To date there have been two He-Man games, one an adventure and one an arcade game. Both have been only marginally successful, so when Gremlin announced they were releasing the third game on the exploits of he of the furry knickers, a murmur of "Oh no, not again" swept across the nation. "But," Gremlin insisted, "this one will be good. The plot is there for us already and surely the publicity of the movie will help us shift it." So they went ahead and wrote it. and I happy to say that the nation is wrong and the game is quite good.
The film itself follows the adventures of He Man, Teela and Gwildor as they fall through a Time gate (a portal to another world) and emerge in modern day California. Also fallen through the Time gate is the Cosmic Key itself, the key to time travel, and it has fallen into the hands of two unsuspecting college students. They are, of course, incredibly thick and accept the situation immediately as a walking skeleton with rippling muscles, a tall Russian/American body builder with a sword that is most likely illegal and hair extensions, and a horde of Darth Vader lookalikes just appear from nowhere.
The film builds up to the battle between He Man and Skeletor to gain control of the key. But on to the game. You take the role of the mighty muscle himself, and must collect the 8 parts of the key, some of which are scattered about the city and the others are kept by Skeletor's henchmen. Whilst racing around the city collecting the musical chords that make up the key, you are contacted by one of your companions telling you to go somewhere. For example, first you have to go to a scrapyard where you engage in hand to hand combat with two henchmen and by defeating them your receive a chord. The next place you are sent to is Charlie's Music Store, where it's a shootout between you and seventy skeletons. After that it's a quick zoom over the rooftops in a flying disc and finally, if you have all 8 chords, it's a battle to the death with Skeletor.
The look of the game is first rate all the way through. To save memory, when in the streets, the screen scrolls vertically only. When you try to go sideways, the orientation of the screen changes. While confusing at first, you get used to it and before you know it you are using the free map included with the instructions to get around like it was second nature. The streets themselves are detailed, with pavements, sorry, sidewalks and buildings and there is even a grave yard complete with tombstones. The fight in the scrapyard in the second stage is beautifully done. The characters are large, clear and very, very recognisable. The animation is first class too, and unlike most side view combat games, you no longer duck to avoid a punch, you dodge, which results in He Man leaning to his left in a most realistic way. The two assailants are very different in appearance and forms of attack. One, the hairy one, will just walk into the attack, and the other one, the bald one, stands back and fires bolts at you. The third section, the shootout at Charlie's is not all that hot. In fact, it's pretty primitive. Just a stark building with a few empty windows forms the backdrop and tiny little robots jump up and down firing at you. You control a little crosshair and have to take out 70 of them before they take you out. The disc fight is set above the streets which are the same as before, only you are in a disc and move a hell of a lot faster than when you were on foot.
The game itself is an excellent conversion from the film and is fun for a while, but it is easy. Like the movie, you'd probably get bored with it unless you are a real He Maniac.
Author: Greg Holmes
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Dada dada dada dada... BATMAN! The Joker is once more at large in Gotham City as reports flood in of kitchen chemicals that have been doctored with Smilex Gas.
"Begorrah Commissioner, the Joker's laughing at us what can we do?" drawls the bigtown bobby. "That fiendish felon the Joker, may have the city in stitches but there's one person who should be able to take the smile off his face"
"You don't mean..." Oh yes he does. So as the Commissioner reaches for the Batphone, the latest batch of the film record of the video of the T shirt of the game begins...
As you all know from last issue's mega tape, Batman the computer game is now available for the Spectrum and the graphics are good, the music is melodic and the gameplay is great. The action takes place over five scenarios and faithfully follows the film - whaddaya mean you ain't seen it? You got no street cred at all? Okay, for the bebefit os the zero trends... The game unfolds in the Axis Chemical Plant, where as chance would have it, Jack Napier fell into a vat of chemicals which did a biological jobbie, not on his Pierr Caradin boxers but on his noggin. Exit one Mr Average, enter the Joker. He uses the planet to produce Smilex which is currently the scourge of the Metropolis. Batman must find the Joker in the labyrinth of the factory, hampered by his inevitable cronies who try to shoot, bomb and gernally be extremely unhelpful to our caped crusader.
