Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge (Martech) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge
By Martech
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #2

Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge

Anything Daley Thompson can do you can bet Brian Jacks will want to try as well, so here is another joystick-busting, wrist-snapping, hand-cramping bout of athleticism. Eight events have been taken from the TV series Superstars and converted into computer events where you have to compete with old Brian Jacks himself.

There are four events on each side of the tape and you have to load them separately, making two different games. One side has the 100 metres, archery, cycling and football while the other has 66 metre swimming, squat thrusts, canoeing and arm dips. In each event you compete against Brian with the screen showing both men and their progress.

The 100 metres and canoeing are the most straightforward events since all you have to do is waggle that joystick or hammer those keys as fast as you can. For these events you are given a power gauge on the right of the screen which shows you how much you're putting into it. If you can keep up three quarters of full power you're doing well. The only other thing to watch out for is the ropes in canoeing they'll slow you down if you bump into them. The swimming and cycling are also mostly a matter of hard waggling but have a couple of minor complications. In the swimming you have to take a breath every so often and until you do your power is greatly reduced. If, however, you take a breath when you don't need one this also slows you down. In the cycling your bike has five gears and you have to work through these to get full speed. The problem is that if you tire and slow down towards the end of the race you drop back through the gears.

In the 100m and cycling you're given a side view of the racers, in the swimming and canoeing its an overhead view but for the squat thrusts and arm dips you switch to a gym. The squat thrusts are where you lie in a press-up position and then move your feet forward and back between two points behind you. This is done by hammering on alternate keys or joystick movement in the required direction. You've got 60 seconds to do as many as you can. The arm dips are a similar test but you merely have to press a button to change direction once you have dipped down or stretched upwards.

The archery and football are much more events of skill. For archery you have an overhead view of yourself and a target. The target moves right to left, i.e. descends the screen. You have to set the elevation of your crossbow and time the bolt's release, taking into consideration the wind speed and direction that is set at the start of the event. In the football you are given a 3D view of a goal ahead of you and have to dribble through four cones to get to it. Then you have to try to score against the computer goalie.

For each set of four events you start on the easiest level and if you can beat Brian on points across all four you move to a higher level where Brian is even tougher. The graphics are good for each event although there isn't much in the way of sound effects. It provides a different range of events to those in Daley Thompson's Decathlon but they're not as slickly done or as addictive.

Second Opinion

It's very annoying to have to change sides to get the other four events. I'm not entirely sure it's worth it all this waggling s a bit old hat. Only the archery really grabbed me. If you've waggled through one event you've waggled the lot.

Good News

P. Eight exhausting events.
P. Good graphics throughout.
P. A tough opponent who gets tougher.
P. Good for exercising the arm.

Bad News

N. Changing directions for the dips is incredibly frustrating.
N. I couldn't find a way to score a goal in football and there's no help in the instructions.
N. No two-player option.
N. You can only load four events at a time.
N. You can't practice events singly.