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Domark Ltd
1988
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

88
Matt Bielby
Chris Bourne

Who are the six most important people m the world? According to my morning paper they'd be cuddly Emma Ridley, family-sized Fergie, oddish Michael Jackson and the swoony' Bros triplets, or some similar combination. 'Not so!' chorus the decidedly posh' Domark boys, who obviously read rather more upmarket publications than yours truly. Their six-pack includes such bastions of sense and moderation as P. W. Botha, Ayatollah Khomeni and the (newly unemployed) leader of the free world, Mr Ronald 'McDonald' Reagan What a nice, happy go lucky bunch!

Along with Maggie, Gorby and the Pope these feature as the combatants in Domark's first (licensed) beat 'em up based on the Spitters TV show. It's a pretty standard sort of slash 'n' bash (or m this case fart 'n' gob) affair, with the various obnoxious world leaders swinging away at each other with the prize being - gosh! gasp! eek! - the World!

It's a good licence, even if the TV pundits around here reckon the mother show is currently riding the slippy slope down the televisual dumper. From the box featuring the famous Fluck and Law puppets, to the 'witty' instruction sheet, the whole package does its little best to reproduce the look and feel of the family favourite, and this continues on screen with each large sprite looking and acting the part to a tee.

Biff! Duck and dive as our 'beloved' leader Thatch lets loose with the boxing glove and flying spittle! Thwack! Stagger under the onslaught as Ronnie attacks with head-butts and broken bottles! Pok!' Squirm as groovy Gorby and his holiness the Pope jab away with the finger and banjo! Wallop! Drip as Botha 'piddles' in your direction and choke as the Ayatollah gets his hands around your larynx! The main selling point seems to be that it's all rather rude, naughty and cheeky compared to standard beat 'em up fare.

To start you must choose a world leader to play with (Oo-er) and then take on the others in turn against a series of suitably cartoony backdrops. Battles tend to be fast and fun, and with some competent playing will eventually leave only one homicidal statesperson - yourself.

Hang on a minute though! The world needs saving from you too, doesn't it? Sounds like a job for... the Queen?! Yep, Ma'am' herself leaps down from her action-watching spot on the icon strip to mud-wrestle you into the pavement. Unfortunately this takes place at night so all you can see is pairs of eyes in established comic strip (and code-saving) fashion. In the experience of all the YS players there is absolutely NO WAY to win this last bit of the game, so whatever your efforts the world remains safe. Phew, what a relief, eh? And to think we owe it all to Her Majesty.

The game is generally well thought out and designed and has proved to be quite a lot of fun on other systems but unfortunately on the Spectrum it has two rather glaring faults. The first is that once you've had fun discovering all the rude and bizarre bits you're left with a rather ordinary and not particularly hard beat 'em up. The other - far more serious problem - is with the loading. First you must load side one of the tape, then flip it over to take the characters themselves from the other side which takes ages. Then each time you lose and want another go you have to reload all six characters from side two again! Yaaghh! At this rate you'll spend 40 minutes loading out of every hour! Since both copies we got acted in exactly the same way, it doesn't seem to be a fault with the tape but a design problem. How silly.

Nicely packaged and well executed beat 'em up which would be birrova goodie if not for deadly long loading sequences.

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