£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Jonathan Davies
Right, let's see who can find the YS back issue with Rick Dangerous I in it first, shall we? Ha. Beat the lot of you - issue 43, page 61. It appears that Jackie gave it a big thumbs up and 78 (but she was slightly alarmed by how hard it was). And now here's Rick II. So what's it like? Easier? Harder?(!) Better looking? Bigger? Spankier? Well, you can cross out all those question marks because just about all of the adjectives apply.
But first, the plot. Er, there isn't one. At least, if there is I haven't seen it. I'd offer to make one up for you, but it'd be extraordinarily awkward. There are four 'preliminary' levels, you see, and they all take place in completely different settings. There's Hyde Park in London, the Ice Caverns of Freezia, the Forests of Vegatablia and the Atomic Mud Mines of, erm, it doesn't say. And there's another level as well, which can only be played once you've completed the first four (in any order you fancy). Anyone who can come up with a plot to link that lot deserves a prize, in my opinion. (Tell you what - write a plot and send it into Rick Dangerous II Plot Compo at the usual address and we'll come up with a prize for the best one.) (We will? Ed)
So, no plot then. But a heck of a lot of explanation to get through. For a start you can tackle the levels in whichever order you like by selecting them from a menu at the beginning. A wise move, that, as you're unlikely to get terribly far with any of them. Not at first, anyway. As with its predecessor, this one's Hard. On top of the huge array of cunning booby-traps and the continuous onslaught of baddies you've also got some pretty dodgy collision detection to cope with. It's a vast improvement on the original's, I'll agree, but I still get a bit teed off with being wiped out by a boulder that seems to be about 3,000 miles away.
As for Rick, well, he's still the highly-talented little chap he always was. He can run, jump, duck, crawl, punch, shoot and lob grenades, and still manage to look cute 'n' cuddly at the same time. What a guy. Mind you, he needs to be pretty versatile with the odds he's up against. Right from the word go he frequently finds a boulder heading towards him, looking alarmingly hefty. Later on there are icy floors, lifts (some of which need to be switched on before they'll do anything), lightning bolts, missile launchers and, ooh, all sorts of things to cope with.
They're never terribly obvious either, so he's almost always wiped out by them on the first couple of tries. After that it's a case of remembering where they are and avoiding them next time round.
The general 'look' of things seems to have been spruced up since the first game. Rick I had a very monochromey appearance, even though it wasn't short of colour (if you see what I mean), but the sequel's got the rainbow stuff oozing out all over the place. There are plenty of sound effects too, beep-fans will be pleased to hear. (Oh - bit of a pun there!)
So, just what is it about these Rick games that makes them so devastatingly addictive? Erm, well... Actually I've got a bit of a confession to make. I hated the first one. Loathed it. It was just too flipping difficult for me. However (and that's a heavily-emphasised 'however'). Rick II had me absolutely hooked - I couldn't tear myself away. And what brought about this astounding turnaround? Well, it's still hard, but I reckon just a teeny bit easier than the first game. Not much, but just enough to keep you coming back for more rather tahn switching it off in frustration.
So I liked it then? Yes, I certainly did. Although in theory it ought to get roughly the same score as the first Rick, for some spooky reason I'm going to give it a whopping great Megagame. Weird, eh?
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