Olive Oyl has been captured once again by the evil Bluto, being the lovely young lady she is ('hem, 'hem). And you, as Popeye, have to rescue her.
All the popular characters from the Popeye cartoon are here: Swee' Pea, Wimpy, Eugene the Jeep and Goons. It's these characters that cause most of the problems - you have to watch out for Swee' Pea crawling along the iron girders, collect all the hamburgers for Wimpy and defuse the bombs you find on your travels. Spinach cans make the muscle-ometer at the bottom of the screen expand, giving you extra power.
All the sprites and backgrounds are detailed but in glorious monochrome, unfortunately, which makes the game look bland. The gameplay is very simplistic. All you do is jump from platform to platform collecting things until you reach a nasty, then punch at him until he drops.
For a game that's aimed towards younger games players I think it's a little tough: I could just about manage to get halfway into the second level before running out of lives, and that was hard going (that's probably because you're rubbish, Nick-Ed).
Despite the title, this is in fact the third game to be based around the sailor and spinach junkie, because as well as Don Priestley's colourful puzzler there was an unconverted arcade original (which gobbled a few of my 10ps in its time, fact fans). Anyway, in Popeye 2 (or 3, if you see what I mean) Brutus has kidnapped Olive Oyl (again) and as ol' Chubby Chinney himself, you have to work your way up a vertically-scrolling scaffolding arrangement to rescue her, avoiding everything your rival throws at you. Lots of games make the claim, but this is one of the few that really are of "cartoon quality". The basic idea, involving platforms and ladders, barrels, bombs, blow-torches and fireballs, is like a loonier Donkey Kong, but when you add some wonderfully detailed graphics and the kind of gameplay that's as smooth as Captain Picard's head then you come up with something that's corkier than a room full of wine waiters. Using the licence to the full, all the Popeye characters put in an appearance - Wimpy won't let you pass unless you placate him with hamburgers, the Goons pop up for a biff or 2, Swee'pea crawls around falling off things, and the Jeep - well, it seems the authors couldn't quite remember what Eugene was famous for, 'cos he just hangs about not doing much. Mix in bouncing springs, re-igniting bombs and heavy weights that drop on you if you stand around thinking too much, and you've got the funniest game since Cliff Hanger. And the best bit is, if you do manage to get to the top and rescue Olive, there are another 3 levels to beat. At full price this would be a borderline Megagame - as a barg you'd have to be stupider than 2 short planks who'd just failed their GCSEs to miss it.
Put simply, New Donkey Kong. A three-level vertical-scroller, Popeye 2 is brimming over with fun. All the strip characters are in the game, wandering in and out of the action as you battle ever upwards. A snazzy, slapstick corker of a game.
It will probably shock the socks off the die-hard Popeye fans amongst you, but I've never found the antics of the sailor and his chums particularly enthralling, or even funny. The constant shrieking and squeaking of Olive Oyl coupled with out-dated corny story lines puts me firmly on Brutus's side of the fence every time.
Basically this is a beefed up Donkey Kong on a building site (etc). The object is to rescue the termlnallly ugly Olive Oyl (professional goillie!) from the evil clutches of Brutus. But where has the bearded one taken the dumb floosie to commit his dastardly deeds. Why up to the top of a semi-completed tower block of course fool. Where else!
All the cartoon characters are here including Wimpy, the burger guzzling blimp. He's strangely decided to have his lunch six hundred feet up just to keep our hero company. The only trouble is he's forgotten his burgers so you have to go round and collect them for him before he'll let Popeye pass. In the mean time Sweetpea's slowly crawling nonchalantly towards the edge of the scaffolding. Save him before the unsuspecting passers by are hit by his tailing body and covered in semi digested Farlies Rusks! Thinking it can't get worse? Well you've also got to diffuse Brutus's bombs and dodge his barrels in true Donkey Esq style.
The sprites are very well drawn but lack colour. Still they make you come back for more just to see what's in store. Control of Popeye himself is less appealing. Too many times I was flattened by a falling barrel that had suddenly appeared at the top of a screen I was just moving onto or burnt to a frazzle by the mysterious self working blow torch that strips off all body hair with a blink of its pilot light.
Overall it has to be said an uninspiring game with pretty wrapping. This could have made an excellent beat-'em-up instead it's an average platform.
Label: Alternative Software
Price: £2.99 Tape
Reviewer: Steve Keen
GARTH'S COMMENT: All this bulging muscle and spinach reminds me of a chicken balti - nce when you really fancy it, but only good enough for the ocassional outing.
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