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1986
Arcade: Maze
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

29
Tommy Nash
Chris Bourne

No trusty Steed, no poutatious Purdy, but you can Gambit all away on Gremlin's Avenger. Tommy Nash, YS's Tiger nut, cracks it open ...

This is more like it. A game with a realistic storyline we can all relate to (man). Yaemon, Grandmaster of Flame, (light my fire baby) has bumped off Naijishi (not the car manufacturer), your foster father, and stolen the Scrolls of Kettsuin (no dead easy scrolls these) which you have sworn to the Great God Kwon you will recover. To that end, you now stand outside the Quench Heart Keep ready to slay all who stand in your way, including Yaemon's henchmen, Manse the death mage and Honoric, keeper of the magic sword. Eat your heart out, Eastenders.

Of course, you've guessed by now that we're in for another bout of judo what. And guess whose martial parts are on the line! But if you're one of those people who have to order your kung fu moves according to the numbers down the side of the menu, then Avenger's just your cup of China tea. It lets you batter your opponents' prawn balls without first mastering a Kama Sutra full of joystick positions. Usually one chop sticks, thought you will find other weapons like shuriken and an iron fist as you explore. But is this a game to take-away? Well, like all Oriental fare, it left me feeling full at first but hungry for another go ten minutes later. So as Confucius say, let's take a wok on the wild side.

KING KUNG
Dumped outside the Great Keep, your first task is to locate the keys so you aren't kept out any longer. Once inside, your next job appears as a message on the screen, a sort of celestial teletype from the great god, Kwon. But you're just as likely to miss it on your first few goes, what with fighting off the fiends and mapping the maze of the castle. I shouldn't worry - you've probably dropped your remaining keys down one of the holes or forgotten to replenish your energy by now. This task is done by calling on Kwon as soon as your inner force fades. He'll then recharge your kung fuel. Of course, I could say that he adds a new move to the Kung Fu repertoire - the Kwon tum leap. But I won't.

The castle corridors are patrolled by a proper assortment of shady characters but except for the big nobs, they'll all succumb to a spot of reasoned argument - provided your fist's on the other end of it. But worst of all, the game's full of bugs - huge black spiders that appear from the holes to harry you. (Fortunately, there are no lice, flied or otherwise.)

RUN THE GAUNTLET
Okay, I heard you at the back. Yes, it looks like Gauntlet. Yes, it scrolls and yes, it's set in a multi-level castle full of nasties. And yes, the action's viewed from above. But really the similarity ends there. It just shows that the programmers can spot a good idea when they see one and know how to adapt it for an equally good but very different game. Avenger isn't just about fighting off hordes of horrors to reach the final screen. You don't complete it by following a particular path - you can wander at will all over the castle. Plus it has a strong plot that'll take some working out before you kill off the terrible trio and collect the Scrolls. And anyway, it's a one player game so you can tell your mates to push off!

But it is big. 298 screens that scroll rather strangely. The map is split up into nine screen units that character scroll very smoothly and very quickly. But when you reach the edge of a nine screen block you jump into the next one. At first it seems odd but you soon grow accustomed to it.

All in all, I reckon Tiger II burns as brightly as ever.

9/10
9/10
9/10
9/10
9/10

Banner Text

As in WOTT, the suns indicate your present energy levels. The top one goes down as you move about and whizzes away as soon as you touch one of the nasties. Your inner force saps more slowly but it's easy to forget to call on Kwon to replenish it.

Urgh! Just like the spider crawling out of the plug-hole after you've flushed it away for the fifth time. And the holes are just as annoying as the arachnids - if you get too close to them you'll find that you've lost a key you're carrying.

They don't like it up 'em. And neither will you. Fortunately, the spikes are only a hindrance and don't sap your strength. Just wait for them to descend back into the floor and you're free to pass.

Watch out, there's a message about to print out. As you complete each stage of your quest, the next job flashes up on the screen here. And it'll tell you what you have to do even if it doesn't specify the where and the how.

Some of the nasties just won't take death for an answer. No matter how many times you knock them off they keep coming back for more. Discretion, as the bard says, is the better part of valour. So leg it.

Ugly blighters, aren't they. But you should see them after they've popped their clogs. The flesh falls off and lets you see the skull beneath the skin.

Your quest cannot be completed unless you locate certain objects. Without giving the game away, you'll come across magic potions, crowbars, ropes and you must use them in the right order.

You can't go anywhere without keys. Well, not through the locked doors, and it's usually behind them that you'll find the objects necessary for your quest. To save wasting keys you must make a map of the important rooms.

Sticks and stones may break your bones but a Ninja's shuriken will split your skull right open. When you run out, you'll have to resort to close combat which is more costly on energy so keep your eyes peeled for extra supplies.

Treasure isn't essential to the game but it all adds to your score at the end. So, if it's there for the taking why turn your nose up?

Stop ninjng about not having many kung fu moves to master. You did all that in Way Of The Tiger. This time you have a real mission.