LUDLOW ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT?
Your true love has been kidnapped by demons, so straightening your Proclaimers-type glasses and fastening your loin cloth you set off for the local disco to chat someone else up. Unfortunately it's Ludlow, it's a Wednesday, so it's closed. Faced with the prospect of another castle tour you decide to see where the old girl's got to.
Level One sees you strolling through a rather a bigger castle than Ludlow's, populated not by Nick-type college students but huge monsters. At first all you've got to fight with is an axe, but after destroying several monsters, glowing blocks are deposited which give extra weapons. These are especially useful against massive Guardians.
Naturally, when you've fought through them you find your sweetheart's gone for a stroll down Death Valley. After a long multiload you set off in pursuit only to find yourself in a battle with skulls. Zooming along at top speed, trying to shoot these while avoiding stationary monsters is no easy task. But guess what? Your girlfriend never left the castle after all! So halfway through Death Valley you have to turn and go back.
Arrive at the castle and you're pretty knac... tired. And there's no way you're leaping about the castle again, but an old friend is only a phone call away and he's defter than you, being an eagle. You tell him to find your beloved and let her know if she doesn't leave now you're never going to the movies with her again. In the final load, you control the eagle in his search of the lowest levels of the dungeon. But those demons that you savaged (well, you're called Savage after all) on your entrance are still around. Things are not going to be easy...
The first thing you notice about Savage is the large and spectacular graphics with minimal colour clash. All three sections look very good indeed and while playability's not bad either, especially on the second section. Yet while technically first class I found the unoriginality disappointing. With so much potential the gameplay is strangely weak. Very similar to Trantor - nice graphics, shame about the game.
MARK ... 71%
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: massive sprites and mildly impressive 3-D perspective on Level Two
Sound: buzzy, but effective, 48K title tunes with crunching effects
'Three games in one with a linking storyline and decent presentation. In fact, I'd go as far to say this is a pleasure to the old eyes, with excellently defined graphics, smooth animation and lots of colour with minimal clash. While none of the games are particularly original they're all fun to play and mildly addictive.'
NICK ... 84%
'Huge guardians seem all the rage at the moment and Savage certainly has them on Level One. The next level's like the superb 3-D Deathchase but nowhere near as good, while Level Three brings back memories of the Alchemist with huge sprites (and colour clash). While well presented (apart from the rather jerky scrolling on Level Three), with good tunes and FX, there's nothing that really grabs you and keeps you playing.'
PHIL ... 69%
I'm afraid this intro is really more of an appeal than a 'clever' 'link' into the review: so if appeals bore you then skip to the next paragraph, if not then read on chum. In Roger's Thesaurus (yes yes, I know it's Roget's, but this particular copy belongs to a friend of mine called Roger) I was looking under 'savage' when the alternative word 'wild' caught my eye, causing a question I've been mulling over for some years now to come flooding back into my consciousness. Whatever happened to Jack Wild? Remember Jack Wild? You're lucky if you don't - for reasons too numerous to go into - but he was in a series called H.R. Pufnstuf, and then he mysteriously disappeared off the face of the planet. Where is he now? Someone must know! Anyroad, back to the game.
Savage's a game of three separately loaded parts linked together by a main theme: playing Savage, you have to escape from a dungeon by killing everything that moves, then when you've escaped realise that you've got to steam back in again 'cos you've gorn and left your 'chick' behind. Silly sausage.
Let's have a butchers at the respective loads, shall we?
Load one Blurb. "Fired by rage, Savage plunges into an orgy of violence, dispatching all who stand in his way. Ahead of him awaits a labyrinth of dank and gloomy dungeons concealing a myriad demons and ghouls." The facts. You control a large, brilliantly animated and brightly-coloured axe-wielding warrior sprite in a nicely detailed left/right right/left scrolling dungeon environment. Coming at you thick and fast are countless varied nasties (also brightly coloured), some of which are easy to kill and, and others which aren't. Some of these nasties, when killed, release a sort of jewelled box onto the ground. These can be picked up by crouching on them, and either add to your treasure-count of bestow you with extra killing power. If you survive for any length of time (and you've only three lives) you'll reach the meganasty. Dispatch him and it's down the hole into another level of the cavern, and so on until, if you manage to escape, you'll be given an access code for load two.
