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1988
Arcade: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Firebird BleepLoad

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45
David McCandless
Chris Bourne

You and your alsatian, Killer (named after his most amiable quality) have been parachuted into a politically sensitive tropical country, where you are ordered to recover some stolen peace plans. Unfortunately, you and your 'best friend' have a little mid-air tiff and end up going your separate ways during the descent. Mildly concerned about the fate of your slavering dog, the fact that the ground is rushing towards you at 42 feet per second slips your mind.

Crunch!

You land badly, damaging some vital equipment (and your chances of ever having a family). Not only that, but the place is swarming (and we are talking locusts here) with enemy troops, who have been alerted to your presence by your raucous cry as you hit the ground. And on top of all that, you've still got the four stages of your mission to carry out as well.

First: find your yapping canine. Second: kill the stupid mutt or locate the enemy camp and assassinate the leader. Third: search out the helicopter base and destroy it with your limited supply of mines. Fourth: escape. What could be easier?

Due to an incredible stroke of luck, you managed to retain your rifle, some ammo, a homing beacon, a cipher (which receives messages from a surveillance satellite), and a battery to power all those things. And all the enemy soldiers appear to have fingers made of butter, because there are discarded magazines all over the place.

So off you go trudging through a flick screen jungle, slipping through passages, climbing into sub-terrainean caverns, shooting the occasional soldier who's dumb enough to cross your path (yawn), finding the dog who will leap forward into the attack as soon as any enemies appear, trudging through some more jungle, shooting the... (snore).

The jungle locations are unremarkable and almost identical to each other. Sick looking but colourful palm trees on the surface, and a gloomy array of stalagmites and stactites underground. All the characters are huge, nearly one third screen height, and well detailed. They're all protected from colour clash by a thick black Dark Sceptre mask. The central character animates very well, crouching and turning convincingly, and the enemy soldiers crumple satisfyingly when shot.

But the gameplay has a lot to be desired. All the screens are too much alike and you spend most of your time getting lost or being lost (which ever is most interesting). Shooting the soldiers is not difficult, since they're so big. You just fire and they're history.

All this collects into one massive heap of boredom. Not even finding the enemy camp can resurrect it. I feel something could have been done to heighten the tropical atmosphere, like the odd fly buzzing past, or having water percolate from the stalactites or something.

And it's a pity you can't shoot the dog.

Tedious and thin tropical maze game. Good graphics but not enough action, not enough atmosphere, and too much boredom.

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