Street Hassle

by Beam Software
Melbourne House
Sinclair User Issue 68, Nov 1987   page(s) 96,97

Label: Melbourne House
Author: Beam Software
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Street Hassle is the first release from the new look Melbourne House - the first after its take-over by Mastertronic.

It's a sort of cartoon Ninja game with strong Renegade overtones. It isn't great but is curiously addictive in a way. And it's quite funny.

You control a large (if sparsely detailed) muscleman complete with ridiculously tiny swimming trunks. He trolls off down an ordinary suburban street and is accosted by assorted upstanding citizens.

Including stray dogs and grannies. A large part of the game is therefore of the traditional sort - various joystick and Fire button combinations get your man headbutting, grabbing, punching, walking or ducking.

What moves are available partly depends on you are attacking - for example the dog is amenable both to having its tummy tickled (joystick down) and headbutting (a sort of grabbing motion).

There is a little more to it than that, however. The game isn't a celebration of mindless violence. You must try not to attack the grannies, for example, and this seemingly simple objective is actually very difficult in the heat of battle - they have a habit of stumbling into your path whilst you are dealing with someone else. If you should accidentally start to wipe out grannies they retaliate by chucking things at you and hitting you over the head with their umbrellas.

There are a few other elements to the game - occasionally (Melbourne House is trying for the Ageist Game of the Year Award) someone walks on and places a box in front of you - this may either be a bonus life or a bomb character, you'd better figure out which quickly.

I dunno about this one. I don't like the graphics - they are similar to those in the ill fated Inspector Gadget they begin large but are somehow empty of detail. It's a technique Beam, the programmer, has used before so they must obviously like it but I think it makes the game look insubstantial. The gameplay is OK and the mindless violence is funny, as are the bizarre comments that run across the bottom of the screen as you play. It bothered me that I got through three out of six levels the second time around (streets are loaded in from tape in batches of six at a time). That strikes me as a bit easy particularly since at the time I didn't know it wasn't OK to total the old ladies and still got to second place in the high scores chart. Maybe this aspect of the gameplay needs tightening up. It's no fun unless you can do a bit of granny-bashing. Don't buy without seeing first.

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Overall: 7/10

Summary: Cartoony fun-style Renegade street violence game. Graphics don't impress but it is moderately addictive and quite funny.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 95, Feb 1990   page(s) 83

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Beam Software
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

"What the software industry needs is designer violence", runs one of the enigmatic scrolling messages on the bottom of the display of Street Hassle. Well, yes and no - it might need designer violence, but it would have to be a bit more designery than this mediocre comedy head-punching game.

Originally squirted out by Melbourne House in the days when martial arts games were just beginning to get into the "whatever gimmick can we come up with next" mode, Street Hassle (based on the song by crumbly Lou Reed? - probably not) isn't half as funny as it thinks it is. For a start, I can't quite see why the tattooed, heavily-muscled hero wears sunglasses, silver shorts and wrestling boots in his campaign to clean up the city. Secondly, I don't completely understand why flying old ladies, stone-throwing blind men, escaped gorillas, jack-in-the-boxes and big woofy dogs form the majority of the opposition, though the bomb-throwing revolutionaries I did appreciate. Lastly, I wish the irritatingly obscure scrolling messages - "Crime swallows like a microphone stand". "Think of it as evolution in action" - would just GO AWAY!

The game does have its good points, including a wide repertoire of fighting moves such as the flying leap, head butt, strangle, aerodynamic spin and dog pat (DOG PAT!?) which change according to the level. You have to experiment to find out which move takes out which enemies; guess which one the Dog Pat deals with? Not much else changes though; the brick walls, park benches and alleyways in the backgrounds get pretty tedious as they scroll past at a snail's pace, though the actual animation of the characters, especially the muscle-bound hero, is OK.

As you'd expect, at the top of the screen you get strength meters showing how close you and your current opponent are to defeat. Two headbutts or strangles are usually enough to see off a blind man, or old lady, while gorillas obviously need a bit more. You get points for each you bump off. and a bonus at the end of each level (after level five, subsequent levels have to be loaded from tape on the 48K version).

Hard to get really excited about, although it's amusing for about ten minutes.

Graphics: 63%
Sound: 62%
Playability: 59%
Lastability: 59%
Overall: 59%

Summary: Not half as funny or action-packed as it thinks it is; one for curiousity collectors only.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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