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Hit-Pak
Not Known
1987
Compilation
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

60,61
Gwyn Hughes, Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

A musical note. In a trio you have the high, middle and low instruments to provide variety to the music. The same goes for this collection of three games, but we wouldn't advise you to play them all at the same time. Instead take them one by one and you'll discover... yes, highs, lows and the middle ground. The problem is deciding which program is which. We couldn't!

Suddenly somebody had the bright idea. "Let's throw them to the dynamic duo." So we locked Gwyn and Rachael in the reviewing room to see what would happen... then, when we had enough photographs to blackmail them, we sat down in front of a Spectrum! After all, two heads are better than one, even when one belongs to a gormless tottie and other to a crazed strategist. "Here's the Trio," we snarled. "Now let's hear ya sing!"

3DC

Rachael: Round three and it's the under the sea! But there's something decidedly wet about this Ultimate-style game... particularly when it's seen in the light of Hydrofool. It certainly sinks compared with Sweevo's submarine adventures.

All the usual features are here, such as the cryptic objects which you collect as you wonder around the maze of soggy screens, the six pockets in your diving suit, and the time limit which is linked to the amount of oxygen you use.

But there isn't enough to dodge in this arcade adventure to get the blood pounding through your veins... instead it merely trickles. I'm sure you're not supposed to doze off when you're five fathoms down but I reckon I'd rather drown. This is definitely Davy Jones-ville!

For a start there are some clever landscapes to keep you guessing. Then there's Eric the Eel, who can be collected then used to reach into areas that your portly frogman can't get into. And let's not forget the octopus, which appears whenever you dawdle and robs you of your oxygen tanks, which will leave you gasping.

I liked the way that jumping also shortens your life, to make you think about what you're doing, but it's a pity that your diver can't swim - that could have livened things up no end. I'm sure that it won't take forever to solve this but I've seen far worse games. Not bad considering you can have two copies for an ill octopus... or should that be a sick squid?

Gwyn: Hey, hang on a minute frog-face... err, sorry, frogwoman! I reckon Rachael doesn't like 3DC because there's nothing that she can shoot in it. Sure, I have to agree that the ocean bed is a bit bare, but it's no place to nod off.


GREAT GURIANOS
Gwyn: Brill idea to call this game Great Gwyn-Hughes... Wha'? Where's me reading glasses. Whoops, Sorry. It's Gurianos. Hang on... isn't that the posh word for bird doodies? (No, it's not! Ornithological Ed).

No, it seems that the Great Gurianos is a warrior embarking on a deadly quest armed only with a shield and razor sharp sword. His mission? To make it out of the arcades onto the Spectrum. And he jolly wen nearly did it... but the fact that he surfaced on this compilation must suggest that he's not an all-time high scorer in the conversion hall of fame.

Great Gury... sorry, do you mind if I call him G..? (Nay. Ed) (Sorry, do you feel a little hoarse? Rachael) G.G. walks left to right while a weird selection of stars, sparks and other assorted mystical missiles fly at him from the right. They come thick and fast so it's time for the frantic joystick shuffle, moving the sword and shield up and down.

The secret is to hit flying shields to strengthen your shield, smash four swords to get a super sword and slash the flying ball for extra armour. Try to round up as many of these as possible before you reach the first warrior.

Suddenly the action turns into a cut and thrust combat game and if you thought the approach was quick you wait till you get into close combat. You really have to move like there's twenty-five thousand volts flowing through you if you're to kill all your opponents. It's here that the super sword comes in - it makes you invincible.

And that's about it! You walk and then you scrap and then you stroll some more. Not the most inspiring of plots, and though it all moves unbelievably fast and the characters are big and colourful it's not overly playable.

Rachael: Disappointing Gurianos might have been a better title. It's just lacklustre, so unless you were into the coin-op original you may find you give this one the big E.


AIRWOLF II

Rachael: Well curdle me cucumber, mes petits mange touts, if it ain't ol' Stringbean Hawk and his chopper. He can dice my carrot any time he likes.

Trio takes off with a sequel to the game that won the award for the most difficult shoot 'em up ever when it first appeared. Gameplay was so well judged on this that most people never survived the first screen. You can understand why Airwolf II has appeared on a compilation though. The TV series is hardly the hot tie-in it once was - in fact it's more cold salad than boiled brussels. The game is much more a standard horizontal blaster too - none of that devilish cavern plot.

But the game's all the better for that. Because though you'll have seen scores of scrollers like this in the past there's always something addictive about a good one - and this is certainly well balanced.

The sprite size is perfect for the play area, so that there's lots of room to manouevre but there's still some detail. Also the aliens follow set patterns, which lets you learn how to dodge them as you progress. But the best thing is the weaponry feature.

You start the game with a missile launcher, but it doesn't take long before you encounter a throbbing spot! No, it's not a zit about to burst - it's a weapon waiting for you to pick it up. You can increase your arsenal with smart bombs, extra speed, double fire power, a plasma gun, a shield and who knows what other goodies? I certainly don't because once you select your reserve feature you go back to the start again.

That means that it may not be wise to use the smart bomb every time you get one... it may be better to dodge then promote it to double fire. Dodging plays a big part in this game - another reason to learn the attack patterns. You also have to blow holes in walls - a throwback to the original, though it's nowhere near so impossible this time - and negotiate pixel thin tunnels.

The monochrome graphics are satisfactory and though the sound is rather sparse the effects are okay. I reckon Stringbean and his whirlybird could make me a vegetarian. I liked it alot-ment.

Gwyn: How can I follow a mush of mash like that? Perhaps I should join the Greens, or maybe live in Scandinavia and become a Swede. Sorry, I can't keep up with the punning but for once I agree with Rachael. An enjoyable shooter which wouldn't cut it at full price, but it certainly gets Trio off the ground.

Sampler of games that wouldn't stand alone but are quite fun together. But you might do better with three budget games.

7/10
8/10
8/10
8/10
8/10

Screenshot Text

Your missiles are up front at the moment but there's a smart bomb in reserve should the screen suddenly get overcrowded. But hold on because you can upgrade after a little more flying.

Nice navigating as you manage the first big hurdle. You can slip through the wall with just two rows of bricks blown out and there's none of the nasty momentum problems that made the original so hard.

The next part of this level leads you into cannon fire and then an extremely narrow tunnel which contains an alien ship, so shoot as you go.

Watch for the space rockets that take off in these caverns. Fly along the ground blasting as you go to clear them and raise your score.

Controlling your diver is simple, unlike some 3D games. You turn him through ninety degrees then make him walk. There's also a status screen which shows you what you've got in each pocket.

Ugh it's the octopus. You can't kill this eight-legged menace but there is an object which will put him off - though it could also make him spray you with ink.

I've heard of Bridge Over Troubled Water, but never bridge of jellyfish under troubled water. Still, bouncing across these bobbing sea creatures will get you to the pincers on the rock pile.

Instead of lives you have oxygen tanks, so keep an eye on your air supply, shown by the top bar. Nitrogen is shown below and it's night-nitrogen to you if you jump around too much.

It's heartbreaking stuff at the top of the screen - to indicate your slipping strength. But with that glowing red super-shield you should get in there and hack away. The graphics are nice and presentation is good, but somehow the game just doesn't cut it.