Avenger


by Shaun Hollingworth, Peter M. Harrap, Chris Kerry, Greg A. Holmes, Steve Kerry, Ben Daglish, Colin Dooley
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
1986
Crash Issue 36, Christmas Special 1986/87   (1986-12-10)   page(s) 173

Demon Grand Master of Flame (no he's not a DJ) has assassinated your foster father, Naijshi and stolen the sacred scrolls of Kettsuin. Filled with anger and revenge you set out to avenge your father's death and get the scrolls back. If you fail to return those scrolls then the God Kwon will be lost forever in eternal hell.

The action is viewed from above. The game starts outside Quench Heart Keep. The Ninja must locate the keys in the grounds around the castle and gain entry. Once inside he must locate and kill the three Guardians who live within.

Of course they're not alone. From enormous spiders to horned beasties, they are all there to stop the Ninja getting any further in his mission. These creatures are really rather intelligent. They may sense the presence of the Ninja and home in accordingly. Most of the characters just sap away your life energy. However the spiders are deadly and are heralded by a strange sinister clicking noise. Large spikes rise out of the floor in the castle. These won't sap away any of your Ninja's energy, but they will slow him down greatly, as he can't move over the spikes when they're sticking out of the ground.

To begin with your Ninja has ten Shuikch which he can lob around at his adversaries. However, when these are all used up he'll have to rely on unarmed combat unless some more Shuikch can found. A quick blast on the FIRE button will make your Ninja send out a whole volley of punches and kicks which will make any marauding nasty disappear in a cloud of stars and dust. However, any confrontation with the enemy will result in some energy loss.

At the very beginning of the game a cryptic message scrolls across the screen indicating to the Ninja what he should keep his eyes open for in that level. Objects can be picked up simply by walking into them. They will then be displayed in their correct category at the bottom of the main screen. Keys are essential for unlocking doors into and inside the castle and the number of keys you're holding is displayed on the screen along with the treasure, objects and Shuriken.

The energy chart consists of two circles with dots around the edge. One of these circles is for energy and one for life force. For every complete circle of energy dots that is used up, on dot of life force is lost. If both levels are used up the game is over. However, the God Kwon can be called upon to help out if things get too sticky. By pressing the 2 key Kwon can be asked to help. He might replenish your energy completely.

COMMENTS
Control keys: up Q; down A; left O; right P; fire/kick/punch SPACE; Pause on/off 1; Call on Kwon 2; quit the game 3&4 together
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: very fast and responsive
Use of colour: uninspired
Graphics: good detail, fast
Sound: oriental tunette at the beginning with some interesting and sinister spot effects throughout
Skill levels: six
Screens: 300 screens, six floors


'Here we are again, another Gauntlet variant Oh dear, I shouldn't have said that. Despite everything, that's what it boils down to. However, there are a few rather nice touches that make it just about worth the asking price. Colour, is used to great effect and the scrolling is very smooth. The actual animated characters are presented to the best of the beloved Spectrum's ability with most of the action being coloured in black and yellow. With all the colour used as decoration around the outside it is a very colourful and enjoyable game. Check it out'

'If you've played Druid, you've played Avenger. Having said that, Avenger is, I feel, a much better game. The graphics are very neat indeed with lovely animation of various creatures and objects especially the spiders and the spikes that come out of the ground. The game play is fast but just a matter of running round bashing the nasties and collecting objects. The controls are a bit iffy in places as positioning yourself to go through doors proves rather a pain - over positioning is more the case. On the whole a nice game but nothing special'

'GREMLIN seem to have followed the current trend for Gauntlet variants and what a game they have created. Avenger is easy to get into, but it goes on to be very testing. The graphics are a little on the small side but there is an awful lot of detail in the characters and there is a lot of colour. The screen scrolls in characters but it is so fast you don't really notice. The sound is also very good, there is a lovely tune on the title screen and lots of effects during play (the 128k version has loads more sonics). I can see myself playing this until I complete it as it really is fun.'

Use of Computer: 82%
Graphics: 85%
Playability: 82%
Getting Started: 78%
Addictive Qualities: 82%
Value For Money: 83%
Overall: 85%

Summary: General Rating: Another good Gauntlet clone.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 12, December 1986   page(s) 29

No trusty Steed, no poutatious Purdy, but you can Gambit all away on Gremlin's Avenger. Tommy Nash, YS's Tiger nut, cracks it open ...

This is more like it. A game with a realistic storyline we can all relate to (man). Yaemon, Grandmaster of Flame, (light my fire baby) has bumped off Naijishi (not the car manufacturer), your foster father, and stolen the Scrolls of Kettsuin (no dead easy scrolls these) which you have sworn to the Great God Kwon you will recover. To that end, you now stand outside the Quench Heart Keep ready to slay all who stand in your way, including Yaemon's henchmen, Manse the death mage and Honoric, keeper of the magic sword. Eat your heart out, Eastenders.

