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Melbourne House
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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16
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Bazooka Bill is the hardest soldier alive- which is why he's been asked to rescue General MacArthur from the rebel forces. The exact position of MacArthur's prison is unknown, although inside intelligence reports have hinted at a group of islands in the South Pacific. Consequently, it is in the sub-tropical paradise of Atoll Archipelago that your mission begins.

The three islands that make up the rebel stronghold are crawling with revolutionary troops armed with an impressive array of sophisticated weaponry. An individualist, Bazooka Bill starts his mission with no weapons at all except his fists and feet - his commanders expect him to make use of the resources he finds on the way. Bill can collect equipment, by walking over useful items as they are dropped by his fleeing victims. Weapons appear at the top of the screen as they are added to Bill's armoury, they can then be selected by using a cursor. Knives, Machine Guns, Flame Throwers and Bazookas become available, but each weapon has a limited useful life. Some weapons are only effective on specific targets - after all, it's no use trying to take out a tank with a Bowie Knife.

The screen is divided up into two levels connected by ladders, which either take Bill to another platform or onto a different screen altogether. The flip-screen format is used, and the ladders play an important part - it's possible to run around a building by flipping from screen to screen, but a ladder has to be used to progress into the game.

The revolutionary troops and their tanks, trucks, helicopters and jets enter play from both sides of the screen - in order to stay alive Bill has to deal death on a large scale. An extra life is awarded for every 100 revolutionaries killed, although Bill can't have more than five lives in reserve at any one time. As the rebels inflict damage on BB's body, markers in the status area disappear - when the energy read-out dwindles, a new life is taken from the quartermaster's stores. When Bill's five lives have been used up, a timer counts down from ten - pressing the C key before this timer reaches zero allows play to continue from the point reached, with a set of five new lives and the score set to zero.

Once an island has been explored and all the weapons and food collected, Bill can proceed to the next Location by stealing an enemy jet from the airport, and he has to engage in aerial dogfights on the way to his destination.

Are you soldier enough to keep up Bills reputation?

CRITICISM

'I'm sorry, but I really don't rate this new game from MELBOURNE HOUSE - it doesn't impress me in any way. It left me feeling that the programmers didn't care about what the end product eventually came out like. The gameplay is slow and becomes extremely tedious after only a short time. The graphics were designed on a sub-standard utility and are therefore pretty bad - the characters are messy and the backgrounds are dull. The sound is also well below average there are no tunes and the effects are drab. I couldn't recommend this - it isn't worth the asking price.' BEN

'MELBOURNE HOUSE area bit late with this one - OCEAN and IMAGINE have already released better games, in the same vein as this, months ago! There is nothing original or addictive in the game. The sound is very weak, and nota tune to be heard. The character is very slow responding to key presses, which makes quick fire action impossible. Some of the later islands contain some good weapons and vehicles - but nothing to keep a player enthralled for too long. Bazooka Bill seems like too little too late.' PAUL

'There is very little outstanding about Bazooka Bill the graphics are colourful (although the characters aren't particularly well animated), and the game is nothing more than an average beat 'em up. The way in which the ladders move you about in different ways isn't very well portrayed in the two dimensional graphics. I don't reckon that anyone would play this for very long: as the gameplay involved is very simple, and so addictivity suffers. Not overly playable, and with a price tag that's far too high - Bazooka Bill isn't a game I'd recommend.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q up, Z down, I left, P right, SPACE selects weapons, H pause. C continue game, F abort
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: simple yet effective
Graphics: colourful, by not very special
Sound: the odd spot effect
Skill levels: one
Screens: three flip-screen islands to explore
General Rating: A poor development on a well-worn theme.

51%
54%
41%
43%
39%
42%

Screenshot Text

Exploring a building, with only his fists to protect him, Bill soldiers on.

With a knife selected from the weapon menu, the ultimate tough guy takes on masked rebels by and oil dump.