by Ben Daglish, Jon Harrison, Kevin Bulmer, Stuart Gregg, Tony R. Porter
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Crash Issue 45, Oct 1987   page(s) 130

Producer: Gremlin Graphics
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Gremlin Graphics in-house

If Matt Trakker had known he was going to have to enter a time vortex to rescue his fellow MASK agents, he wouldn't have enjoyed his breakfast cornflakes quite so much.

Created by the odious organisation VENOM, the vortex has delivered Trakker's colleagues to four other times - Boulder Hill, Pre-Historic days, the Far Future and VENOM Base - in this licence featuring characters from the MASK TV cartoon series and Kenner Parker toy range.

There are two agents awaiting rescue in each time, save in the first where Trakker rescues just one agent and his own MASK - which gives him superpowers.

To begin the rescue operation, Trakker must enter the vortex in his flying car Thunderhawk, already racing against time. First he needs to put together eight keys. Each has been split into four parts, and must be pieced together on an assembly screen; there are useless bits of key lying around to confuse Trakker, though, and only six parts can be carried at a time.

Our hero needs the keys to activate two scanners which will locate his missing agents. Following the scanners electronic directions, Trakker can pick up his fellows by driving Thunderhawk into any doorways that might imprison them. A MASK agent will leap for freedom into the flying car - and then the search for his own MASK can begin.

Trakker's task is not made easier by obstacles that block Thunderhawk's path, so he collects bombs to remove them - a quick getaway is essential, though, because the destructive devices can wipe out Trakker as well! Up to three bombs can be carried at a time.

In each time, different perils are encountered: falling boulders in Boulder Hill, pterodactyls in the Pre-Historic period, UFOs in the Far Future, and at VENOM Base erupting snakes and lumbering firing tanks. If they're not destroyed by Thunderhawk's weaponry (for points as well as satisfaction), these can damage the vehicle. Damage is shown on a indicator display, and repair kits must be collected when two units of damage have been sustained.

After the agents on a level have been rescued, they can be returned to the vortex, and Trakker can make his way to the next of the unknown times.

Finally VENOM Base can be destroyed in a series of deadly stages - and then Trakker's ultimate goal is achieved, and he can go home for another soothing bowl of cornflakes.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: well-defined; monochromatic playing area
Sound: 128 tune and additional FX

Games based on popular toys have never really worked before - Transformers and Challenge Of The Gobots were letdowns - but MASK 1 looks like it'll put all that right with a very involved puzzle/shoot-'em-up game. It's well-designed, well-executed and immensely playable, and has enough action to prevent it from becoming too much of a cerebral exercise. Controlling Thunderhawk may be frustrating at first, but when the inertia effect has been overcome it's positively useful (especially when dodging the falling rocks on Boulder Hill). MASK 1 is a game to spend time over and work at - definitely no one-minute wonder.
RICKY [85%]

Graphically MASK 1 is very good, with a horde of nasty VENOM baddies chasing our hapless hero around a solid, colourful screen. Sound, though, consists of the usual bangs and crashes, and control is quite fiddly - but the game's addictiveness keeps you playing.
MARK [87%]

MASK 1 certainly has the graphical appeal of a successful game, but it's too tedious to keep you interested - most of the time is spent trying get hold of a very uncontrollable car. The layered graphics give as strong a feeling of 3-D as possible, but the lack of colour detracts from the atmosphere of the different eras. Though MASK 1 stands out from the others of its genre, mainly because of the graphics, it lacks the edge of appeal.
PAUL [70%]

Presentation: 66%
Graphics: 80%
Playability: 74%
Addictive Qualities: 76%
Overall: 81%

Summary: General Rating: A worthwhile licence with lots of depth and playability.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 24, Dec 1987   page(s) 74

Reviewer: Richard Blaine

MASK is the merchandiser's dream: a cartoon series, comic book, action toys and now a computer game as well. It all fits together so well, that the end result is the sweet music of thousands of cash registers...

Unfortunately very few licensed products turn out to be any good, and MASK, while acceptable enough, isn't gripping stuff. All of the MASK agents, with the exception of Matt Trakker, have been captured by the evil VENOM (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem) agents and thrown through the time vortex created by the explosion of the time bomb designed by the evil Miles Mayhem. Personally. I want to know why these superheroes were such wimps and let themselves be hurled through holes in temporal reality, but I'm just a crabby old games reviewer and who cares what I think... sassen frassen rassen...

