Rastan must be one of the oddest looking blokes I've ever seen. He wanders round wearing nothing more than a pair of furry Y-fronts with kinky metal trim, and his hair obviously hasn't been near a bottle of Head And Shoulders for months. What's more, this guy is meant to be the King of Maranna! Just think of the outcry if our Liz turned up to open a new railway station looking like this! Maps its just as well that he's a bit macho actually, as his kingdom has been over-run by all sorts of horrible monsters, sent by the evil Karg, and Rastan is the only chap brave enough to volunteer to get rid of 'em.
Rastan (the game) is actually Imagine's spanking (Yurk! Yurk!) new arcade conversion, and all that I've just told you is in fact the plot to it. The coin-op is one of the best around at the moment, a great consumer of ten pees, and this conversion has managed to capture most of the intestine-spreading, brain-shredding atmosphere of the original, which is no mean feat.
Armed with a steely stare and one of the biggest choppers (Kwoo-ooar, eh?) this side of the USS Nimitz, Rastan sets out on his journey through six scrolling levels, slicing his foe into pieces thin enough to stick a stamp on and post back to their evil master.
For the first few minutes he wanders around out in the open, manipulating his weapon and flashing his biceps. Nothing too challenging here, just a few thousand demons to slash up, ropes to climb up and down and lava pits to leap over, and he usually comes out of it with a few lives to spare.
Things hot up a bit once he's made it to the castle, where hell have to confront some much nastier nasties, not to mention bats which flit around causing untold damage to our hero's anatomy.
Rastan is more than just a horizontal scroller. In fact it scrolls all over the place as you climb up and down ropes, prance over pits of fire and explore underground caverns. All this is drawn out very nicely, graphics being one of the game's strong points. Or should that be even stronger points? Everything about this game seems to have had a good dose of spit and polish, not to mention body tissue.
But aren't we forgetting something here? That's right! Who would dare to write a game these days where there are no add-ons to collect? And there's no shortage of these in this game. Most of the things you can pick up either reduce damage to Rastan or increase your score, but if you're lucky you might find the odd mace to swing around, or some fire-balls to throw at the enemy.
But enough of all this praise! There must be a few probs somewhere, eh peeps? Well, multiloading's never any fun, but it's obviously compulsory for this one, what with all its billions of different screens (all accompanied by some great music on the 128, I might add} A re-define keys option would have been nice, as the ones that you're stuck with are pretty scummy if you're a member of the anti-joystick faction. Other than that, no grumbles.
It's nice to see that with coin-op conversions breeding faster than gerbils (and I should know - I've had experience of both!), there are still a few which stand out of the crowd. Rastan is definitely one of these, and although it doesn't quite manage to disprove the old theory that you can't cram eight million megabytes of memory and 14 custom graphics chips into something the size (and shape) of a beermat, you'd be a total twazzock to miss it.
Swipe! Sclrupsch! A bit gory, but nonetheless a great game. Just watch out for flying limbs!
The first leg of the game: just keep waving your sword around and you should be okay. You'll have to crouch down to hack up those piggy things as they scuttle around under your feet. The red squishy thing at the bottom is your own heart incidentally, not one you've chopped out of someone else!
Urgh! Bats! You can't run away from them, 'cos they follow you up and down the screen, so prod them at them until they go away. Note the way the background scrolls behind the bits in front, and it's a different colour, too!