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Melbourne House
1989
Arcade: Action
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

68
Jackie Ryan
Chris Bourne

Well, this game certainly had me screaming "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!" at the top of my voice I can tell you. After the brill shoot 'em up fun of Silkworm this latest release from the Virgin/Mastertronic stable just doesn't measure up.

Converted from the 16 bitties, Aargh! could loosely be described as a kind of arcade adventure style beat 'em up. It could also be described as a lot of other things - most of them unprintable.

Aargh! is a one or two player affair in which you can take the part of either an ogre with halitosis or an 18 foot dragon. Both the characters are mean muthers who pack a solid punch and breathe fire (they're hot stuff for sure!). And the happy couple spend most of their time terrorising the townspeople of Darance island in their search for - eggs! Yes, yes, I know it sounds strange, but eggs are the monster's plate de jour, and if they can collect a little clutch of five, then they can go for the biggie - the golden egg that lies under the volcano.

To get these live eggs though, they must search through the 12 cities on the island, which range in architectural elegance from a primitive village of straw huts and wild west tort to a Chinese pagoda and Indian temple. They rampage through the cities, either beating up or blow-torching everything in sight, demolishing the buildings, eating the hamburgers and looking for the eggs. Once they've found one, it's on to the next city and so on.

It all sounds well and good so far doesn't it, Spec-chums? I mean, rampaging monsters are what our Speccies were made for isn't it? Well yes, but not when the rampaging monsters are limited to one basic task - knocking down buildings to see what's hidden inside them. And not when each level consists of only one screen on which there are about five things which need to be knocked down. And especially not when the monsters only have one life which is constantly being drained each time they're hit. When they do die you have to rewind the tape and load in that level again. 'Cos Aargh! is a multi-load I'm afraid folks, which hardly seems necessary since it only loads one screen at a time. It's this and the other features I've just mentioned which unfortunately make what could have been a game you might have persevered with totally unplayable. Aargh! might just have measured up in the budget market, but as a full price release its name speaks for itself.

A very primitive multi-level, multi-load, beat 'em, blowtorch 'em up which'll have you screaming its title each time you die and have to reload!

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Hornets

These annoying little creatures constantly buzz you throughout each level as you search for your egg. If they hit you they'll reduce your energy. Set them on fire or beat them about a bit to get rid of them.

Ogre

This here chappie, running around in his undies, is the ogre. No one would play with him as a child and now each time he moseys on into town everyone runs away from him. Still, since he's 20 feet tall, has a horn between his eyes and smashes and torches everything and everyone in sight, it's not surprising.

Huts

In each city you need to destroy the buildings to find the eggs. Burn or beat them to the ground. They hide food and sometimes that all important egg.

Statues

You'll find statues of some sort or another in all the towns. Again burn or beat them to the ground. They're often the keepers of the eggs.

Wall

The townspeople's first defence against the marauding monsters. neat this down and then make your assault on the town.

Hanburgers

Oooh! Look what you've just found under his demolished hut. It's a hamburger. Yum! Gobble it down and watch that energy level shoot up!

Dragon

Apart from his redeeming Madonna like wiggle, this huge 18 foot green scaly dragon doesn't have a lot going for him. Like the ogre he breathes fire and beats everything he comes across to a pulp. Yikes! He better watch out for that hornet though.

Cannons

The main defence the poor islanders have against you. Destroy them before they destroy you.

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Walk Like An Egyptian! Night Boat To Cairo! Sortie On Baghdad! (What? Ed) Well, alright then, here's a proper caption. Looks like you could be Nile on finished here. Your energy's low and you've still got half the town to demolish. Yikes!