First there was Biggles, then there was 007, now there is Hardest... Freddy Hardest. Skilfully posing as an astral playboy, our hero is in fact a counterespionage agent in this humorous arcade game written by Spanish software house Dinamic. On leaving a party, Hardest crashes his spaceship on an enemy planet. To escape this hostile world he'll have to hijack a spacecraft, but first he must find the spacebase.
Freddy trudges across the planet's horizontally-scrolling landscape, doing his best to avoid a flock of attacking aliens and human reptile mutants. To get him through this maelstrom of malevolence, Freddy is equipped with a laser and a devastating repertoire of high kicks.
He can also leap over the frothing lava mouths which obstruct his path.
When our titanium-tough hero has reached the spacebase he can't escape to freedom straight away - first he has to decipher the Captain's code. Then comes Freddy's final task: he must fuel the ship by shifting nuclear energy cells, using the base's lift, and prepare for blastoff.
Graphics: in both sections, mostly divided into monochrome areas to avoid colour clash; detailed backgrounds
Sound: delightful title tune and spot effects
Options: definable keys
'The graphics aren't as good as they might be and there's a little colour clash, but after the first few attempts you get the feel of Freddy Hardest and it 's very addictive.'
MIKE ... 83%
'It's good to see the Dinamic programmers improving with every game they bring out. Freddy Hardest is much more playable and enjoyable than their previous work for the Ocean/Imagine group (Army Moves (Issue 41), Game Over (Issue 44) - 54% and 55% Overall respectively). Freddy bears an unbelievable likeness to the cartoon character Desperate Dan, but he makes the game. The first two levels differ enough to add addictiveness; the second level is very similar to Ocean's V (Issue 29), though it's more playable. It's also more attractive than the first and the action is more intense. It's Just as well Nick Roberts is promising the access code for the second level in the Christmas Special Playing Tips.'
PAUL ... 86%
'At the start of all the best games you'll find fantastic graphics and a great tune, arranged like the beginning of a film. Freddy Hardest is no exception, and here you get Freddy doing an impression of the roaring MGM lion! Freddy is quite well-defined and his hunky stance gives him the 007 look. The second stage, in the spacebase, is full of surprises, and though it's very like Ocean's V you'll get loads of fun out of this excellent game.'
NICK ... 85%
They say "Don't drink and drive", and perhaps they should extend that to flying as well, 'cos after having one too many at one of those awful allnight intergalactic parties, Freddy Hardest has gone an' crashed his spaceship on an enemy planet. As all the phones seem to be phonecard-only, he can't get a mechanic, so instead he decides to do what you or I would have done - break into the enemy base and nick one of their ships. (Speak for yourself. Ed)
First of all Freddy, who's one of those hunky astral playboys we all dream of being, has to find the base. This means wandering along a scrolling landscape wasting aliens left, right and centre with a variety of martial art moves and the usual laser pistol.
Then it's time to load in part two, type in the code number you were given at the end of the first part (whaddya mean you can't remember it?) and start looking for some transport. Having found the correct ship, loaded it up with fuel, got the codeword and worked out the take-off procedure he can finally jump in and hit the heavens.
While previous Dinamic stuff tended to be hot on graphics but a little cooler where addictiveness was concerned, this is certainly not the case with Freddy. Okay, so part one is a bit monotonous, but it's easily beaten and things are much more fun in the second bit. Although it bears a frightening resemblence to the notorious V it's actually very good, with just the right mix of beat em up and exploration.
Graphics are without doubt the game's strong point, with well animated sprites and nicely drawn backgrounds in part two. For some reason though, Freddy doesn't appear to have a nose! It's probably just as well, considering the amount of after shave these guys tend to wear.
Definitely worth a look for all would-be bodybuilders.
Dinamic doesn't make it easy on itself. It makes games that are hard - too hard for most reviewers in fact and often large sections of its games are never discussed.
Let's hope that's not a happens with Freddy Hardest its latest and possibly greatest game. The point is that Part 1 (around 48K's worth!) is a) fairly impressive b) pretty difficult but Part 2 (another 48K) is a) absolutely brilliant and b) pretty difficult.
