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US Gold Ltd
1985
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

72,73
Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

US Gold came with the classic, Beach Head, saw it was a winner and now it's set to conquer the world with Beach Head II. Rick Robson rallies his reinforcements and prepares to fight...

The evil Dictator from Beach Head is back again - but this time there's not a beach in sight. Even if he can't kick sand in the faces the weak and defenceless it'll take all your Stallone skills to overcome him in his new jungle setting.

This final battle takes place over four screens. First you must parachute your troops behind enemy lines from a helicopter. Just take care to avoid the raking fire of the dictator's pill box. Desperately your men take cover behind the first rampart. Mustering your forces you make a dash for the second wall. Beleaguered by the blitz of lead you must then combine bravery with brains, guts with guile. Some of your men will act as decoys, others will make futile suicide dashes, a brave few will succeed in bombing the machine gun only to die in the rapid rattle of lead.

But once under your command, you can turn the pill box against the dictators jungle fortress. Use it to give covering fire against tanks, land mines, tunnelers and even masonry dropped from the fortifications. In this way you can rescue your long-imprisoned comrades.

And now it's time to pursue the fleeing forces of evil. Back in your whirring attack chopper you hug the contours of the jungle escarpment, evading the natural hazards and missing the missiles. Success in this phase will take you to the end.

And as in all great battles - Vader vs Obi-wan Kenobi, Holmes vs Moriarty, Border vs Botham - the climax is a head to head, an eyeball to eyeball confrontation, just you and the dictator, glaring across a cavernous gulch, your only weapons knives, your wits and your will to win... between you the raging torrent roars, soon to claim its victim, you... or the dictator.

Of course if there's a touch of evil within you, there's no reason why you can't be the dictator. You can even use the game's fine one-to-one facility for a duel to the death.

Technically its hard to find fault with a game forged as formidably as any of US Gold's armoury. I found the final screen a bit wet (in more ways than one) after the furious hardware of the previous screens. But if you've got this far on all three levels of difficulty maybe you need the rest. And perhaps the fairly average graphics don't quite match up to the game play. But now I'm splitting hairs where most people'll just want to get in there and start splitting heads.

9/10
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Banner Text

ATTACK

Okay you guys, go get 'em - hit 'em fast, hit 'em hard and give 'em hell. And for chrissakes, don't muss your hair up - CBS T.V. is here."

Fly high and your men will be vulnerable - too low and their chutes won't open - or you might be fated to a forced landing. Press fire to drop your men - and change direction to confuse the machine gunner.

Once your men are established, watch for the lights - when they're on you can make a dash for it from here. You can only choose your direction - once sprinting you can't change your mind - so don't run into the rain of death.

Having got to this wall your men will either go round it directly - they can hurl grenades and manoeuvre but they're also very vulnerable - or scramble over the flanks. Most of these soldiers will make it to safety, but they can't attack the gun. Now select your strategy...

Each soldier you land scores 200 points, each one to the second wall 2000, and if you make it to the last wall, notch up another 1,000. Blowing up the pill box gains you 4000 - but at what cost to your own men? Dare you take the risk?

The pill box - mum always said to keep away from these! Just one gun, but it's not the soft underbelly of the dictator's defences. When on the enemy side it rotates and elevates automatically.

Eh, cara mia and caramba - why don't these gringos leave me alone to chew my cheroot and cause chaos in the cosmos!

RESCUE

We gotta get our boys out before they forget the taste of Budweiser and stop loving Minnie Mouse.

Unfortunately the fortress takes up a big chunk of screen. Looks pretty but it's really a waste of space - just like watching Arsenal, everything takes place on one half of the pitch!

Your men, nine of 'em, have to be rescued but presumably they're blindfolded, and deaf as they can only walk in a straight line across the screen. It's your job to blast away the obstacles - tanks, tunnellers and mines.

This little bloke whizzes along the ramparts and drops things on you. If that's not enough of a headache manholes and mines appear beneath your feet - unless that covering fire hot, hot, hot!

Nothing subtle about this tank. He doesn't use his guns - just flattens your forces. He's easy to hit, but don't waste too much time on him - he's not worth many points. Make tracks for the mines and tunnellers.

The extra line doesn't tell you who's winning the Superbowl. But it does let you know how many of your good buddies have made it to the other side. Can you make it to the next screen?

Santa Maria, Ardilles and Villa - will the never forget the Alamo?

BATTLE

Remember, no */!%*/ won a war by laying down his life for his country but by killing the */&$?% on the other side.

Scattered over the jungle are various hazards. Radio towers need smashing, hangars harassing, cars pranging. But don't get too carried away - tree top landings are not advised!!

Don't let the chopper cop it! Your aim is threefold. Stay alive, blast the dictator's installations and get those hostages abroad.

The bridge is a major obstacle. Do your Airwolf aerobatics and fly through the arches for maximum effect. It's not exactly Cyclone but you could get blown away with this phase of the action.

The screen scrolls convincingly but with no radar, terror comes literally out of the blue. But there's still time to evade the dictator's missiles and fire off a few of your own.

You crazeeee Anglo-Saxons - what's with this Day of Death? All zap, zap, Zapata! Jus' jump in your Fiesta an' come over for tequila an' a siesta.

ESCAPE

Well, it's just you and me, kid. This screen ain't big enough for the two of us, and the only way out is down.

Graphics are more Alpine than Andes. They make a pretty backdrop though, as you struggle not to drop back into the gulch of death.

Your man has movement along the platform. He can also duck and leap his opponent's weapons. At the 'easy' level this is a doddle - but it's a touch of the old hot shoe shuffle on the hard stage.

The two score boxes let you know whether you're winning the battle but losing the war. Each hit is notched up here but the important thing is to win most of the five rounds.

What's this? Antipodean archery! They look like boomerangs but they ever come back. And nor will you - 'cos if you're hit enough times it's a real pain in the neck - and then it's the early bath for you!

The platform limits your manoeuvrability - no backward steps allowed. At least the dastardly dictator can't stab you in the back!

You teenk you can catch Sancho with his Panza down? You must teenk I'm Caracas.