The Blues Brothers (Titus) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

The Blues Brothers
By Titus
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #7

They hate the Illinois Nazis, they wear shades, and they believe that everybody needs somebody. And now they're getting soulful on the Amiga...

The Blues Brothers

They hate the Illinois Nazis, they wear shades, and they believe that everybody needs somebody. And now they're getting soulful on the Amiga...

I'm on a mission froom God, too... French publishers Titus don't have the most impressive record ever, that's for sure. Crazy Cars, Fire And Forget, Dick Tracy and, um, lots of other really memorable titles have gained them something of a joke reputation among quality software fans.

When they announced the acquisition of The Blues Brothers' licence, then, game lovers divided into two distinct camps - those who hated the Blues Brothers and didn't care a hoot who got the rights, and those who loved them and were absolutely horrified at the prospect of Titus getting their grubby hands anywhere near their heroes. Me, I can take Jake and Elwood or leave them, which makes me ideal for an objective review of this game. Probably.

Plot? Who The Hell Needs It?

The Blues Brothers: The Game owes almost nothing in storyline to the legendary film, but the plot will still sound strangely familiar to movie devotees. Jake and Elwood have a gig to play, but the local sheriff, mindful of the repercussions of the boys' last show (the one in the film), has had their equipment stolen and hidden all over town by gangs of homicidal thugs. Said gentlemen will also stop at nothing to postpone the Brothers' show by less-than-subtle means, (i.e. putting Jake or Elwood in hospital for the duration), which leaves our heroes faced with the proverbial mountain to climb.

They have to run, jump and crawl their way through six levels retrieving their vital pieces of kit, while simultaneously avoiding the sheriff's crazed hordes and... well, that's about it, as it happens. The basic concept of the game is a straightforward console-esque cartoony platforms-and-ladders escapade, of the type frequently attempted without much success by Ocean with their movie licence games, and particularly reminiscent of the new Hudson Hawk effort. Complicated strategy isn't the name of the game here, it's 'Dash About Madly And Hope For The Best'.

Okay, so enough detail, it's about time we got down to whether, against all expectations, Titus have succeeded where so many have failed before them and turned a popular film into a great game. There's a first time for everything, I suppose...

This Could Be The First Time...

...and this is it! The Blues Brothers is, without a shadow of a doubt, the finest character licence game ever seen on the Amiga. Now that might seem like rather a lofty claim, but it's true and that's all there is to it. It's not all that big, it's not especially hard, it's not very clever and it's certainly not even slightly grown-up, but what this game is is the most fun I've had all month.

There's nothing particularly original in the design, but it's so well put together and full of character that it's a total joy to play.

Not that you'd have thought that if you'd wandered into the office while I was playing it for this review, as I screamed and swore and hit things violently in frustration, but believe me, I was having fun. None of the levels in the game are dramatically large, especially given the frantic pace the whole thing's played at, but they're just long (and hard) enough that you never quite manage to get to the end of them as easily as you think you should do.

So you slam the joystick down in anger, kick yourself for your carelessness, say 'Right, I'll have you this time, you horrible little game' (or words to that effect), and pick the stick up again and dive right back in. And get killed again (of course). Yes, what I'm trying rather long-windedly to say here is that this game's addictive as hell, and if you don't believe me, ask our security guard.

Addiction is far from all The Blues Brothers has got going for it though. The graphics are nothing less than lovely, both in look and movement. Jake and Elwood have different characters, and as they career incompetently across the bright, pin-sharp cartoon backdrops the effect is similar to watching a particularly good Marx Brothers film (except in colour). The animation suits the almost-slapstick feel perfectly, and if you don't laugh when you see Jake and Elwood inadvertently collect a 'dance bonus' token and bop ludicrously on the spot for five seconds then you're either dead or you ought to be. Sound is excellent too, with one of several top tunes from the movie soundtrack playing throughout each level on top of some ordinary but sweet effects. (You can switch either or both off at any time if their bouncy cheerfulness begins to annoy you on your nineteenth attempt at level three, luckily.)

The clincher, though, is the playability. Everything feels just right, all the controls are simple and instinctive, and there's just a tiny bit of inertia on the boys' movement for that complete Super Mario Brothers-type experience. When you mess up in this game, you've got nothing to blame but your own lack of co-ordination.

The Superflies In The Ointment

Traditionally though, there are a few bugbears. In two-player mode, the scrolling only follows one of the characters, so in two player mode the other player can easily disappear off-screen and get hopelessly lost. It's difficult to see how it could have worked any other way without losing the pace of the action, but it's a shame all the same. Also, with only three lives (three 'energy hearts' per life) and only one restart point per level (about halfway through, logically enough), some players may find it all just a little too frustrating.

Then again, it's nowhere near as annoying as, say, Rick Dangerous, and that sold millions so it shouldn't be too big a problem. At least in The Blues Brothers you always see what's going to kill you before you die.

In any case, the relative smallness of the levels means that you've never got too much ground to cover to regain your position. Whatever, these are embarrassingly picky points, and you really shouldn't let them stop you from buying this game. If you've ever liked fun arcade platform games (i.e. if you thought Magic Pockets was a load of tedious old crap, as anyone with an ounce of taste did), you'll love The Blues Brothers to death.

The Bottom Line

Uppers: So playable it's frightening, so gorgeous and funny you won't be able to wipe the smile from your face all the way to the end.

Downers: Two-player mode doesn't really work, and some people (not me though) might find the lack of restart points irritating.

Sparking piece of console-style action that's excellent in everything it does. Don't let the Titus name put you off, they've finally come good. Buy buy buy.

Stuart Campbell

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