Anyway, this leaves Matt with the awesome task of rescuing all his fellow agents, scattered over four time zones - Boulder Hill (the top secret MASK base that's so top secret that only VENOM seems to know about it), pre-historic times, the far future and the VENOM base. Each section has its own dangers. In modern times Matt and his Thunderhawk are attacked by falling boulders, tanks and Mayhems switchblade helicopter, in prehistoric times it's pterodactyls and snapping turtles, while in the future it's black holes and radioactive waste. Then when you get back to the present and the VENOM base, it's that chopper again plus laser turrets and acid pools and giant spiders and land mines...

While avoiding and shooting these, Matt's also supposed to be collecting potentially useful objects that are lying around for him. These include repair kits, which repair the Thunderhawk again, and bits of locators - collect enough parts, put them together in the right order and your location-finding device will start flashing the direction of the nearest MASK agent you have to rescue. Also dotted about are the masks belonging to the various characters - but you only pick one up if you have rescued the person to whom it belongs. At the end of the game, with everyone rescued, you have to destroy the VENOM base, which looks like a giant snake.

I'd have been happier if the game had been zappier. As an arcade game it's not too hot. The controls feel a bit sluggish, to say the least, and the actual gameplay soon gets rather tedious.

Having said that, I have no doubt whatsoever that this will sell well, simply because there are enough MASK fanatics out there to ensure high sales. But if you aren't a MASK follower, then I'd think twice about picking up this one. There are plenty of better arcade games, and the licensing deal alone doesn't make it worth it.

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

Summary: Disappointing cartoon tie-in that's too slow to provide long term zapping. Wait for MASK 2!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 48, Dec 1989   page(s) 31



Another trip to the netherworld of cheapies with Mr Stingebucket himself, Marcus Berkmann! (Where's that cheque? MB)

Byte Back
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

"At last" says the screen message as you load in the game, but you may not necessarily feel quite so relieved when you have played the actual game. Based, naturellement, on the comic/cartoon series/ toy range/fruit yogurt (with real fruit chunks), it's one of those irritating games that promises much and delivers virtually nothing. On each of four levels there are two MASK agents to be rescued, and you, the ridiculously named Matt Trakker, have a tank in which to do it. This means trolling around the designated area picking up security keys, four of which (and only the correct four) will activate a scanner, a useful little gizmo that shows you the way to the missing agent. Another nice scenario, but once again control of your tank is less than smooth, and the massive number of opposing tanks and aeroplanes - all out to get you with an admirable single-mindedness - changes what could have been an interesting challenge to a mere shoot-'em-up with knobs on. There's little to keep you going, so not surprisingly you stop. Not one of Gremlin's best.

Overall: 54%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 68, Nov 1987   page(s) 58,59

Label: Gremlin
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: vaTamara Howardrious

If you wanna get ahead getta MASK!

Yup, the boys from the books, comics and thoroughly bendy toys have appeared on the screen in their own computer game (at last).

Just the other day, MASK arrived from Gremlin, still faintly glowing, and promised to be mighty tricky, Guv.

The scam goes something like this. Hero Matt Trakker (looking remarkably like a member of the Douglas family, Kirk or Mike - I defy you to tell the difference) is jetting about in space in his car Thunderhawk looking for his mates and trying to find and blowaway the VENOM base.

It's all done in plan-view in four scrolling landscapes. The first one's called Boulder Hill and it's very yellow.

At first you've no idea what's going on. Stand still for a second and you'll get blasted before you can say shaboinggg! by loads of tanks which rumble into the screen.

To avoid having your bits blown off first time out, you have to work out what's going on - which means reading the lengthy instructions. And so detailed are they that I very nearly decided to play Eastenders instead. Well it would have been easier...

Collecting things has to be done in order or you won't get anywhere. Firstly, find and pick up a scanner, by driving over it. Then, collect six pieces of a scanner security key in the same method. Then switch to the Assembly Screen, and put the pieces of key together to form a letter. Then, and only then I might add, can you activate a scanner, and locate the first of your missing agents.

