Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Colin Swinbourne
Perhaps it's no bad thing, but six of the world's leaders have been captured by the reprehensible Crax Bloodfmger and held in his stronghold. There's only one alternative to meeting his ransom demands - to send in Joe Blade.
Bloodfinger's HQ is shown as 127 cold-walled rooms and external scenes, and Blade must work his way through these, rescuing the six hostages. Some passageways are blocked by closed doors, and our hero can only pass beyond these obstructions by gathering keys.
The stronghold is populated by a small army of uniformed guards - manic knifemen and brutal thugs. They quickly enervate Blade, who'll die if he doesn't eat and drink.
But to protect himself against the guards, Blade can disguise himself in an enemy uniform for a limited time. He also carries a machine gun to kill off Bloodfinger's horrible hordes, but needs to find ammunition.
As he progresses through this flick-screen fortress, Blade encounters six booby-trapped explosive devices which can be activated by rearranging an access code. Once the first has been primed, only 20 minutes remain for Blade to activate the rest, round up the hostages and escape.
And be warned - incautious actions can lead bombs to self- destruct. If that happens, Blade has just 30 seconds in which to crack the code or become an angel
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: humorous and detailed; monochromatic play area
Sound: limited but atmospheric
Options: high-score table
Joe Blade is really fun -and addictive. The graphics are big, well-defined and attractive, and even in monochrome they look good. Here's a budget game that IS worth buying.
I was immediately taken by the graphics and the simplicity of Joe Blade - I can't think of many better shoot-'em-ups this year. Joe Blade is a really tough character and makes the game a delight. And the equipment scattered around the prison and perimeter fences is detailed and easily recognisable - the enemy uniform is particularly fun. Joe Blade requires just enough thought to keep you addicted, but not enough to get you bored.
Graphically Joe Blade is a bit iffy; cardboard-cutout sprites wobble around a nicely detailed background. It's quickly addictive, but I doubt its long-term playability. Still, Joe Blade offers good hack-and-blast-about action.
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