Despite the title, this is in fact the third game to be based around the sailor and spinach junkie, because as well as Don Priestley's colourful puzzler there was an unconverted arcade original (which gobbled a few of my 10ps in its time, fact fans). Anyway, in Popeye 2 (or 3, if you see what I mean) Brutus has kidnapped Olive Oyl (again) and as ol' Chubby Chinney himself, you have to work your way up a vertically-scrolling scaffolding arrangement to rescue her, avoiding everything your rival throws at you. Lots of games make the claim, but this is one of the few that really are of "cartoon quality". The basic idea, involving platforms and ladders, barrels, bombs, blow-torches and fireballs, is like a loonier Donkey Kong, but when you add some wonderfully detailed graphics and the kind of gameplay that's as smooth as Captain Picard's head then you come up with something that's corkier than a room full of wine waiters. Using the licence to the full, all the Popeye characters put in an appearance - Wimpy won't let you pass unless you placate him with hamburgers, the Goons pop up for a biff or 2, Swee'pea crawls around falling off things, and the Jeep - well, it seems the authors couldn't quite remember what Eugene was famous for, 'cos he just hangs about not doing much. Mix in bouncing springs, re-igniting bombs and heavy weights that drop on you if you stand around thinking too much, and you've got the funniest game since Cliff Hanger. And the best bit is, if you do manage to get to the top and rescue Olive, there are another 3 levels to beat. At full price this would be a borderline Megagame - as a barg you'd have to be stupider than 2 short planks who'd just failed their GCSEs to miss it.
Put simply, New Donkey Kong. A three-level vertical-scroller, Popeye 2 is brimming over with fun. All the strip characters are in the game, wandering in and out of the action as you battle ever upwards. A snazzy, slapstick corker of a game.
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