From the title, I was hoping that this was one of those games featuring cutesy amphibian mammals balancing balls on their noses and collecting fruit, but NO!
Navy Seals is in fact based on the Orion Pictures movie of the same name, and deals with a group of tough American Navy officers, specially trained to jump out of aircraft, swim long distances underwater, shoot dozens of people, blow up enormous buildings and run all the way home - and that's BEFORE having their Weetabix!
And crikey, or gee whillikers Mom as the Yankees say, what a scorcher of a game it is! Whether the films any good or not (and seeing as it features all sorts of Brat Packers like Charlie Sheen spouting platitudes, it probably isn't) the game is a rip-roaring multi-stage arcade blast with some of the most tubular graphics and animation I've seen for ages - no wonder it's 128K only.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and I don't think they give you much choice in the matter in the Navy Seals) is to infiltrate Beirut, rescue a bunch of hostages, eliminate a cache of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, blow up enemy installations and generally wreak havoc on the infidels - topical or what!
There are two major missions to accomplish, each consisting of a number of stages, and though you have to complete the stages in order, you can play either mission first.
Part one Of the mission where you hove to destroy a terrorist base, is one of the most impressive sections. Basically it's just a platforms and ladders effort with five eight way scrolling sections, but the design of the big character sprites and the animation of the central character is remarkably good. This section is also pretty realistic in that you have an energy bar next to your character's portrait on the lower left of the screen, and your energy falls very quickly if you're shot or suffer a bad fall. If you buy the farm, one of your five colleagues takes over.
The background details of walkways, ladders, packing cases and balconies are nicely drawn, and your amphibian hero runs, jumps, swings hand-over-hand and crawls very smoothly. His best stunt is grabbing an overhead walkway and swinging himself up onto it - usually followed, by a quick blast with the submachine gun as he takes out another towel-head. The clever bit is that the baddies only shoot when you're in their line of sight, and if you lose a life your new character starts from the beginning of the level, but any dead baddies stay dead.
More impressive weapons like flamethrowers can be recovered from enemy hiding-places, and the current weapon, ammo and time limit are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
The next mission is good but not so impressive - there's less use of colour, and not so much variety in the action. Here you roam the back-streets of Beirut, with 3-dimensional action moving in/out and left/right looking for hostages and taking out everything that moves. Hordes of Ayrabs armed to the rotten teeth attack you, firing big fat bullets which cast shadows which help you to avoid them. With courage and a quick trigger-finger you will prevail, but the action is a bit repetitive.
You will need a more impressive weapon than your side-arm to deal with the heavy weapons such as the motorbike-and-sidecar combination and the armoured car. So far, this is the spot where I always run out of lives, in the absence of weapons sufficiently radical to take out the baddies.
Although the graphics and animation (especially in the first mission) are mega. It's the little background details like portraits of the Ayatollah on the wall, the dialogue screen with Ali the informant and the touching display when you finally run out of blood, which make Navy Seals worth the SU Gold. So come on, get your feet wet!
Memory: 128K only
Price: £10.99 Tape, £15.99 Disk
Program: James Higgins
Music: Matthew Cannon
Graphics: Warren Lancashire
Sprites: Martin McDonald
Release: As film date - End of Feb
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins