Lands Of Havoc (Microdeal) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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Lands Of Havoc
By Microdeal
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #4

Lands Of Havoc

When I first looked at the game's instructions, I thought this was an Ultimate game. They're very cleverly produced to look like a set of Ultimate instructions, being printed on the same paper with the same type and Ultimate style border.

In fact, the similarity doesn't stop there. The game itself is a rather poor copy of Sabre Wulf, with worse characters than the Spectrum game. The instructions are really unhelpful, even worse than Ultimate's usual ambiguous offerings, and the only information I could glean from them was that to get on in the game you have to find a book. Once I had found that, I would learn more of the game.

Once the instructions had been digested, it was to the computer to play. When you start you are given a certain amount of time to arrange the postcard-like maps supplied with the game into the order the computer states. Once that is done you can play the game. You've got to explore the maze-like landscape in true Sabre Wulf fashion, and you are relentlessly attacked by lots of nasties which 'materialise' out of nowhere, Ultimate style.

The lands themselves are quite large - there are 2,000 screens to explore. At the speed your character moves, this doesn't take long to get round. Your character is an odd one, it looks rather like a laser-spitting Tyrannosaurus Rex but most probably isn't.

There are nine sections of landscape and you can freely travel from one to the other. They all look very similar, being the same maze type, it's just the actual walls of the maze that change.

JR

It's a shame such a poor game resides behind the extremely sophisticated packaging. The instructions are nicely presented and the postcard-like maps well drawn, glossy and colourful. The game's graphics are very disappointing, being small, one colour and badly animated. The thing you have to control looks really odd and when walking about looks like an epileptic dinosaur. The landscapes are all one colour and unimaginatively defined, making the game look very bland and boring. The game itself can be played at various speeds and at top level is very fast indeed, and it takes quite a bit of skill to zoom round the maze and shoot the nasties. A lot more could have been made of this, but as it stands it is just a very mediocre aardvark taking a lot of ideas from the excellent Sabre Wulf.

PS

When I first saw this, I thought it was a Spectrum game. The boring colours and horrible tune gave the impression of an extremely pathetic copy of Sabre Wulf. Exploring the lands was quite good fun though, with lots of horrible nasties to be zapped with your laser-firing prehistoric reptile. There are plenty of screens to go round and, if you like this sort of game, lots of challenge, but if you don't like Sabre Wulf I'd steer well clear.

GP

Hmmm! The packaging and instructions seem reminiscent of some other company. 'Ello! This game looks slightly familiar too ... I know - Sabre Wulf! Yes, Lands of Havoc is in fact a version of that old Spectrum classic - and not such a good one at that. I thought the graphics were rather poor and the tune (!) drove me out of my skull. Still, if you're a fan of the original and can't wait until the release of the official version, this might keep you quiet 'til then, but not for long!

Verdict

Presentation 84%
Very well packaged, good instructions plus handy map cards.

Graphics 31%
Not a lot on screen and even then it's of poor quality and single colour.

Sound 29%
Unbelievably repetitive and irritating 'tune' (for want of a better word).

Hookability 41%
The playing area is so monotonous and bland that you won't want to explore too far.

Lastability 32%
There's nothing much of interest to keep you playing for long.

Value For Money 39%
Seems rather expensive for such great packaging and poor game.

Overall 36%
A very empty and thin arcade-adventure.