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Empire Software
1989
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£9.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


12,13
Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

Superheroes, I don't know. When you really think about it you've got to concede they're basically a bunch of poofs in silly tight-fitting costumes. Most of them, that is - there's one superhero I wouldn't dare call a poof and that's Dr Doom, the iron-masked Marvel creation who's the centrepiece of this game.

Mind you, he's not really a superhero at all -he's actually a super-villain, which is another kettle of fish altogether. No body-stockings for the good Doctor - he gets to wear a rather funky metal suit. Do you get to control him though? Um, no you don't as it happens. You get to control Spiderman (a poof) and Captain America (another poof). But what do you have to make them do? And, more importantly, how do you make them do it? Is it all rip-roaring fun? Well, read on and you might find out. But first I'll hit you with a tiny bit of scenario...

"Dr Doom has half-inched a nuclear missile, which he's going to launch at New York City - unless the United States surrenders and agrees to become a colony of Latveria (ie Dr Doom's country). So the President of the United States takes the only option open to him - he calls in a couple of blokes who wear tight-fitting body-wraps and asks them to go and sort the heinous Doom out. Spiderman and Captain America willingly agree, and off they gaily trek to Latveria. But what they don't know is that Dr Doom is not alone in his fortress - he's gone and recruited a whole load of other super-villains to guard his castle complex. There's Batroc, Rattan, Boomerang, Oddball, Eduardo Lobo (He doesn't sound very dangerous. Ed) and a whole host more."

So that's the scenario. But what lies behind it? I'll tell you - a monochrome side-viewed beat-'em-up, that's what. In some of the levels you're playing Spidey while in others you're playing Cap. Eventually you have to take on Doom, but to get to him you need to take on all his henchmen and robotic automations (and win). Both Cap and Spidey have a variety of moves at their disposal, as is par for the course in beat-'em-ups. However, one thing that's different is that the moves are related to your distance from a foe. For instance, in Captain America's case, if he's close to his adversary an 'up and fire' position on the joystick makes him smack the opponent in the head with his shield. If he's a bit further away the same joystick movement sees him handing out a hefty (but slightly poofy in my opinion) leaping kick. Further away still, and Cap will hurl his shield at his foe (and it'll then return as if by magic).

So there we have the basic idea. A fairly standard beat-'em-up with a Marvel Comics' Character tie-in. And the backdrops are - well, you can see from the screenshots. But what about the animation and stuff? It's time for me to don my very own superhero outfit (You poof. Ed) and give you the verdict. (Sound of someone zipping up a purple body-stocking with glitter on the shoulder-pads.) Ahem. Right. Um, the sprites are quite big. Erm, actually that's the best point - things go downhill a bit from there. The animation is jerky and a bit on the slow side. The feel you get when you clout someone, or when they clout you, is a bit limp (ie not 'crisp', if you know what I mean). There's a weedy sound to accompany the blow and one of the bars at the bottom of the screen gets a 'notch' smaller. (When your bar reaches zero you're dead, when his bar reaches zero he's dead.) Another problem is the width of the playing area - because of the size of the sprites it's hard (well, impossible actually) to put much distance between yourself end the super-villain you're fighting, and what's more the sprites can actually 'stand behind' one another. So there you are thrashing madly away to the sides while the Grey Gargoyle (for example) is standing there obscuring most of your body.

All in all (and I don't like saying this but I have to because I'm wearing my superhero costume) Spidey And Cap in Dr Doom's Revenge isn't really that brilliant. I personally always judge this sort of game against Target Renegade, and in this case Dr Doom's Revenge takes a six-nil thrashing. However, if you're a total beat-'em-up freak then the game's certainly hard enough to keep you busy for quite a long time, and if you're a total Marvel Comics freak there are enough super-villains and heroes on offer to satisfy you completely - plus the nice touch of static comic-book screens introducing the levels. Right. Now to get out of this purple body-stocking. Oh no - the zip's stuck! Aaaargh - and someone's at the front door! Oh no! How do I explain my way out of this??!? (It's probably a job for Excuse-o-man. Ed)

Not a particularly brilliant beat-'em-up, but die-hards and fans of the comic books should like it.

78%
72%
74%
74%
74%

Screenshot Text

Large(ish) sprites and varied characters there may be, but at the end of the day each fight looks pretty much the same as the last. Here Cap goes up against an unnamed robot guardian, but it'd look more or less the same whether it was the Rhino, Electro or big bad Victor Von Doom himself. Ho hum.

These bits are neat though - they're sort of comic book style pages which introduce each section of the game. This one, as you can probably tell, lets you know that you, as Cap, have to fight the robot and then the Rhino before moving onto the second level, which features Spidey, Electro etc. Nifty, eh?