Savage (Firebird) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Firebird
Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer & Video Games #86


If I was to walk up to you in the street and tell you that a Spectrum was capable of an almost arcade quality game with huge, colourful graphics and immense playability, what are the odds you'd have me locked away? That's why I'm not going to tell you in the street, I'm going to write it here. The Spectrum is capable of an arcade quality game. You still don't believe me? Then feast your eyes on Savage.

Savage is, if you didn't already know, the hottest game from Telecomsoft yet, who seem to be having a bit of a ball at the moment, what with Carrier Command and Starglider II, and these still screenshots can't even begin to convey the wonderfulness of this game. It's the only game that makes a colour monitor worthwhile for the Spectrum. It's amazing!

Savage is a 6'4" blond haired, macho Danish programmer-type person, whose girlfriend has been kidnapped. His job is to rescue her, through fire and ice, come hell or high water. Savage's woman has been woman-napped by some vicious fiend (probably) and so, as lovers do, he's set off to rescue her through three levels of glorious technicolour, non-clashing, brilliant, 100% pure arcade action.

The first features our hero, Trantor-like, in all his macho glory, and what a stud he is. He even walks muscly. He makes Eugene Lacey looks like Arnold Schwarcheneef, er, swordgernagger, um, Sylvester Stallone. He has to run from left to right, hurling magic axes from his infinite magic axe supply at the attacking flies, spiders and Ad Managers. Yes, even in a game as wonderful as this, our own Garry Williams makes an entrance as a huge, pot-bellied, lager-swilling ad-selling demon, who bounces around hurling lightning bolts, which is only slightly different to what he normally does. He bounces around hurling abuse. The graphics are huge, well animated, colourful, non-clashing and simply amazing. Definitely a must see.

Pass that lot and it's onto the second level, which is a 3D jaunt, Space Harrier-like, through a nightmare world of rotating head-shaped monoliths and totem poles that stick their tongues our rudely when they get close. As usual fast, colourful graphics abound, and the 3D movement works really well. Funnily enough, the programmer has quite cleverly managed to get brown as one of the colours on the scrolling floor. Quite clever considering the Spectrum doesn't have brown as a base colour.

That is the beauty of Savage - it pushes the Spectrum even further than anyone believed it could be pushed right at the end of 1988. The 16 bit version promise some surprises as well from what I've heard - like the digitised roar of our hero who shouts "Savage" every so often on the Amiga version.

Next it's onto the third and final level. The girl is hidden somewhere in a maze far too difficult for Savage to negotiate, so he sends his pet bird in. For most people, a pet bird is a budgie or a canary. For Savage, it's an eagle. What you have to do on this level is fly the eagle around the maze until it finds the girl. Simple! The only difficulty is that the enemy normally have some sort of say in it, and it's this level that features the best of the graphics, the eagle's death. Yes, there is more than one way to die. He can get squashed under a falling pole, he can get impaled on spikes, he can merely get his head bitten off and fall to the floor all portrayed in similarly gory ways.

Savage is definitely one of the best arcade games yet seen on the Spectrum. If you don't buy it, it's not worth your while having a Spectrum.

Savage could be the game that puts development house Probe well and truly on the map. Congratulations are due all round.