Image Works
Probe Software Ltd
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

92,93
Phil King, Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

TIME TO KILL THE GREAT DICTATOR

Set in the Central American state of El Diablo, Fernandez Must Die is a Journey into the world of espionage, assassination and Mission Impossible scripts. Your mission Mr Phelps, should you decide to accept it, is to destroy the eight bases that he has set up to secure the area he has captured, find General Fernandez and kill him.

Once embarked on your mission, either alone or with a friend, you find yourself in familiar, Commando-style action, blasting everything that moves with either a machine gun or grenades (hold down fire). Your opponents include soldiers, paratroopers, tanks and even battleships in the rivers you must cross. Bullets will deplete your energy considerably, but cannon shells and land mines kill you instantly. Although you have five lives to lose such weapons, these can go very quickly indeed. Fortunately the planes flying over head are not always hostile, and can drop First Aid kits which can boost your energy. To prevent getting injured in the first place, it's a good idea to jump in the jeep, which makes you faster as well as giving you a more powerful gun. In two-player mode the first person in the jeep drives, while the second aims the cannon.

Being a revolutionary agent need not be an unprofitable activity either. While freeing political prisoners for bonus points you might also pick up some of the gold bars carelessly left lying around in the prisons you can enter. After the war's over these might prove more useful than the medals which are awarded for such heroic deeds as destroying enemy vehicles, being wounded in battle and destroying an enemy base.

Despite looking similar to every other Commando game on the market, many of them now budget, Fernandez Must Die is very playable. Graphics add to the fun with the macho mercenary stomping around the battlefield in a very convincing manner. The backdrops are all very detailed, from the hectic action on the battlefield, to the equally hectic antics within buildings. So, if you love Commando-type games where the hero is a real man, and the story has a happy ending (after half the population and most of the buildings have been decimated), go out and buy Fernandez Must Die.

MARK ... 90%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: mostly monochromatic although well-defined
Sound: a catchy in-game tune which can be turned off if it gets irritating
Options: definable keys. Two player mode

CRITICISM

'Up zee revolution! At last, a game to rival the classic Commando (Issue 24, 94%). Although vertically scrolling blast-'em-ups are quite common, this one has a lot more to offer than most. Added interest is created by the rooms at the sides of the main landscape and I just love the way the hero can steal an enemy jeep and go zooming around. And boy, he needs all the help he can get as he faces hordes of hostile forces, including the well-drawn tanks and planes. Although the game's mainly monochromatic appearance is rather dull, it hides a wealth of addictive gameplay, accompanied by a catchy in-game tune (which can be turned off). This is no ordinary Commando clone, although fans of that old gem should enjoy it. Furthermore, two players can enjoy the action simultaneously. So get your best mate to help you dethrone that devious dictator - Fernandez must die, hombres!' PHIL ... 87%

What's this, Ikari Warriors with a new tune at the start? Well it certainly looks like it but there's more to this than meets the eye. The main objective is to shoot evertything in sight, as in most other such games, but the wider variety of things to shoot in Fernandez makes it more addictive and brings variety to the game. You also have to make decisions on which is the best route and try to avoid the mines that blow your jeep into the air, a very tricky occupation as you can hardly see them. There are planes, trains and (automobiles? - Ed) tanks which, when destroyed, leave behind icons that can be collected and used to your advantage. Things like cannon shells and grenades help immensely when it comes to blowing up the odd train that is hurtling towards you! There are no sound effects in the game but a tune that plays throughout and tends to get slightly annoying when it repeats itself for the umpteenth time. Fernandez Must Die is a great shoot-'em-up with a bit of strategy thrown in to make an enjoyable game.' NICK ... 84%

General Rating: A playable shoot-'em-up which perhaps suffers slightly from repetitiveness.

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IS HE DEAD YET?

Tread very carefully as mines are difficult to see and are deadly.

Whenever you see a jeep, get into it. You can then travel much faster and be protected from those lethal bullets.

At the beginning it's best to plan your route using the map, it saves valuable time later on.

The medical supplies that come in on parachutes are vital, collect them whenever you can.