Maybe there's something about men with moustaches that means they make good games. Last month we had Charles Bronson in Death Wish III, complete with moustache and bazooka, and this month we've got a dude called Joe Blade in a game called, well, it's called Joe Blade actually.
So what's it all about then, this new moustachioed game? The plot is about as interesting as sheep dip. but I'll tell you anyway. The evil Crax Bloodfinger has kidnapped six world leaders, and is holding them to ransom.
You begin your mission just outside Bloodfinger's base. As you move through the prison complex, you'll come across various bits and pieces, most of which are pretty darn useful, and some of which need to be shot. Those that are useful include spare ammunition, lunch packs (tastefully arranged to include a bottle of wine and an apple, to build up your ever diminishing strength), cell keys to open doors, hostages to rescue, and the all important bombs to prime. Those that need to be shot are the stormtrooper guards (don't ask me why they're stormtroopers, I'm sure there's a logical explanation, but I'm not going to delve into it now) and hunky men in vests with knives.
The twist lies in the bombs you have to plant. You can't finish the game until you prime six bombs to destroy Craxfinger's base.
But priming the bombs isn't easy. Indeed it's almost a game within a game.
First find your bomb, which is easy enough - a bomb in Joe Blade is nearly as big as your sprite - and then enter bomb-priming mode. Then you'll see the letters A-E on the screen, jumbled up, and you then have twenty seconds to set the code in alphabetical order. Not as easy as it sounds.
It is actually this bomb-priming sequence which sets Joe Blade apart from all the other flipping arcade adventures around at the moment.
Two of the five letters are highlighted, and by using Fire, you swap these two letters over. If the order of the letters was DEBAC, and D and A were highlighted, those two letters would swap places. By using the left and right keys, you can widen the gap between two letters and then swap them. (You could highlight D and B, or D and C for instance. It needs a clear head to actually complete the task in the time allowed, and all too often you'll find that the bomb self destructs and you go up with it.
It's a good enough combination of game elements to please lots of people, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done Players. Tick. VG.
Author: Colin Swinbourne
Reviewer: Tamara Howard
A game with elements to please all. With a clever sub-game and nice graphics, it deserves to go down a treat.