Melbourne House
1987
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

95
Jack Daniel
Chris Bourne

Deke is a 21st century man. Deke is worried. Deke is in jail. Deke is also just about to have a lobotomy. Most of all, he's starring in this game called Knuckle Busters.

By the looks of all the packaging and posters, you'd think Melbourne House would like you to think that Knuckle Busters was something to do with Rollerball. It isn't. But there again, it isn't a straightforward kicky-kicky job either. After all, have you ever heard of one that actively encourages you not to fight the aliens, robots, grannies, etc?

The idea is that you've just broken out of a 21st century slammer, and in doing so have fused the Central Computer... which is going to self-destruct very soon.

What you have to do is traverse your way across the six levels of the city, get to the city wall and then out across the Green Belt. Got that so far?

The 21st century is a bit flat and inhabited by labotomised androids who will run up to you and put the boot in quicker than you can say - "well actually I think Chelsea are rather good at this football business".

So you run along, up and down the three tiers of platforms, trying to avoid fights (so as to conserve your limited supply of energy - as shown by an on-screen thermometer), kicking inanimate objects, hoping to find food (Lucozade for extra energy) or keys that will allow you to open door to the next level.

Sprites are single coloured with alright rather than superfast animation. Fighting, when you have to, is not a very skillful affair - finger on the fire button, joystick left or right - blam, blam, blam.

Ardent mappers might think it worth a go, but it really needed better combat and a fabby sound track to make it even halfway interesting.

As, I'm afraid, it has neither, it makes you wonder why they bothered.

Label: Melbourne House
Author: Steve Taylor / Paul Gomm
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jack Daniel

***

Arcade adventure martial arts hybrid that never gels. Needed something a bit special to make it interesting.

3/5