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Activision Inc
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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34,35
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Oh dear oh dearie me. What is it about human nature that makes otherwise nice, considerate, caring human beings (like myself) so incredibly susceptible to playing computer games that involve running around without a shirt, waving a machine gun around like a conductor's baton and blasting holes in everything that breathes? There's certainly something a little worrying about the fact that I haven't enjoyed a game quite as much as Predator in ages.

Maybe it's the chance to live out the ultimate male role; muscle-bound, good looking, tough, smart. Not that I'm devoid of any of these in real life (Snigger Ed).

Well, that could be it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's because Activision have produced one of the most playable licence games from the ideal film for computer conversion. In short, Predator is no poor show.

Everything in the game is pretty closely related to the film's storyline (see review in Outlands - 66-67) so I won't go into too much detail.

You - Major Dutch Schaeffer - (Arnold) - and a team of men are flown into a particularly dense part of the South American jungle on a mission to rescue a number of hostages from communist guerrilas, only to find yourself in deadly combat with a 7' alien with metallic dreadlocks whose idea of fun is to total homo sapiens.

You begin the game sliding down to the jungle floor from your chopper - ooer (oh good grief - get a grip) and your men go stomping off into the jungle. You're last on ground and you survey the apparently peaceful scene for a couple of seconds; nice graphics. Side-on representation, dense, atmospheric foliage at the back. Not looking too bad. Let's try moving around. Oh, I say. Very nice. The animation is great; you really get an impression that you're controlling a stocky, heavy character.

Oh, hello. We've got company. Lots of guys in black peaked caps. I'm not sure I like the look of them. Yup, I was right. They blew me to bits. These must be the guerrillas. Time to break out the artillery, I guess.

This is more like it. You can really spray the whole area by pushing the joystick round in an arc. Bad guys are buying it by the tree-load. This is easy! Oh. I've run out of ammunition. And I was doing so well. Looks like hand to hand combat for a while - urph! Take that!

Oo-er. The screen's gone all bluey-pink, and this triangle has appeared. What's going on? This must be the alien's viewfinder tracking me. Best to steer well clear of that.

Well, this is ail pretty marvellous. There are four stages to get through, each leading ever-closer to the final confrontation with the ugly s.o.b. himself. After the first stage, you find yourself in the guerilla village, then you've got to collect all of the appropriate weapons and protection necessary for the last bit.

It's a multi-load, which is an irritant, but let's face it, that's the only thing wrong with the whole game.

Predator is great. It's fast and violent and very tricky indeed. The atmosphere of the film has been captured well, with lots of victims looking all yucky and dead.

Label: Activision
Author: Source
Price: £9.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

The most solid movie conversion since Short Circuit, only less sickly sweet. As close to macho as most people will ever get.

10/10

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PROGRAMMERS

SOURCE are the people behind Predator. In this case, james Fisher and "a guy called Bryn" handled the Spectrum version with James handling all the code, and Bryn being in charge of the pictures. It took the team about two and a half months to complete, and it's their first commercial product. Can't be a bad sign of things to come.

HINTS AND TIPS

Conserve those bullets! spraying away like it's the 4th July may be fun, but you need every shot you can get.

Weave across the screen, using diagonal motion to get out of the path of anything hostile.

When you are firing, don't be afraid to blaze away when necessary. There isn't time to aim each shot. If you get a cluster of guys, you're better to just loose a burst.

When the alien's tracker beam comes up, keep running! It's easy to escape if you act quickly enough.

Watch out for hidden bad guys lurking in the dirt or up trees.