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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Jon Pillar
Chris Bourne

The power is yours! Mindscape claim that by buying Captain Planet, "you too can help save our planet." Don't be fooled Spec-chums - it's the biggest con since Tall-Boy Binks got three years for cat- burglary.

Yup, it's time for another good old rant. The Captain Planet TV cartoon-with-a-conscience reaped no end of awards for bringing green issues to the fore. Each week the Cap, aided by his pre-teen Planeteers and a whole fleet of registered trademarks, would defeat a nasty eco-villain while giving a handy environmental tip. Everything from home recycling to the depletion of the rain forests was covered in an entertaining and jolly informative manner. It was all very neat and very clever. Tragically, the game is a very different bunch of coconuts. True enough, it makes a big show of being environmentally concerned, with green slogans splashed over the box and throughout the manual. Indeed, one of tie main selling points is that it contains special environmental hints. But it's all codswallop - the game is about as much use to the environment as a polysterene cup bonfire. Its "special environmental hints" (including such classics as "use both sides of scrap paper," "take time to put rubbish lying on the ground into rubbish bins," and "use daylight wherever possible - it's free and does not pollute") are blindingly obvious and barely worth the paper they're printed on. Which is another thing - the game comes in a shiny cardboard box with a twenty-two page manual, and none of is recycled. Blimey. (It's no good Spec-chums - I'm going to have to go for a walk and calm down before I tell you about the game itself. See you in a bit).


(Deep breath). Right That's better. Onto Captain Planet the game. First impressions are promising - the graphics are large, swift and colourful without being confused. There's a good spread of enemies, some nice scenery, and the whole thing runs virtually without colour clash. Gameplay is a cross between Dan Dare 3 and a low-grade Turrican, with Cap whizzing through space collecting time bonuses before landing on a horizantally-scrolling shoot-'em-up sort of planet. The tie-in to the cartoon characters is about average (Cap clears a way through each level for the various Planeteers to follow) and, unsurprisingly, it's the villains who get the best coverage. For example, in Level One you face Sly Sludge, who is attempting to destroy the ozone layer in order to boost the profits from his seaside hotel chain (the chump). Your mission is to penetrate his ground defences and wreck the factory that's producing these diabolical CFC rockets. Al good dirty fun and at first sight another hit from the programmers of SmashTV. It's when you actually start playing that the faults emerge.

The trouble is, the game is practically unplayable. It's not the amount of mutant minions that cause the problem, but the end-of-level villains themselves - they're invincible. I played the game fifteen times on the trot, got to the big villain and each time lost all my lives immediately. ERven loaded up with all the smart bombs I could find, I just couldn't beat him. Convinced it was something more than my natural gamesplaying talents at fault (cough), I invited the rest of the YS crew to give it a try. Sure enough, nobody else could finish the first level either.

To put it bluntly, Captain Planet is a bit of a disaster. It looks great, but it's stoopidly difficult. Based on what happened here in the office, I'd say that the average gamesplayer wouldn't even get to see two-thirds of the game, which hardly makes it value for money. Simply put, it's not one to snap up from the shelves.

Pretentious and exploitative attempt to ride on the success of the TV show. The game's pretty bad as well.


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Captain Planet's motto is "Green Is Good". If you take the initials of the phrase you get the word "gig".


The Earth is not a sphere, but a geoid. This is a word used solely by geography teachers in order to catch people out.

As seen from space, two-thirds of the Earth's surface is water. However, no-one has been able to satisfactorily explain why it doesn't spill.

The Earth was created on February 5th 1874 by a highly-paid gang of Scottish construction workers. History was later invented to avoid embarrassment.

The term "to be green" was first coined to describe something that was bluish-yellow. It was not applied to environmental matters until someone noticed a plant.

A top NASA scientist once calculated there were twenty-seven planets in our solar system. Fortunately for everybody concerned she then had a cup of strong black coffee and tried again.

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Yo! Captain Blue Tights and the floating miasmas prepare to do a bit of soldering on the satellite of love.

Cop a load of that chick! That Captain's certainly got a way with the gals.

The Captain fires a non CFC rocket from the depths of his red boots. But is it enough?