One of the first releases from Artic's new Antartic budget range but it leaves me very cold indeed. The blurb has it like this: 'a classic game of fast and furious action that requires lightning reflexes.' After several hours of reflexing over and over again it became clear that what we have in The Master is a severe case of the 'Oh my God, Manic Miner again except that the whacky sprites aren't funny at all, and anyway the program doesn't know how to use them properly since everything looks translucent and insubstantial' syndrome.
The creaky plot has you simply jumping and bouncing your fast and furious way around lots of screens collecting crosses, dodging some depressingly whacky sprites, and then leaving the screen to go on to the next one which, you can be sure, is even more whacky than the one before. The single element that amounts to a good, or at least original, idea is that every so often one of the crosses bursts into flames making it too hot to handle - the usual instant death results.
Theoretically, the point of all this bouncing around is to collect enough crosses to kill The Master. Your character comes complete with an inexhaustible stock of what looks like custard pies with which to temporarily blast lesser monsters. The Master, being a sort of vampire type creature, is killed merely by your having gone through all the screens and collecting all the crosses - I can sympathise since going through the whole game would damn near kill me.
The programming is very dodgy, aside from platforms from which you can walk at least five steps into thin air before falling - just like a Roadrunner cartoon - there seem to be some occasions when you can hang on to a platform by the neck. Quite apart from the fact that jumping through steel girders and other solid constructions is a frequent part of the game.
Even at £1.99 the program is overpriced and, even if you absolutely love Manic Miner style games, I doubt you'll want this...
Joystick: Kempston, AGF
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Sub Manic Miner - not good enough at a budget price. Dodgy programming and unimaginable sprites.