Ocean Software Ltd
1984
Arcade: Platform
£6.90
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
SpeedLock 1

37
Craig Rawstron
Chris Bourne

"After being turned down for a part in the Kong re-make in favour of an electronic toy, I moved into the arcades and used my brute strength to push Space Invaders and Pacman out of the top machines. But, now, two years on, Kong Strikes Back seems a poor follow-up.

"Things have certainly changed around here since I was captured in Kong.

In the original game, I dumped my victim at the top of some scaffolding, and ended up throwing barrels, fireballs and everything else I could find down at ol' 'stickman' (as I used to call him!) This time, I've lugged her, screaming, to the highest place I can find in a fairground - the roller coaster! I have this feeling that I should be looking around for my old stomping ground - the Empire State Building - where I've spent many an enchanted evening with Faye and Jessica, but the people at Ocean assure me that that's irrelevant!

Back to the fairground and the hero of the piece (which isn't me, heh heh!) is trying to climb the roller coaster. Hmm, he seems to have put some weight on since last time we met - which should make all the more difficult for him to avoid the four cars I'm setting in motion. Gnash, gnash -- he's only got those bombs again ... still, he's only got four of them, so he'll have to watch out on the next level.

Talking of putting on weight, I must say I look a little more substantial than did in Kong. Which is something I console myself with when I see how little imagination has gone into the four levels of play - OK, there are pies, springs and roller coasters cars ... but it does get a bit repetitive!

If Ocean can't do better than this, I'm back off to the jungle - maybe, me and my old big-screen chum, Faye Raye, can get a part of the latest Tarzan re-make!"

Not Rated

Screenshot Text

LEVEL 1

DIFFICULTY RATING: 1/5

The roller coasters move quite fast, but they're not that difficult to predict; they do, however, pick up great speed on the downhill track - probably due to the following wind!

This is where Kong appears, setting the roller coaster cars in motion. You'll only see Kong for a few short seconds, so keep those eyes peeled.

Now here's a familiar skyline - the good ol' Empire State building where Kong staged many a drama on the silver screen. Here, though, the pretty graphics are just that... shame!

The number of lives and bombs you've got left are displayed on-screen. You're given four bombs on each screen, but you've only got five lives and when they're all used up, it's curtains.

This is the end of the roller coasters' route - once they've been round the entire circuit, they'll pass through here ... only to reappear a matter of seconds later!

LEVEL 2

DIFFICULTY RATING: 3/5

The ladders provide a sanctuary from the roller coaster cars - in a crisis. you can let them trundle underneath while you stay safe at the top of the ladder. Watch that your head doesn't touch the track above, though - you wouldn't want to lose your head, would you?

Above some of the ladders, you'll see the red heart shapes, tokens of your love for your sweetheart trapped in Kong's grasp. To grab some bonus points, nip up the ladders and touch them.

There's a time limit for each screen, bit in the YS playtest this never actually proved to be a contributing factor to on-screen loss of life. Apparently, though, on higher levels, it does make things a bit awkward!

Intersections in the track certainly make life difficult. Where two tracks meet, it doesn't matter which one you're standing on - the roller coasters could get you. A little unfair - but that's life (or death!).

LEVEL 3

DIFFICULTY RATING: 5/5

The hero of the piece has a total of four bombs each screen - and these are designed to destroy the roller coaster cars. You've got to fire a bomb to destroy a car on the straight; as soon as a bomb tries to manoeuvre for a corner, it self-destructs!

This is where the hero's sweetheart has been stashed away. Although she appears on each screen, it's only when you get on to the fourth screen that you actually get to touch her; usually, if you get anywhere near her, you're transported to the next level!

Yes, you've probably noticed by now that all the screens look pretty much alike. However, this screen is by far the hardest to complete!

The 'BONUS' marker here acts like a fruit machine, with each of the individual letters spinning. The idea is to collect the hearts and keep the letters spinning - and when you've got them all going, you get bonus points. Confused? You will be!

You'll notice that when you get the hero going downhill on the track, he slides down on his backside! It's certainly quick, but he's probably got piles now..

LEVEL 4

DIFFICULTY RATING: 4/5

When the hero's killed, he falls on his back with his legs in the air. Not a pleasant experience!

As you progress through the levels, the track may look the same... but some of these empty spaces are filled with all sorts of obstacles. For example, try avoiding the bowls of black custard if you can!

When you get through this level, play begins back at Level 1 again: this time, though, you collect Spectrums instead of hearts. (No-one managed to get through the third level so we don't know if you than have to collect Spectrum+s!)

This here's your first good look at Kong. All he does is sit there like a parrot on a perch, making no contribution to the game at all. He does, however, close his eyes if you manage to catch up with your sweetheart. Thrills!