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Melbourne House
Beam Software
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

Street Hassle is the first release from the new look Melbourne House - the first after its take-over by Mastertronic.

It's a sort of cartoon Ninja game with strong Renegade overtones. It isn't great but is curiously addictive in a way. And it's quite funny.

You control a large (if sparsely detailed) muscleman complete with ridiculously tiny swimming trunks. He trolls off down an ordinary suburban street and is accosted by assorted upstanding citizens.

Including stray dogs and grannies. A large part of the game is therefore of the traditional sort - various joystick and Fire button combinations get your man headbutting, grabbing, punching, walking or ducking.

What moves are available partly depends on you are attacking - for example the dog is amenable both to having its tummy tickled (joystick down) and headbutting (a sort of grabbing motion).

There is a little more to it than that, however. The game isn't a celebration of mindless violence. You must try not to attack the grannies, for example, and this seemingly simple objective is actually very difficult in the heat of battle - they have a habit of stumbling into your path whilst you are dealing with someone else. If you should accidentally start to wipe out grannies they retaliate by chucking things at you and hitting you over the head with their umbrellas.

There are a few other elements to the game - occasionally (Melbourne House is trying for the Ageist Game of the Year Award) someone walks on and places a box in front of you - this may either be a bonus life or a bomb character, you'd better figure out which quickly.

I dunno about this one. I don't like the graphics - they are similar to those in the ill fated Inspector Gadget they begin large but are somehow empty of detail. It's a technique Beam, the programmer, has used before so they must obviously like it but I think it makes the game look insubstantial. The gameplay is OK and the mindless violence is funny, as are the bizarre comments that run across the bottom of the screen as you play. It bothered me that I got through three out of six levels the second time around (streets are loaded in from tape in batches of six at a time). That strikes me as a bit easy particularly since at the time I didn't know it wasn't OK to total the old ladies and still got to second place in the high scores chart. Maybe this aspect of the gameplay needs tightening up. It's no fun unless you can do a bit of granny-bashing. Don't buy without seeing first.

Label: Melbourne House
Author: Beam Software
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Cartoony fun-style Renegade street violence game. Graphics don't impress but it is moderately addictive and quite funny.


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BEAM SOFTWARE is Melbourne House's prolific in-house team based in Australia.

SOFTOGRAPHY: Hungry Horace (Melbourne House, 1983), The Hobbit (Melbourne House, 1983), Way of the Exploding Fist (Melbourne House, 1985), Rock 'n' Wrestle (Melbourne House, 1986), Judge Dredd (Melbourne House, 1987), Fist II (Melbourne House, 1987), Bazooka Bill (Melbourne House, 1987), Knuckle Busters (Melbourne House, 1987), Doc The Destroyer (Melbourne House, 1987), Inspector Gadget (unreleased, 1983)