Load two. Blurb. "Savage has escaped from the castle and will have to fight the defenders of Death Valley whose aim is to stop all who seek to escape from the area." The facts. The view changes from side-on to 3D 'viewed through your own eyes'. Thousands of large green monoliths come flying towards you as you speed across the ground, starting as specks on the horizon and rapidly growing into impassable blocks with scarey faces as you near. These, quite simply, have to be avoided, while appearaing from out of nowhere and keeping a set distance from you are faces of ghosts and skulls. These have to be shot. For comparison purposes here you should visualise the 'approaching tower sequence' from either Space Harrier or Glass - i.e. it's all very slick and fast, but in this one there's loads of colour. Avoiding the monoliths at the same time as shooting the nasties is a tricky business indeed, but should you clear the round without losing your (again) three lives, you'll get an access code for load three.
Load three Blurb. "Halfway through the attacks, Savage discovers his 'escape' from the castle was a trick to keep his maiden love (i.e his 'chick') imprisoned foreover, so he returns to the castle and calls upon his trusty eagle to fly into the labyrinth to rescue her for him!" The facts. Back to the side on, left/right, right/left, up/down scrolling format. This time, however, you're in control of the eagle as you negotiate the crowded colourful caverns, killing (with laser bolts) the assorted enemy (bats, other birds, gargoyles, hopping mega-nasty), and avoiding the obstacles (falling weights, spiked platforms and much more). Colour, again is used in abundance - to good affect - the sprites are all chunky, and the animation on the eagle is absolutely splendid.
Savage, as a whole, is an absolute corker of a romp. Each of the three parts is equally playable and equally varied. As I've said about nine times already, colour is used to brilliant effect inducing the kind of attribute-clash that doesn't really matter too much - i.e. there's a bit of it, but the action is so fast you never get to point at the screen and say "Oh look, there's a character square". In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I'm surprised the Speccy can handle the amount of colour used so successfully - especially on the first level. The sounds okay too, as is the control response, difficulty, addictiveness and all the other things that go to make a game perch that little but higher than all the rest and achieve megagame status. Oh, and by the way, you can see levels two and three without the access-codes from levels one and two - but you only get one life, so if you want to stand a chance of completing Savage... get those codes.
MACHINES: Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, Amiga, ST
PRICE: Spec £8.99 cass, Ams/C64 £9.99 cass, ST/Amiga £19.99
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum, 64
If I was to walk up to you in the street and tell you that a Spectrum was capable of an almost arcade quality game with huge, colourful graphics and immense playability, what are the odds you'd have me locked away. That's why I'm not going to tell you in the street, I'm going to write it here. The Spectrum is capable of an arcade quality game. You still don't believe me? Then feast your eyes on Savage.
Savage is, if you didn't already know, the hottest game from Telecomsoft yet, who seem to be having a bit of a ball at the moment, what with Carrier Command and StarGlider and these still screenshots can't even begin to convey the wonderfulness of this game. It's the only game that makes a colour monitor worthwhile for the Spectrum, it's amazing!
Savage is a 6'4" blond haired, macho Danish programmer-type person, whose girlfriend has been kidnapped. His job is to rescue her, through fire and ice, come hell or high water. Savage's woman has been woman-napped by some vicious fiend (probably) and so, as lovers do, he's set off to rescue her through three levels of glorious technicolour, non-clashing, brilliant, 100% pure arcade action.
