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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

'There can be only one' says the cassette inlay but the game of Highlander, sadly just ain't it.

It's all been loosely based around the patchy movie in which Conner MacCieod has to kill all his brother immortals to win a mysterious prize - which in the film turns out to be fertility. And the mode of execution? Nothing less than blood-squirting decapitation.

In the three-part game you train as an expert Samuri swords player before you can despatch your opponent and take your just rewards. There are three game Loads the difference being a new background is loaded as a Screens and a new opponent.

Only the top third of the backdrop contains an illustration and the rest of the screen is kept black to avoid colour clash with the main figures which one big (about half-Dark Sceptre size) and well animated.

Your first opponent is Ramirez. He's a Spanish gay blade and, as your teacher, he knows he's unlikely to survive.

You get a sword-play hint sheet but it turns out to be next to useless once you start to play. The basic move is duck, joystick down, and perhaps advance, joystick left.

Highlander is all about energy and, in the film, when you win a fight you take on the life force of the vanquished. It's not a fact which has been assimilated by the programmers. If you kill your quarry his blood - and little else - spurts all over you after his head's toll off - screen with a unique splatter sound effect which can only be found on the Spectrum.

You can tell you're losing when MacCleod sits down on the job and refuses to get up. Shortly after your energy slips into the red sector - not good.

Kill Ramirez with a dazzling display of attack, timing and position and your move on to the next background, in modern day New York. He's a shady character called Fizir. Here the game and film part company. MacCleod does battle a Saracen at the beginning of the film but his name's Fasil, not Fizir.

Yet more attacking play and you're through to the final conflict between you and the evilsome Kurgen.

It was here I was defeated.

The third battle is very difficult to win, and you'd think the challenge would make a good game. You'd be wrong. The three parts to the game are virtually identical and I was losing interest long before I got to the third part.

And there's almost no technique or finesse required in the fighting. Relentlessly slam the joystick and keep on till you win. Let up for a second and you're dead. So's the game.

Label: Ocean
Author: Canvas
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert


No prizes here. Ocean probably paid big bucks for the license and has ended up with a golden turkey.