Well. (Are you still with me on this? Not far to go now). Having racked my brains to shreds to get the key together. I promptly got blown up. That's not the idea! The idea is to get the agent, find his mask (only he can open the box that his mask is tucked in) and then when you've got both agents and both masks get the hell out of there.

Get all the agents, all the masks, bomb the VENOM base, and you're home and dry.

I must admit that I didn't like MASK at first. The graphics are strictly monochrome, and Gremlin is gleefully employing the same 'momentum' movement that was used in The Final Matrix which means you move about like you're on ice.

Things whizz about pretty quickly, and while you're still trying to get yourself together, something bombs the hell out of you, and it's back to square one.

So I was getting pretty impatient. Then suddenly I'd found my first agent and I was hooked...

One of the good things about MASK is that it's big, but not too big too handle. THere are four main locations, Boulder Hill, Pre-Historic, Far-Future and the VENOM base itself. Each contains a variety of different things to dodge and destroy, including freight trains, pterodactyls, erupting snakes and exceedingly unpleasant giant spiders. What with the scanners, keys, repair kits and agents to pick up and collect, life is never dull when driving Matt Trakker's Thunderhawk.

There's something for everyone in MASK. It's one of those games that employs elements of shooties, thinkies, arcadies - you name it, it's there. And far from being overly complicated, it's all really accessible and highly addictive.

By far the hardest part is assembling the security key, which is what really lifts MASK out of the ordinary.

The only blackish mark on MASK character is I'm sure some people will quickly get bored with being unable to assemble that key, and may decide MASK is just too complex to bother with.

Hopefully though, there aren't too many who'll think like that because, if MASK is one thing, it's definitely well worth persevering with.

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Overall: 9/10

Summary: Jam-packed with puzzles to solve and enemies to destroy. Needs patience, perseverance, and more than a little luck!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 1, Oct 1987   page(s) 63,64

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette £9.99, Diskette £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette £9.99, Diskette £14.99


Kenner Parker Toys inc are certainly pursuing every conceivable avenue to market their product, MASK. It was inevitable that it would appear as a computer game before long - the scenario is custom made and TV cartoon conversions seem to be the trend of the moment. Centurions and Roadrunner have recently arrived and Yogi Bear and Basil have already started their journeys into the home computer.

Hi-tech organisation MASK is the brain child of the brilliant strategist Matt Trakker. Along with his agents, Matt has the job of fighting the evil forces of VENOM and preventing arch-villain Mayhem from reaching his goal: world domination. The criminals have the upper hand at present - they have detonated a bomb that has sucked all the MASK agents into time warps. Matt Trakker is the only member of the team to escape the effects of the blast, and he's off to save his colleagues. The mission involves taking control of Matt's damaged Thunder Hawk hovercar, destroying the Venom snake base and rescuing the missing agents.

Using a multi-load approach, four sections of terrain are presented sequentially - Boulder Hill in the present day: prehistoric time; the far future - and the area surrounding VENOM's base. Played over a multi-directional scrolling landscape, the four sub-missions contain their own particular obstacles in keeping with the dateline and call for slightly different skills.


The first task is to collect the components for a scanner that points the way to the agent imprisoned on the current level. After the scanner has been assembled, the elements of a security key have to be collected, pieced together in a little puzzle game and input before the scanner works. Apart from these components, ammunition and repair kits are littered around the play area, providing a useful source of encouragement when the ravages of the VENOM forces take a toll on your flying car.

The kidnapped team member and his mask have to be located and released before Matt can return to the time vortex created by VENOM's bomb and proceed with the next level.

The instructions are well presented and comprehensive, with the scenario explained in an easy to read comic book form. However, they do neglect to mention that MASK is multi-load, and there are problems with the Spectrum version: 'The program will load and run automatically' - it does, but because the Spectrum has no control over the cassette motor, the rest of the program continues to play but not load if left to its own devices. A minor niggle, perhaps, but who wants to sit around watching and waiting for each section to load? This problem is not found on the Amstrad version, and nor should it be present on the Commodore 64.

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Overall: 69%

Summary: display works well enough, and the game itself is unpatronisingly playable. This should appeal equally to shoot 'am up addicts and fans of the comic and figures.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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