Bazooka Bill

by Greg Holland, Craig Smith, Brian Post
Melbourne House
Crash Issue 38, Mar 1987   page(s) 16

Producer: Melbourne House
Retail Price: £8.95
Author: Arcade Machine Ltd

Bazooka Bill is the hardest soldier alive - which is why he's been asked to rescue General MacArthur from the rebel forces. The exact position of MacArthur's prison is unknown, although inside intelligence reports have hinted at a group of islands in the South Pacific. Consequently, it is in the sub-tropical paradise of Atoll Archipelago that your mission begins.

The three islands that make up the rebel stronghold are crawling with revolutionary troops armed with an impressive array of sophisticated weaponry. An individualist, Bazooka Bill starts his mission with no weapons at all except his fists and feet - his commanders expect him to make use of the resources he finds on the way. Bill can collect equipment, by walking over useful items as they are dropped by his fleeing victims. Weapons appear at the top of the screen as they are added to Bill's armoury, they can then be selected by using a cursor. Knives, Machine Guns, Flame Throwers and Bazookas become available, but each weapon has a limited useful life. Some weapons are only effective on specific targets - after all, it's no use trying to take out a tank with a Bowie Knife.

The screen is divided up into two levels connected by ladders, which either take Bill to another platform or onto a different screen altogether. The flip-screen format is used, and the ladders play an important part - it's possible to run around a building by flipping from screen to screen, but a ladder has to be used to progress into the game.

The revolutionary troops and their tanks, trucks, helicopters and jets enter play from both sides of the screen - in order to stay alive Bill has to deal death on a large scale. An extra life is awarded for every 100 revolutionaries killed, although Bill can't have more than five lives in reserve at any one time. As the rebels inflict damage on BB's body, markers in the status area disappear - when the energy read-out dwindles, a new life is taken from the quartermaster's stores. When Bill's five lives have been used up, a timer counts down from ten - pressing the C key before this timer reaches zero allows play to continue from the point reached, with a set of five new lives and the score set to zero.

Once an island has been explored and all the weapons and food collected, Bill can proceed to the next Location by stealing an enemy jet from the airport, and he has to engage in aerial dogfights on the way to his destination.

Are you soldier enough to keep up Bills reputation?


Control keys: Q up, Z down, I left, P right, SPACE selects weapons, H pause, C continue game, F abort
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: simple yet effective
Graphics: colourful, by not very special
Sound: the odd spot effect
Skill levels: one
Screens: three flip-screen islands to explore

I'm sorry, but I really don't rate this new game from MELBOURNE HOUSE - it doesn't impress me in any way. It left me feeling that the programmers didn't care about what the end product eventually came out like. The gameplay is slow and becomes extremely tedious after only a short time. The graphics were designed on a sub-standard utility and are therefore pretty bad - the characters are messy and the backgrounds are dull. The sound is also well below average there are no tunes and the effects are drab. I couldn't recommend this - it isn't worth the asking price.

MELBOURNE HOUSE area bit late with this one - OCEAN and IMAGINE have already released better games, in the same vein as this, months ago! There is nothing original or addictive in the game. The sound is very weak, and nota tune to be heard. The character is very slow responding to key presses, which makes quick fire action impossible. Some of the later islands contain some good weapons and vehicles - but nothing to keep a player enthralled for too long. Bazooka Bill seems like too little too late.

There is very little outstanding about Bazooka Bill the graphics are colourful (although the characters aren't particularly well animated), and the game is nothing more than an average beat 'em up. The way in which the ladders move you about in different ways isn't very well portrayed in the two dimensional graphics. I don't reckon that anyone would play this for very long: as the gameplay involved is very simple, and so addictivity suffers. Not overly playable, and with a price tag that's far too high - Bazooka Bill isn't a game I'd recommend.

Presentation: 51%
Graphics: 54%
Playability: 41%
Addictiveness: 43%
Value for Money: 39%
Overall: 42%

Summary: General Rating: A poor development on a well-worn theme.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 16, Apr 1987   page(s) 66

Melbourne House

Bazooka Bill is a multi-screen arcade shoot 'em up aimed at the weeny Rambo-ette end of the market. Your mission, virtually impossible, is to singlehandedly rescue General MacArthur from the heavily armed (but remarkably stupid) revolutionaries.

You begin unarmed, but being in the Ninja class of hand to hand combat, this is no great disadvantage. You've lateral control over Bill and can negotiate a variety of ladders. These rungs of destiny have two purposes - the obvious one, and, how's this for cheapskate evasion of 3D effects, they also act as corners. Yup, climbing some of these ladders takes you into different parts of town. Well, saves getting the bus, I s'pose.

Along the way you'll be constantly beset by lemming-like revos who insist on throwWig themselves against your fists. As you slay your way round town you can pick up knives, machine guns and the obligatory bazooka to add to your deadly toy collection. As you run out of ammo for each weapon Bazooka Bill automatically adapts to use the next weapon available to him.

Ignoring the whole questionable premise of the game, Bazooka Bill's main problem is, quite simply, his utter tedium. There's a limit to just how much bloodshed is entertaining, especially when background graphics are plain, manoeuvrability limited, tactics zero and resourcefulness required minimal. I reckon this one should be renamed Bazooka Bilge! But you might like it!

Graphics: 3/10
Playability: 4/10
Value For Money: 2/10
Addictiveness: 4/10
Overall: 4/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 60, Mar 1987   page(s) 62,63

Label: Melbourne House
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Bazooka Bill is at least as relentlessly violent as Rambo and involves as much running and dodging as Green Beret. It adds to these vote winning elements a missile firing Jet Fighter and an exploring element.

So who wants yet another violent game where you kill hundreds of people, climb ladders and jump backwards and forwards? Almost everybody I should think.

There is a plot, considerably more subtle than Rambo it is too, you are Bazooka Bill a legendary soldier armed only with those weapons you happen to find lying around. Curiously enough, one of these may be a Bazooka. You must fight your way around a series of islands in the south Pacific seeking and rescuing General Macarthur (the real General MacArthur was a loony who nearly brought the world to nuclear destruction in the Korean War).

You get to fly between islands in a Jet Fighter and move around and through buildings, past walls in front of scenic mountain peaks and between city streets. They aren't tremendously exciting but there is more variety here than in the competition.

The graphics are odd, there are various ways of doing sprites which (not being technical) I would characterise as being either not-attribute-clashing-much-but-kind-of-translucent-looking or solid-looking-but-changing-colour-horrendously, the sprites here are somewhere between the two ie a bit translucent and a bit colour clashing. Nothing beats Dan Dare or Dynamite Dan II for graphics in this style of game yet.

Anyway, if you should ever get tired of killing people there are large numbers of less squidgy objects for you to blast including tanks and trucks. Here's a handy tip: you won't take out a tank if only armed with a knife. This is software verite.

In terms of variety at least Bazooka may actually be better than the competition, even if you've been killing the guys in Rambo you'll want to kill even more of them in Bazooka Bill.

It isn't a game that filled me with much joy mainly because there isn't actually anything new in it either themewise or programmingwise but it ought to do well.

Overall: 4/5

Summary: Rambo a go go Destruction, death and violence on a big scale. It'll sell lots but won't change the world.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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