Computer Gamer

Doc The Destroyer
By Melbourne House
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer Gamer #27

After several attempts at beat-'em-up adventures, Melbourne House have hit the jackpot.

Doc The Destroyer

There used to be peace between the Citizens and the Rubble Runners but a few natural disasters soon changed that. Everyone started to blame everyone else. The priests built a huge energy dome to seal off the city and walled off the temple, causing a rift with the Rubble Runners who were relegated to the ruins and sewers outside the city.

How you came to be involved in all of this, you're not quite sure. You remember going to a party, and ending up in a place you didn't recognise, stark naked! That wasn't too bad, but you had also lost your time machine and it was while you were looking at it that you discovered that the water level in the sewers was getting dangerously high. Rushing back to warn the Rubble Rubbers, you discovered that you have been convicted as a spy in your absence and the village shaman is looking forward gleefully to your execution!

Your first problem with this game is to decide exactly what sort of character you want to be. You have 60 attribute points to distribute among five characteristics - strength, endurance, intelligence, charisma and luck. How you divide them up is entirely up to you - the game plays differently according to what you choose, so experimentation is the name of the game.

Doc The Destroyer

Your second problem is escaping from the shaman's guard. Combat is a beat-'em-up routine featuring large cartoon-style characters. It is your strength, endurance and skill against his.

Once outside the village, assuming you win and the guards lose, you are presented with a series of options, all menu-driven. What choices you have depends on the nature of your character. If luck is with you, you may be given the chance to sneak past a guard. If it isn't, you will have to fight him.

As you progress, you will discover more places to explore and problems to solve. Useful objects or information can sometimes be obtained by that strangely old-fashioned method - being nice. On other occasions, you have to go in with club swinging - the animation for which, incidentally, looks like a cross between a trapeze artist and a gibbon!

You actually have two aims: to save the Rubble Runners *and* to find your time machine - vital since it is hoped that you will be able to transfer your hero across to other forthcoming modules in the series.

My first impression of Doc The Destroyer was that it was like nothing I had even seen before. The strange mixture of combat and adventure works very well and the game is not biased too much either way, so if you don't enjoy one particular aspect you can enjoy the other. The game is presented superbly with bright, colourful graphics, and the portability of the hero is an added bonus. Melbourne House has been struggling to produce a top-notch game for some time now. With Doc The Destroyer, I think they've got it and their waning fortunes may take a turn for the better.