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Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

If you're going to have another bash at a chop-'n'-slash combat game, the only way to make it attractive is to make sure that it's bigger, faster and more violent than any of the other fifteen thousand on the market.

Samurai Trilogy from Gremlin succeeds on count one but not on the other two, which are probably more important.

Indeed one of the most annoying aspects of the game is that it's multiload, with each stage of your progress as a ninja assassin having to be loaded from tape separately.

The worst bit, though, is that the steelhard warriors look about as threatening as a flock of sheep. Although the backgrounds are nice, there's no real sense of skill or speed in the movements of the characters.

Before starting you have to go through all sorts of character definition routines, when all you really want is to get chopping. You can select which form of training you prefer - Makihara, Kihon, Ibuki and so on - allocate five fighting points between your skill, speed, stamina and strength - first in attack, then in defence, and finally choose your opponent.

The problem is that whoever you choose, they all look very much the same and fight the same. The various joystick controlled chops and kicks are similar to those of any other martial arts game, but without the novelty value of some of the killer blows in, say, Barbarian or Sai Combat.

Each fighting bout has a time limit in which you must chop your opponent, or, in the case of the later levels, kick or batter him.

So dull is the action that I was expecting a little note saying "The master has gone home. You'll never make a ninja warrior. Stick to embroidery".

A great chance to add a strategic element to the chop-'n'-slash genre, muffed by poor gameplay and inadequate action.

Label: Gremlin Graphics
Author: In-house
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K (multi-load)
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Some good ideas, but not good enough to compete with the many better martial arts games on the market.