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

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

"What the software industry needs is designer violence", runs one of the enigmatic scrolling messages on the bottom of the display of Street Hassle. Well, yes and no - it might need designer violence, but it would have to be a bit more designery than this mediocre comedy head-punching game.

Originally squirted out by Melbourne House in the days when martial arts games were just beginning to get into the "whatever gimmick can we come up with next" mode, Street Hassle (based on the song by crumbly Lou Reed? - probably not) isn't half as funny as it thinks it is. For a start, I can't quite see why the tattooed, heavily-muscled hero wears sunglasses, silver shorts and wrestling boots in his campaign to clean up the city. Secondly, I don't completely understand why flying old ladies, stone-throwing blind men, escaped gorillas, jack-in-the-boxes and big woofy dogs form the majority of the opposition, though the bomb-throwing revolutionaries I did appreciate. Lastly, I wish the irritatingly obscure scrolling messages - "Crime swallows like a microphone stand". "Think of it as evolution in action" - would just GO AWAY!

The game does have its good points, including a wide repertoire of fighting moves such as the flying leap, head butt, strangle, aerodynamic spin and dog pat (DOG PAT!?) which change according to the level. You have to experiment to find out which move takes out which enemies; guess which one the Dog Pat deals with? Not much else changes though; the brick walls, park benches and alleyways in the backgrounds get pretty tedious as they scroll past at a snail's pace, though the actual animation of the characters, especially the muscle-bound hero, is OK.

As you'd expect, at the top of the screen you get strength meters showing how close you and your current opponent are to defeat. Two headbutts or strangles are usually enough to see off a blind man, or old lady, while gorillas obviously need a bit more. You get points for each you bump off. and a bonus at the end of each level (after level five, subsequent levels have to be loaded from tape on the 48K version).

Hard to get really excited about, although it's amusing for about ten minutes.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Beam Software
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Not hal as funny or action-packed as it thinks it is; one for curiousity collectors only.


Screenshot Text

Casually walking past ferocious snarling beasts, our gargoyle-spectacled thug cuts a handsome "dash".

C'mere Grandad, and sew a button on this!

Take that, Mr Gorilla! With my dodgy tattoo and sparkly shorts will send you packing.