MASK III: VENOM Strikes Back

by Ben Daglish, Colin Dooley, Marco Duroe, Ian Naylor
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 31, Jul 1988   page(s) 48

Reviewer: Jonathan Davies (Which does most definitely NOT abbreviate to Jon-Boy Urgh!)

"I think they have us this time Alex. Onyl that evil genius MIles Mayhem could have kidnapped Scott from under our very noses. We'll have to think of something... and fast!"

If anyone is still reading, that tribute to great works of British literature, does in fact, form the basis of the plot behind the latest in Gremlin's Mask series. Reading on, we are informed that Scott (who?), the son of Matt Trakker (of course!), has been kidnapped by some suppressive mega-evil being (T'zer's got nothing on Miles Mayhem!)

Behaving as irrationally as heroes do in these situations, Matt decides to get in there and rescue Scott alone, rather than pay the extortionate ransom being demanded. Good for him, I say. Unfortunately, Mask appears to have forgotten to pay the final instalment on its new space-fleet, because it hasn't got one! Undeterred, Matt decides to "borrow" a rocket from the lads at Venom.

There's one word to sum up what happens next, and it's an angagram of Nex' loo. In other words, time to rush around, blow things up, shoot off peoples' extraneous bits and score loads of points.

Now Venom has been busy since we last met, and it's come up with a whole new bunch of fearsome weapons for us to 'Oooh' and 'Ahhh' at. Definitely one to be wary of is the DNA-seeking missile, although if Matt's picture is anything to go by, he's 99 percent silicon, so he should be okay.

It's a shame that the game-designers were on a tea-break while this one was being written, as it really IS unnervingly similar to Mr Cecco's monumental hunk of coding, extra weapons lying around to pick up and everything. Maybe that's no thing in some respects, especially as quite a few new bits 'n' pieces have been tacked on, but it's hardly going to make heads turn and tongues wibble.

Prejudices aside, I'll have to admit that Mask III is probably the best of the trio (please don't tell me there are going to be more, though) and its reasonably good fun to play. Like Exolon, it's one of those games where you get ever so sightly further each time you play so you won't get fed up with it too quickly.

It's nice to see that the graphics have been tidied up a bit since earlier instalments. No more lurid colours and eye-knackering scrolling, a la number two. Just well-defined sprites on a nice safe black background and a simple flip-screen method. Oh dear, we're back to That Game again...

Gremlin seems to have coughed up another of those "Hmm, um..." types of game which could be worth buying, (you certainly won't be bored to tears by it,) but, well, eerm...

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: Not a bad little blam 'em up, all things considered, but Exelon's four pee cheaper.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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