Of course, you've guessed by now that we're in for another bout of judo what. And guess whose martial parts are on the line! But if you're one of those people who have to order your kung fu moves according to the numbers down the side of the menu, then Avenger's just your cup of China tea. It lets you batter your opponents' prawn balls without first mastering a Kama Sutra full of joystick positions. Usually one chop sticks, thought you will find other weapons like shuriken and an iron fist as you explore. But is this a game to take-away? Well, like all Oriental fare, it left me feeling full at first but hungry for another go ten minutes later. So as Confucius say, let's take a wok on the wild side.

KING KUNG
Dumped outside the Great Keep, your first task is to locate the keys so you aren't kept out any longer. Once inside, your next job appears as a message on the screen, a sort of celestial teletype from the great god, Kwon. But you're just as likely to miss it on your first few goes, what with fighting off the fiends and mapping the maze of the castle. I shouldn't worry - you've probably dropped your remaining keys down one of the holes or forgotten to replenish your energy by now. This task is done by calling on Kwon as soon as your inner force fades. He'll then recharge your kung fuel. Of course, I could say that he adds a new move to the Kung Fu repertoire - the Kwon tum leap. But I won't.

The castle corridors are patrolled by a proper assortment of shady characters but except for the big nobs, they'll all succumb to a spot of reasoned argument - provided your fist's on the other end of it. But worst of all, the game's full of bugs - huge black spiders that appear from the holes to harry you. (Fortunately, there are no lice, flied or otherwise.)

RUN THE GAUNTLET
Okay, I heard you at the back. Yes, it looks like Gauntlet. Yes, it scrolls and yes, it's set in a multi-level castle full of nasties. And yes, the action's viewed from above. But really the similarity ends there. It just shows that the programmers can spot a good idea when they see one and know how to adapt it for an equally good but very different game. Avenger isn't just about fighting off hordes of horrors to reach the final screen. You don't complete it by following a particular path - you can wander at will all over the castle. Plus it has a strong plot that'll take some working out before you kill off the terrible trio and collect the Scrolls. And anyway, it's a one player game so you can tell your mates to push off!

But it is big. 298 screens that scroll rather strangely. The map is split up into nine screen units that character scroll very smoothly and very quickly. But when you reach the edge of a nine screen block you jump into the next one. At first it seems odd but you soon grow accustomed to it.

All in all, I reckon Tiger II burns as brightly as ever.


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

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 58, October 1990   page(s) 51

Blimey - this one's ages old and a bit older still. But (shock horror) it is in fact a complete and utter corker of a spanker. Your task? To simply find the keys to gain access to Quench Heart Keep, locate the wicked Yaemon, pinch the scrolls of Ketsuin, appease the God Kwon and release him from the eternity of hell in a lake of boiling lava. That's all. Oh yeah, your father comes into it somewhere as well, but I couldn't quite work out where. Ahem. Of course, you can't just phone this Yaemon chappy up and ask him nicely to pop the scrolls in the post - instead you have to dash around madly a la Gauntlet, finding keys and bashing up baddies until you find the scrolls and dash out again. Phew.

Perhaps the best bit about the game is its variety. It's a scrolly one-player Dandy-style maze game (but with one big map rather than lots of individual levels) a sort of beat-'em-up (you have to beat up the baddies) and, well, a bit of a puzzler as well. Oh, and playable too. And addictive. And all with a more-than-generous helping of clear and test graphics. My advice? Scrape together your spare coppers and take a visit to your local cheapy software emporium today!


Overall: 86%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Run It Again Issue 43, August 1987   (1987-07-30)   page(s) 41

Issue 36 (January 1987) Page 173

RICKY: Loosely labelled Way Of The Tiger II, Avenger romped in for the Christmas Gauntlet craze. It follows the standard routine for Gauntlet games, but with an Oriental flavour. You play a ninja warrior out to avenge the death of his father (known locally as Grasshopper, because of the way he clicked his knees together).

Anyway... scroll on. And that's exactly what you're out to find - the scrolls that will save Kwon (who just happens to be a rather important god) from being lost in eternal hell. Why this ninja should want to help him is beyond us, but that's what you've got to do.

The action is set in and around the Quench Heart Castle, where three Guardians which must be annihilated to locate the scrolls. The guardians have their own minions, ranging from he-uge spiders to horned demons - all quite intelligent and all out to kill you.

You are equipped with ten star-shaped blades to lob at these foes. But when these are used up your ninja faces hand-to-hand combat, unless he can find more. (Other traditional Gauntlet goodies can be collected, too.)

Energy and life force must be watched closely; without these you suddenly become an ex-ninja (this ninja is no more... (cut the parrot sketch jokes - ED)). But if you're in difficulty you can call on Kwon for a quick top-up.

Though the maze is mainly in monochrome, the scenery has plenty of colour to liven up the display. This and the detailed and smoothly-animated characters add up to a highly attractive game. And the gameplay doesn't suffer from this indulgence in graphics - it succeeds as what it's designed to be: a fast, exciting but challenging quest.

