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Ocean Software Ltd
1991
Arcade: Platform
£10.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

33
James Leach
Chris Bourne

I reckon it's a bit of a duff licence, this one. I mean, Hudson Hawk was supposed to be the new Indiana Jones or something, but the crowds didn't exactly flock to see the movie. But what's the game like? Could it possibly be as crap as the film?

Well, actually it isn't. It's really rather good. In fat, it's better than a lot of the so-called 'brilliant' licence conversions that come whizzing under the door of the YS shed (we haven't had a letterbox installed yet. Hmm, must get that done one day).

Anyway, back to Hudson Hawk. What seems to have happened is that Leonardo Da Vinci has had a load of stuff nicked from his house.

I can't see how this matters to him because he's been dead for 450 years. Mind you, his relatives would probably be a bit upset. Anyway, someones certainly upset enough to call in Hudson Hawk. Not the police or a special security company, but someone who looks very like Bruce Willis (sweaty, unshaven and generally manky). Weird, eh?

At this stage it might be a good idea to say that Hudson Hawk is definitely a bloke (not a river or a bird of prey). Despite his appearance and laughable name, hes a do-gooding, adventuring sort of bloke who's quite good at finding stuff that's been nicked from people who have been dead for ages (you know the sort).

Now that he's agreed to take the job, Hudson's got to find the "Sforza" Horse. This isn't just any horse (cos that'd be far too easy), but a special sculpture that Leonardo did one inspired night after he came beck from the bingo.

This horsey sculpture has been spotted in a safe on the seventh floor of Rutherfords Auction House. All you need to do is get in there and make your way past security guards, dogs and laser-beam devices. Then find the safe, get it open and walk out with the equestrian statue.

SOUNDS FASCINATING. DO CONTINUE.

All right, I will. Even though you've got the statue, you're troubles aren't over. Oh, no! To complete Level Two you must retrieve Leonardo's sketch book (known, for some reason, as the Codex). This can be found in the Halls of the Vatican. So the Pope's probably nicked it. Hmm, not like him, is it?

Along the way you meet up with some nuns who seem quite friendly, but appearances are deceptive. These nuns have got bad habits (!), and they'll try and stop you getting the Codex if it's the last thing they do.

Next there's Level Three. Here, you have to enter Leonardo's castle to find the mirrored crystal. I bet you didn't know old Leo had a castle, did you? Well he has. And the weirdest thing about it is that it's built entirely of fun-sized Mars bars. (Now, James, thats a patent untruth. Ed) That's what being a genius can do for you. If you get this mirrored crystal thing, apparently you can destroy a gold-making machine and put an end to an alchemy operation. Trying to stop you this time are ballooning gangsters, TV-throwing thugs, sloths and rats. Something tells me this is all getting a bit silly, but my sources assure me that this all appears in the film.

Yes, yes, before you say it - I know there are only three levels. And I know it doesn't sound like a particularly large game. What I haven't yet told you is that each level subdivided into lots of, er, little levels. So you've actually got about ten sections to get through, not three. The great thing about this is that when you die, you only go back to beginning of that section, not the beginning of the level. So there's none of that 'going-through-the-first-bit-again' stuff.

What else? Well, Hudson Hawk has got some fiendish puzzles in it. I don mean just mean a little bit thought-provoking. I mean mind-blowingly, lateral- thinkingly difficult. For example, on Level One you've got to get through a high window. It's far too high to jump and there aren't any platforms that you can reach either. What are you going to do? Well if you were the real Bruce Willis you'd probably give up and have a car-chase or something, but that isn't an option here.

Instead you'll have to just work out the prob. I'll give you a weeny clue, though. Those crates you can see aren't fixed down, so you can push them around. (That's enough clues. Ed).

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO PLAY THEN, CLEVERCLOGS?

The little Hudson character is very well animated. He reminds me of Arnie in that other Ocean game, Total Recall. He's got a trendy hairstyle, Ray-Ban shades and a sharp black suit. If he's running along and you try to stop him, he does a completely brilliant skid and keeps going for a moment. Its a nice touch Hawkie looks just like a cartoon character! It also makes the game that bit harder to play. Y'see, sometimes you have to position Hudson quite accurately and the fool keeps skidding around like a toddler on an ice-rink.

There's also a lot of colour around. I don't know about you but I do like a lot of colour in games. It makes them so, er, colourful (in a spooky kind of way). By keeping Hudson himself black and white Ocean have also managed to avoid any attribute clashes as well, so you've really got the best of both worlds.

Yep, if you're into platform games which call tor a bit of mental activity, Hudson Hawk could well be for you. That's not to say there isn't any violence. There's loads of people, animals and, er, other things wandering around and getting in your way.

Luckily Hudson is armed with a boxing glove for some serious punching and he's got an endless supply of softballs to throw. These are dead useful for knocking out baddies and hitting things you can't reach, like door-handles and switches.

If you're a die-hard (geddit?) fan of platform games, you might not go a bundle on Hudson Hawk. It's a bit slow to play cos of the puzzles, and the baddies don't exactly come thick and fast. On the other hand - it's original, it's fun and I like it. So there.

It's big and it's absorbing. Sort of like a fluffy towel, really.

87%
79%
81%
76%
80%

Banner Text

FIVE THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT BRUCE WILLIS

1. His real name is Stanley Kirk Burrell.

2. He used to paint aircraft carriers.

3. He doesn't shave much.

4. He sweats a lot.

5. He's also a bit of a slaphead.

Screenshot Text

As well as looking dead nice, those umbrella things are useful for bouncing up and down on. You can also avoid all the nasties. Hurrah!

Hudson likes to spend his free time stamping on ants. Here you see him going for the queen.

How did you get up here? It's a secret, but I'll give you a clue. It's got something to do with putting things on top of other things. Clear?

Get a shave, you sweaty, bald old dweep. (Oh, it's you, Mr Willis!)