Will you be heartbroken if you shell out for this game? Well it depends on whether you like arcade/adventure games or not. Graphically Heartbroken is a bit of a mixed bag, the colourful backgrounds are quite nice, but the character sprites hobble around like miniature Quasimodos and ruin the whole scene. If you like this type of game take a look at Heartbroken, it's cute and colourful but far from the best of its type.
Are you ready to be heartbroken? Well, here's a jolly little number then, another hopelessly unoriginal arcade adventure that's nevertheless eminently playable. Written and designed by about 20 people called Shaw, it's a troll-packed elf-heavy questy thing, full of spells, wizards, damsels in distress and suits of armour that ride up with wear. Warlocks, I hear you cry, but in fact it's not bad at all To recsue the kidnapped princess you have to find Merlin's spellbook (easy), and then, in order to cast the spells, his cauldron (not so easy), while killing any ogres that come your way and climbing an awful lot of ladders. And it's all relatively straightforward. I'd guess that this has been designed for the younger gamester - anyone reared on Bionic Commandos or similar will not find it much of a challenge. But the graphics are good, and the puzzle element (it's a real 'What Happens Next?' game) still keeps the brain ticking over. As the inlay notes say, "Will you overcome the warlock's evil creations? Will you survive long enough to create the golden key that is needed to free Princess Mertha? Probably not." Seems fair enough to me.
I know people are always saying that there should be more software aimed at girlies, but giving a game a title which sounds like a Mills and Boon novel isn't guaranteed to make it attractive to anyone. The fact that the cover shows a man with a slingshot climbing out of a grave and being attacked by a werewolf in a graveyard with a corpse hanging about from a gibbet (honest) soon lets you into the secret that this is actually a scary supernatural arcade adventure, and not some role-playing fantasy about young Annabel's doomed quest for big snogs with hunky Brett in 19th century Cornwall.
The plot, such as it is, is that an evil warlock has kidnapped the King's daughter, and created an army of ghosties, ghoulies and trolls to guard her.
You are armed with the wizard Merlin's magic thunderbolt, which sees off most of the baddies with no problems. But to succeed in your quest you have to find his spell book, a challenge which took me all of thirty seconds to achieve. To use the spells, though, you also have to find a magic cauldron and accumulate plenty of points, whereupon you can use joystick down to select a spell (shown at the bottom of the screen), and fire to activate it.
It must be said that Heartbroken doesn't seem remarkably challenging; you can move quite freely around dozens of screens, polishing off baddies and collecting items, before you run into any sort of real challenge. However, some of the backgrounds are very nicely drawn, the animation's fine (apart from the fact that the hero's legs don't seem to move as he runs along) and the sound effects are reasonable.
For £1.99, the arcade addict could probably squeeze a good deal of entertainment out of this one: but if it's frantic action you want, look elsewhere.
Author: Shaw, Shaw and Shaw
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
The reason this game is called Heartbroken, when the cover depicts a werewolf salivating over a gravedigger and his soap-on-a-rope is that the grave digger's fiance, who happens to be a princess called Mertha, has been kidnapped by the local warlock. Naturally our love-lorn hero is a bit upset, perhaps even "heartbroken", and so he's off to the rescue.
Basically, this is a flip-screen clone of Capcom's shoot 'em' up Ghosts 'n' Goblins, with similar monsters and spooky scenery, but the layout of the landscape is mazey rather than simply platformy. The blasting is similar, but there's no leaping around platforms so you have to find ladders to get over obstacles. Get a spell book and cauldron and you can shoot all sorts of fireballs. All fairly standard stuff, really. Not many frills but certainly good for a few plays. Check it out.
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