Take one axe-wielding homicidal maniac, lock him up in a jail cell, let him escape and what happens? He goes charging around the dungeons chopping things up, grabbing everything not bolted down and legs it out the door, that's what. You are that axe-wielder in Savage, probably the best-looking CPC game ever.
There are three different levels. Each is loaded separately and a password is required for you to stand any chance in the second and third games. There's also an introduction program which has a large scrolling message that fills you in on the scenario.
Tn the first game you run around the castle chopping monsters and collecting things to help your violent cause. You're a very large and colourful sprite running around horizontally scrolling castle corridors. Hordes of monsters stand in your way and they drain your energy as long as they're in contact with you. Some big monsters lurk and they take loads of hits before they explode in a technicolour bang. In some places there are holes in the floor which must be leaped over. Complete the level and you receive a password for level two.
Level two has a completely different viewpoint: you look out across Death Valley which is viewed in 3D, and travel forwards at incredibly high speed in an attempt to escape the valley. Large and ugly monoliths litter the valley floor and collision with any of them loses you a life. If you have the password from game one then you have three lives: otherwise you only have one. To continue onto level three you must go through three sub-levels, each trickier than the previous. To complete a sub-level you must kill a set number of monsters that wander amongst the monoliths. During your journey across the valley you discover that your true love has been kidnapped and imprisoned in the castle.
You arrive back at the castle, but at a different entrance to the one you left from. Since you can't fly, you call upon your eagle friend who enters the castle in your place. Water, spiked pits, bouncing rocks and demonic guardians infest the castle and all must be dealt with if you're ever to complete your rescue mission. Like part two, you only have one life unless you have the password for three lives.
In all three levels the graphics are absolutely excellent: without any doubt at all the best there's been on the CPC for many, many months. Animation of the sprites is good and there's little flicker considering their size. Sounds are good and the tunes are of a similar standard to the graphics, although there are no tunes during play.
If the gameplay was as good as the graphics then we'd have a Mastergame on our hands, but unfortunately it's not. The difficulty is set about right in all but the second level which is far too tough: it can be done but you'll end up very frustrated when you have just one more of the bad guys to eradicate and then you hit a monolith losing your only remaining life. The other two games are both frustrating and difficult, but not impossibly so. Practice will get you through in the end. A tremendous game, but lacking in long term appeal.
Complete level one.
Savage is the height of the "frustration/addictiveness/graphics" equation that makes all great games great. And what's been achieved in its graphics is just breathtaking: it makes other games look lame in comparison. If the look of a game is important to you - and surely it is - you'll love Savage.
There's lots of nostalgic overtones of games such as Trantor, Space Harrier and Alchemist and you're left with a spicy taste that's a whole new flavour: Savage flavour!
P. Huge, well animated and colourful sprites.
P. Best graphics in many moons.
P. Some good tunes and sound effects.
Grab Factor 87%
P. Run around, kill monsters and look at the graphics in disbelief.
P. Difficulty increases as your skill does.
Staying Power 77%
P. Three very different levels to complete.
P. Level two is too difficult: don't let it put you off completing the game!
P. It looks brilliant, it sounds brilliant and it is brilliant.