Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge (Martech) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge
By Martech
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #2

High-energy, joystick-wrenching sports simulation

Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge

As I write, arm and shoulders a-throbbing, I wonder about the sadistic tendencies of software houses. Having just got over Decathlon and Summer Games my shattered muscles were forced to work on the latest arm-wrencher.

Plenty of deodorant is needed as you pummel your joystick through the eight energy-taxing events of the challenge. As usual in this type of game the faster you move your joystick back and forth the faster your man moves.

When you start a game there are two options: challenge a fellow human or the tireless computer. It's much more fun with another player, the competitive spirit giving you just a bit more determination and takes that last bit of energy in a dramatic effort to win.

Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge

The winner of the eight events, which score in Decathlon-style, might well get to challenge Brian Jacks himself. This is only when you have passed all the 'qualifying' scores. If these are anything to go by I reckon ol' B.J. must be superhuman.

According to the instructions, the control in this game is mostly by 'powersync'. Apparently you should move your joystick in time with your man's motions and only gradually build up speed.

This sounds intriguing, but proves a little misleading. In most events the usual Decathlon-type hysterical threshing appears to be the best technique.

Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge

However there are some events where additional timely button presses are required. At the end of a game, while you're stretchered out, your man will appear on a rostrum. Depending on how well you've done he'll take either first or second place.

If you've done really well then you can challenge Brian Jacks. The trouble is that the challenge takes place immediately after the first one. This is unfair: your transplanted organs won't even had time to adjust to your body, let alone go through the rigorous tortures again.

One criticism is that there is no practice feature. Every game that you play has to be all the way through which gets rather painful if you have trouble with one event.


Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge

The different events add enough novelty to make this a compulsive game with the real fun coming in events like the dips. The sadistic combination of stop-start waggling is absolute murder, particularly over the extended time limit. The skill events like the boar shoot come as a welcome relief, although you may be shaking too much to shoot straight. I'm off to have a bath.


With excellent graphics, animation and realistic sound this is a great program for those not already exhausted by this type of games. Get into training now if you want to get to challenge Brian Jacks, let alone beat the man. Despite the hernias and heart failures it will cause, this arm-wrenching, joystick breaking, eyeball popping game is a real thriller.


The whole thing looks and feels very much like Activision's superb Decathlon to me. It doesn't really offer anything new, and the so-called powersync feature didn't stretch much further than an elaborate, and rather sweaty, waggling session. Despite these criticisms I found the whole thing a thoroughly enjoyable, and exhausting, experience.

Eight Gruelling Events

  1. Canoe Race
    Not particularly simple by any means. Plenty of energy will be sapped as you cleave your way through the water. Steady rhythm is also a necessity or else you'll find yourself careering into the markers of your lane.
  2. Boar Shoot
    No waggling involved, just a steady hand and a keen eye as you move a cross-hair about the screen in an attempt to fire at a moving target. Pressing the fire button will shoot off a bolt so you have to time it right to hit the target successfully.
  3. 100M Sprint
    Simply pulverise the joystick from left to right at horrendous speeds to come in first.
  4. Squat Thrust
    With your arm handing like a soggy toilet roll things take a turn for the better. Tap the joystick left twice and right three times to complete one squat thrust. Easy though it sounds, concentration should be at its utmost throughout this event. For every move made wrongly, valuable time will be lost as you try to regain your rhythm.
  5. Swimming
    More horrific joystick thrashing. This time the fire button has to be pressed to allow your man to breathe as he sticks his head out of the water. We all know that a swimming performance is affected badly by either not breathing or breathing under water.
  6. Arm Dips
    If you haven't changed your shift by now, this event is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and make you sweat like a pig! Press fire button and your man will drop. When his elbow has touched the judge's first, waggle like mad to get him back up to his starting position. Repeat the process again... and again... and again.
  7. Football
    Those who haven't already had coronaries will find this easier to tackle, ho ho. Simply guide your man through the cones as he dribbles a ball, then shoot for goal.
  8. Cycling
    The final challenge which will turn even the coolest puce. A really hefty pummelling session, the last thank goodness, as you whizz down the track. The fire button will change your gears but other than that your forearm muscle will have to be practically torn away to achieve the qualifying time.


Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge

Presentation 56%
P. Concise instructions
N. Annoying not to be able to quit an event.

Graphics 78%
P. Fairly impressive animation and reasonable variety.

Sound 52%
P. Cute title screen tune.
N. Not too much else!

Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge

Originality 54%
P. An adaptation of the familiar sports simulation games.

Hookability 79%
P. If your arms can take it, hammering Brian is a strong incentive to keep waggling.

Lastability 76%
P. Eight events and constant challenge to improve scores.

Value For Money 78%
P. Cheaper than most of the games in its class.


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