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US Gold Ltd
Simon Ffinch
1986
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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68,69
Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

They came from across the waters of the Atlantic. They came wearing very little clothing, and they came about six months after the adverts first started appearing.

They came in obvious answer to a desperate cry from US Gold - 'Send us a martial arts program!'. Yes, The Amazon women have finally arrived.

What we have is an all-female Fighting Warrior. The Wild Women of Wongo meet Exploding Fist.

The plot is absurd: you play Lady Wilde, whose plane has crashed in the jungles of South America. Your baby daughter has been spirited away by the savage Amazon women, and you must fight a whole string of these superwomen in order to rescue the helpless little thing.

Control is simple. You can move left and right, jump up and duck, or jump forward. With the fire button held down, you can thump your foe on the head, in the belly or round the shins. At first you only have a club, but you can exchange that for your enemy's weapons if she has better - on Level 4 the Amazons carry swords, and at Level 8 axes.

The play is split into ten zones, and each one must be completed within four minutes. That's not too hard a limit - if you can't do it in the time then it's probably because you're dead. I found the early Amazons rather thick and easy to despatch once a good rhythm of play was established. But after two or three have been killed they get a lot smarter, and you begin to understand why Wonder Woman always wins in the end.

There are additional hazards. Every so often arrows fly across the screen, some high, some low, and there's a peculiar little plant called a Spiker which hurls a couple of oversized conkers at you. It's important to learn to avoid those quickly, as you cannot afford the wasteful drain in energy.

Graphics are in monochrome omen - green and black - and the jungle backgrounds are nicely cluttered with old ruins and hairy creepers. At times it is difficult to see the arrows and spikes against the background, which is probably deliberate and certainly realistic. There are clearer areas, and it's worth trying to move into the open when dodging. Animation is also competent, although with only a few movements compared to most combat games it jolly well should be.

I was well-prepared to hate this game, given that it's late and backed by one of the most appalling ad campaigns.

In fact it's great fun to play, and I wouldn't mind betting it'll do well. A little easy, though.

Chris Bourne

Publisher: US Gold
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair. Cursor

****

4/5