Greg A. Holmes, SP
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£7.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

99
Nathan Jones, Mike Dunn, Dave Hawkes
Chris Bourne

It's yet another struggle for the secrets of existence in this official tie-in with the much-hyped (and much-derided) Masters Of The Universe film - itself a tie-in with the successful cartoon and Mattel toy range.

And Gremlin Graphics hasn't been put off its love of licences by two previous Masters Of The Universe games: an arcade adventure from US Gold (28% Overall in CRASH Issue 38) and an adventure from US Gold's subsidiary Adventuresoft (84% in Issue 44).

In Gremlin Graphics's new product, the eight scattered chords to the key that controls time must be found before they can tall into the evil grasp of Skeletor. He-Man is the only one who can avert this disaster.

The action commences in the streets where our muscle pumped hero meets numerous creations of Skeletor who can fire upon him. Each time he is hit, they deprive him of valuable energy. The energy which remains is shown by a sword at the side of the main screen. He-Man can restore his energy by gathering the discarded swords that lie about. If his energy drops to zero, one of his four lives is lost.

He-Man can fight back, and when he hits a henchman he scores points. A certain score yields a chord, and on gaining a chord the next stage of the mission can begin. In stage two the hunk chunk hero begins in a scrapyard where he is confronted by two of Skeletor's top crew, Blade and Karg. If they can be beaten, then our man, who makes a body builder look like a babe in arms, moves on to another level.

Battle awaits him all the way along the line, and again those elusive chords remain to be collected. Eventually, when he has climbed a ladder reaching to the sky and travelled on a space-disc, He-Man is transported to the scene of a violent shoot-'em-up against hordes of Skeletor's soldiers.

Should He-Man succumb to these terrifying odds and be captured by these cohorts, then he is taken to the Castle of Greyskull. Skeletor is the victor unless He- Man has all eight chords in his hands.

During this final stage, the culmination of all his efforts, He- Man must use all of his guile, strength and combat skill to overwhelm Skeletor and then make himself Master of the Universe. A countdown at the bottom right of the screen, shows the time constraint within which He-Man must work.

CRITICISM

'I am glad that Gremlin has got the Masters Of The Universe licence because it usually makes a first-class job of these 'theme' games. Your first encounter with this one might lead you to believe that it's Just another Gauntlet clone. But it's smoother than Gauntlet because there are fewer characters on the screen and everything's much clearer. I loved the shoot-'em-up and thought that there were some nice little touches such as the energy being in the shape of a sword. The Inlay card includes a map which is easy to understand and I think that the cemetery is the best combat area for graphics and gameplay.' NATHAN ... 76%

'After US Gold's depressing licence of the He-Man cartoon it is at least a relief to see that Gremlin has done rather better with the film and its nice to see that the finished game has at least some connection with its subject matter. Everything is pleasantly presented, with attractive backgrounds and small but adequate sprites, though the sound is nothing to get excited about; it consists of distinctly average FX and a rather muted tune. The way in which the screen orientation revolves whenever you change screens enables all scrolling to be vertical (and hence smooth); however a catch is that the effect is very disconcerting. Yet everything remains playable enough, and the variety of subgames provide extra interest-' MIKE ... 71%

'Masters Of The Universe presents some interesting graphics though the colour leaves a lot to be desired. However, I didn't find it addictive. The first stage is better than the second, but walking around just shooting everything does get boring.' DAVE ... 64%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: well-animated and intricately detailed, but need more colour
Sound: average spot effects
General Rating: The best all three attempts at the cartoon tie-in.

71%
74%
70%
72%
70%

Screenshot Text

Gremlin's graphics: 'intricately detailed but need more colour'.

Finally mastered: the third Masters of the Universe tie-in is the best.