by James Fisher
Activision Inc
Your Sinclair Issue 28, Apr 1988   page(s) 38

Reviewer: Rachael Smith

'Schwarzenegger! Predator!' it wouldn't sound quite the same if his name was Norman Shufflewick, would it?

But how tough is big Arnie? So tough that those South American, snivelling, commie-backed Sandinista freedom fighters... whoops! enemies of democracy and the American way (secret air-strikes and CIA subversion), don't give him any problems. It takes a fully fledged alien John Peel to set his pulse racing.

Not so for poor, seven stone reviewers though (You - seven 'stone?!! - Slimming Ed) who get sand kicked in their faces by humble rubber keyed Spectrums. Dontcha just hate games where the preliminaries take longer than the actual playing? Before you've had time to empty your rifle the 'Game Over' message is mocking your efforts.

Predatorwas a groovy movie which kept me on the edge of my seat (I was sharing it with Gwyn at the time... but that's another story), and this tie-in goes all out to capture the mood, starting with an animated pre-credits sequence where the alien ejects towards earth.

To get the effect takes a staggered load, but it's very pretty and probably worth it. Then it's into the jungle for part one, the enemy encampment. If you've seen the original you'll know that it starts like any old mission, and the program begins as the troops slide down from the helicopter and run off into the jungle.

Last one out is Arnie (meaning he has to do the washing up when they get home). Now it's time to yomp into the advancing enemy, wasting them with extreme prejudice as best you can. To make it worse, every so often the screen changes colour, like your telly's tuning has slipped, as the alien tries to target you.

Apparently this is all a preamble to a couple more loads, when you take on the alien in single combat, calling for hand to hand skills plus a lot of strategy. I say apparently because I couldn't get past the enemy camp.

Now it may be that I'm just a hopeless girlie - and I'll arm wrestle any one of you worms who dares write in and second that! - but I'm always suspicious of a game where sometimes I do quite well and others I die almost immediately, without quite knowing why. It suggests to me that random elements outweigh true tests of skill, which should surely have been sorted out in play-testing.

It's a pity, because the graphics are great, with a lovely little Arnie sprite - if a little Arnie isn't too much of a paradox. Even his arm muscles pump as he pounds along. If only I was able to keep him alive for longer.

Perhaps real heroes will walk through this one like they'd got nine lives... but i can't help feeling that its main attraction will be for hackers looking for infinite lives.

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: Great graphics, but too tough to get to grips with when sudden death sneaks up at every opportunity.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 60, Dec 1990   page(s) 61

Coming, erm, now actually, to a cinema near you...


Knowing full well what a square-eyed bunch you are, we thought it was about time you were given the facts on film and television licenced games. Once again, JONATHAN DAVIES was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

(Cough. Deep, manly voice.)

'In the beginning there were loads and loads of Speccy games. Loads of them. They sold all right, but not exactly in enormous numbers. The trouble was, you see, that none of them seemed particularly exciting. They had nothing that caught the public eye. They were just computer games. Had no 'cred'.

Then a small cog within a long-since-extinct software house had an idea.

"Why don't we give our next game the same name as an incredibly popular film? Then everyone would buy it just because they'd seen the film and they'd foolishly think the game would be just as good. How about i, eh?"

"Er, we could do, I suppose."


"But what if the film company finds out? They might sue us or something."

"Oh yeah."


"I know - we could ask them first."

"That's a point. Go on then."

"What? Me?"

"Yeah. Give them a ring and ask if they'd mind."

"Oo-er. Cripes. Okay then." (Dials very long trans-Atlantic phone number.)

"Hullo. We'd like to name our new game after your film and we were wondering if it was okay by you. Right... yes... oh, I see." (Cups hand over receiver.) "They want us to give them lots of money."

"Erm, well in that case we'd better." (Removes hand.) "Yes, that'll be fine. We'll send you some right away. Bye."


"But. er..."


"How are we going to come up with a game that's anything like the film?"

"I don't know really."

"How about if we have a bloke walking around shooting people?"

"That sounds fine. I'll program it right away."

And so the film and telly licence was born. It... cough. Choke.

Oops. There goes the deep, manly voice.

Anyway, film and telly games, eh? Everyone's doing them these days, as they're one of the few remaining ways of making serious money with computer games. Run a grubby finger down the charts and you'll find nearly all the top-sellers are film and telly licences. (Or arcade conversions, of course.)

But why do we keep buying them? After all, just because a game's named after a really brill film doesn't mean it's going to be any good, does it? Surely we aren't buying them simply because of the flashy name on the box?

Erm, well in the old days, software houses assumed this to be the case, and chucked out a stream of absolutely appalling games with 'big name' titles. Things like Miami Vice, The Dukes Of Hazard and Highlander were all pretty dreadful, but it was hoped that they'd sell on the strength of their names. But we weren't fooled. Oh no. The games didn't sell well, and the companies were forced to think again.

Eventually they came up with... the 'bloke walking around shooting things' idea. And they've used it more or less ever since. Lucky then that they tend to be jolly good all the same, and sometimes come up with the odd original idea to spice things up (like The Untouchables did, or perhaps Back To The Future Part II).


As always seems to be the case, the trusty YS ratings system doesn't really seem adequate when it comes to film and telly games. So here's what we've put together instead...

What does it look like? Nice? Or not very nice at all? (You mean are the graphics any good? Ed) Er, yes. That's it in a nutshell. (Then why didn't you just say the first place? Ed) Erm...

How does the general atmosphere compare to the film or telly programme the game's meant to go with? Have programmers just taken a bog-standard game and stuck a flashy name on it? Or have they made an effort to incorporate a bit of the 'feel' of the original?

Does the plot follow along the same sort of lines as the film or telly programme? Is there plenty action-packedness? And is the game the same all way through, or does it follow the original's twists and turns?

Um, how does the game compare to all the licences around at the moment? Is it better? Or worse? In other words, is it a 'cut' above the rest? (is that really the best you can manage? Ed)


Here's another film game, and like so many others its star is Arnold Schwarzenegger. That means, of course, that it's a scrolling shoot-em-up. It's set in the South American jungle where Arnie's up against not only the usual rebel guerillas but a mysterious alien foe as well.

In akchaw fact, I've just spotted that the scrolling, shooting bit is only Level One. There are two more sections as well (which multiload, naturally) where you actually come up against the alien who's been pestering you all through the first part. And there's also an impressive but lengthy scene-setting intro sequence where you see the alien landing from outer space. Sadly, however, Level One's a bit on the tricky side, which means that the rest of the game is out of bounds to all but the most hardened game players, none of whom work for Your Sinclair. Still, the first level's quite nice, with pretty graphics and a fair amount of variety. What a shame we don't get to see the rest, eh, readers?

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Lights: 85%
Camera: 68%
Action: 72%
Cut: 64%
Overall: 66%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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