Sinclair User

SAS Combat Simulator
By Codemasters
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #85

SAS Combat Simulator

I can't stand this. You'd have thought we had made enough fun of Codemasters in the past, without them descending into self-parody. Not only do they have the cheek to call this an "SAS Simulator" - SIMULATOR. HAH! - but they also go as over-the-top as usual with self-penned reviews. "It's absolutely incredible how much gameplay there is!", says David Darling. No it isn't! There's a perfectly normal amount of gameplay, neither more nor less than you would expect.

So, having vented some of my not inconsiderable spleen, what's the game all about? Well, far from being an SAS Combat Simulator, which would presumably involve making sure that your black balaclava was colour-co-ordinated with your black boiler suit, black gasmask and black machine gun, before you set out to attack a choice of any three from ten foreign embassies... er, where was I? Oh yes, basically this is a horizontally-scrolling Commando-style game.

You start off armed with a rifle and hand grenades. It's the usual business; move from left to right, pressing the fire button to shoot down little potty soldiers, holding it down to launch a grenade. Graphics and sound could fairly be described as ho-hum, scrolling is OK and action fairly continuous.

SAS Combat Simulator

Soon, though, things get silly. By running over a Codemasters logo (typical bit of modesty there, lads) you pick up extra weapons or lives. The first weapon is a jeep, but what a jeep! It can move forwards, backwards, up, down, even diagonally, without changing the way it's facing! WOW! While in the jeep you're protected from enemy bullets, but not from grenades. Baddies, meanwhile, fall spinning to the ground as your crush your way through them.

The end of each level is marked by a railway line. After flinging a grenade at the passing train you turn upwards, fight your way past the terrifying pillbox, and reach the end of the level.

Between levels you encounter the "hand-to-hand-combat simulator". Oh dear oh dear. This bit's awful. Here you have a side view rather than a top view, and your little SAS maniac makes his way from left to right, fighting off enemies by prodding them in the stomach with what looks like a fishfinger. Timing is the thing here; there's certainly no other element of skill involved. In due course you come to the end of this merry interval, and it's on to level two, which is the same as level one except that it's green.

If SASCS hadn't been called SASCS, and IF it wasn't so ridiculously hyped on the back, I wouldn't have been too unpleasant towards it. As a cut-price version of Fernandez Must Die, it's not a bad effort, with reasonable gameplay and sound making up for the slightly drab graphics. As it is take the standard advice and try before you buy - even at £2.99.

Overall Summary

Not much of a simulator, and hardly very SAS either.

Chris Jenkins

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