Cobra


by Jonathan M. Smith, Steve Cain, Martin Galway
Ocean Software Ltd
1986
Crash Issue 35, December 1986   (1986-11-20)   page(s) 140,141

Ocean's latest Game of the Film release follows the psychotic adventures of big tough guy Cobra, played in the movie by Sylvester Stallone. Top model Ingrid Knutsen (very probably Brigitte Neilson) is getting some serious hassle from a band of mean and dirty killers, who are set on capturing her for themselves and doing horrible things to her before handing the poor girl over to the evil Night Slasher (eek). Your job as the Cobra is to ensure her safety and kill the opposition before they kill you.

The nasties in the game are not exclusively male. Large women with bazookas hem in our hero and fire their artillery at him from all angles. Huge hunking men brandishing knives are out for his blood, and at the end of the final level there is the ultimate challenge for Cobra - to battle against the Night Slasher (eek). Cobra is a Real Man, and the thought of knife brandishing hunks doesn't scare him in the least. However, the mere sight of a pram hurtling towards him makes the poor man go all weak at the knees and he is momentarily stunned making it easier for the bad guys to get at him.

To begin with Cobra has no weapon and must defend himself with his nut, by head-butting everyone with such force that their little footies don't even touch the ground as they go flying off the screen.

Weapons can be found cunningly concealed inside Hamburgers. Each one of these tasty delicacies contains a specific weapon. This could be a dagger, a pistol or the ultimate in blast-everything in-sight-weapons, a laser sighted machine gun. However, when Cobra has this handy device the opposition really gang up on him, seemingly making his job twice as hard, but in reality topping up those points. In some Hamburgers there is even a facility to make our Hero completely hard and untouchable. Cobra can pick a weapon up by walking into it. When he has a weapon in his possession a duck appears at the bottom of the screen. The weapon only lasts for a limited amount of time and this is shown by the duck gradually being eaten away. Once the duck has disappeared from the bottom of the screen, Cobra will have to resort to using his head again. Our hero can also lose his weapon if one of the nasty bully-boys walk Into him, but at least he doesn't lose a life when this happens.

There are three levels to the game. The first takes place in the city at night. Using the platforms, Cobra must leap about dispatching the enemy. Once every baddie has been killed and all the hamburgers used, Cobra will automatically move on the next level. The second section of the game takes place in lovely rural countryside, but fear not, the bloodshed still goes on. If Cobra manages to get through this, then it's on to the factory floor and the confrontation with the Night Slasher (once again - eek!)

Meanwhile Ingrid is getting some serious hassle from the bad guys (and gals). In between biffing everything in sight, Cobra must somehow locate Ingrid and protect her from the ravenous hoards. Ingrid usually appears by Cobra when he has a weapon with him or is doing particularly well against the enemy (typical woman). She's a loyal sort of girl, and will stick by Cobra's side unless he inadvertently shoots her, in which case she'll shoot off pretty sharpish. Any contact with the baddies in the game will result in Cobra losing a life, unless he has his woman with him. When Ingrid is by his side and a baddy gets him, Cobra doesn't lose a life, but she disappears and he must track her down again.

Cobra has three lives to start with, but extra lives will be awarded for the first 10,000 points and every 20,000 points after that. These lives are shown at the bottom of the main screen and are represented by boxing gloves. Under the boxing gloves is the score chart, points are awarded for killing the opposition and collecting weapons. In the centre of the screen is the Duckometer. This is replaced by the Cobra logo when no weapon is being held. To the far right of the screen is the weapon icon which shows the type of weapon currently being held.

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Keyboard play: pretty sharp
Use of colour: wow!
Graphics: finely detailed with excellent scrolling
Sound: the best on the Spectrum for years
Skill levels: one
Screens: three levels of wrap around scrolling play area


'I loaded up Cobra with some trepidation, what would it be like? Well to put your minds at rest, I found Cobra to be a brilliant mindless 'kill everything in sight' game. The presentation is superb, and Ocean have made full use of the film tie in; even down to defining a 'murder' key, and having colour/mono, sound/mute options. The sound is extremely well done, with lots of decent dittys and spot effects. The graphics are very well detailed and realistic, and the explosions are very well animated. The scrolling is very smooth and fast, and the characters move about very quickly. This all means that there's no time to think, you just have to head butt or murder every one you see. Cobra is very addictive and well worth the asking price.'

