Mega Bucks

by Andrew P. Deakin, Ivan Horn, M.B.D.
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 38, Mar 1987   page(s) 112,113

Producer: Firebird
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Ivan Horn

Rock Carrington one of those guys you just can't stand at parties. Young,handsome, and in line to inherit a fortune from his eccentric and recently deceased uncle, Professor Maxbillion III.

Fancy free, and never having done a day's honest work in his life, Rock has been enjoying the life of the idle rich on the strength of his impending inheritance. But at last, the creditors are closing in and Rock has actually got to go into the prof's home and get his hands on the readies.

This is where the trouble starts. The old professor was incredibly mean - and rather devious. To see whether Rock is worthy of the lolly, Maxbillion laid a series of traps for his unsuspecting nephew.

The maze that comprises the mansion and its grounds consists of a series of rooms, viewed from the side. Rock ambles about this, picking up objects. Pressing fire brings up a screen containing eight icons: Quit; Abort; Pick up; Drop; Use; Pause and Return to the game. Accessing the object handling icons brings up a further screen showing the objects carried.

After the initial trap, where our hero stands a chance of being gassed, it is a question of collecting and using pieces of equipment to gain entrance to parts of the maze that are initially inaccessible. Rampant robots and man-eating plants have to be evaded. Energy and time are in short supply, although some objects replenish energy.

The final aim is to find a video tape which shows where the money is hidden. The clue to its location lies in a painting hanging in the house, and sections of the painting are obtained for solving certain key puzzles.


Control keys: definable; up, down, left, right, access menu
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: pleasing, with few attribute problems
Graphics: pretty, with lots of detail
Sound: reasonable title tune, but sparse spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 72

FIREBIRD have come up with a cracker in the form of Mega Bucks. I must say that I found it a little tricky to begin with, but after a fair amount of raving, and lots of trial-and-error this game became rewarding and fun to play. In gameplay and plot this could be a great rival to one of David Jones' masterpieces (Knight Tyme and the like). The graphics are similar to those used in the Wally trilogy - there are a few colour problems but everything else has been well drawn. The sound is surprisingly good, with a reasonable tune on the title screen and well above average effects during the game.

Another excuse for another Silver Range arcade adventure game. I wonder why FIREBIRD can't bring out some good original games. Mega Bucks contains all the budget favourites, lots of colour, smart graphics and lots of options. Sound is limited to a few spot beeps. A tune running through the game would have suited it well - but alas there isn't one. Sadly I found Mega Bucks boring to play, as there is very little to keep the player addicted to it for long. It may look nice, but the game holds little appeal.

Mega Bucks looks very suspiciously like a game from the Magic Knight trilogy. I'm not particularly keen on it, as the game isn't as playable as it should be - even for two quid - and it loses out far too much on addictivity. The tune on the title screen is annoying, and the game sounds aren't anything above spot effects. The graphics are below standard, and too much colour has been used. The icons are unattractive, though recognisable. I think that FIREBIRD have skimped a bit on this one. Definitely not their best; they should have spent more time on it.

Presentation: 68%
Graphics: 67%
Playability: 65%
Addictiveness: 59%
Value for Money: 74%
Overall: 66%

Summary: General Rating: Should appeal to fans of David Jones' type of games.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 15, Mar 1987   page(s) 68


Chop chop, busy busy, work work, bang bang. Those Telecom boys are obviously on form this month, what with The Hive and now this spanking little cheapie. Megabucks isn't earth shatteringly original - okay, it's uncannily like one of the David Jones' glorious Magic Knight trilogy from Mastertronic - but even the Ed in one of her more violent moods couldn't drag me away from it for the best part of a day. I was hooked!

As you might've guessed by the title, the game's all about greed. Professor Maxibillion III, an eccentric and viciously rich scientist, has died, leaving his fortune to American nephew Rock Carrington. But as Rock, you must overcome several obstacles and solve even more puzzles before you can get your sweaty little mitts on the Prof's moolah. And that means tramping around his house picking things up and using them in the appropriate places.

A familiar theme, huh? There seem to be a lot of hybrid games these days, combining successful chunks of previous hits to create something new... but old at the same tine. And Megabucks is another one. Still, who cares when the result's as good as this? There are new ideas too, most notably the teleport device (remember who makes the game!) and the way you levitate around the place, which is fun if a bit hard to believe.

I don't want to give any clues away (except to say that you shouldn't be too put off by the Professor's first warning). But one course of action I would recommend is popping out to your local software shop immediately and snapping up this little beauty.

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

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 60, Mar 1987   page(s) 72

Label: Firebird Silver Range
Author: Ivan Horn
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Megabucks places you, as heir to your uncle's fortune, outside a huge mansion which is full of security systems and all sorts of advanced traps. Your mission is to find a way into the mansion and get hold of a hidden item which will entitle you to the cash that he left behind.

Sounds familiar? What we have here is yet another attempt at the arcade-adventure theme twiddled and tweaked to incorporate lots of menus and large-ish graphics.

Into the heady excitement of the game then, and we find ourselves standing on the first of an endless array of composite landscapes with an occasional object lying on the floor, just daring you to attempt to pick it up - thus loosing yourself in a maze of black boxes offering many object-manipulative options.

Everything is icon-controlled thence all the boxes etc) and therefore you will have to get pretty darned efficient at selecting those icons in order to get anywhere before the time limit runs out or something else happens to end your game. You walk left and right in an extraordinarily predictable manner picking up objects, fighting your way through black boxes and suchlike.

Most of the locations are rooms in the mansion and are generally interesting to look at - being quite detailed and colourful. The objects are pretty hard to miss, and are - to be fair - quite well drawn. By using the wretched menu system it is impossible to examine the objects and discover their use.

The Gem is a particularly good thing to get hold of, allowing you to fly around and thus reach locations previously hidden.

Well, there's not a great deal more to say about Megabucks. It's sort of OK, but is so flabbergastingly unoriginal that it's budget price is just about all it has in its favour.

Overall: 2/5

Summary: Dreary, old-hat nonsense pretending to be a bargain purchase. Don't be taken in - it's flabbergastingly unoriginal!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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