Outback is a game for conservation lovers everywhere. To the tune of Waltzing Matilda, a tube of Fosters by your side, your job as 'Boss Roo' is to defend a herd of baby kangaroos from kidnap by cunning swagmen.
Cunning is the word. Knowing that your compound of tiny roos is heavily guarded, they've had the bright idea of coming in from the trees on balloons. Every swagman that lands steals one of your roos, and so you've had to devise an extra-ordinary way of guarding them.
A special pulley system with a platform on it has been built, and you have to ride up and down on the platform, shooting arrows at the balloons and hopefully exploding them. Thus a swagman plunges to his doom, and the baby animals are safe... until the next one comes along.
Should you miss the balloon and hit a swagman instead, he responds by instantly throwing a boomerang at you. Not very well it must be admitted, since it doesn't seem to come back to him, but if it hits you another of your four lives disappears.
After each wave of swagmen has been seen off various bonus points are scored, and you get a number of extra baby kangaroos to look after. It's all over when you lose all your lives, or all of the babies have been stolen.
For a program that works on the unexpanded Vic, there's a surprising amount going on.
There's also a lot of good programming. Nice graphics are much in evidence as the swagmen descend, sometimes in pairs to make it more difficult to hit the balloons, and almost always zig-zagging from side to side. By the time you've got three or four of them on the screen a veritable fusillade of boomerangs starts flying about, and the pulley system is put to a severe test as you try and dodge out of the way of everything.
The sound effects are more than reasonable as well, although you'll probably be reaching for the volume control before too long.
Should you manage to survive three waves of the invading swagmen a bonus of ten baby kangaroos is given, and if you ever manage to reach 20,000 points you get a bonus life thrown in as well.
With a very good response to joystick movement, Outback is an addictive game that makes nice use of the features of the Vic 20. You can almost forget you're using a 22 column screen, as the graphics are very good indeed.
Lots of fun for the unexpected Vic.