In days of old when knights were bold, there lived a hero who wasn't afraid of anything (even the Ed's scathing tongue). Good job, too, 'cause his job's to rescue the lair Princess Lalena from the clutches of the evil Dark Lord (courtesy Crap Names Inc).
Four levels filled with very unfriendly minions stand between our boy and the object of his search. In each level find three parts of a Moontorc (a piece of Celtic jewellery worn round the neck) to present to the Tollman, giving access to the next section.
As your character leaps from screen to screen, he's attacked without mercy (she's at home with flu). Lucky for him he carries a few weapons about his person, including magic spells, axes, shields and a sword. All weapons bar the sword are limited; icons stretched across the status panel inform the player which objects they hold.
Extra items can be bought from shops (provided you have enough dosh); chests full of gold can be found to till the coffers.
Very often the character's progress is blocked by different coloured doors. But fear not because colour-coded keys can be purchased to unlock the obstructions (put that axe down, Lucy). Good luck, brave hero, Princess Lalena awaits.
I must admit I approached Moontorc with a sense of dread. From the screenshots on the packaging, it looks like a Stormlord rip-off.
Happily, Moontorc is a rather spiffy game, especially the small but colourful, nicely detailed backgrounds. Although short in stature, the hero's a mean-looking dude, and needs to be with the task that lies ahead. Moontorc is well worth the measly price tag.
I like to think that the Moontorc in question is a necklace made of moonbeams that have been wrung from the moon like soapy water from a dishcloth. (Why? Ed) Well, cos it's sort of grittily poetic. Unfortunately, the Moontorc in question is simply an amulet of magical and mysterious properties. Actually, I suppose it could be made out of galactic particles, it doesn't say that it isn't.
Moontorc the game rather than the thing, is a flip-screen shoot and collect-'em-up. There are four levels to roam through and they're of the weirdly colourful sort. You're a little chap and you've got to rescue the truly wondrous Princess Lalena from the blistered hands of the truly smelly Dark Lord. Cos you're such a nice sort of guy you're obviously not used to being nasty. So you're going to need a bit of help.
The idea is to collect gold and keys and parts of the Moontorc so you can progress and say hi to your babe. Along the way there are plenty of shops to pop into and do the odd bit of purchasing. You won't actually be able to get very far in to the game without paying a visit to one of these shops as they sell everything you're likely to need along the way. There are spells to blast the baddies away with, weapons to do something pretty similar and keys to open doors that let you into other parts of the game. Oh, and you can pick up parts of the Moontorc. Once you've managed to survive long enough to collect a complete Moontorc you can go onto the next level.
The graphics are very Dizzy-like; there are multi-coloured mushrooms to jump around on, plenty of little platforms and nicely detailed shops. Best of all, when you kill someone loads of little hearts replace the dead blokie. I thought it was all dead sweet, but sweetness doth not an excellent game make, as my Uncle Johnny who used to be a pop star once said.
The plot's fine and the graphics are beaut - so why isn't it the best game in the universe? Well, your little chap isn't very well animated and he's not very good at moving. Just when you think you're about to land in a stream of molten acid, you step off a mushroom into mid-air. Then, when it's patently obvious that the space between you and the ledge is small enough for a mole to jump, you land in the acid stream and... poom!
If you hate flip-screeners then this is obviously not the game for you. It's easy to see why they're so hated. Jumping off a platform and finding yourself face-to-face with a two-headed greed monster from hell isn't perhaps the best way to enjoy a game. Still, it's a nice enough gamette and one that should keep you occupied in that annoying space between the end of Neighbours and dinner time.
Conan the Barbarian step aside, it's Moontorc the Midget's chance for for some glory.
Swing, swipe and swat those enemies in a hostile landscape filled with untold riches and incredible weaponry. In Moontorc you play a special kind of hero who, like most heroes, ends up having to rescue a beautiful princess from the clutches of an evil lord. Never mind though it's not as bad as it sounds, you do come equipped with a haversack to store goodies, a sack for all the yummy gold that's scattered around the landscape and replenishable supplies of axes, spells and shield power to protect your little sprite in those moments of big danger.
The object of the game is to collect gold allowing you to purchase weapons, keys and most importantly pieces of the Moontorc, the most valuable item the the whole game. Three pieces of Moontorc must be used to get past each end of level tollman.
The graphics are detailed and colourful though the main sprite is quite small. Action is fast and although there's some rather dodgy sprite detection and loose movement when selecting weapons, the game is very playable and addictive. The sound is basic during the game but there's a version of 'Scarborough Fair' as the title music that'll keep the oldies (like Garth) happy.
Moontorc is a playable formula game with some fun fighting action and lots of places to explore, so fight off all that Christmas pudding indigestion with some Moontorc action.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
GARTH: An encouragingly good game from Atlantis to start off the new year with. Colourful graphics, with a whole host of selectable weapons make this game a great bash 'em up.
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