'Yeah, the hard guy is back and beating the insides of your your Speccy into shape. What a game, but why is Mr Macho scared of babies? All in all the game is extremely playable, it has all the good points of say Green Beret and Commando plus a lot more although I can see myself getting a bit tired with it after a while. The graphics are truly the best that I've seen in a 'hard guy game', everything is detailed and well animated, the scrolling of the screen is superb. The sound too is second to none, there is a multitude of tunes on the title screen, during the game and, even one when the game is paused. This is in my view the best smash of the issue, we'll have to wait for a while to see a game that betters this. Go out and but it now, no self-respecting games player should be without a copy.'

'Though very Green Beretish in style, I think that Cobra has a lot of points in its favour. The graphics are superb and the scrolling is very effective. Loads of colour and some very good tunes have been included. it took me a long time to actually get into Green Beret and I think that that's one of the reasons why it didn't receive a Smash. That problem, I think is overcome because the similarity means that playing techniques are the same to an extent. Cobra is a good game; nice graphics, well used colour and a fair share of playability.'

Use of Computer: 93%
Graphics: 91%
Playability: 94%
Getting Started: 90%
Addictive Qualities: 92%
Value for Money: 91%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: The best Hard Guy game there is.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 14, February 1987   page(s) 43

Crime is a disease. He's the cure. Oooh! So macho!!! All black T-shirt, match gripped between the teeth and have you seen his huge weapon...? He's so effective he should change his name to Penny Sillin (geddit?).

His real name's Marion (loss of the odd butch brownie point for that one, Sly, me old buddy) Cobretti - so you can understand why he prefers to be called... Cobra. Amateur psychologist that I am, I reckon that if he hadn't been born with such a sissy name he'd have had no need to prove himself by becoming a vigilante cop.

But if he'd copped out, there'd have been no game - the disease would have got worse: we'd all have been mugged and murdered and... well it doesn't bear thinking about. No, there's only one real solution to the crime problem and that's the short sharp shock of a bullet in the brain!

Look at it this way. You have to rescue top fashion model Rachael... sorry, Ingrid Knutsen (bit of wishful thinking there). The streets are overrun with psychotic killers. She's in the clutches of the evil Night Slasher (so that's why the bed's wet). Whatya gonna do? Try to talk them out of it, you pansy social worker? Of course not. You're going to kill them. Which is why this game doesn't have a fire button. It has a 'Murder' key!

Luckily the designers haven't taken the film quite so seriously as it took itself. In fact, they obviously reckoned it was a 'rot of old Cobras', as the Chinese would say. Stuck with the tie-in, they sent it up something rotten. And it's all the better for that.

Cobra is a variation on our old pal, Green Bert, so he's got lots of platforms to climb and weapons to collect as he wreaks havoc amongst the lowlife, scumball punks who're thrown against him. Unluckily for him, Marion starts out unarmed!

Never mind. He carries his own weaponry, hard as concrete and virtually undamageable - his head! Until he can pick up something more powerful he has to deliver a good ol' Glaswegian greeting to every enemy he meets. His H-Bomb headbutts are enough to knock the lowlife into the middle of next week.

The enemy just keeps on attacking though. Some even fire at him, which means he has to duck and leap a lot. They come thick (but never so thick as Sly himself) and fast, so naturally his mind turns to... fast food.

You can find a lot of things inside burgers, from the odd bit of beef to kangaroo meat, but I bet you never found a laser sighted machine gun in your McDonalds! Well, that's what lurks tooth-breakingly under these buns, so it's wise for Marion to pick up a pistol, nibble on a knife or imbibe an invincibility pill - with a side order of fries to go!

All the weapons have a limited life, but they're invaluable as you progress through the three stages. There's the city by night, the country by day, and the factory. It's in this last area you have to face that old wet, the Slasher. Still, as you have to clear each level of psychos before you progress, you've got your work cut out.

Another major difference from Green Bert is that you don't just run left to right. In fact, you have to do rather a lot of running every which way but loose (sorry, wrong movie) if you're to pick up the goodies and find Ingrid. She'll follow you faithfully, impressed by your rippling biceps and bulging belly (too many burgers!). But don't commit that cardinal faux pas of courting and try to kill her or she'll wander off again. That sort of thing really hurts a girl.

Sure, Cobra isn't very original, but it's furious fun which will test you to the limits. It's also one of the better film-linked titles. In a market which has become constipated with tie-ins, Cobra is a dose of syrup of figs!


