Rambo routs rampaging Russian regiments
Afghan Rugs: £8.95 cass, £14.95 disk
Author: Andrew P. Deakin, graphics by Ivan Horn, music by Jonathan Dunn
After devastating Vietnam in Rambo (79%, Issue 26) over a decade since peace was declared, Rambo's now on his way to Afghanistan just as the Russians are leaving. His objective is to rescue Colonel Trautman and any of the captured Mujhaddeen our Colonel's been giving missiles to (no doubt to be sold to Iran where they'll shoot down American jets).
Rambo's mission is divided into three sections (separate loads on 48K machines, one on the 128K). In the first section you enter the fort with nowt but a knife for protection. The view is an overhead one, with flick-screen scrolling. Russian troops follow predefined courses unless you trip an invisible security beam, or use a noisy weapon. It you return to a screen all the dead soldiers are miraculously restored to full health. As you explore you'll find a variety of objects, ranging from pistols to mine detectors to rubber gloves. Many items need another object, either an ammunition box or a battery to work, so mapping is essential. One of the most useful items is a first-aid kit which restores you to full health. If you die after that there is one continue play option.
Level Two begins with you having just freed the Colonel and sneaking around the base, looking for eight bombs - planted by Afghan rebels - which must be primed before you can escape. The soldiers here are much more alert, and using a knife to keep quiet does no good at all. The overhead/flickscreen view is the same as on the previous level.
With the Russian base in flames you can hop into a tank for Level Three, and must race to the border at a fair old speed. As you trundle across the barren terrain enemy troops throw hand grenades, machine guns blast away and helicopters swoop down. You fire back Operation Wolf style, zipping a cursor round the screen, while the Colonel drives the tank. There's no ammo limit, but the gun can jam if fired too rapidly.
After the excellent Operation Wolf and RoboCop this is a bit of disappointment. The first section is a good mapping challenge, but retracing your steps every time you die is irksome. Section two is a rather mediocre shoot-'em-up, although at least it's got a spot more colour than the first. The final level is probably the best, both in graphics and playability, but Operation Wolf is obviously a superior variation on the theme.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: adequate to good
Sound: good title tune, but basic in-game effects
Options: definable keys
First impressions of Level One are of a very monochromatic, and rather budgetish arcade adventure. Further investigation improves things but never so really addictive. Section two is a very simplistic shoot-'em-up, with bullets flying everywhere, but little excitement. The final level's probably the best, although not quite good enough to make the game compelling.
The Hit Squad
Neat game with arcade adventure section and kill, main, attack section too!
£7.95 cass/£14.95 disk
Reviewer: Pete Shaw
Sly's back (back back), but he's been scrunched up into a handful of pixels and blasted into the Speccy. His brain probably would have fitted anyway, but let's not go into that.
Have you seen Rambo III? You'll know the 'plot' then - Colonel Trautman (of Rambo's 1 and 2) is caught by Russian soldiers while on a mission in Afghanistan. When Sly gets wind of this he marches single handedly into Afghanistan to bloomin' well bale him out. Erm, and that's it - it's not a particularly mind-expanding movie, but it is a brilliant scenario for a shoot 'em up computer game. Let's have a peek.
The game's a three parter, and the first part is where you (in the guise of the pixellated Sly) enter the Russian fort. It's a viewed from above four-way scroller (a cross between Commando and Gauntlet) and you've got to firstly dash about all over the shop searching for Col Trautman and collecting arms (guns, not limbs you clot) with which to later make your escape. However, you mustn't alert the guards to your presence while you're doing this, which is a bit tricky 'cos there are loads of obstacles and a security system that includes infra-red detector beams. You can't see these beams, unless you've found the special goggles that are lying around somewhere.
Oh, and there are also trapdoors in the floor and locked steel doors (but you might also find some 'locked steel door keys' if you look hard enough.) if you do get spotted by guards you can have a bash at killing them with the knife you start off with, but if you've managed to find more impressive firepower around the fort you'll stand more of a chance. When you've unearthed the Colonel it's onto round two!