To top it off, the sound FX and title tune are neat, making Avenger a pleasant addition to the range.

ROBIN: As a sequel to an enjoyable game, this was a disappointment. Most of the action is presented in black-and-white though the animation more than makes up for that. Gameplay is enjoyable and can be addictive for a while.

But it still boils down to another Gauntlet game with few innovations. And probably the biggest disappointment is the lack of a two-player option. Which after all is the highlight of any Gauntlet game.

Then: 85%
Now: 85%


Overall: 85%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 57, December 1986   page(s) 64

Avenger is not Gauntlet. It isn't really even Gauntlet-inspired although just taking a quick glance at the game you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

It's also true that if you like Gauntlet you'll like Avenger but a spin off (or rip off) it is not.

The game is based quite closely on a fantasy game book by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The plot is, theoretically, a sequel to Way of the Tiger. In that game you did your training - now you enter battle. Your objective is to grab the scrolls of Ketsuin. For reasons beyond easy retelling grabbing the scrolls will appease the God Kwon and release him from eternal torment. Since Kwon good turn deserves another, off you go. (I can't believe you wrote that - Ed.)

The playing area is a massive 300 screens depicting Quench Heart Keep, wherein the scrolls are hidden, guarded by hundreds of assorted monsters, locked doors, traps and the sheer complexity of the maze. Your view of the rooms, pathways, doors, stair and other features of the keep is Gauntlet I suppose. Your character is, however curiously drawn side-on - this gives the advantage of interesting looking animation when you beat up a wandering minotaur or spider but makes the perspective seem a bit odd.

Whilst there is near continuous monster bashing, just like that Other Game, playing Avenger requires a wider variety of skills. There is a definite strategy bias.

The first problem that confronts you is keys to doors. Groups of keys are located in certain places such that the exact order you move from place to place becomes vitally important. For example if you use the first keys you discover in the wrong order, you will get stuck. Hopelessly so.

There are six floors to the keep and getting between them means using trap doors and grids. These links between levels are not only often difficult to find, they usually have to be 'opened' in some way - which means finding specific objects.

There are around ten useful objects in the game: to link the crowbar with grill opening requires no great intelligence but what of the magic cord? There is treasure too, which you can collect but it isn't the main objective of the game and can distract you from the main task.

If you need a point of comparison then Avenger is like Gauntlet with marginally less wholesale destruction and quite a lot more by way of puzzles. It looks sort of similar but in some ways the animation is better.

I hope Avenger doesn't get submerged beneath a tide of Gauntlet clones. It is a different and perhaps superior sort of game.

Label: Gremlin
Author: In-house
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****


Overall: 5/5

Summary: Highly inventive game with 300 scrolling screens. Superficially it looks like Gauntlet but the gameplay is more sophisticated.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 63, January 1987   page(s) 64

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Gremlin Graphics
PRICE: £9.95

The kung-fu game rears it's oriental head again this Christmas. We've had Fist II and Yie Ar Kung Fu II , now here's the follow up to Gremlin's Way of the Tiger.

This is a mixture of the current Gauntlet fad and good old arcade adventure. 300 screens of adventure to be exact.

It's only a one player game - but it does have a Gauntlet style screen and four-way scrolling.

But the characters sometimes appear side on while the scenery is still seen from above, which gives an odd sort of perspective to the game. It looks OK, mind you.

The all important story line goes like this. Having successfully completed your training - in Way of the Tiger, of course! - you are now ready to avenge your stepfather and take back the scrolls of Ketsuin from the wicked Yaemon to appease the God Kwan and release him from eternal hell.

Your quest starts outside Quench Heart Keep where you must find the keys to gain access.

Once inside you must kill the three guardians of the keep. Beware, as they must be killed in a specific way and in a certain order.

Use your Shuricans wisely as once they've gone you only have your unarmed combat skills to rely on.

As you fight your way through the many adversaries you may call on the God Kwan to replenish your endurance and inner force.

To complete the game you must collect the scrolls and escape from the Keep having avenged the death of your father and releasing Kwan from the power of Yeamon.

You begin the game outside the keep and you need keys to get in. Hunt around and you'll find some you'll have to fight off Yaemon's minions while you search.

Keys are the key to success in this game. Plan which doors you open with the first two you collect very carefully. Some doors have more keys hidden in the rooms which lie beyond - others don't.

Be careful going through sideways doors. You have to position your character just right to get him through. At first I thought I had to collect something before I was allowed through no, I just hadn't placed my character in the right position.

There are six levels of the Keep to explore - all packed with baddies to beat up. Be careful as most of them are intelligent and will follow you about unless you knock them out.

Graphics are interesting and the sound is good - with some nice spot effects. There's also lots to do and the feeling that IF you could just open one more door, a whole new world would be revealed to you!

Avenger isn't a stunning game - but it is pretty playable. One for map fans and a worthy follow up to Way of the Tiger.


Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Playability: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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