Joe Blade

by Colin Swinbourne, Gari Biasillo, Martin Severn, Peter Austin
Players Software
Crash Issue 44, Sep 1987   page(s) 30

Producer: Players
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Colin Swinbourne

Perhaps it's no bad thing, but six of the world's leaders have been captured by the reprehensible Crax Bloodfmger and held in his stronghold. There's only one alternative to meeting his ransom demands - to send in Joe Blade.

Bloodfinger's HQ is shown as 127 cold-walled rooms and external scenes, and Blade must work his way through these, rescuing the six hostages. Some passageways are blocked by closed doors, and our hero can only pass beyond these obstructions by gathering keys.

The stronghold is populated by a small army of uniformed guards - manic knifemen and brutal thugs. They quickly enervate Blade, who'll die if he doesn't eat and drink.

But to protect himself against the guards, Blade can disguise himself in an enemy uniform for a limited time. He also carries a machine gun to kill off Bloodfinger's horrible hordes, but needs to find ammunition.

As he progresses through this flick-screen fortress, Blade encounters six booby-trapped explosive devices which can be activated by rearranging an access code. Once the first has been primed, only 20 minutes remain for Blade to activate the rest, round up the hostages and escape.

And be warned - incautious actions can lead bombs to self- destruct. If that happens, Blade has just 30 seconds in which to crack the code or become an angel


Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: humorous and detailed; monochromatic play area
Sound: limited but atmospheric
Options: high-score table

Joe Blade is really fun -and addictive. The graphics are big, well-defined and attractive, and even in monochrome they look good. Here's a budget game that IS worth buying.
MIKE [90%]

I was immediately taken by the graphics and the simplicity of Joe Blade - I can't think of many better shoot-'em-ups this year. Joe Blade is a really tough character and makes the game a delight. And the equipment scattered around the prison and perimeter fences is detailed and easily recognisable - the enemy uniform is particularly fun. Joe Blade requires just enough thought to keep you addicted, but not enough to get you bored.
PAUL [91%]

Graphically Joe Blade is a bit iffy; cardboard-cutout sprites wobble around a nicely detailed background. It's quickly addictive, but I doubt its long-term playability. Still, Joe Blade offers good hack-and-blast-about action.
MARK [65%]

Presentation: 79%
Graphics: 81%
Playability: 83%
Addictive Qualities: 85%
Overall: 84%

Summary: General Rating: Extremely playable and addictive.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 23, Nov 1987   page(s) 50


Worra hero! Rippling biceps, super strength, mean, tough and fearless. His name - Blade, Joe Blade. Licenced to thrill and kill a bit. If you have a problem, send for this man.

The world governments have a bit of a problem: a gang of crazed terrorists are holding six world leaders to ransom somewhere in the massive fortified HQ belonging to the infamous Crax Bloodfinger. Send for Blade, and his trusty tommy gun. If anyone can do the job it's this man.

You control Blade in this great little arcade adventure from Players. Your mission is to rescue the captives and activate six booby-trapped bombs, then get the hell outta there. The game is a cross between Dan Dare, Jack The Nipper, with a little Ranarama thrown in for good measure. The graphics and backgrounds are well detailed and remind me of that Gremlin classic, but the plot is pure Dan Dareish. It's a flip screen affair with a maze of interconnected rooms and passageways filled with bad guys and the occasional useful object. You will stumble acrosss bombs from time to time, which instantly transfer you to the defuse screen. Here you are confronted with a series of letters that have to be rearranged into alphabetical order (a la Ranarama!) within a time, or it's goodbye cruel world. Map-making is essential, so is the correct use of the limited supply of cell keys, so be warned!

The animation is first class and the sound (on the 128K version at least) is great, with a nice tune on start up, and decent FX throughout. Joe Blade is very easy to get into, and not so hard to play. It should give Players a top ten hit. The game is easily worth more, so get out there, buy your copy, and get liberating now.

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: Best Players budget game ever. A terrific search 'n'shoot mini Dan Dare clone, with good graphics and animation.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 67, Oct 1987   page(s) 38,39

Label: Players
Author: Colin Swinbourne
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Maybe there's something about men with moustaches that means they make good games. Last month we had Charles Bronson in Death Wish III, complete with moustache and bazooka, and this month we've got a dude called Joe Blade in a game called, well, it's called Joe Blade actually.

So what's it all about then, this new moustachioed game? The plot is about as interesting as sheep dip. but I'll tell you anyway. The evil Crax Bloodfinger has kidnapped six world leaders, and is holding them to ransom.

You begin your mission just outside Bloodfinger's base. As you move through the prison complex, you'll come across various bits and pieces, most of which are pretty darn useful, and some of which need to be shot. Those that are useful include spare ammunition, lunch packs (tastefully arranged to include a bottle of wine and an apple, to build up your ever diminishing strength), cell keys to open doors, hostages to rescue, and the all important bombs to prime. Those that need to be shot are the stormtrooper guards (don't ask me why they're stormtroopers, I'm sure there's a logical explanation, but I'm not going to delve into it now) and hunky men in vests with knives.

The twist lies in the bombs you have to plant. You can't finish the game until you prime six bombs to destroy Craxfinger's base.

But priming the bombs isn't easy. Indeed it's almost a game within a game.

First find your bomb, which is easy enough - a bomb in Joe Blade is nearly as big as your sprite - and then enter bomb-priming mode. Then you'll see the letters A-E on the screen, jumbled up, and you then have twenty seconds to set the code in alphabetical order. Not as easy as it sounds.

It is actually this bomb-priming sequence which sets Joe Blade apart from all the other flipping arcade adventures around at the moment.

Two of the five letters are highlighted, and by using Fire, you swap these two letters over. If the order of the letters was DEBAC, and D and A were highlighted, those two letters would swap places. By using the left and right keys, you can widen the gap between two letters and then swap them. (You could highlight D and B, or D and C for instance. It needs a clear head to actually complete the task in the time allowed, and all too often you'll find that the bomb self destructs and you go up with it.

It's a good enough combination of game elements to please lots of people, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done Players. Tick. VG.

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Overall: 8/10

Summary: A game with elements to please all. With a clever sub-game and nice graphics, it deserves to go down a treat.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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