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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Talk about beefcake! He-Man™ ain't no wimp. This guy is wall-to-wall muscle - and possibly ear-to-ear as well, because his name hardly suggests the intellect of Einstein.

Still, when Skeletor™ has discovered the hearth Stone, overthrown Castle Grayskull™ banished the Sorceress™ and creatoe in army of evil clones (wot, no™?) - all before breakfast - then sword play scores higher than relativity. And as collecting the correct ingredients will turn the Sword of Power into an Atom Smasher, it's yah, boo, sucks to E=MC²!

The wizard Orko™ has been trapped by a magic trick of his own making - obviously he's more Tommy Cooper than Paul Daniels - and He-Man™ has to rescue him from Castle Grayskull™ and...

Hang on, what's all this ™ stuff??? Toy Manufacturer? Teenies Market? Total Moneymaking? After Masters of The Universe™ the TV series, the figures, the comic book, the feature film, the rubdown transfers, comes Masters Of The Universe™ the computer game.

You start deep in the middle of a forest. Seems Skeletor changed the lock when he inhabited Castle Grayskull but lucky he left a key under the mat... or almost under the mat. You have to search a little, dodging the laser barriers and cracking the odd clone, before you can sneak in.

Picking up the shimmering swords en route is also a good idea, because they give you the fire power necessary to clunk the clones before they clock you one. Colliding with them makes them vanIsh in a puff, but also saps your strength, so shoot first.

Once inside the Castle, it's time for those classic questions like which way to turn, whether to wait for the lift and what will that lever do? In short, you're stuck on screens filled with platforms, ladders and more of those confounded clones, plus the odd robot.

Picking up ingredients for the all important Atom Smasher spell should be high on the agenda. Follow that with finding Orko, who's trapped in a tower somewhere. Then it's time to skin old Skeletor and smash his Stone. Don't expect to gallop through Grayskull though. Each section has a number of problems to solve.

Graskull's graphics have dragged me out of my accustomed arcady antipathy though. They successfully suggest the style of the original cartoons. He-Man is a nicely animated little chap too, and he carries around his own background to avoid attribute clashes. It's a convenient way round the Spectrum's problems, allowing our hero to run and dive most impressively, without vanishing into the wall.

He-Man also runs, or rather glides, up and down, because there's an element of depth to the scenes, though it's not too convincingly represented. At least you can tell where you are. Unluckily, the default for a movement is to face left, which can make you turn when you'd rather not. Keyboard players face an extra hazard too. A leap iS represented by a separate key, not a combination of up and side.

This smacks of being a sprite game converted to the non-sprite Speccy, but it's been quite nicely done. Fans of the original should flex to this one, while even the unconverted should have some fun kicking sand in clones' faces.


Screenshot Text

He-Man, he has only one life. But the thick skinned so-and-so has a body shield rating. Too many hits and he'll have to retire with a bruised hide and wounded pride though.

Oh good grief! Ever wondered why clones get such a bad deal in computer games? It's so you can have lots of identical sprites!

Our botanical brute should do the Interflora with this bloom. It's one of the ingredients for Orko's Atom Smasher spell. Slay it with flowers!

What's the time? Three moons till doom! Better get a move on and stop picking wild flowers, because time flies by when Skeletor's enjoying himself.

What would an arcade adventure be without weaponry to gather? Picking up the swords keeps He-Man well supplied for his favourite hobby - skull cracking!

Leapin' lasers! There's some hi-tech on the forest highways. This is Grayskull's garden fence and it calls for some tricky timing. Jump from as far into the screen as you can when the beam pulses on.