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Ocean Software Ltd
1987
Arcade: Action
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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26
David Powell
Chris Bourne

If you're a long-haired layabout, don't run along with all this fitness rubbish and find that 10 am is too early to greet the day, then this is the wrong place for you. Here is where they dry the wetness from boys' ears and turn them into REAL men - yes, this is Combat School! Hut! two, three, four, Hut! two, three, four...

But enough of this. Haven't those dependable chaps at Ocean done well? They've managed yet again to squish all that action into a C60 (or thereabouts) - even if 48Kers do have to suffer three separate loading stages. Has everyone forgotten the ill-fated microdrive? (Let's hope so, Ed) And their hard work on visual reproduction has paid off.

Ordinarily, I have an intense dislike for games that require joystick-waggling, and joysticks are such a poor alternative to the original trackball. But when I realised how much easier it was to do the "swivel" (a joystick motion, not a new dance practised by Marines), I was well away! Here I was, someone who'd even forged his mum's signature to get out of PE, running like Seb Coe and jumping like a gazelle. Even on stage two , I found myself accurately blasting scores of pop-up targets - quite amazing for someone who couldn't hit the side of a barn with a cannon.

Thence cometh the iron-man race with its bridges to cross, rocks to leap over and mines to avoid. The last section even involves crossing a river. The boat bit here has been dropped for memory reasons - your man appears to be able to walk on water - a neat trick! To beat this screen, push the joystick forward and waggle it quickly from side to side.

After a well earned intermezzo as the next block loads, it's straight into the second target range. Tanks appear from all sides, so you should get to know their pattern - essential if you're even to stand a chance of getting through. Assuming you do, there's a spot of arm wrestling which is quite arm-wrenching - literally, as you have to last a full minute of joystick bashing.

Just to show you how bad a marine I'd make, I've only once beaten the next stage, the third target range. You need to shoot almost all the circled targets, but as they're mixed among some that'll freeze your sights temporarily, that's not an easy task. All that follows is a fist-like duel with your instructor (with as many joystick positions to learn). Assuming you're skilful enough, you'll be able to put all your hard-earned training into use with an actual rescue mission.

Combat School has much to keep you occupied, loads of different screens and always that incentive to try again (no matter how much you feel afterwards that you really were there!). Should you do exceptionally well on one screen, time bonuses give you more chances on the next. And if you only just fail, a penalty of several pull-ups may just pull you through.

Ah well, can't stop. I've got work to do. Permission to fall in, sir?

Fine conversion with enough to keep you occupied until next Easter. Tone up the waggling muscles first, though.

9/10
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Screenshot Text

Here's the second of the three target ranges, and unlike the others, you're after remote control tanks (weird!). Initially they follow a set pattern so get as many as possible before the break into freestyle. Time is short, so don't just sit there admiring the scenery, get on with it! (Nice scenery. Ed).

It's split screen time! Jump the high walls early to avoid crashing into them; in every screen there's a clock to show you how time is running out and a power gauge to indicate how shagged out you are. Scores are displayed only on odd-numbered sheets, but who's interested in scores anyway?