Zzap1st June 1985
Published in Zzap #2
18-screen platform game, excellent value
Big Mac: The Mad Maintenance Man
Budget software really has carved a little corner for itself in the market and with games like this it's no wonder. It may be based on the good ol' platform game, but it's got plenty to offer and at a great price.
You play Big Mac who has to walk, leap, climb, and float his way around an enemy power station, shutting down each of the 18 power vaults (screens). You do this by finding and pushing switches which are usually very tough to get to.
The switches control a host of defensive barriers and flicking them off will remove the obstacles that bar you from reaching the exit on each stage. These defences are different on many screens, but all can be deadly.The most common problem is the simple force-wall which blocks off sections of the screen. It won't kill you unless you hit the top or bottom of it, but it will prevent you going past. Other problems are rotating gun turrets which fire shells, bubbling pits of acid, moving electrical charges, and crushers.
You find your way around most screens by using ladders, lifts, and your own jumping capability, and even by falling from any height. You can also move while falling, which comes in handy when drifting across a long gap.
On each screen there is a limited amount of air which runs out, and a bonus that ticks away the longer you take. If you can make it to the exit, you move to the next stage and gain an extra man.
The animation on your character is amusing, with a hat that flies up and down as you leap. The tune that plays throughout the game adds nicely with a fine range of expression.
Yes, not a bad game. Even better when you consider its price. All the features that you'd expect of a game costing four times as much. The on-screen presentation, music and graphics are all above average, and I particularly like the animation of Big Mac when he jumps, his hat jumping with him. Plenty of exciting platform action to keep you busy for some time and a veritable bargain at two quid.
This is splendid value for money with 18 action packed screens, passable graphics, and a lovely tune. The jumping can be a bit annoying at times, but on the whole it is very playable. With an extra man per screen, you may find it easier to crack the many games, but the nasty hazards still have a lot to offer. Definitely worth buying this one - not so long ago it would have been worth a much higher price tag.
Another addition to the infamous Mastertronic range. This one, though, is pretty good and definitely an improvement on some of the older stuff. Although an antique platform game, there's enough originality to keep all the jumping and exploring fanatics happy. Personally, I didn't like it much, but then I loathed Manic Miner.
The Art Of Switch-leaping
One of the hardest aspects of the game is trying to make sure that once a switch is off, it stays off - having passed over a switch once to deactivate it, you may find you have to pass by it again to escape a dead end. This means you could find yourself switching it on again.
In order to get back over a switch in a tight corner without reactivating it, you have to stand as close to the handle as possible and jump up, moving left or right at the peak of your jump. Where you can get a run up this doesn't apply, but on the third screen this technique is particularly useful.
Presentation 58% Simple instructions and hi-score table. Mastertronics cassette box.
Apart from the switches, it's the same old platform stuff.
Crude but with nice animation on main character.
Platforms prove pretty addictive as usual. Switches fiddly at first.
Nice tune plays throughout game plus effects.
18 screens, easy at first but getting harder.
Value For Money 79%
18 screens of action for very little cash.