasties, fighter craft, and space constructions with gun emplacements must be negotiated - and if you touch any you lose a life.
The helicopter is armed with a blaster, and Airwolf's fire power can be augmented by collecting rotating objects which spin across the screen.
In the second game, 3DC, you're stranded on a wet, effluent-covered sea bed, and it's no fun unless you like that kind of thing. But escape from this traditionally isometric 3-D watery world is possible - if you can assemble the scattered sections of a submarine. Items found on the sea bed, such as a book and a key, can help you.
There are dangers. You have only three tanks of oxygen, and a molesting octopus might steal one, though his light-tentacled kleptomania can be curbed if you've got the right object. And subaqua activity increases the amount of dangerous nitrogen in your body…
But there's always Eric the eel, who can be controlled and squirms his slimy flanks into places too small for your bulk.
Third of the trio is Great Gurianos. Armed with a sword and shield and clad into a made-to-measure suit from Burton's Armoury Dept, the great Gurianos embarks upon his most dangerous mission.
As he progresses through a medieval-style flick-screen world, Gurianos encounters hostile warriors out to spill his superior blood. He can temporarily activate a protector shield that guards against flying objects, but sadly this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A series of swords also directs its scything attentions toward our hero, who must use his own sword to deflect the sharp points. And after dealing with four pieces of lethal cutlery, Gurianos develops a red supersword which gives him invincibility in combat. Swiping an airborne ball gives Gurianos extra armour for his adventure, too.
Control keys: all games definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: Airwolf II uses one colour and black, 3DC largely monochromatic but clever on last screen, Great Gurianos is pretty
Graphics: small and rather simple on Airwolf II, well designed isometric perspective on 3DC, large and detailed on Great Gurianos
Sound: varies between games, but some neat tunes and more useful than colourful FX
Skill levels: one
'Airwolf II is a real good shoot-'em-up, with all the playability of the original Airwolf and a lot of new features to keep you addicted. The sprites are well-defined and colour is used quite effectively. It's a fine follow-up to a brilliant game. But look out, world - Great Gunanos is another violent game! It seems all you have to do is pierce as much flesh as you can. The graphics and colour are quite effective, but the addictivity is almost nil, and this game will only appeal to the swordfight addicts. 3DC is more than JUST ANOTHER 3-D game - it's good. The scenario is fairly simple, but the special effects make this game worth a look; and there's a good tune at the beginning and a neat use of colour on the last screen. Trio is a really worthwhile compilation.'
'Basically a shoot-'em-up, Airwolf II follows in the flight path of Transmuter and Nemesis; flying through space (helicopters in space?) and blowing away as many blowawayable things as possible. It's trashable once you've had a couple of long goes. As for Great Gurianos, well, coin-op conversions are all well and good if the machines they're licensed from are okay. But Great Gurianos isn't. The conversion is full of flickery graphics and annoyingly erratic gameplay - killing or be killed has more to do with luck than skill. It may appeal to some, but I'd give it a miss. 3DC is a horribly corny title for an aquatic forced-perspective game, but it's not bad in the 'collect the bits to make something useful' style. The gameplay, ace effects and pretty graphics make this the best game of the package.'
'Airwolf II was a disappointment; I enjoyed the first Airwolf, but I was bored with the sequel in ten minutes. Even on a compilation, that's not long enough. Great Gurianos (daft name) appeared to be a bit better, but after a few minutes its appeal waned, too. All rested on 3DC. And whadya know, it's quite good! The end-of-game screen is absolutely brilliant: they've blurred the background and pushed the little processor to the outer limits of speed to produce one of the most effective colour displays I've seen. Though Trio isn't inspiring, three games at this price means excellent value for money.'
We've had bad conversions of good arcade games and great conversions of great arcade games, but here's that most rare of bests - a good conversion of a game that only a mother )or Gerald Ratner, again) could love.
Gurianos was the kind of machine that lurked at the back of the arcade and no-one ever played. They just stuck their drinks on it instead. Elite got lumbered with it as part of a package of Taito titles and it popped up briefly on a minor compilation before, um, popping off again. But now it's back (sob sob). You play GG himself, and the idea is to lop from left to right (you can't turn back, or even round), slapping down flying objects with you shield and poking evil knights with your sword.
The Speccy version is actually quite stylish, with very large, clashless sprites ambling along a swiftly scrolling corridor. It's just that there's nothing underneath the graphics. Fighting is supposed to consist of strategic hacking and parrying, but it boils down to a straightforward case of the waggles between the 3-sword and 2-shield positions. Lose and you're out. Win and it's onto the next barrage of objects and the next knight. And that's it. Some objects replenish your energy or equip you with armour, and the knights get nastier as you go, but the pace and gameplay remain exactly the same. Plod, plod, plod, grunt, slap, plod, slash, aarghh! Plod, plod etc. If you really need a barg hack-'n-slash, go for Barbarian. It's more gruesome and certainly a lot better than this hollow offering.
The Great Gurlanos, is about to go on his most dangerous quest yet. A with nowt but a sword and shield has to fight fierce and deadly warriors as he tries to make his way to the ultimate objective - to get a bag of greasy chips from the Four Lanterns chippie on a Friday night.
Okay you dudes, so I lied about the final objective - but the scenario is fairly similar to battling your way through the door and to the front of the queue of your local deep-fried starch merchant. The first thing you are attacked by are little flying stars, balls and what could possibly be small pieces of fried fish, which you hove to persuade to buzz off by use of you shield. After the barrage of flying shapes, you then face your first opponent, where, using all your weapons, you must defeat this ghastly geezer. The same happens all through the game, except your opponents get progressively harder to kill. During the journey, little icons can be taken which, when you press the sword up, middle and down keys together, gives you a proctector shield giving protection from all the flying deep fries. Unfortunately these only last for a short time and are rationed to only one per life. You can also strengthen your weapon (fnarr) and sharpen up your shield by hitting the appropriate flying icons, (cunningly disguised not as a chip shop but as... Yes! A sword and shield.
The game itself is good, but is let down by the keyboard only playing control. There are so many different keys that it's difficult to play the game properly without breaking a few fingers. I like realism when I'm hacking the head off some baddie, but this is just going too far.
Gurianos was a good arcade game and it seems strange that there was never a full price conversion of it to the Spectrum. Maybe there was, and it's release as a budget original will appeal to all the old fans of the game.
Price: £2.99 Tape
Reviewer: Ian Watson
"Previously unreleased on its own!"" reveals the packaging and once loaded in you can see why. The sprites are hideously animated with obscene colour schemes, and the sword-slashing playability is non-existent due to dodgy response and tedious gameplay. The coin-op featured banal gameplay and this conversion captures that aspect perfectly. Save your dosh for something different.
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