Tusker (System 3) Review | Sinclair User - Everygamegoing

Sinclair User

By System 3
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #92


Imagine the sun bleached skies of Africa, alive among the shrill cacophony of the jungle and the distant cries of the native bingo callers. This is Africa, a land rich in beauty where only the strong can survive and the only place for the weak is a seat in the once monthly Link game. Or no seat at all. If you're too slow, you're likely to have you're bottom ripped off, which in the jungle means you've got nowhere to go (geddit?). There are many ways to get rich, one way is to build your own Bingo Hall, the other is to find the last resting place of the largest land mammal in the world. The elephants' graveyard. The tooth fairy may leave you a couple of bob for your old teeth, but where the elephants die, they leave a fortune behind them in ivory.

Luckily for you, your father Mr Tusker Snr, has made it his life's work to find this hallowed ground but he's given up the ghost and it's up to you to take up the task. You must work your way from desert to Jungle, through underground labyrinths. native villages, crocodile infested subterranean pools and you go and killing the odd bingo caller.

Control is along the four main compass headings, with the fire button being used to kick or thump opponents or to use things that are picked up along the way.


Icons at the top of the screen show two fists. The left hand holds objects and artifacts that you may need to use and the right hand shows the various weapons that you have at your disposal. Energy is shown as the bar on the left and a bar on the right shows water which you can use to replenish your energy - if you have a water bottle of course!

Play begins in the desert, where nomadic tribesmen with long, curved scimitars will try to hack you to bits. Just say no, and until you pick up any weapons, run away. Once you've picked up a few bits by a down left/right, fire motion, you can select between them by pressing A for Artifact and S for weapons. This will flip between icons of things that you have in your possession. Once you're carrying a weapon, the kick, punch directions become different heights of chopping and hacking so you can vary your attacks.

The graphics are really quite pretty and characters can move behind and in front of parts of the scenery giving the game a real feeling of depth. The movement of your character can however, get a little difficult from time to time and the tribesmen seem to home in on you in a fairly simplistic fashion.

Tusker is a large game, with lots in it, combining arcade and strategy in a colourful combination that would add to any artists palette. I felt that the arcade side of the recipe was slightly lacking but still yields a game that should keep the interest of any adventurer whilst arcade junkies could find themselves not entirely satisfied.

Overall Summary

An 'unlicensed' Indiana that has terrific potential.

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