1987
Arcade: Adventure
£7.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

18,19
Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell, Kati Hamza
Chris Bourne

The hunter and the hunted represent opposite sides of the same coin; Blood Valley gives the player the chance to savour the experience of both.

The Hunt is an annual contest which takes place in the Valley of Gad. The hunter is the tyrannous reptilian Archveult; his quarry is an unarmed slave released into the valley for the hunting pleasure of the malevolent ruler and his henchman.

The roles of hunter and hunted are designed for two players although there is a solo option. The player acting as the slave has three different characters to choose from. Thief, Barbarian and Priest are each given several objectives to complete prior to their escape. This involves destroying several of Archveult's primary allies and, in the case of the thief, stealing several specified objects.

Before the hunt itself begins, a map is displayed and Archveult stations his henchmen in positions that correspond strategically with his quarry's quest.

The movements of Archveult and his quarry against the various landscapes of the Valley of Gad are shown simultaneously on a split screen display. Unfriendly valley inhabitants, robbers, vampires, trolls and demons must be defeated by hand to hand combat. Food, gold and other collectable bonus objects boost stamina rating and increase bargaining power. When invoked, an options screen allows each character to use different potions and items.

Ordinarily Archveult pursues the quarry in his own person, but when the slave approaches any of his allies, Archveult takes control and fights on their behalf.

A scroll to the right of the screen displays the stamina level of both characters, distance travelled and amount of gold collected. The Hunt lasts five days and a clock displays the countdown.

CRITICISM

'Blood Valley is intended to combine fantasy adventure with elements of role play and strategy. Unfortunately, once you've waded through all the explanations, you're confronted by nothing more than a sub-standard arcade adventure. Gremlin have tried to include so many elements that only the most basic ones - of killing and collecting objects - stand out. The objects, once you have them, seem to bring little benefit other than the dubious one of a prolonged life. The graphics are remarkable only for their inconsistency: objects and enemies appear and disappear at random. The scrolling, combined with a strange flick-screen procedure is uneven and the weird, ghostly music can do nothing to resurrect the spirit of this barren and bitty game.' KATI

'After sitting through almost half an hour of loading you eventually find that the game wasn't worth the effort! The idea of slaying everything in sight is fun for a while and extra things like bribing trolls add a little spice, but the lack of a tense atmosphere and real variety soon kills any compulsion to continue. There's the choice of playing three different characters but if you load in one and don't like it you have to reload the entire game. If you want a good two player game then look elsewhere.' NICK

'The packaging of Blood Valley is quite good, with a bed sheet-sized instruction teat let that clearly sets out the aims of the game, but on the graphics and gameplay side - forget it. Visually the game is totally dire, with crudely drawn and badly animated stick men hobbling around a vile background. Gameplay is not much better, becoming repetitive and ultimately dull. I became totally bored of the whole caboodle after only a few attempts. Admittedly there is a game of sorts lurking around in there, but Gremlin will have to get a bigger shovel to try and dig it out.' MARK

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: little characters with poor scrolling
Sound: hardly anything at all
Options: One or two players and a choice of three characters to play
General Rating: One of very few sub-standard releases from Gremlin Graphics, at a very high price.

55%
45%
43%
45%
41%

Screenshot Text

Run for your life - now you're the hunted.