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

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48,49
Tony Lee
Chris Bourne

Twenty-two, forty-one, hut, hut! Ah yes, I love a good American football game - all the blood, all the gore. Whaddya mean its not a football game? Why's he wearing that helmet then?

Knucklebusters is a strange game. You are Deke, a wanted man who's escaping from the lobotomy labs, where people with criminal minds are reformed by specialist doctors. You have absolutely no desire to be reformed, so you've made a break, disabling the security system in the process. Unfortunately for you this has turned the entire complex into a time bomb. Unless you get out fast, you're going to turn into a Kentucky Fried Criminal!

You control Deke as he tries to escape, a task made hard on this three-level extravaganza by the presence of androids, which come in a delightful range of colours, white being the easiest to kill. You have no weapons to dole out the death, though, only your fists and your feet. Mind you, it isn't exactly martial arts, so you don't need to run.

There are doors to go through that lead to other levels. Some are locked, and you need keys to get into them. Here's where the serious gaming comes in. Under various objects are small ones such as keys, food, extra lives and bonus points. However, if you're not careful, you'll stumble across poisonous things that sap nearly all your strength and leave you easy to pick off. When you do fight or kick an object, a third of the screen displays your energy, what you're carrying, your score and the amount of time you have left. You have six zones to get through and there's only one way out -assuming you haven't been mutilated on the way.

The screen scrolls smoothly and the graphics are large and well-animated. The only big gripe I have is that if you fight in front of a door, the attribute clash means you lose ol' Deke, so you can't see what you're doing. It's a playable game, though- pity about the helmet!

7/10
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