Amstrad Action1st October 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #25
Imagine's latest arcade conversion has a similar plot to that of Death Wish III in that you get to take on "the bad guys" in your own private war. This time you are heading for a meeting with your girlfriend who lives in a rough part of town. You've got to fight your way through a variety of street gangs on your way using your martial arts skills.
The program is a multi-load game, the different backgrounds and gangs loading in four separate parts. As soon as a block of data has loaded, the game starts immediately, so don't nip off for a cup of tea or you'll miss the start. A gang is made up a minions and a boss who have to be defeated within a time limit, otherwise you must start the level again.
The four gangs occupy the tube station, the pier, the back streets and the street which leads to your meeting place with your girlfriend. The tube station is filled with muggers, some of whom are armed with metal pipes. They crowd around you and try to beat you up. Every time you get hit, you lose energy until it's all gone and you're left a bleeding corpse on the floor.
Control is a little tricky in that you need to use both hands. Movement around the screen is achieved with one hand and the combat with the other. The combat keys allow you to jump, attack right and attack left. Various moves are automatically selected by the attack keys, depending on your situation. You just have to attack left and right and decide whether to jump or not. The moves include a flying kick, backward kick, punch and a very tasteful knee in the groin. Most of these moves will stun an opponent but a flying kick or several hits will knock them down. Once they're on the floor you can leap on top of them and beat their head to a pulp - even more delightful than the knee.
On the last level you can also kick opponents off the tube platform for a quick kill. The boss appears after you have killed enough of his minions and takes quite a few hits before he succumbs. A nice trick is to try to pin him to the floor or kick him off the platform, otherwise you may run into both time and energy shortages.
The pier is patrolled by a motorcycle gang and the stage is split into two parts. In the first par,t you have to flying kick bikers off their motorcycles as they race across the screen towards you. The second part is another group of bikers who attack you with chains, much as in the tube station. The boss again needs several hits and because of the two stages the time limit becomes even more testing.
The back streets are run by a gang of women whose boss is Big Bertha - she's built like Russian shot putter and is twice as strong. She has a wicked repertoire of attacks so watch out for her charging fore arm smash and close range headbutt. To kill Bertha you must first knock down her strength to zero and then flying kick her in the face when she comes running at you like an express train. Her accomplices are also nasty pieces of work attacking you with whips and knives.
The final stage involves fighting a gang who are armed with razors, one touch from which is enough to kill you. After the fight outside the building you go inside where the last boss is armed with a gun. He tries to shoot you as his razor-armed minions slash at you. The game returns to the tube station after this level and the action gets more difficult.
Throughout the game a tune plays which adds a bit of atmosphere to the action. The sound effects are limited to hits but this doesn't matter much because the tune plays constantly. The characters are large and well animated with an excellent variety of moves. There's superb use of colour and when anyone is killed blood oozes out of their heads as they lie on the floor.
Same people are bound to find the game rather tasteless and morally dubious. However, it is a very well-crafted combat game that has lots of variety, great graphics and a terrific challenge.
First Day Target Score
Beat first boss.
The graphics really are special on this one and there's some of the nicest animation I've seen. The gameplay is demanding but extremely satisfying when you succeed in beating a few heads in. The morality of the violence is for the individual to consider but personally I've never believed that games presented as fantasy have any effect on people's behaviour. In these matters I usually find children demonstrate great maturity in knowing this is just a game and nothing else.
Green Screen View
All levels are clearly playable.
P. Great use of colour.
P. The characters are superbly animated
P. Great tune plays throughout the action
P. Excellent range of attacks and effects
P. Tremendous satisfaction from beating a boss.
N. Difficult to control since you need both hands
Staying Power 89%
P. The opponents are tough right from the start.
P. Nice variety of opponents and behaviour.
P. Tremendous quality arcade conversion.