So, armed with only his trusty self loading Batarang, and his own line in express lifts, Batman must run, jump climb and swing his way to the Joker. Control is by keyboard or joystick and the fire button being the crux of the gameplay.
A direction plus fire sends the batrope blasting off to hook onto a handy ledge or even to KER POW! a cronie. Problem being, Batman can't move whilst using the rope so it's always a good idea to clean up the baddies before using it. It's also very handy for dastardly do-no-gooders on diagonals as the Batarang will only fire left or right. Once the Batrope is secured, the masked avenger can swing to and fro and by releasing the fire button at the right time, can leap across gaps in platforms.
Batman loses energy each time he is shot, bombed or dropped on by baddies. Energy status is shown by how far the picture of Batman's visage has turned into that of the Joker's. By sending the Joker for an early bath in the chemical vat, Batman then returns to the Batcave as fast as possible to analyse and neutralise the Smilex. He must drive through the Gotham City rush hour, avoid energy depleting collisions with other vehicles, walls and... yes, that arch villain the Joker is brining up the rear in his Transit to make sure Batman moves it!
An arrow shows the direction of the Batcave, turns being made by hooking the Batarang onto a convenient lamppost and pulling the Batmobile into line. Why doesn't he use a Bat steering wheel? Phew! Meanwhile. back at the Batcave... having introduced the SMilex to the Batcomputer you must crack the Joker's code. Select each icon and the computer will tell you how many you've got right. Holy smoking Bat droppings, you've done it! Onto the next level.
Into the Batwing to save the people of Gotham City from Smilex filled balloons at the local parade. You must use the Batwing to cut the balloon's string and launch them skywards to do their dirty deed to the ozone layer instead.
Having saved the day and just about to tuck into a Batburger, our hero runs to the batpole one last time to rescue Vikky Vale from the clutches of our vile villain. It all takes place at the Cathedral (Boinggg), and using the Batbits in the Batmanner, he must make his way to the roof to confront the Joker one last time. Watch out for the rats which cannot be killed - avoid them by climbing up the Batrope whenever they scurry across the floor. If you've seen the film, wore the T-shirt, bought the commemorative mugs and listened to the album then you'll probably buy the game so's yer collection is complete.
If not then have a look at the demo on last month's megatape and if after all that you buy it then it's just got to be great hasn't it. If it's not and like me you find that behind all the great gameplay there are just five games of the film, wiz graphics neato touches.
It seems like only yesterday that I was standing in the fifteen mile queue at my local flea pit waiting to see Michael Keaton's controversial portrayal of Batman and Kim Basenger's, well, er portrayal! And now the hype has gone and a little black box flops depressingly through the Crew letter box and clunks nonchalantly to the bedraggled door mat.
So what's left over when all the glitter's gone? Well the game is certainly above average in the presentation stakes. A nice play area with unobtrusive score boards and a life meter that slowly turns from Batman's face into the Joker's as your energy falls off. Large detailed sprites almost cartoon like in appearance and an assortment of different scenarios.
The first section is a platform shoot 'em up allowing you to use the Batarang to swing from shelf to shelf. It's all against the clock and all the stages are riddled with the Joker's henchmen ready to take your life away. Other stages include a high speed chase in the Batmobile, a puzzle section and cathedral platform action.
There's a lot of mileage still left in this game and it has already sold in huge quantities when it first came out.
Anyone who's new to the game will find it hdrd going at first, but don't be put off. Where as it's not as thrilling as the box would have you believe Batman still holds his licensed head up high long after the hype has gone. And you can take it from me, it's not the last we've heard of the Caped Crusader!
Price: £3.99 Tape, £7.99 Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen
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