Amstrad Action1st December 1990
Published in Amstrad Action #63
Uh oh! This looks suspiciously like Speccy-port time. Black Tiger is a platform beat-em-up, pitting you against all sorts of unpleasant characters. It transpires that three evil dragons have brought a nightmare of destruction to a peaceful kingdom. Sounds quite good fun, actually. Anyway, you, as Black Tiger, have decided to stop these boorish reptiles from having their fun. You must travel through many stages and across many platforms until you confront them. And you're armed with a mace and lots of throwing knives to do it with.
There are lesser dragons, skeletons, block-heads and a man-eating plant called Audrey all trying to kill you. Luckily there are also Old Men who you liberate from the clutches of the dragons. They, in their gratitude, give you better weapons and armour.
Unfortunately, Black Tiger looks confusing, appears in only one colour and sounds uninteresting. Character control is not good, and the whole game is unsatisfying. It's not a tiger; it's a bit of a dog, actually.
Oh, the smell of the open road! [Eh? - Ed]. LED Storm lets you star in your very own road movie. You must drive as quickly as possible along a top-to-bottom scrolling screen, whilst avoiding all other road users. Your vehicle isn't armed, but you do have the ability to jump over (and on to) your opponents. If you land on them, they blow up and you accrue points.
Other objects in the road include tins of fuel, oil and other useful automotive products. Occasionally, the road forks, and you have to make a decision as to where to head next. You have an on-board computer which you may consult, but Mac (as he likes to be known) won't offer too much constructive advice. Your aim is to reach various cities. After each city, you drive off along a different coloured road.
Graphics and sound are not impressive; once more, they're looking old. Sadly, there also isn't that much to do in the game. The driving sequences do get monotonous, and the lack of offensive weapons is a frustration.
Eurgghh! Lizards have taken over! Get them off me!
Yes, you, Mr. Ultracool, must save the world from these repulsive reptiles. You have a jet-pack and a rather weedy laser, and the lizards are just asking to be blown away. You gently scroll from right to left, blasting the geeks as you go. Get far enough and a small newsagents appears. Take a break, go inside and stock up on extra lives, weaponry, cigarettes and confectionery (well weapons and lives, certainly). You'll also find information on how to kill each end-of-level god in the papers you can also purchase in the shop.
Graphics are great. The sprites are fast, even if they are small. The sound is also good. It fills the air with shooting sounds; what more do you need? It's a wonderful shoot-'em-up.
Strider (you) has one out-of-date theme! He must infiltrate the Russian Army and return to the West with all their nasty, sordid secrets. The KGB will, of course, fight you every inch of the way. If you get past them, you'll battle your way through to the icy Siberian wastes, then to the Soviet jungles (?), and then back to Moscow. There, you'll be met by the Grand Master of the Supreme Command of the Upper Echelons of the Red Army. Bash his head in, and nip back to warmth and civilisation.
Whatever happened to glasnost and perestroika? The game is easy enough to start with. You find yourself with superhuman acrobatic powers, so can out-run, out-jump and out-shoot anybody foolish enough to try and hinder your progress. But as you get further, things change. There's a large ring-worm which will cause many a tear-stained face as it repeatedly ends your game prematurely.
However, if you persevere, you'll realise that by skillful fighting, and judicious running away, you can get past everything.
The graphics and sound are great. Interesting colours, big sprites and fine music all make Strider a Rave.
Ghouls And Ghosts
Arthur is back. He starred in US Gold's Ghosts 'N Goblins, and he starred in Ghouls And Ghosts, which has surfaced here once more. This time Old Artie must negotiate a horizontally-scrolling landscape which continually disgorges rather unpleasant dead folk. Other hazards include vultures which swoop down and attack you, strange plants which spit and guillotines which, er, chop.
There are five levels to overcome. You must make your precarious way to a forbid-ding castle. Once you get there, you'll need to do a lot of ladder-climbing, pit-jumping and baddie-killing. There are many items of weaponry for you to collect, and many points to accrue.
Graphics are good, but are starting to look little dated now. The sprites do move nicely, though. The sound effects, too, are starting to show their age. Spot effects are OK however, and some nice tunes are played as well.
Overall, it wasn't particularly brilliant when it first came out. And it doesn't look any better now. Especially on the AA office's 6128 Plus, where we couldn't get the keyboard to respond once the game had loaded. Some compatibility glitch, perhaps?
All a bit patchy, really. Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Strider and Forgotten Worlds are all worth a go, but the other two less so.