You're in the fort's external compound, and the guards now know that you're armed and extremely dangerous (they obviously didn't see the first two Rambo films, or they'd have known that already) and are pursuing you. Again it's a view from above scroller, and you've got to dash around lobbing grenades at Johnny Pinko with the eventual aim of blowing up the gates which separate you from your escape chopper (ooer). Round three.
Your chopper is shot down, and the game changes to a 'viewed from your eyes everything coming towards you in pseudo 3-d' type thingy. You're in a tank and you find yourself travelling over a sort of corrugated landscape - up hill down dale, up hill, down dale. It's a brilliant and extremely effective effect - it really gets the old head bobbling up and down. Attacking you are troops, tanks on the horizon and the occasional attack 'copter passing overhead. Make it to the border before your tank gets blown to smithereens and you've made it! Oh, except for the small matter of Soviet Commander's personal helicopter you have to destroy.
Rambo III's packed full of action, the graphics are quite nice (especially the tank bit) and there's plenty to do. Hmmmmm, yes. If you're looking for an absorbing shoot 'em up to play you could do far worse than to shell out your spondies for this one. It's a lot better than the film, anyway.
RICH PELLEY and JON PILLAR are at it again and they want us to join on. Oo-er. (So bring along an extra lightbulb just to be safe.)
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
Based on the smash-flop picture of the same name, this game casts you as Rambo (surprise) who's out to kill lots of people (even more of a surprise). Your mentor, Colonel Trautman, has managed to get himself captured by Russians in Afghanistan (a neat trick since there aren't any anymore) and as you can't even pronounce perestroika you decide to rescue the Col and... kill lots of people. (Well, I suppose Rambo Asks Politely For His Colonel Back wouldn't have sounded as exciting.) So, you have to break into the fort where the Colonel is held, battling past guards and using equipment you find on the way (flip-screen maze collect-'em-up bit), drag the Col along as you set charges on your way to escape (another similar bit) and finally (just to remind you the authors have done better things) blaze your way through the Russian army with a captured tank, in an Op Wolf bit. Yep, that's right, I didn't think much of it. The Op Wolf bit's rather good, but as for the preceding sections, well, snazzy graphics and nifty features (such as guards that won't attack unless you stumble across their line of sight) can't disguise the fact that one bit of fort looks an awful lot like another. It all boils down to unending map-manipulate-massacre, and interest drops more sharply than a guillotine blade. It's not bad, it's just not good. The Naked Video of the Speccy world.
Author: Andrew Deakin
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Hurgh. Ugh, ugh ugh! Heuurrrgh!!! (Sound of gunfire) Aargh! Urgh! He drew first blood! The classic lines of a classic movie. Which one? Any of Sylvester Stallone's. To be a little more exact and topical, I'm referring to Rambo 3, the latest offering from the Boom, Splurt and Ugh Movie Company.
You play Roger Rabbit in a daring raid across enemy borders. No, I'm lying completely, you in fact play John Rambo in a daring raid across enemy borders, all based on the film of the sequel of the book of the game of the gun of the death of the court case of the 12 year old axe maniac come Rambo fan of the, oh, you know what I'm on about.
The game is divided into three wonderful and totally different sections. The first has your friend and mine, JR, racing around inside a huge enemy compound in search of his ol' buddy, Major Trautman. Trauty is hidden behind a door. A metal door. A metal electrified door. Ah, you say, that is a problem, and yes, you've hit the nail right on the head. The first section is a flip screen maze with dozens of problems, the ultimate bit being to get a pair of rubber gloves (snurk) which stop him from receiving any electrical shocks.
In the bottom right hand corner of the screen is a picture of Johnny baby, and as he takes the battle damage, he slowly generates into a ghastly skeleton, just like the turkey in Atic Atac. Weird.
The second section isn't all that different from the first, other than being outside the base rather than inside and the only problems you have are finding the eight bombs you have to prime and detonate.
The third section is quite wicked, but gets really boring, really quickly. You are in a tank racing full pelt in the direction of the border. Looming out of the distance are enemy soldiers, tanks and rockets. Now I might be wrong, but this section does bear more than a slight resemblance to a certain product also being released this chrimbo and happens to be programmed by the same team. You are in control of a crosshair and have to shoot everything until you reach the border (a counter in the corner counts away the distance). This isn't exactly hard requiring a strategy of left to right and reverse joystick sweeps.
The graphics on the whole are pretty nice. The third section is amazingly fast and very smooth, impressive all round, in fact. The first two remind me of nothing more than games like into the Eagle's Nest and Fernandez Must Die.
The problem with Rambo 3 is not that it's a bad game, it's just too drawn out to be an arcade game and not complex enough to be an arcade adventure of any merit. In the words of that immortal hero. "Do we get to win this time?" Didn't you win last time, jonny-boy?
Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99 Tape
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
He's been a bit quiet lately, old Rambo - time was when you couldn't cross the street without seeing a big poster of Sylvester Stallone toting a enormous weapon and making grunting noises (fnarr!).
Well, the movies became more predictable as the series went on, but oddly enough the games got better, and Rambo III is consequently the best of the lot.
It's in three sections, the first basically a flip-screen maze seen in top-down semi-perspective; Rambo searches an enemy compound for his captured CO, picking up objects such as rubber gloves which get him through electrified doors.
In the second section, which has the same basic format, Rambo searches outside the base for eight bombs which have to be defused; and in the final bit, which has a Operation Wolf style forward-scrolling format, you take control of a tank and blast your way through enemy armoured cars, soldiers and rockets.
It's all good stuff, good enough to be a budget bargain if not original enough to qualify for classic status. It just goes to show that old soldiers never die, they just reappear on budget.
Atari ST version reviewed Issue 18-ACE rating 649
Not much difference in the gameplay, although the enemy guards behaviour has changed a little. Exactly the same problems to solve and area to explore. Looks reasonably good too, but lacking in the sound effects department.
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Afghanistan, scene of many modern-day battles, is the setting for Rambo III - once again Vietnam veteran John Rambo is a man with a mission. This time his mentor, Colonel Trautman, has been captured by Russians and locked up in a mountain fortress. Rambo is impelled to rescue him for honour, the good of his country and a few million dollars more from the box office.
Even Rambo can't shoot up an entire fortress of Russians and live to rescue his colonel - instead, having you to control his movements, he uses guile and stealth to sneak around and avoid triggering alarms.
The first section features an overhead view of big John moving through the fortress and its surrounding compound, searching for keys, weapons and other items to help in the rescue.
Weapons are either quiet or not - silence is golden, so stick to bow and arrows, knife or pistol with silencer attached, to avoid unnecessary confrontation. If, on the other hand, you want mass destruction, go for the explosive arrows or machine gun and wait for mayhem to ensue.
Rambo has limited energy which is reduced partially by bullet hits, or fully by walking over a mine.
The fortress features doorways, passages and storage rooms to explore. Alarm triggering infra-red beams and electrically charged doors add to the hazard of deadly Russian soldiers. Outside in the compound, minefields and a horde of Reds keep the pressure on.
Somewhere, deep in the fortress, together with Afghan prisoners, is Colonel Trautman. Getting to him automatically frees him and allows Rambo access to the second section.
Rambo is on his own, and in deep trouble. The Russians are hopping mad and out for blood - Rambo's. He heads north, setting and priming bombs en route, before escaping in a stolen Hind helicopter.
HE AIN'T HEAVY
The third section features a change in style, as Rambo commandeers a tank and rattles across Afghan planes towards the border and freedom. The Russians are even more incensed and attack without mercy in a sub-game that owes a lot to Operation Wolf.
Rambo in a tank should be more than enough for any force to handle, but the Russians don't care, they've got countless soldiers, tanks, grenades, helicopters and mines to stop him reaching the border. Armed with an overheating gun, Rambo has his work cut out in the original Rambo, over-the-top violence was the key theme. In keeping with the movie, Rambo involves stealth and minimal enemy contact to get through the fortress section - but for the second and third stages it's back to a fast moving, enjoyable, mindless shoot-'em-up.
The similarity between the first and second sections and narrow scope of interaction results in repetitive gameplay. This, and no save-position option, can make play frustrating. However, if you persevere, you find a good arcade adventure plus a frantic blasting sub-game - one that remains faithful to the film.
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