Total Recall


by James Higgins, Andrew P. Deakin, Ivan Horn, Warren Lancashire, Jonathan Dunn, Active Minds: Mark R. Jones, Simon Butler
Ocean Software Ltd
1991
Sinclair User Issue 109, March 1991   page(s) 26,43

How do you do justice to the biggest, most expensive, most explosive film ever? How do you squeeze Arnold Schwarzenegger into a Spectrum? How do you get an entire planet, a megacorporation, a band of mutants, lots of explosions and a Martian colony onto a cassette? I dunno.

Somehow, ace programmers James Higgins, Simon Butler and Warren Lancashire have done the business for Total Recall.

In the movie, futuristic construction worker Doug Quaid goes to a Total Recall shop to experience an electronically-induced fantasy of a Martian holiday. But the treatment revives his hidden memories of his life as a secret agent on Mars, and he travels there on a quest to recover his real identity. This involves an enormous amount of shooting, chasing, exploding, mutating and mutilating, and you'll be pleased to hear that all this action is preserved in the game.

The graphics look GREAT - better even than the preview graphics we saw a couple of months ago (they've been completely revised since then). The corridors of the Martian colony are full of walkways, platforms, huge rotating fans, pressure pads, crevasses, bubbling lava, flashing danger signs, objects to collect and hidden deathtraps.

He Quaid sprite is great - stocky, muscular and well animated. And the Corporation thugs who bar his way crumple satisfyingly when you thump them or shoot them. An even better effect is when you get killed, as your body decompresses and explodes messily into bits of gloppy splat... Yuck.

You start off in an Earth habitat armed with your fists and a gun; an indicator on the bottom of the screen shows you which is currently selected (you change by holding down the fire button and moving the joystick down). You have ten bullets to start with, but more can be found along the way.

You also hove to collect five objects including a briefcase, identity card and so on; these are shown in windows as you pick them up. There's also a score display and a timer.

Arrows point your way through the maze of walkways, indicating the direction in which elevator platforms will move. But it 's not this simple; energy barriers bar your way, and these have to be deactivated by kicking switches. The tricky bit is that having passed one barrier you sometimes have to go back to kick the switch again, to deactivate a later hazard; and if you're not careful you can trap yourself between an energy barrier and a wall, with a life-threatening shock being the only way to get out.

If you complete the first phase you catch an automated Johnnycab and race to the spaceport. The horizontally-scrolling vehicle racing routine is a bit of a filler; there's not much skill or excitement in dodging or blowing up the pursuing vehicles. Still, it's a bit of variety. The next section takes place in the Martian spaceport, then there's another road race to the rebel base, another platform level as you search for precious oxygen in the sleazy slum areas of the Domes, and eventually you get to confront the head of the rebels, defeat the evil Cohaagen and save Mars - cheers cheers!

I Make no mistake, Total Recall is as much a block-bustin' computer game as it was a movie. It will keep you snarling with excitement and growling with frustration as you battle it out with gun-goons, suss the deathtraps and race against time to get yer right brains back. As Arnie might say "Get it, or i'LL get YOU!"

Label: Ocean
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £10.99
Code: James Higgins
Sprites: Simon Butler
Backgrounds: Warren Lancashire
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


Graphics: 90%
Sound: 93%
Playability: 89%
Lastability: 89%
Overall: 91%

Summary: It's as big as Mars, twice as nasty with tons of atmosphere - Total Recall is a triumph - superb gameplay, great graphics and super sound make for a classic game.

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 127, September 1992   page(s) 38

If you ask me, I don't think it's humanly possible for one man to be the size of Arnie Schwarzenegger. I reckon he's really two smaller men standing on top of each other in a latex costume; one called Mr. Schwarz and the other Mr. Negger.

But enough about my theories, onto the Hit Squad's latex... sorry, latest muscle bound re-release. Total Recall (if you recall) was the biggest and most successful film of 1990, and was the most expensive film ever made until Terminator 2. As with all of Arnie's recent films, the special FX and stunt sequences are amazing, and this flick has to be one of my all time favourite movies.

There are five massive levels, three shoot 'em up-cum-beat 'em up platformers and two horizontally scrolling car chases.

The platform levels (1, 3 and 5) are absolutely excellent, with wonderful monochrome graphics and fantastic sound. The sprites are massive and as smooth as a new born baby bum, and there's a nice puzzley element to do with turning on and off switches to open and close various doors and force fields.

However, as with virtually all of Ocean's film tie-ins, we have two obligatory car chase levels (2 and 4) to split the game up a bit. Although this does add variety and help break the game up, it is a little on the naff side.

This by no means ruins the game - these two levels just act as in-between refreshers in which you can prepare yourself for the next big platformer. If you treat them as space-fillers, you won be disappointed.

Today Total Recall still stands as a top quality piece of software. Taking this into account alongside the fact that it's now available for four pounds, I'm going to knock the score up a little! C'mon Ocean, don't forget our Speccies! When games are produced as good, playable and cheap as this, who needs a console or a 16-bit?

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Marc Richards


ALAN: Uzi Nine Millimeter, I'm looking for Sarah Connor, asta la vista baby, come with me if you want to live, give me your clothes, he'll live, surprise, I lied! This eez ein gut game. I'm sure Big Arn vood make with zer playing Total Recall eef he had ein Spectrum, mien Gott.

Graphics: 92%
Sound: 91%
Playability: 90%
Lastability: 89%
Overall: 92%

Summary: Although I think that this format of movie-game has gone a bit stale through over use and abuse in titles like Robocop 2, Terminator 2, etc, Total Recall is still a real gem and has deservedly earned itself a Best Budget title. Well worth having.

Award: Sinclair User Best Budget

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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