As all mythology buffs know, Hercules was the illegitimate son of Zeus by the mortal woman, Alcmene. Zeus' wife, Hera thus hated Hercules and forced him to kill his own children while bewitched. When he recovered, he felt so much remorse that he vowed to do anything to make amends for his sin. The Gods sent him to the King of Argos who gave him 12 difficult tasks to complete: the Labours of Hercules.
The object of the game is to collect these Labours while fighting off a sword-carrying skeleton. When a Labour appears, Hercules hits it to send it flying into his urn. Occasionally a spider descends in an attempt to steal one of his Labours, and is despatched by a successful blow.
Several moves are available to Hercules and these are accessed in the usual manner using combinations of joystick directions with and without fire.
If Hercules collects all 12 Labours he then faces the mighty Minotaur (loaded separately on the 48K).This overgrown moo-cow is armed with a trident and deadly horns with which he tries to gore Hercules. If this final opponent is overcome the game is won and a Greek victory message appears.
'Hercules is just a simple beat 'em up, limited by the small amount of available moves and the similarity between opponents. The graphics are mainly monochromatic on an unchanging yellow background, although the scenery above the play area is good. The animation of the characters is jerky, but the disintegration of defeated skeletons is achieved well. The Minotaur is nicely drawn but again suffers from slow, jerky animation. The task of collecting the Labours is very repetitive and, worse still, I found the game much too easy. There's very little challenge and I managed to complete it within four or five attempts!' I should think most beat 'em up fans will also find it far too easy. The most difficult part is translating the Greek victory message at the end!'
'Hercules may carry a classical theme but it's definitely not a classic beat 'em up. The graphics are attractive enough and, in conjunction with the 128K music, manage to create something of an ancient atmosphere, but the gameplay itself is difficult, and slow. There's an enormous time lapse between the joystick and the execution of a punch. By the time Hercules is in any position to deliver a Titans' gift, his opponent has had plenty of opportunity to slap him around the head two or three times. With such an arthritic array of possible actions, Hercules doesn't really have much chance of success. Unless you're into dull, tedious torment, give this a miss'
'It's obvious that this game's strong point is its graphics. Hercules - Slayer Of The Damned! has some of the most detailed characters and backgrounds that I've seen for ages, and clash is nowhere to be seen! But this is where the good points end: the movements that Hercules makes are painstakingly slow and if he overlaps with his boney adversary you create a new character - a bearded skeleton! The 128K version has a great tune, but which plays constantly and becomes very irritating. On the 48K there is just a blip when you swing your club. It's a bit of a tall order to ask you to collect 12 tasks; after battling for half an hour I had only collected one! Hercules is very pretty but lacks on the playability front. If you're looking for a good bash 'em up there are much better ones on the market'