US Gold Ltd
1988
Arcade: Action
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Alkatraz Protection System

96
Nick Roberts, Paul Sumner, Kati Hamza
Chris Bourne

The crowds are cheering, the players walk out on to the screen, the whistle goes and, amidst squeals of snuffling excitement, the porkiest match of the season is about to begin!

The basic rules of this porcine game are taken from the coin-op, Pigs and Bombers, yet to be released in the arcades. One or two players join a group of intrepid piglets on a playing area marked out by a series of numbered, black time bombs. When the referee blows his whistle, all the pigs attempt to pick up the bombs and throw them at each other. Once dispatched, a bomb begins its countdown to explosion. Any pigs in the immediate vicinity of the blast die a sudden, untimely death. (Unlike their opponents, players have four chances to survive a fatal blast.) Particularly accurate or amorous pigs are in with an advantage. A direct hit kills an opponent immediately: stealing up on unsuspecting piglets to give them a kiss embarrasses them into a useful fit of momentary disorientation.

Different pigs react differently to being kissed or attacked. Before play commences the program gives a run-down of your opponents, including their name and characteristics. Metal pigs are particularly hard to defeat and require two or three hits before they blow up.

Some pigs leave behind bonus icons when they explode. Collecting these can increase throwing power, gas other pigs (while providing you with a useful gas mask) or boost running ability. Other extras include a blast suit (protection against one direct hit), smart bombs (to clear the whole screen) and extra carrying power.

Play is divided into a series of rounds interspersed with a bonus level. Pigs pop up from craters in the ground inviting you to kiss them before they shyly pop down again. Kiss as many pigs as possible to see your bonus rating and your status as porky psycho rise

CRITICISM

'Yeah, blow up them cute little pigs and save your bacon (groan!). Psycho Pig UXB may not be a fantastically brilliant game and it may not have a superhuman hero in it, but I like it. All you have to do is run around the screen blowing up your opponents, collecting bonus object and rescuing little piglets (ahhh). There are a variety of piggy pals to blow up, some wearing their cool shades and some almost in their birthday suits! Tim Follin's 128K music really gets the foot tapping and makes every pig look like he's doing a jig. Psycho Pig UXB is full of surprises and has some very nice graphics here and there, so don't hog all those blockbuster games, play with the pigs!' NICK ... 70%

'Well if this is the sort of arcade game that Jaleco produce then perhaps they're wise to keep their machines in Japan. The transfer to the Spectrum is not the problem - in fact, Software Creations have done a fine job - the fault lies with the arcade machine in the first place. Games this are only suited arcade atmosphere. They'll keep you addicted for five or six goes, but any more and you're bored! Such a game should never have been licensed by US Gold in the first place. Psycho Pig UXB won't keep any computer owner hooked for more than a few days. The options screen is about the best part of the game - at least it's not cluttered up with farmyard creatures. Psycho Pig UXB isn't even funny! With such bad material the programmers could do little better.' PAUL ... 50%

'Having got their hands on a real porker of a game, US Gold have taken almost every chance they've got to ham it up. The object is surprisingly simple and incredibly silly; a prime recipe for excellently addictive play. As it stands, Psycho Pig UXB is quite good fun - it would have been even better if a bit of colour had been included. The piggy parade at the beginning of each game gives a tantalising list of colour-coded names (obviously left over from the coin-op). Unfortunately as there are no colours on this conversion, none of them are in the least bit relevant. All the pigs look exactly the same, so in the scuffling, snuffling fray you can't really tell them or their particular traits of character apart. The arena which could have been bursting with humorous activity just looks pale, tired and wan. It doesn't spoil the pleasure of bombing porky piglets but it doesn't mean that this is one of those conversion which is unlikely to hog the limelight for very long.' KATI ... 75%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: porky characters with no backgrounds
Sound: good of country barn dance music on the 128K playing throughout the game
Options: continue play option when dead, definable keys
General Rating: Initially addictive, but lacking any long-lasting appeal.

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