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Zigurat Software
1987
Arcade: Action
£7.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

48
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Something bizzare's happening in the old bazaar. Baghdad? That's no way to talk about yer mum, son. But what a way to Cairo on. There's evil Arabs aplenty pitting themselves against the three heroes - or rather two heroes and one heroine - of this all-shooting arcade-adventure.

But if I say 'arcade-adventure' that could suggest naff little graphics and plenty of leaping and dodging, with lots to do with arcade, but precious little to do with adventure. Mystery Of The Nile is much more a case of characters on a quest.

So put Willy out of your mind and think instead of Wally and his ilk. Your heroic trio here are big, chunky sprites, smoothly animated as they pursue their mission in the Middle East. So select your controls and step on down Nevada Smith - who swears he's never been Indiana - Al-Hasan, your Arab ally, and Janet, the plucky dame.

Actually, it's Janet who you encounter first, alone and aloft, atop a balcony amidst the minarets (coo, dead poetic, what?). Time for a little ledge leaping as she hurtles for her ammunition. Each character has it's own weapon and in the case of Janet it's bombs.

Once she's picked up the explosives - which resemble a pile of profiteroles - she's ready to do some arcade-adventuring. Don't expect to have to discover lots of obscure objects and build your own fusion reactor to get ofF the screen, though. There's nothing so intellectually taxing in this game. Instead, you just have to kill enough dastardly Arabs to progress.

In fact, it won't take long to learn that the secret of finding Abu-Sahl and the Jewel of Luxor (though it don't say Lux-or what) is to keep on killing. But it's not quite so thick-eared as it sounds. You have to learn where the enemy appears from, so that you can deal with them efficiently. And be prepared to dodge gunshots and the odd stick of dynamite, because they won't all sit around and wait for you to play top-the-towelhead!

Three screens into the game and you run into the next of three daredevil adventurers. Al-Hassan - but Paul Simon calls him Al - follows and once you've picked up his weapon, an umbrella which he uses to deadly effect, you can change between characters with the number keys.

Two more screens and you're off to Nevada - Smithy that is (handsome and heroic - obviously some relation). He packs a six-shooter (Or is he just glad to see Janet? - Ed) which he picks up in the next screen. So now you've rounded up the trio and things really start to get tricky.

Heroes they may be but brainy... forget it! In times of stress they keep cool... so cool they get in each other's way! Talk about stoopid! The only way you can prevent yourself shootin, stabbing or blowing up one of your allies, depending on who you've got under control, is to work out the order in which they follow each other.

Later screens introduce nastier problems, such as assassins on roof-tops and attacks from both sides. It's at times like this that you'll need a double-ended defence and a few extra fingers as you switch between characters. Each screen has its own particular problems, and by the time you've fought your way to the end of the tenth, you'll be glad of the save facility which means that further games can start without too much dull repetition.

The mystery of Mystery's origin is easily solved - Made in Spain sort of gives it away. But like so much Spanish software, while this is great on the graphics, it's a little lacking in terms of playability. You have to be so swift with the number punching if you're to defend yourself that only professional typists need apply for the quest.

No, that's not fair. It's tough, but it can be beaten. I know because there were times when I was sure I'd never get off a screen... and then I discovered the secret and off I went. So get the sand in your sandwiches and camel-long on this Middle-Eastern massacre. And don't stop what you're dune till you reach your just deserts.

Tough large-scale arcade-adventure with lots of shooting and bombing as a terrific trio take on the evil Abu-Sahi.

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