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US Gold Ltd
Not Known
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Nothing is nicer on a hot summer day than a six pack - particularly as the only heat is from your Spectrum's power supply. Yeah - it's shiver into autumn with a compilation of US Gold software. Half a dozen programs which first appeared around the end of last year and the beginning of this one, now make their way into a double cassette box, with one annoyingly ungainly poster-sized instruction sheet - which ain't always 100 percent accurate. Golden Guys! But once you've worked out the Captain America control keys, you're still left wondering, at £2.161/2 per program, is this a bargain or a dodgy job lot? Let the captions tell the story...

And Rachael drives off down the green! I've always been to lazy to walk round golf courses, even if my Porche's tyres do track up the turf. Perhaps that's why I just lurve Leaderboard in all its incarnations, and this one is no disappointment. Up to four players charge round four challenging courses, including St Andrews, at any of three levels, with their point-of-view redrawn every time hey play a shot. Smooth stokes and detailed simulation bring this in well under par. Tony Worrall made it a Megagame in January and who would disagree!

Seems like stormtrooping has gone right out of fashion now everyone's into Acid House, leaving just this big chunky sprite to shoot everything in sight while gathering letters to spell out codewords (Whadja know? An int-er-lectuel Nazi!). Chunky is the critical word. Trantor may just be too chunky (impossible! - Bicep Barmy Ed) because there ain't that much room to manoeuvre as you blast away. The late, great Phil South - The Last Sandwich Guzzler - gave this a Megagame award at the end of last year, but I'm inclined to mark it down to 7 for dodgy playabIlity despite great graphic s.

Duncan McDonald claimed to have trouble understanding the instructions for this in March - then he found he was reading the German version? Well, even in English I couldn't make head nor tale of them - though this could be something to do with my aversion to flag-waving Yanks (rhymes with...). Cap has to disinfect the Doom Tube of Dr Megalomann, which sounds like he's working for Dyno-rod, but is really an opportunity for lots of shield hurling and exploration against a time limit. Dunc gave this 7, but I'd mark it down even further on grounds of playability.

If a squidgy blue sprite came up to you and said, "Let's Fight," you'd probably fall over laughing. But despite the diminutive hero of this arcade conversion - totally unlike the buzz-saw blade skimming hunk of the advertisement, which led to complaints from 'concerned parents' - this is one addictive decimation game. Unlike Solomon's Key, a retarded cucumber could understand this one - you run along and kill everything, collecting bonuses whenever they appear - but this simplicity is totally addictive. David Powell's debut review in January's Screen Shots gave it 8, which sounds about right. I guess the guy's a natural born critic!

The surprise find. Snouty recognised its brilliance last November and made it the third Mega in a row. This is one of those classic arcade problem solvers, rather like Boulderdash. It's a test of block building and destroying as you clamber round each screen, collecting objects and avoiding nasties. It may take a while to get the hang of what's going on but persevere because this has
addictiveness which will outlive most shooting games. You'll need the wisdom of Solomon to beat this one!

And last but not least, saddle up your android pony for some fun gunplay on the planet of New Texas, as a range of placcie toys makes it to sprite-land. Yet another run and shoot game, but with an element of problem-solving thrown in as you collect money to bribe the gamblers, who sit in saloons gobbing in the spitoons (Kerwhup
- hawk - ptang!), to give you information. It's all very fast and furious and if it's not quite so addictive as Rygar thats probably because you'll play it second (unless you load the tape backwards). The was a Tony Worrall Megagame in January, but I'd place it around 7 - guess I'm just a mien old-timer.

It's impossible to use the standard YS scale for this series so let's devise another form of scoring. The real qualification is value for money and the first question is "Is each of these games worth just over two quid?" The answer is in the affirmative, without exception. Questiontwo: "Would you pay more for any of them?" Again a big thumbs up. Leaderboard is cheap at any price and Solomon's Key is brilliantly ingenious. Even though Captain America and Trantor disappoint, Rygar is a standout success and Bravestarr is an efficient blaster. In short, you're getting great value for lolly, so if you're missing many of these titles you should seriously consider this Mega compilation!

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