Back at the dawn of time - well, a couple of years ago Amsoft sourced some of its early software from Spain. Things in the Med then went pretty quiet software-wise, until now. Livingstone breaks the pattern, coming from Spanish software house Operasoft.
Incidentally, the game's name in Spain is Livingstone Supongo - a title which we think has much more ring to it. Its claim to fame: it rose to number-one there.
As you'll have guessed, the game sets you the task of finding dear old Doc Livingstone, who's gone wandering off in the jungle again. You may be inclined to leave him there because, to slightly misquote an old cliche, getting lost once could be a mistake but twice seems like carelessness. Anyway you can't shirk your responsibilities, so off we go.
You have to get through 64 screens inhabited by all sorts of jungle dangers and collect jewels on the way. To aid you, there are four weapons which can kill off enemies or get you past obstacles.
The four tools are a boomerang (wrong continent?), dagger, grenade and a pole. The first three are very much offensive weapons for hitting things and people. The pole isn't for fighting but for vaulting onto or over objects.
The boomerang will curve away from you when thrown and return if it doesn't go off screen. It's useful for taking out enemies on the upper part of the screen. The daggers just fly straight out in front of you, dipping slightly. The grenade lobs up in the air and then falls, so it can be used against objects just above or well below you.
Each weapon has a strength gauge. You must set it before use by holding the Fire button down for the desired length of time - the longer you hold it, the more effort will be put into throwing the weapon or the further the pole will vault you. There are two other gauges indicating your food and water status: you must keep them up by picking up supplies.
The dangers are many and varied. In the start screens you'll run into a lot of snakes, killer plants (straight out of the Little Shop of Horrors), deadly fish, coconut-throwing apes in trees and some intensely annoying seagulls. Most of these can be killed with one or other of the weapons. But you also need to watch out for falling in lakes, quicksand and pits.
The further you go the harder the hazards become. Natives will start attacking you with spears, blowpipes and even black magic. Initially you'll get caught our by dangers all over the place but as you learn the game layout and how to use the weapons you'll find it easier.
The graphics are colourful and detailed and there are nice effects like the pole-vault animation. The game is tough: it's very easy to lose lives. But the variety of hazards and weapons mean it's addictive trying to explore a bit further. It's a shame that getting out of the first jungle section is so difficult, but once you've worked that out things become a bit clearer.
You control an amusing character that can pole-vault, throw boomerangs and lob the occasional grenade it's obvious he's unsure of his nationality. This lad's task is to locate Livingstone. I took to this Spanish game: its humour and demanding tasks are enough to keep me satisfied.
The occasional beasty may lose itself in green.
Get first jewel and find waterfall exit.
P. Detailed and colourful jungle scenery.
P. Good variety of characters and effects.
P. Nice title tune.
N. Few in-game effects.
Grab Factor 76%
P. Great variety of weapons, tasks and adversaries.
N. A bit tough to start with.
Staying Power 74%
P. The 64 screens are difficult to get through.
P. Good original program from a new source, Spain.