Who Dares Wins II

by Steve Evans
Alligata Software Ltd
Crash Issue 28, May 1986   page(s) 30

Producer: Alligata
Retail Price: £8.95
Author: Steve Evans

It's hero's hour again and time to take a stroll behind enemy lines and destroy an entire army single handedly. Who Dares Wins II puts you in the popular position of a sole commando plonked deep within enemy territory. Armed with a few grenades and your favourite machine gun you must delve even deeper and capture eight outposts while fighting off massive opposition in this, veteran arcade ace programmer Steve Evans' first excursion onto the Spectrum from the Commodore.

The action takes place over a flick screen landscape where you progress upwards - reaching the top of a screen flicks you to the bottom of the next screen and so on. The object of the game is to reach and destroy the outposts found at the end of a series of landscapes.

When the game commences your Commando nonchalantly stands at the bottom of the screen. Bombed-out buildings lie either side of him and the only choice is to go forward across the barren scenery. Within a few seconds of moving forward the enemy soldiers become alerted to your presence and rush out from the sides of the screen, jumping off buildings, running from behind trees, firing their guns and lobbing grenades all over the place. Luckily they're not too advanced on the technological scene and only carry single shot rifles while you, on the other hand, have your trusty sub machine gun capable of pumping bullets out at quite a considerable rate. Mind you, you need the rapid fire since the numbers of enemy is sometimes overwhelming.

The enemy landscape is full of hazards just awaiting an overzealous soldier and sometimes these traps lie right near the bottom of a screen so when the game flicks it's easy to go blundering into them. Some of the horrible dangers include quicksand, pools of water with crumbling banks (our hero can't swim!) and rivers. There are other more mechanical hazards too: soldiers with accurate mortar bombs, trains which trundle along railway lines that have occasionally to be crossed, jeeps, lorries, missile firing tanks (very deadly), bomb dropping aeroplanes and fighters which fly straight down the screen and strafe the ground (and any people on it) with machine gun fire. All ground vehicles and mortar bombers can be disposed of with a well aimed hand grenade. You start the game with three grenades and extra ones are parachuted in for you to pick up later on.

Occasionally you stumble across one of your allies, although he's in a lot more trouble than you are. You see, he's tied to a tree and if you don't set him free he ceases to be because he's about to get shot by a soldier. If you shoot his would be executioner then you'll earn yourself extra points and the rescued person's gratitude.

Nearer to the outpost rivers are encountered with little thin bridges being the only way across. Soldiers on the other side wait for you to move onto the bridge so that they can pick you off with ease, so shoot before you cross. There are sometimes little patrol boats on the river, but these don't pose a threat to the soldier and can be easily destroyed with a grenade. When the outpost is finally reached many soldiers pour forth and a pitched battle, with you in the middle, ensues. Here the game becomes immensely hectic and it's up to your reflexes and digit dexterity to ensure survival. If you manage to gun down all the soldiers then the outpost is declared yours and you automatically go forth to try to retake the next outpost.

On later outposts the going gets far tougher with soldiers in potholes and a far more hazardous landscape to claim all of your five lives. If five lives seems a little meagre then don't fret too much - extra lives can be earned at regular point intervals.


Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Interface 2, Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive and straightforward
Use of colour: a bit thin and suffers colour clashes
Graphics: lively enough but disappointingly stick-like characters
Sound: reasonable
Skill levels: progressive

Alligata who first brought out the 'Commando' style game on any type of micro are a bit late with their Spectrum version and by the look of it they haven't spent much time on it either. Who Dares Wins II suffers from a distinct case of colour clashing which I thought had gone from the Spectrum altogether. The graphics are very small, with stick-lie soldiers apparently suffering from a bad case of vitamin C deficiency. The sound is the sort that makes your table vibrate under you and gives the earplugs a good airing. Playability is quite good due to the idea of rescuing men but the flipping screens holds you up in your tracks. This may appeal to the 'shoot em up what ever they are freaks' but I'm afraid it is not up to the Rambos or Commandos of the Spectrum scene.

A good shoot em up, I think. Colour has been used well, and the backdrops are quite good, even if the men are too small. Playability-wise, it's very good indeed, and it's also highly addictive, though I did have to make an effort to start again after knocking out several outposts and getting some way into the game. There's lots of fun to be had blasting all the little enemies, and l enjoyed it; I think most shoot em up freaks will too.

There are so many Commando type games available on the Spectrum nowadays they've really got to be something special to justify buying. This, unfortunately, isn't really of a high enough standard and pales besides Elite's Commando and Imagine's Green Beret. The graphics are flickery and the landscape rather bland, and there are other niggles too, like being able to stroll through trees and other landscape features. The game is still fun to play, though, but isn't really worth buying if you've already got a 'Commando' game.

Use of Computer: 71%
Graphics: 72%
Playability: 81%
Getting Started: 77%
Addictive Qualities: 74%
Value for Money: 77%
Overall: 73%

Summary: General Rating: A rather disappointing conversion, still a reasonably enjoyable and tough shoot em up though.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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