Gremlin, possibly the finest-ever software house to be named after a mythical beastie, have released a pack of its latest hits. It's called Chart Attack. And, if you'll just pay a nominal fee, remove your coats and outer garments, then follow me into this dimly lit tent, you'll most likely see what can only be described as a review of it. (Oh dear, oh dear. Ed)
GHOULS 'N' GHOSTS
Buckle on that trusty sword, take off that obviously twentieth-century wristwatch and hide those incriminating bicycle clips. For it's time to hop into Specydom's most famous underwear as Ghosts 'n' Goblins crashes back into half-life. Slicker, more playable and even tougher than the original, this new spook-'em-up also features a natty arsenal of add-on weapons and the chance of being turned into a duck. Let no man say that weirdness ever stands in the way of true genius.Tragically, however, only the 48K version is included in the Chart Attack compilation, so denying 128Kers a truly dazzling soundtrack, but judged on gameplay alone this is mean, and mightily addictive.
If you're a fan of burrowing creatures in general, or if you are only interested in moles, settle down into a comfy chair and prepare to read with interest (and a little sadness) the sentences that follow. From the talent behind Rick Dangerous comes the pointless updating of Monty Mole. Five big levels of flashily-presented platform action seem to promise a game to pop your TV tube. Unfortunately Impossamole must have been crossing his little furry fingers. It's slow, linear and frankly dull, nowhere near the standard of Rick and hundreds of light-years behind Pete Harrap's original Monty trilogy. Not bad, more of a mistake.
SHADOW OF THE BEAST
An enormous punch-while-you-puzzle platform game that boasts atmospheric graphics and a high degree of playability. It wouldn't be dreadfully incorrect to compare Shadow Of The Beast to a veritable Eiffel Tower amongst small bungalows, or even a large Transit van among those bubble cars you sometimes see. It towers over the gameless Amiga version, you see. Beast overflows with sneakiness, fast action and most of all, fun. A beast buy. (Aarghh! Ed).
Supersprint with attitude, this is a hee-uge scrolling race game with chassis armour and car-to-car missiles and the emphasis is on tyre-burning manoeuvres. As you plough on with these, you'll feel the need to rebuild your car from time to time. Gremlin, clever Sheffield-based souls that they are, have considered this, and have given you extra armour, better weapons and even more powerful cars. All you need is the dosh to collect 'em. And you only get that by skilful and unimaginably violent manoeuvres. Yes, you've got to ram opponents and manufacture pile-ups whilst hurtling round a nightmare track of junctions, tunnels and underpasses. Outstandingly playable.
LOTUS ESPRIT TURBO CHALLENGE
This is one of the better tie-ins, because it doesn't continually throw the licence in you face. Both the one and two player modes are dead spiffy. The idea is to watch your half of the horizontally split screen whilst, if another player is racing, he watches his. Get confused between the screens and not only does the car seem to stop responding to your joystick movements, but it seems to be doing everything your human opponent wants it to. And the other car seems to crash, looking like nobody's controlling it at all. Spooky, until you realise your mistake (Actually, if you're that stupid, you deserve to lose! Ed) Anyway, whether pranging the wing mirrors of horribly competent computer drivers or belching fumes over your fuming best friend, Lotus is tremendously enjoyable. The small playing areas combine with the roller-coaster landscape to increase the excitement, as you're often driving blind. My only quibble is that the cars are confusingly identical. First gear. Sorry, rate.
A good spread of genres and four excellent games make Chart Attack top value for money. Put it on your Chrissy list now.
TEN BAFFLING THINGS POPULARLY ATTRIBUTED TO GREMLINS
1. The sporadic breakdown of allied machinery during the second world war.2. The Tay Bridge disaster.3. The destruction of Kingston Falls.4. Gyles Brandreth.5. The absence of point six in any top ten list.6. The Ford Edsel.8. Baby gremlins.9. March 15th, 1962.10. Gyles Brandreth again.
In an attempt to stop the skeletal ghosts attacking him, Monty does his rendition of a Sonia dance. And it works! The skeleton, seeing the dance, crumbles into dust and vows to never buy another Sonia LP.
If I just stop here, I can drag on of these big arrows into the road, thus puncturing his tyres when the rounds the bend, ho ho.
Hello stranger, I greet you in traditional fashion by hurling an axe at your throat. Yes, Ghouls 'n' Ghosts is certainly spirited.
I may be smaller but I'm faster. So if you don't get out of the way I'm going to tie a sausage to your gran and call myself Toby.