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Martech Games Ltd
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£8.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

21
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Arr-i-yae-i-ya... i-yae-ii-ya! I just got my finger stuck in the typewriter! Now, what's set and yellow and swings from tree to tree? Tarzipan.

Or to put it another way, what's small, round and green and hangs from vines? Tarzan of the Grapes. Or another one.. who's just made his computer debut, swinging from tree to tree? Aww - you guessed!

A lot of effort has gone unto making Tarzan true to its source. Somebody's burrod deep into Edgar Rice Burroughs for a suitable plot. It all concerns the safety of Jane, 'she who he had won by the might of his steel thews'. What? I'd have thought a pair of rubber-soled thews would have been more thuited to the jungle.

It continues in this high adventure style. Tarzan 'had spoken with Manu the monkey' ("Hi, Manu, how ya doin'?") who told Tarzan that, as in so many computer games before, he would have to search for seven scattered gemstones if he was to free his beloved from Usanga and the Wamabo tribe.

Pausing only say that he'd play poker with Tarzan, but not his pet chimp, who was a Cheetah, Manu let the King of the Jungle go.

'Tarzan knew he must travel without stint.' He also knew he must travel without ticket, which meant a lot of walking, 'in the heat of Kudu the sun, and by the light of Goro the moon' and let's not forget Norman, the streetlamp.

He had to cross 'swampy morasses' where the only sound was the cry of "Give us more of that swampy ass." 'From his mighty chest arose the savage tormented cry of the bull ape...' ‘Which is where we came in, with my cry of bullsh... (Snip.Ed).

Enough. It's time for me to don my pith helmet ("Hi, my name's Don and I'm a pith helmet,") and stop taking the pith. Tarzan is actually very accurate in its creation of atmosphere. It all takes place in a beautifully drawn jungle, which has a dramatic layered effect with its silhouette of foreground branches.

Of course the jungle is a dangerous place as pouncing panthers, slithering snakes and nasty natives haunt its highways. Encounters can be all the more treacherous because that decorative scrub can obscure our steel thewed hero, so you've no idea where he is or what he's doing!

Still, when you get him out in the open, our Tarzie is an athletic sort of a bloke. He can run, roll, jump and crouch. He knows how to deliver a high punch and is also master of the jungle-fighting favourite, the low punch. But even if a belt below the belt seems, well, below the belt, Tarzan can get away with it because he's immortal.

That's right, kids. Don't try to imitate this creeper crawler because Tarzan can't die. However, if his vine shrinks (the one used to indicate his strength, dummy!) then Kudu falls, Goro rises and another day begins. As Tarzan only has three days to return Jane to safety, if he suffers too many defeats he'll have to start all over again.

Its mighty pretty and imaginative but, despite hundreds of locations, how long you want to play will depend on how much you like arcade adventures. You'll need a map and an awful lot of patience if you're to cast some light on Darkest Africa.

How will you use the objects that you find? A rope over a pit shouldn't keep you hanging around for too long, but why pick up a chimp unless you need a couple of 'ape knees. It's all classic stuff, but I was disappointed that, in the jungle, objects are only shown as black boxes.

There's also a delay between screens, and though this isn't too obtrusive when you're just walking around, it's rather annoying (especially if you're using an object) to suffer a sudden blackout while the scene is re-drawn.

Add to this a bug that occurs if you're killed during a forward roll, which appears to make you hover a foot above the jungle path, and you begin to get the idea that maybe there was a rush to get Tarzan out of the trees in time for Christmas.

Not quite King of the Jungle, perhaps, but certainly Lord of the Forest. Tarzan should keep you swinging for hours!

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Tarzan sure is a hunk! Watch his pixels ripple and his hair flow as he strides purposefully forward. Touches like this are the game's greatest strength.

Uggh - an ugly minion of Usanga. If you belt this bozo off the screen he won't bother you again, but while the first thump's easy, you have to time the others carefully or your strength's soon sapped.

The Wamambo gems appear here as Tarzan finds them. Look carefully as some need uncovering int he undergrowth. There's one for each color of the Spectrum.

As Tarzan's day gets shorter so does this shoot. When it finally shrivels the sun sinks low. A good plot is lots of running away, or failing that an application of liquid manure.

Anything you pick up appears here, to be selected with the joystick. Of course, the eventual objective is to pick up Jane and take her jungle jiving at the disco!