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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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Gareth Adams, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Green eyed girls are in big demand, for only by marrying and sacrificing one can the villainous, Mandarin Lo Pan secure a mortal body. The girlfriends of Jack Burton and Wang Chi are captured for this very purpose, and taken down into the underground world lying beneath San Francisco's Chinatown.

In order to rescue Gracie Law and Miao Yin, our heroes, accompanied by their friend Egg Shen, must tight a way through Chinatown and into the Mandarin's sewer world.

Jack Burton at first defends himself only with his fists, though if he can get far enough into the Mandarin's lair he can pick up and use a Bushmaster gun and ammunition.

Wang Chi is a martial arts expert who is able to pick up and use any sword he finds. Blades become fragile and eventually break, but replacements are found en route.

Unlike his two walking companions, Egg Shen floats along on a cushion of mystical vapour. Magical powers are his forte though initially the magic bolts he fires have limited range and strength. On finding a potion bottle he can shoot devastating lightning bolts over greater distances. Shen's zapping ability has a limited life, but picking up fresh potion supplies revives his strong magic.

Controlling all three characters, you can switch between them at any time - by typing the initial letter of the characters name you want to take the lead. He is then leapfrogged to the front with the other two following. Each prospective hero is able to move forwards or backwards, jump, duck and attack at different heights, (from low to high). Weapons are picked up by walking the appropriate character over them.

As they progress the status of each hero is given, Burton to the left, Chi in the centre and Shen to the right. In each character's window, together with their portraits are three entwined yin and yang signs - the male and female Chinese symbols of destiny. These indicate stamina levels and are reduced by exertion and contact with the Mandarin's guardians and his magic - food replenishes these reserves. A character dies when his entire stock of Yin and Yang signs vanishes. Collecting a potion bottle adds strength to all three heroes.

The scenario unfolds over four levels. On the streets of Chinatown the Mandarin's hoodlums are encountered. Highly skilled in the martial arts or carrying guns and swords, some of these evasive, somersaulting thugs do not allow our rescuers to pass without a fight.

Street warriors also patrol the sewers of the next level, but now they are accompanied by energy sapping sewer monsters that cannot be killed, only evaded.

Lo Pan's Headquarters make up the third level, populated by hat wearing elemental beings called Storms. At every level when gangsters or thugs are killed they evaporate into a smoke-puff. Points are credited at the base of the screen, on the death of each. Weapon-wielding thugs and Storms give more points when destroyed. Defeat these and the other henchmen and Lo Pan himself can be faced in combat.

The Marriage Chamber at the headquarters heart is the last level. Here Armoured warriors appear, accompanied by to Pan who floats on a flying cloud. The united skills of all three heroes are required to defeat the Mandarin, for Lo Pan must be shot, pierced and zapped before he is eventually killed. On his death Miao Yin and Grade Law can embrace their men once more.


'I'm sure that all the martial arts gamesters will love this one. Big Trouble is a good likeness to the film, running around pulverising the enemy - making a change from the usual sub-standard conversions. The graphics are not the usual run-off-mill either, but the backgrounds have an inclination to repeat on all levels. The characters' animation is also very effective, with a different forms of movement lending a distinct personality to each. The tune lends an oriental atmosphere, helping add even more to the overall effect. I enjoyed playing Big Trouble - but It would be better if it were slightly cheapen.' GARETH

What a disappointment Big Trouble is... The music's excellent and very appropriate for the game. The effects are crunching, even if they aren't very varied. The graphics are very detailed and well drawn - the backgrounds scrolling smoothly. But that's about it! The game contains little else. I got very quickly bored with just blowing up every tough character that stepped in my way. Superb presentation, but no game. If you pay ten pounds for this you'll be disappointed.' PAUL

'This isn't a particularly amazing game; the graphics are only adequate, but the playability is there and there's a few hours enjoyable scrapping to be had. I haven't seen the film (and it friends ' comments are anything to go on, then I'm one of the lucky ones!) so I can't draw any comparisons, but the game is reasonable; the only problem being its high price. I doubt its tastabllity - maybe a few days. maybe a bit more - but certainly not ten quid's worth. Have a look, if only because there haven't been that many good beat 'em ups lately.' MIKE

Control keys: I/O left/right, Y/H up/down, P to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: smooth moving, animated foreground spates with detailed but unvarying backgrounds
Sound: good play tune and suitably hefty spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: four levels
General Rating: A well implemented licence with plenty going for it, but it's a high price to pay for slick presentation.