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Melbourne House
1986
Adventure: Graphic
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

68
Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

Don't, for your own sake, let your baby brother, or sister, get hold of this one. Unless you want to be plagued by the fearful cry of 'Kwah' closely followed by a podgy little frame descending on you from a great height.

"Kwah" is the magic word that transforms hapless, incompetent and plain-looking Kevin (the crime-photographer not the famous magazine editor) into the deep-voiced, hunky and obviously talented Red Hawk.

Red Hawk even plays like a comic book. You enter adventure-style commands in a window at the bottom of the screen while across the top the story unfolds frame-by-frame in true comic style. The graphics ain't stunning and they do tend to get a bit repetitive but at least you really feel like the hero in a real-live comic strip.

What's more, with interactive characters flitting about the place and the ability to accept some very complicated commands, it's not the usual adventuring slog at all. You can wander about quite freely without fear of instant death keeping an eye on the world, hunting for those front-page piccies and cleaning the streets of criminal scum while you're at it.

Provided you don't antagonise people (by bopping the odd policeman or talking in the library - and in particular, don't get into fights when you're Kevin not Red Hawk) - it gets to be quite a relaxed game. So relaxed in places that you'll be sitting watching a comic strip showing Kevin hanging around while "Time passes...". Or say "Kwah" and watch Red Hawk hanging about on street corners while... You get the picture.

And that's the rub - the game is almost so realistic that you can get bored looking for the next piece of action. In comics, it's all go, go go! When was the last time Judge Dredd spent an eight-parter having a bath? But, as they say, when the going gets going... it doesn't half get going. You'll believe and adventure can fly...

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What's the world coming to these days? All that talent and Red Hawk's reduced to beating up muggers. Well, these mugger-types do all look the same don't they? Still, not everyone's impressed with the C&A crime-fighting suit - try searching Lesley next time you're back at the office...