The Fall Guy
Anyone who ever saw the oddball movie starting Peter O'Toole called Stuntman will have guessed that a film stuntman's life is neither safe nor easy. Elite's Fall Guy, the officially licenced version of the Warner Brothers TV series of the same name, could actually be regarded as a truer reflection of stunting than the series on which it is based.
You play Lee Majors playing Colt Seavers in a series of stunt situations. The scenario is simple enough. The film has a limited budget, and every second wasted means more money lost. You get five lives, or takes' to put it in film parlance, and on each screen you must complete a set amount of shot 'footage'. As all the scenes incorporate the act of jumping from one thing to another, this means that enough footage is in the can when you have leapt 15 times. Should you fail, and have to go for another 'take', you pick up 'footage-wise' (as they say in Burbank) where you left off.
The action opens with the famous 'jumping from a bridge onto a fast moving train' scene, which Colt Seavers can do with both arms tied behind his back and his eyes dosed. Usually, when this is done, the train is exiting the tunnel/bridge when you jump onto it. What makes life tricky in Fall Guy is that the action is reversed, so as soon as you have successfully landed on the roof of a carriage, you must start to run like hell to keep from being smashed into the bridge. To make life more difficult there is a bird flapping around by the bridge, which gets in the way of the leaps. Once 15 carriages have been successfully leapt, the scene dissolves to the next. A sort of repeat except that the goods train carriages must run towards the jumping position to stay on screen. Further scenes include leaping onto moving boats, tanks etc.
Control keys: Z or M/X or SYM SHIFT left/right, 0 or 1 = jump
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, Cursor type
Keyboard play: Responsive, simple operation and well laid out for left of right hands
Use of colour: Excellent, very varied
Graphics: Excellent, large, smooth and detailed
Sound: Very good tunes with on/off facility
Skill levels: One
You may wonder, well is it anything like the TV series - the answer is yes, in a way. The idea couldn't have been simpler, just jump and land in the right places while avoiding flying objects (I think they're ducks)! That may sound easy but on each screen a different technique for jumping/timing is required. Graphics are all large, cheerful in colour and detailed. All the moving graphics do so in a smooth, flicker-free action, and not at any slow pace either. Great tunes. Fall Guy seems to have plenty of playability in it, but I thought just jumping, timing and jumping again isn't very compulsive content for me. More likely to be a success with younger games players.
Elite have certainly worked very hard with the graphics in Fall Guy, because there are 30 screens, all varied, all animated with large, detailed pictures. Your man is a massive leaper too. A sophisticated degree of jumping control is possible, as the longer you keep the key pressed, the further he jumps. In play, the game is very simple really. It is one of those that requires a rhythmic memory, since repeated timing is of the essence. This means that completing a screen can become quite easy, but moving onto the next is another matter, since all your rhythms are thrown out. Despite its simplicity, and because of the great graphics, I found Fall Guy fun to play and remarkably addictive. Pity it has to be £1 too much, and I wonder if all these licensed games are having to add so much to afford the royalties for the licence?
I never thought very much of the TV series, because I can't stand Lee Majors, which puts you at a disadvantage in reviewing a game based on the series. However, your man looks nothing like him, thank goodness, so that got that out of the way! There's not much to the game content, but what there is, is clever stuff, and difficult. Marvellous, detailed and often humorous graphics make for high playability, and I enjoyed the game very much. However I don't think it has that mush lasting appeal because of the lack of content. it's true that you have to be able to change pace and jumping style from screen to screen, and there are a lot of them, but in the end the fun palls with the repetition of ideas. Good but not great, and a trifle expensive too.