Joe Blade II

by Colin Swinbourne, Mike Brown, Peter Austin, Simon Daniels, Andy Severn
Players Software
Crash Issue 57, Oct 1988   page(s) 30

Players Software

Hit baddies very hard and not feel guilty.

Producer: Players
Out of Pocket: £1.99
Author: Colin Swinbourne

Murderers, muggers, punks and other not very nice people fill the streets. It's 1995 and the public are being held hostage in their own homes. Who can rid us of these hooligans, guttersnipes and lovers of David Sylvian dirges?

Need you ask? It's Joe Blade of course.

After defeating the nefarious Crax Bloodfinger and his henchmen in Joe Blade (Issue 44, 84%), Blade (Joe), scourge of all nasty villains (ie Phil King and Nick Roberts), has returned in his never-ending fight for truth, justice, and the chance to hit baddies very hard and not feel guilty about it.

So enter stage left Joe Blade - there are 20 citizens to be rescued within ten minutes, or it's roller blinds for you. With innocent bystanders wandering about, the powers that be have taken away Joe's gun, forcing him to alternative means of disposal. Now a press of the fire button sends Joe leaping into the air, until his boot gently collides with a baddie's bonce (scoring 200 points in the process).

Most of the doors Joe passes through are unlocked, but some need opening with special keys, and 20 are provided at the start of the game, although more can be obtained (along with a 500-point bonus) when you collect five bouncing dustbins.

Don't forget to rescue hostages - they can be found doddering on the streets in their 'Columbo'-style raincoats. Run into one of these unhappy citizens and you access the subgame. This is quite simple: rearrange the number code into its correct order in 60 seconds, or Joe dies (this ends the game, as you only have one life). Disaster also strikes if the timer runs out, although running into alarm clocks which are occasionally encountered, resets the timer to ten minutes. So hurry Joe, time's running out.

Monochrome sprites and backgrounds cut out the risk of colour clash nicely, and the game's general appearance is fine. Although Joe has lost his gun he has little difficulty despatching the baddies with his ballet dancer leap.

Sadly, though I prefer this to the previous offering, boredom once again soon grabbed me. The backgrounds are all detailed, but they look too similar, the search for citizens became tedious, and I found the puzzles (once sussed) very simple. But short term Joe Blade II's playable, which wins much of my vote. See what you think.

MARK [83%]

Joysticks: Cursor, Sinclair, Kempston
Graphics: Cutely-animated sprites on monochromatic backgrounds
Sound: A host of 128K tunes throughout the game

If you thought that Players couldn't go one better than the original Joe Blade, then you ain't seen Joe Blade II matey! This takes the original idea and makes it doubly addictive and much more challenging.It has all the fun and excitement with new subgames and excellently detailed new graphics. The music and sound effects are just right for this type of game. There is enough playability in Joe Blade II to last a life time - I just can't wait to play Joe Blade III!NICK [92%]

After an impressive debut, Joe's second appearance is no disappointment. Most striking are the number of catchy 128K tunes which accompany both the front end and the four subgames.Kicking punks soon gets repetitive, but what really makes Joe Blade II so playable are the four puzzling subgames. The concept of arranging numbers in the correct order sounds easy, but you tend to make silly mistakes when under the pressure of a small time limit. I just love the way the program sadistically taunts the player by announcing that if the puzzle isn't solved you'll 'die in 60 seconds'!My only gripe is that perhaps the task of finding the raincoat-clad citizens is a little too easy. Once the play area is mapped out, completion shouldn't take too long. But in the meantime there's plenty of fun to be had in this compulsively addictive sequel.PHIL [92%]

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Presentation: 87%
Graphics: 85%
Playability: 84%
Addictive Qualities: 83%
Overall: 90%

Summary: General Rating: A worthy successor to Joe Blade with superb presentation and addictive gameplay.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 80, Nov 1988   page(s) 64

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

Oh dear, there's something wrong here. Our mate Colin Swinbourne couldn't have been responsible for this. Not the man who wrote the original Joe Blade, Deviants, and our own Brat Attack freebie game. But he has.

It's not that it doesn't look fab. It does. The backgrounds of shattered buildings, detailed shops, looming doorways and littered streets are excellent. The characters are beautifully drawn; Joe Blade, our macho muscular hero, the leaping thugs and muggers (try saying that after a half a weak lager shandy), the shuffling inhabitants of the city, and the bouncing objects such as clocks and dustbins, are great. The animation is wonderfully smooth, and there's no attribute clash because each screen is rendered in one of a selection of monochrome colours.

The prob, and it's a big prob, is that after playing for thirty seconds you'll have seen everything you're going to see in the game, and it just isn't very exciting. The plot. You, Joe, have to clear up a town ruled by rampaging hoodlums. At the same time, you have to rescue twenty innocent civilians by completing sub-games. As you flip from screen to screen, the muggers approach you from either side. You have to clobber them by leaping over their heads and kicking them into oblivion, gaining 200 bonus points and a feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, since they don't do you any harm if they hit you, there isn't much excitement involved in this part of the game.

Collecting dustbins and clocks isn't too thrilling either. They just bounce up and down until you pass over them, to gain points and time bonuses. If you come across a shuffling civilian, colliding with him takes you into a sub-game. There are four varieties of subgame. but basically they all involve watching changing symbols on the screen, and hitting the fire button when they match the symbol at the side. You have a time limit of sixty seconds, but it shouldn't take you more than ten to solve the easier ones.

To complete the game you have to clobber 100 thugs and save 20 civvies within the time limit. Apart from the thrill of mapping the game, to make sure that you've explored all the areas, there doesn't seem to be anything much more to it, which is a huge disappointment.

Joe Blade II is a bit like watching a ballet; it's all very pretty and artistic, but you soon end up wishing someone would cut loose with a machine-gun. The music and sound effects are insignificant, and I didn't like being called a scumbucket on the high-score routine. Not a winner; let's hope the promised (threatened?) Joe Blade 3 is more up to scratch.

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 32%
Playability: 67%
Lastability: 50%
Overall: 55%

Summary: Graphically good but sadly unexciting arcade adventure.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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