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Activision Inc
1987
Arcade: Action
£9.99
£2.99
Multiple languages
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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48
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

Poor old Howard. He's a duck that very nearly turned into a dodo.

As a big budget movie - 30 million dollars or so - plus being based on a pretty zany cartoon character he must of seemed perfect material to be snapped up and turned into a computer game. So much so that Activision did. Maybe it thought it would be the next Ghostbusters.

And how wrong it turned out to be.

First there was the fact that the Film flopped in the US. Then, just as Activision as about to launch the game last year the film company changed the name of the movie. But the film still went on and flopped over here.

Then there were all the production delays and the C64 version of the game previewed in September written by Activision in the US looked pretty rough (and that's putting it mildly).

Now, six months and much baited breath later, here's the Spectrum version. Looking suspiciously like the C64 game.

The plot: someone's got to rescue Beverley and Phil (who they are is unclear), and that person is your duck.

To do so Howard has to fight his way across Volcano Island through mutant slime and fight off some pretty mean looking mutants.

Howard has a jet-pack to allow him to walk on water (I thought ducks could swim, am I right or what?) and a microlite aircraft to fly up into the volcano (ducks can fly can't they, I mean it's not just my imagination or anything like that). Oh and a neutron-disintegretor (that one's fine by me). Thus equipped, the adventure starts.

Now Howard the Duck would make me very happy were it a budget game. But since it's not, I'm not.

The graphics are merely average, and Howard himself is the weirdest duck this side of Peking.

The gameplay is inclined to be a bit tricky until you've mastered the basics - like how to take a running jump and the art of Quack Fu - after which it becomes ridiculously easy.

I found killing mutants was simply a matter of kicking the little critters until they disappeared, and never mind about the punching.

Apart from the fact it's not a very good game - which is I suppose a serious drawback - I rather liked Howard the Duck.

There's something rather appealing about kicking mutants to death, as all serious game players know.

Not quite a dodo but very nearly.

Label: Activision
Price: £9.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Moral: next time spend less money on the licence and more on the programming. Another lucky escape for Howard.

4/10