Pyracurse (Hewson) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Hewson Consultants
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #28

Four intrepid explorers take on the tomb dwellers in Hewson's latest 3D scroller


Deep in the jungles of South America is the tomb of Xipe Totec and deep in the tomb is an English explorer who has been captured by the grotesque and deadly inhabitants. Your object is to guide a team of four: Daphne, Roger, ace reporter "Legless" O'Donnell and their dog Frosbie on a rescue attempt. But this is no abandoned burial ground, it's teeming with scorpions, skulls, headless guardians, mechanical men and other assorted nasties intent on making the tomb your final resting place.

Pyracurse is similar in style to Hewson's previous games Avalon and Dragontorc and sprawls pleasingly over three levels of approximately 100 screens each. The scrolling is effortless and the action avoids the 'one room per screen' format by giving the player a slightly elevated viewpoint that allows peeks into the rooms by the side of your chosen path. While this makes it easier to gain an idea of the layout it also creates corners that are hidden and where various hideous foes can conceal themselves.

Each of the four controlled characters have their own personalities and some are better than others at throwing or collecting objects and access to some of the rooms is open for just one character so there is the usual trial and error stage before you get into the game for real. It is, though, quite possible to move around a great deal of the tomb without hindrance and a nice feature that cuts down on characters just doing the legwork from one area to another is the LEAD feature. You can opt to deplot your character in SOLO mode in which case the other characters will remain stationary, but if you use LEAD they will gravitate towards the lead character under your control (unless of course they are trapped, which tended to be the fate of my fearless team).

There are all sorts of objects to pick up and each character can carry three (of course some characters are quite incapable of picking up some objects). One object worth collecting for prolonging active life is the goblet of rejuvenating fluid which can be used to bring members of the heroic foursome back from the dead. But the giant vases which contain many of the objects may also contain a lethal scorpion so beware.

One big advantage with Pyracurse is that it is easy to play with either joystick or keyboard and it does not take long to become acquainted with what you can do and how to do it. This simplicity combined with the sophisticated 3D graphics, the expansive scrolling scenario and involved gameplay, makes Pyracurse a game well worth the money.

It does lack that certain something to make it a classic but it's only a near miss.