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

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 49, January 1990   page(s) 52

Remember when Sylvester Stallone was big news? Now the muscular midget has had so many flops he can barely get 10p for a cup of tea, but in the days of Cobra - well, he was head honcho, hotter than lava and no mistake. Ocean bought the licence, and turned it into not a bad little game - horizontally scrolling, terminally violent, and about as subtle as a Big Mac (and twice as greasy). "This is where the law stops... and you start," screamed the cassette inlay, and really you couldn't blame them. We're talking about the sort of game where you "use the Head-Butt feature to defend yourself and collect limited weapons hidden inside Beef Burgers" (see, I was right about the Big Mac). On each scrolling section there are usually about three or four levels of ramps and platforms you can jump around on, avoiding bullets and seeking out nasties to kill, and in all there are three 'playfields' (this is the sort of game you'd expect Mrs Whitehouse to get upset about, isn't it?). To move to the next you need to collect all four beefy weapons and rescue Ingrid (touch her and she will follow you - but then that's just the kinda guy I am).

But is it fun? Well, the graphics are very lively, and I have no complaints on speed, but Cobra remains exceptionally difficult. if you're the sort of gamester who finds those Dinamic games (Freddy Hardest and wotnot) a piece of cake, then you'll love this. But ordinary mortals might not get far beyond the first couple of screens - at least, not without an awful lot of practice. If you're into hard games, it's a winner. (You thought I was going to call it 'a load of old cobras', didn't you? Wrong.)


Overall: 74%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair - Article Re-review Issue 78, June 1992   page(s) 55

A triumph of the Speccy film licence. Cobra takes an age-old Stallone murder movie and translates it into a bright and boppy platformy blasterama. It's compulsive stuff, and the tremendous colour scrolling and globs of black humour top off everything nicely.


Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 58, January 1987   page(s) 31

Finally! At last! Eventually! it's finished! The game for every would-be vigilante and boys called Marion. Cobra lumbers on to the software scene - a heavyweight in every sense of the word.

Just in case you were fortunate to avoid the whirlwind of media hype surrounding the film, I'll give you a low down on the plot. Crime has got a bit out of hand in America, and the cops just can't cope. Tied down by laws that let criminals go free, the boys-in-blue have their hands tied.

Roll on Marion (Sly Stallone), a big lad with a tight T-shirt. He'll right the wrongs, catch the crooks, help the innocent and positively rake in the box-office takings.

In the movie, Stallone wasted absolute hordes of bad-guys, spraying his machine gun all over the place in a bid to make the streets a safe place to walk. In the game, you sprint along walkways, avoiding death which appears in a number of ways.

Amongst the foes that you encounter are large men with knives, flying missiles and women armed with rocket- launchers. There are also some very mysterious pram things which whizz back and forth across the screen. I guess that they are a mere hindrance, and something not to be blown away, as each time one hits Marion, his arms wave about a bit, and he looks distressed.

Initially, your first line of defence is your head. Running around the walkways of the city, Marion will butt anything in sight when you hit the fire button. The only problem is managing to get within butting range before the target looses off one of their weapons. If you're too slow, you will end up running directly into a missile.

There are three sections in the game: city scene, rural area and factory. In order to get more impressive and effective weapons, you must collect beefburgers. Obvious, isn't it?

Your ultimate aim - apart from being able to claim having killed an absurd number of misfits and social dropouts - is to rescue the top "fashion model" Ingrid Knutsen from the arch-villain The Night Slasher (boo!).

Although involving a lot of running around and shooting things, the program would be better pretending to be a straightforward shoot-out instead of a movie. The screen scrolls around, and the lllWIIW movement is quite smooth. Some of the instructions are quite ridiculous - "If you try to kill Ingrid she may wander away". The music is OK though, and fits the 'style' of game very well.

Label: Ocean
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

***


Overall: 3/5

Summary: Cobra is just what we all expected. Not great, it's pleasant enough, and not as disastrous as most licence deals.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 63, January 1987   page(s) 33

MACHINE: Spectrum/Commodore/Amstrad
SUPPLIER: Ocean
PRICE: £7.97 (Spectrum)/£8.95 CBM 64 cassette £12.95 disk
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum

"You're the disease... I'm the cure." Immortal words from vigilante cop Marion Cobretti, also known as The Cobra.

Months after Sylvester Stallone's latest cinema rendering of brutal corpse-strewn crime control was massacred by the critics, Ocean's game of the film slithers onto the software shelves. Better late than never, I suppose.

