No trusty Steed, no poutatious Purdy, but you can Gambit all away on Gremlin's Avenger. Tommy Nash, YS's Tiger nut, cracks it open ...
Publisher: Gremlin Graphics
Keys: Q-Left; W-Right; P-Up; L=Down; Space-Fire; 1-Pause; 2-Call on Kwon;3+4-Quit
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair
This is more like it. A game with a realistic storyline we can all relate to (man). Yaemon, Grandmaster of Flame, (light my fire baby) has bumped off Naijishi (not the car manufacturer), your foster father, and stolen the Scrolls of Kettsuin (no dead easy scrolls these) which you have sworn to the Great God Kwon you will recover. To that end, you now stand outside the Quench Heart Keep ready to slay all who stand in your way, including Yaemon's henchmen, Manse the death mage and Honoric, keeper of the magic sword. Eat your heart out, Eastenders.
Of course, you've guessed by now that we're in for another bout of judo what. And guess whose martial parts are on the line! But if you're one of those people who have to order your kung fu moves according to the numbers down the side of the menu, then Avenger's just your cup of China tea. It lets you batter your opponents' prawn balls without first mastering a Kama Sutra full of joystick positions. Usually one chop sticks, thought you will find other weapons like shuriken and an iron fist as you explore. But is this a game to take-away? Well, like all Oriental fare, it left me feeling full at first but hungry for another go ten minutes later. So as Confucius say, let's take a wok on the wild side.
Dumped outside the Great Keep, your first task is to locate the keys so you aren't kept out any longer. Once inside, your next job appears as a message on the screen, a sort of celestial teletype from the great god, Kwon. But you're just as likely to miss it on your first few goes, what with fighting off the fiends and mapping the maze of the castle. I shouldn't worry - you've probably dropped your remaining keys down one of the holes or forgotten to replenish your energy by now. This task is done by calling on Kwon as soon as your inner force fades. He'll then recharge your kung fuel. Of course, I could say that he adds a new move to the Kung Fu repertoire - the Kwon tum leap. But I won't.
The castle corridors are patrolled by a proper assortment of shady characters but except for the big nobs, they'll all succumb to a spot of reasoned argument - provided your fist's on the other end of it. But worst of all, the game's full of bugs - huge black spiders that appear from the holes to harry you. (Fortunately, there are no lice, flied or otherwise.)
RUN THE GAUNTLET
Okay, I heard you at the back. Yes, it looks like Gauntlet. Yes, it scrolls and yes, it's set in a multi-level castle full of nasties. And yes, the action's viewed from above. But really the similarity ends there. It just shows that the programmers can spot a good idea when they see one and know how to adapt it for an equally good but very different game. Avenger isn't just about fighting off hordes of horrors to reach the final screen. You don't complete it by following a particular path - you can wander at will all over the castle. Plus it has a strong plot that'll take some working out before you kill off the terrible trio and collect the Scrolls. And anyway, it's a one player game so you can tell your mates to push off!
But it is big. 298 screens that scroll rather strangely. The map is split up into nine screen units that character scroll very smoothly and very quickly. But when you reach the edge of a nine screen block you jump into the next one. At first it seems odd but you soon grow accustomed to it.
All in all, I reckon Tiger II burns as brightly as ever.
RICH PELLEY dons his washing-up gloves and prepares to take on those oh-so-murky depths of...
Reviewer: Rich Pelley
Blimey - this one's ages old and a bit older still. But (shock horror) it is in fact a complete and utter corker of a spanker. Your task? To simply find the keys to gain access to Quench Heart Keep, locate the wicked Yaemon, pinch the scrolls of Ketsuin, appease the God Kwon and release him from the eternity of hell in a lake of boiling lava. That's all. Oh yeah, your father comes into it somewhere as well, but I couldn't quite work out where. Ahem. Of course, you can't just phone this Yaemon chappy up and ask him nicely to pop the scrolls in the post - instead you have to dash around madly a la Gauntlet, finding keys and bashing up baddies until you find the scrolls and dash out again. Phew.
Perhaps the best bit about the game is its variety. It's a scrolly one-player Dandy-style maze game (but with one big map rather than lots of individual levels) a sort of beat-'em-up (you have to beat up the baddies) and, well, a bit of a puzzler as well. Oh, and playable too. And addictive. And all with a more-than-generous helping of clear and test graphics. My advice? Scrape together your spare coppers and take a visit to your local cheapy software emporium today!
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