Oh dear, there's something wrong here. Our mate Colin Swinbourne couldn't have been responsible for this. Not the man who wrote the original Joe Blade, Deviants, and our own Brat Attack freebie game. But he has.
It's not that it doesn't look fab. It does. The backgrounds of shattered buildings, detailed shops, looming doorways and littered streets are excellent. The characters are beautifully drawn; Joe Blade, our macho muscular hero, the leaping thugs and muggers (try saying that after a half a weak lager shandy), the shuffling inhabitants of the city, and the bouncing objects such as clocks and dustbins, are great. The animation is wonderfully smooth, and there's no attribute clash because each screen is rendered in one of a selection of monochrome colours.
The prob, and it's a big prob, is that after playing for thirty seconds you'll have seen everything you're going to see in the game, and it just isn't very exciting. The plot. You, Joe, have to clear up a town ruled by rampaging hoodlums. At the same time, you have to rescue twenty innocent civilians by completing sub-games. As you flip from screen to screen, the muggers approach you from either side. You have to clobber them by leaping over their heads and kicking them into oblivion, gaining 200 bonus points and a feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, since they don't do you any harm if they hit you, there isn't much excitement involved in this part of the game.
Collecting dustbins and clocks isn't too thrilling either. They just bounce up and down until you pass over them, to gain points and time bonuses. If you come across a shuffling civilian, colliding with him takes you into a sub-game. There are four varieties of subgame. but basically they all involve watching changing symbols on the screen, and hitting the fire button when they match the symbol at the side. You have a time limit of sixty seconds, but it shouldn't take you more than ten to solve the easier ones.
To complete the game you have to clobber 100 thugs and save 20 civvies within the time limit. Apart from the thrill of mapping the game, to make sure that you've explored all the areas, there doesn't seem to be anything much more to it, which is a huge disappointment.
Joe Blade II is a bit like watching a ballet; it's all very pretty and artistic, but you soon end up wishing someone would cut loose with a machine-gun. The music and sound effects are insignificant, and I didn't like being called a scumbucket on the high-score routine. Not a winner; let's hope the promised (threatened?) Joe Blade 3 is more up to scratch.
Author: Colin Swinbourne
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Graphically good but sadly unexciting arcade adventure.