The first features our hero, Trantor-like, in all his macho glory, and what a stud he is. He even walks muscly. He make Eugene Lacey looks like Arnold Swarcheneet, er, swodgernagger, um, Sylvester Stallone. He has to run from left to right, hurling magic axes from his infinite magic axe supply at the attacking flies, spiders, and Ad Managers. Yes, even in a game as wonderful as this, our own Garry Williams makes on entrance as a huge, pot-bellied, lager swilling ad-selling demon, who bounces around hurling lightning bolts, which is only slightly different to what he normally does. He bounces around hurling abuse. The graphics ore huge, well animated, colourful, non-clashing and simply amazing. Definitely a must see.
Pass that lot and it's onto the second level, which is a 3D jaunt, Space Harrier-like, through a nightmare world of rotating head-shaped monoliths and totem poles that stick their tongues our rudely when they get close. As usual fast, colourful graphics abound, and the 3D movement works really well. Funnily enough, the programmer has quite cleverly managed to get brown as one of the colours on the scrolling floor. Quite clever considering the Spectrum doesn't have brown as a base colour.
That is the beauty of Savage - it pushes the Spectrum even further than anyone believed it could be pushed right at the end of 1988. The 16 bit version promise some surprises as well from what I've heard - liked the digitised roar of our hero who shouts "Savage" every so often on the Amiga version.
Next it's onto the third and final level. The girl is hidden somewhere in a maze far too difficult for Savage to negotiate, so he sends his pet bird in. For most people, a pet bird is a budgie or a canary. For Savage, it's an eagle. What you have to do on this level is fly the eagle around the maze until it finds the girl. Simple! The only difficulty is that the enemy normally have some sort of say in it, and it's this level that features the best of the graphics, the eagle's death. Yes, there is more than one way to die. He can get squashed under a falling pole, he can get impaled on spikes, he can merely get his head bitten off and fall to the floor all portrayed in similarly gory ways.
Savage is definitely one of the best arcade games yet seen on the Spectrum. If you don't buy it, it's not worth your while having a Spectrum.
Savage could be the game that puts development house Probe well and truly on the map. Congratulations are due all round.
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £8.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £12.99
ONE AXE STREAM TO ANOTHER
Advertisements for this game use a Firebird in-house hero: a youthful Proclaimer lookalike transformed into an Arnold Schwarzenegger hunk in the space of two pages. It wasn't a can of spinach which made this magical muscle metamorphosis possible, but a hefty joystick workout with Savage.
Savage certainly lives up to his name and the title of 'supreme fighting machine'. He has long flowing hair, wears little clothing, and wields a razor-sharp axe with wild fury. And in this case, who can blame him, for his beloved maiden has been captured by monstrous Guardians.
The fight for freedom is spread through three distinct, individually-loaded stages. The first takes place in a left/right-scrolling castle infested with demons, bats, giant spiders and many other vile creatures.
A stream of axes is fired to despatch them, whereupon icons are often left behind. These give bonus points, extra weapons, and replace energy lost. Large enemies, requiring several hits to be killed, appear at regular intervals through the stage.
HOW MEAN WAS MY VALLEY
Once outside the castle, Savage has to escape the surrounding area of death valley - a place filled with ghosts, skulls and monoliths whose only purpose in death is to thwart his mission. As Savage speeds along. enemies approach in first-person 3-D perspective. Spinning stars are thrown to eliminate vulnerable enemies but monoliths should be avoided.
Partway across the valley, Savage realises he was tricked and his maiden is actually back in the castle. Returning there, his way is barred by a locked entrance. In his stead, an eagle is sent forth to explore the multi-direction scrolling castle in search of the girl. Not only are there foul monsters within but also booby-traps, poisonous water and sharp spikes. Spotting fireballs as it goes, magical energy for Savage is collected by the great bird of prey.
Firebird have aimed for a piece of software as substantial as the heavily muscled schoolboy of the ads - separate loads for each distinctive stage allow large, detailed playing areas.
The three stages are based on tried and tested designs, with gameplay nicely balanced between playability and difficulty. Stages two and three may be played without entering a password, leaving you to battle with only a single life, but ensuring you see the whole lively package.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB