Central Solutions' new cheapo range, of which Barchou is part, is unlikely to make Mastertronic tremble. A couple of years ago, this game might have seemed a bargain at the price, but nowadays the punter rightly demands a lot more.
Barchou is a shoot-'em-up with some reasonable graphics, but little else to recommend it. Your task is to defend four cities at the bottom of the screen from the nasty aliens who are dropping bombs from the top. You control a jet-packed figure of flickering brilliance who hovers around trying to dodge and blast the aliens while catching the bombs before they hit the cities.
And that's about it. It's fun for a few minutes, but soon becomes very tedious mainly because the program's collision detection routine is so bad that you have a real job staying alive.
Why the game is called Barchou remains a mystery. The name seems to have nothing to do with the action or with the scenario on the inlay.
For a few minutes you may sit and blast merrily away at things but the game's drawbacks rapidly start raising the boredom threshold past brain-numbing. The collision detection is infuriating leading to the worst criticism of any computer game - "it's not fair". It's pretty alright - pretty tedious.
Barchou has a sort of frenzied initial appeal, I suppose, but absolutely nothing else. Staying power rating isn't a percentage, by the way - it's time in seconds.
P. It's cheap.
P. Almost pretty graphics.
N. Rotten collision-detection.
N. Boring task.
Not enormously worse than it is in colour - but how could it be?