Describing graphics as 'cartoon-like' has become somewhat meaningless, so let's say that the Freddy Hardest sprite is superbly animated, large, and very detailed. The guy seems to have a real character - he thinks he's cool (check out the haircut) but obviously he's a dork (note the legs).
In Part 1 he just has to try to get across the planet surface by leaping over volcanoes and zapping or kicking his a past some of the most brilliantly designed aliens seen in a Spectrum arcade game. From time to time he comes across enormous gaps that require some pretty exact leaping to successfully get across - luckily the amount of precise control you have over the leap (it according to long you hold the Fire button ) is enormous. Practise makes perfect so if you get it it's you and not your joystick...
As Freddy leaps and kicks his way a the aliens get and more nasty. The first are a bunch of dull-looking potato creatures - fry them with your laser when the chips are down. (Sorry about that - a Carry On film was last night). Later you get the bouncing ants, a far - and deadly - adversary. They tend to bounce straight into your path as you leap over a passing volcano - you'll need to combine all your blasting and kicking skills to get past them.
Part 2 is a little like several other games but most of all it reminds of Impossible Mission. The general plot is part of the reason but it's the speed and excitement combined with absolutely graphics that is the real key. Set below the planet surface are a multitude of different levels reached via transporter pads. Freddy's task here is to interrogate a series of to find the whereabouts of various fuel pods and other equipment which will allow him to escape.
There is a partial attempt at 3D in this section - the backdrop is flat with key equipment like computer terminals and lifts drawn with a very effective illusion of perspective. The actual walkways are drawn in the same way and the end result looks marvellous.
In this section a whole new selection of aliens plague Freddy's life including what for a long time I believed was a raincoat, (technical problems with the mighty SU TV). This section is mostly two-colour, so no attribute problems but Dinamic has cleverly used spot areas of colour so that the overall effect is not of drabness - it looks great.
Criticisms? No serious ones but I think Dinamic lets itself down in the structure of its game. Part 1 goes on for too long and is essentially very simple though fantastic to look at. Part 2 is of similar length but seems more involved and inventive.
Nevertheless there is lots to recommend this one - it has some of the best graphics design seen since the Knight Lore period of Ultimate and is very exciting to play.
Will you be one of that elite band who persevere and survive long enough in Part 1 to gain access to the brilliant stuff in Part 2?
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £12.95
THE HARDEST HUNK
Breasting bravely on the wave of Game Over, this is Imagine's third release from Dinamic, the Spanish software house who also brought us Army Moves. Dinamic are Z80 programmers, so Imagine's in-house team prepared Freddy Hardest for the Commodore.
All-round macho man, high-lifer and self-fancied spy Freddy Hardest, blasts into space following a 'small party', plays Space invaders with a meteor storm, and inevitably crash-lands on the moon of the planet Ternat. By an incredible coincidence (and a spot of luck, otherwise there wouldn't be a game to follow) the moon also contains the alien base of Kaldar.
His only hope of getting off the moon is to discover the Kaldarian base, hi-jack a ship and hi-tail it off. The moon's surface is pitted with chasms and bubbling craters, guarded by robots and populated by nasty alien fauna; a kick deals with the orbiting robots, moon creatures are seen off with a swift laser bolt.
Getting into the base, once it is found, is no problem since reaching the end of part one gives you an access code which you enter as soon as part two has been uploaded (Spectrum 128 is a single load). The Kaldarians aren't so easily disposed of, immune to laser fire, Freddy has no alternative but to resort to fisticuffs, and whilst he enjoys this kind of 'full blown bruise up', it does hinder the task of getting the Captain's Code - essential to take off - from 16 computer terminals scattered throughout three of the base's four levels. The fourth level houses four colour-coded ships, and having selected one, only the correct colour-coded computer information is of any use.
The ship will need fuel too and that involves collecting the appropriately coloured nuclear cells, placing them in, and operating, a loading lift from a nearby loading computer terminal. Lifts can also be used to access the base's different levels and tunnels used to move to other parts of the current level.
In general Freddy Hardest suffers most - the graphics on all machines being jolly enough to delight the eye - from not being hard enough, unless it's in a fake kind of way, as on the 64 version, where collision detection is almost too fine-tuned to be fair. So while this makes an ideal game for the younger player, it does mean that the street-cred brigade are less likely to find much more than an immediate appeal.
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