by Alan Tomkins, David Perry, David Shea, David Whittaker, Jas C. Brooke, Nick Bruty
Firebird Software Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 80, Nov 1988   page(s) 10,11

Label: Firebird
Author: Probe
Price: £8.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Wow! Savage is berriiillliiiaaannnttt!! This is what Spectrum gaming is all about! Large, colourful, well animated graphics, incredibly addictive gameplay and incredible graphics. Yes, I know I've mentioned the graphics before, but just take a look at them! They're wicked! (Sound of body falling to the floor. (Tony, are you all right? - Worried GT)).

The basic idea behind the game is that Dirk, the hero, has to rescue his scantily clad nympho girlfriend. To do this, he has to get through three sections of hair raising, fast moving, pure arcade action.

The first is a left to right (with a bit of down here and there) scroller featuring our hero in full battle pose. As he runs down the long colourful corridors, he gets attacked by oversized houseflies and spiders, which he destroys by throwing axe after axe, each hit commiting pesticide. Now I don't know if you've noticed the three odd things in that last sentence. 1) I don't know about you, but I have yet to meet someone who carries an infinite supply of axes. How does he carry them all, and where? 2) How many explosive axes have you seen? 3) It can't be the easiest pastime in the world, killing flies with axes. Still, that's nitpicking.

As with any arcade game, you always have to have the big nasty, and in the case of the first level, it's a big pot-bellied demon who jumps around and looks very menacing. As usual, he takes hundreds of shots before he finally explodes in a mess of colour that puts even the mightly Exolon to shame.

As with all the sections, the graphics go far beyond what I thought the Spectrum was capable of. True, there is colour clash, but not anything worth complaining about. Plus, this level features bouncy message-o-vision. Huge messages like 'get going', 'shoot' and 'nice one' fall from the top of the screen, bounce, and then disappear. Once you reach the end of the level, you are presented with a password with which you gain access to part 2 (which has to be loaded in separately).

Part 2 is a 3D jetbike romp through a surreal world of strange colours and weird statues. As usual, the graphics are huge and very very fast. The 3D works really well, due to the smooth, fast update and the scrolling floor pattern. Tall green totem-like monoliths fly toward you, poking their tongues out before colliding into you, whilst headlike things swivel in panic as you blast them with your cannon.

On later parts of the level, large bouncing nasties fly around and launch missiles at you. The incredible thing about this level is that, while there's all this fast smooth colourful action going on, there isn't a hint of colour clash anywhere. Wow!

You've finally made it, the final level. For this one you abandon control of our hero and take to the skies in the guise of an eagle. You have to fly the eagle around the large multidirectional scrolling gaze in search of Dirk's woman. The best bit on this level, apart from the incredible animation of the main sprite, and yet again the stunning use of colour, is the amazing amount of ways to die, each shown in a visually different and exciting manner. For example, fly under a press at the wrong time, and you see your bird squashed in a glorious (or should that be gorious) way. Get attacked by a certain kind of nastie, and you fall to the ground, minus your head. Great stuff.

Savage is the perfect game (at least so far) as far as original arcade names are concerned. Can anyone go much better? We can't wait to xxxxx out.

Graphics: 98%
Sound: 85%
Playability: 96%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 96%

Summary: The closest thing yet to the perfect arcade game. What more could anybody want?

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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