The film's plot - actually that is a gross misuse of the word - is fairly simple. Cop Cobra of the "Zombie Squad" has to rescue a fashion model, Ingrid Dnutsen, from the clutches of a band of mad killers and their evil boss who goes by the cute name of the "Night Slasher".

The game roughly follows the film so this is where the law stops, and you start. And what you get is basically a frantic platform and ladders game set across three playing areas - night-time in the city, daytime in the country and the factory.

To move onto the next section of the game you must collect beef burgers - inside are either knives, pistols or laser-sighted machine guns - rescue Ingrid and clear the section of killers. It's only when you get to the factory that you'll confront the Night Slasher himself.

At the start of the game Cobra only has a pretty lethal headbutt -so he can despatch the multitude of killers without doing himself any serious damage. The action is certainly fast and frantic as Cobra charges around like a raging bull.

Cobra's lives are represented as boxing gloves. Is this a clever reference to Stallone's Rocky films? If so, what is the significance of the Quackometer, which shows how long Cobra can use a weapon for?

Rogue prams and beefburgers are not prime ingredients of the film but they crop up a lot in the game. The prams charge about on their own slamming into Cobra unless he's quick enough to jump over them. The weapons are hidden in the burgers.

Graphically and soundwise Cobra is okay, but really its the sort of game you've seen many times before. It will sell on the name rather than on the originality.


Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 96, November 1989   page(s) 79

Players
Spectrum/C64/Amstrad £2.99

The fun you can have with helicopters, eh? In this game. you lift off in your whirly-bird and scroll around an underground base, blasting missile silos and alien attack waves, and picking up fuel drums and the odd extra gun. Knock out the enemy completely and you get to play "Catch The Missile" with their secret weapon.

Getting that far is another matter, though, because all three versions are very tough. The missile-spitting ground emplacements are the real boogers because of the difficulty of aiming AGMs while your chopper is fighting the laws of gravity. Once you've mastered that it's quite addictive - but three quid is all it's worth.


Overall: 68%

Summary: The fastest and most playable version, in spite of it having a bit of a wobbly chopper.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue March 1987   page(s) 44

SYLVESTER STALLONE CONVERTED INTO FUN CARTOON CHARACTER... STRANGE BUT TRUE AS OCEAN UNVEIL AN OFF-BEAT SPIN-OFF.

Ocean
£7.95

This is a movie spin off game that stands up in its own right, perhaps because it bears so little similarity to the original film.

Cobra, a vigilante cop movie, with Stallone as the star, was a failure by Rambo standards although it contained the by now standard quota of mindless violence. Ocean have made no attempt to make a carbon copy game of the film and in fact Cobra is a tongue in cheek send up with a ludicrous plot, absurd characters and cartoon logic.

The cop, "Cobretti" is a musclebound chunky sprite who is initially armed only with a devastating headbutt which if he connects send his enemies winging off screen in the direction they came on. As for these legions of psychopaths, they are made up of obese wrestlers, old ladies touting lethal bazookas, knife throwing assassins and the like. This is not to mention the turbo charged prams that ram Cobretti and sap his energy.

If all this sounds a bit wacky, wait for the plot. Okay... Cobretti has to rescue top fashion model Ingrid Knutson from the clutches of the evil Night Slasher. All right so far but in order to do this he's got to find weapons which are hidden inside beefburgers at certain points in the three playing areas (city, country and a factory). Quite why a knife, pistol, and laser sighted machine gun are concealed in this way is a mystery. Anyway shaking off the mince from the weapons, Cobretti must rescue Ingrid and completely decimate the attackers before progressing to the next section. The weapons however have a limited life span and tend to disappear just when you need them most.

Cobra is a very fast, very well animated game that's hard to master at first simply because you are confronted by so many bizarre comic hatchet men.

You are given a miniscule three lives to start out with and additional lives can be obtained at 10,000 points and further up the high score table.

The game, which can be played with keyboard or joystick, is really enjoyable and arcade fans who are looking for something a little bit different will not be disappointed. Unfortunately the image created by the film is misleading. Stallone on the inlay cover with his laser sighted machine gun and the hard man phraseology "Crime is a disease. He's the cure", look a bit silly once you've got the Stallone figure scampering up the platforms after the beefburger.

It may well have been the intention to send the whole thing up and that's fine but those who like their destructive blasting untainted by any form of fun had better stick to the film.


Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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