My goodness, they've really rolled out all the Adventuresoft crew for this one. Teoman Irmak - who's often cited when superlative graphics are in the offing - hasn't been seen since Touchstones Of Rhiannon. As with that release, the title of this is a bit involved, running something like He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Superadventure - The Terra quake Game. It's being released in adventure and arcade forms by Adventuresoft's parent company US Gold.
For anyone not familiar with this He-Man chappie, let's run through the story line... Skeletor never rests in his struggle to overwhelm Eternia and become the kingdom's absolute ruler. Now he has developed an Earthquaker device, which controls through hypnotic rays a horde of Rockbinders, gigantic beasts created from boulders who can gnaw their way through solid rock. They can also reconstruct themselves after injury in battle.
Under Skeletor's malevolent supervision the monsters are even now tunnelling beneath the foundations of the Shadowlands and approaching the borders of Eternia.
You play the part of Adam, Prince Of All Eternia; you must take up the Sword Of Power, assume your He-Man alter ego and challenge Skeletor. I don't know about you, but for my liking that story has a bit too much in common with Never Ending Story.
The gameplay is pure Adventuresoft - bright white background, scruffy presentation with no highlights in the text, and a general feel of untidiness, as at the very start where the question 'Do you want to restore a saved game?' remains on the screen for the first location. It's very confusing and untidy.
Still, there's a good loading screen without multicoloured screech patterns around the border but with mesmeric countdown in true US Gold fashion, and the adventure begins with a picture of King Radnor seated on his throne. On either side of the picture are, presumably, He-Man and his adversary Skeletor. This Skeletor isn't the pushover he sounds-the creature has a hunky body just like He-Man's, with a skeletal head perched on top of bulging muscles.
The pictures are of a very high standard, though many might find they don't match those in Touchstones Of Rhiannon.
Often the pictures use the mirror-image trick to conserve memory - understandable, given the number and quality of graphics throughout the adventure.
Masters Of The Universe is another cloned Adventuresoft release from a few months back, but it's dropped considerably in price and should be a good buy.
DIFFICULTY: rather easy
INPUT FACILITY: verb/noun
The evil Skeletor pretends not to recognise He-Man in this scene from Adventuresoft's tale of darkness.
That's Skeletor again, malevolently mastering the universe.