By Melbourne House
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer & Video Games #64


Fancy a knuckle sandwich? Then try tangling with Deke the double-fisted dynamo who's the hero of Melbourne House's latest C64 offering.

Deke's a sort of flying Fist. His main aim in life is to escape andronisation at the hands of the powers that be. Deke's a bit of a scallywag, you see. And the punishment for crimes is to have your entire body - and mind - transformed into a zombie-like andie.

Dirty Deke has sabotaged the city computer which means that the entire city is going to blow up in a few short hours. But Deke doesn't plan to stick around to see what happens to the city. He's legging it to sanctuary which lies outside the city walls.

Knuckle Busters

Only trouble is that he has to fight his way through the cell blocks, guard area, prison wall, the city, downturn precinct and ultimately the city walls.

That means he's got a tough task on his hands - which will soon be a bloody pulp as his two-fists are all the weapons he has - apart from his ability to plant a swift kick in his enemy's most vulnerable parts.

The aim of the game is to help Deke escape. But it isn't easy - and at times it'll seem impossible.

Knuckle Busters

The game scrolls horizontally backwards and forwards as Deke runs kicks and punches his way through the five different types of android enemies he encounters in his bid for freedom.

Deke will also discover useful items - some which reveal mysterious words when he picks them up. Make a note of them as you go.

Others grant him more strength, extra lives and bonus points.

To find these, Deke has to kick over oil drums or run over crates with question marks on them. What he gets is displayed in a small window at the left hand side of the screen.

Some objects are booby trapped and will drain Deke's energy or simply kill him.

Some droids Deke attacks will go up in a puff of smoke at the merest flick of a foot - but others are tougher and take a lot of kicking to get rid of.

All the screens are divided into platforms which Deke can leap up and down on at will. There are doors to different areas some which lead to freedom - some which just land Deke in more trouble.

The graphics are nice and well animated, the scrolling is super-smooth and the music - well, it's by Rob Hubbard. Need we say more?

Despite all the things it's got going for it - that music, good graphics, smooth scrolling - Knucklebusters is a strange game. It should be good - but somehow it just doesn't. And the sad thing is that I can't put my finger on just what's wrong!

It's an action game which doesn't capture your interest immediately. Maybe after a couple of hours more play things will be different?

My advice is to play a friend's copy before you decide to shell out your hard-earned cash - unless of course you just want to hear the neat soundtrack.