Matt Trakker is one of those good, clean, all-American, cleft-chin individuals who you just know is going to put things right. So when VENOM start kicking up the most almighty fuss, it's going to be Matt who gets in there and sorts the rotten so and sos out.
But what happens when there are just too many bad guys for our hero? You get a team together boy.
That's what Gremlin's MASK II is all about really. Teamwork. The game is made up of three missions, each mission requiring different agents to complete it successfully. successfully.
MASK headquarters is at Boulder Hill, and it's here, in the MASK canteen, or something similar, that all the agents are sitting rapping at the end of a long hard day. Suddenly, an alert warning flashes on the screen, followed by one of the three mission briefings. Choose a mission, and then select your agents, using the MASK computer. A MASK icon can be moved around the screen, and as it touches each agent's chair, a picture of him will be built up on the right-hand side, together with details of his vehicle and his codename.
Once you've chosen three agents, you load in the mission, and off you go. Because each mission takes place in very different terrains, you need to make sure that you have the right agents with the right vehicles. Matt's car becomes a jet the motorbike becomes a helicopter and the big truck thingy becomes a hydroplane. Not that a hydroplane would be much use to you in a jungle, mind, so you can forget that one for a start.
Now comes the real skill, as you hurtle across the landscape, scrolling at furious speed into all those evil VENOM agents, using the appropriate vehicle at the appropriate moment. No use trying to drive your motorbike through the river - better change to the speed boat instead. Luckily, the vehicles convert themselves to appropriate form automatically.
Apart from that, the gameplay is what one would expect. High speed chases across desert and jungle locations, with a good look at the VENOM base itself to boot.
And very good it looks too. The graphics are nice and big, and a lot of the VENOM agents appear to drive Renault 5s, which made me think that they can't be as bad as everyone makes out.
On the chase around the town level. MASK II is great. It's fast, furious, and mighty tricky. Just keep going and firing, and maybe you'll get to the end, maybe not. And if you take into consideration the nifty selection process, which is truly impressive to look at, not to mention the necessity of changing between vehicles are precisely the right moment, then you have yourself a pretty whacky game.
Author: Chris Kerry
Excellent sequel to MASK., Lots of hard shooting and tearing about, and a brain-aching selection part.
COLIN DOOLEY and CHRIS KELLY are regular programmers at Gremlin Graphics, who converted the original C64 code, originated by US company Mindscape, on to the Z80 machines.SOFTOGRAPHY: Chris Kerry: Way of the Tiger (Gremlin, 1986), Avenger (Gremlin , 1986), Trailblazer (Gremlin, 1987), Bounder (Gremlin , 1987), Thing Bounces Back (Gremlin , 1987)SOFTOGRAPHY: Colin Dooley: Trailblazer (Gremlin, 1987), Thing Bounces Back (Gremlin, 1987).