How To Be A Hero

Author: Ben Stone
Publisher: Mastertronic Added Dimension
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K/+2

Published in Crash #40

How to be a Hero

Indiana Jones, Ian Botham, and Roland Rat eat out your hearts. Think you're real heroes huh, but wait unfit you've seen this guy action. And the guy... well, he's you! There's a choice of three locations and a predicament in each - to be a hero or a gutless wonder?

In the land of Pharoahs, camels and an awful lot of sand lies an ancient tomb - and you're locked in it. An escape through its passages and rooms must be made if you're to be home in time for tea. Within the mausoleum are seven types of doors, each requiring its own key. When all seven have been unlocked out you can stagger into the bright Egyptian sun.

But the museum you work for wants 24 pieces of ancient tablet collected from the tomb. Returning without them would not only look rather cowardly, but put you on the dole, and in these UB40 days, there aren't many openings for Egyptologists.

How To Be A Hero

You make the decision.

Whatever you decide, you'll find some aggressive spiders, snakes and mummies after you, and your health is seriously affected by their bites. Two pineapples on the right of the screen wither when bites are sustained. Protect yourself with accurate gun fire and enjoy the bits of food left by previous explorers to see those decaying fruit restored.

Once out of the tomb, rather incredibly, you find yourself the sole survivor of a space ship uncontrollably off course. Finding and using the correct security passes opens locked doors to reach the escape craft. However a real hero wouldn't just abandon ship, he'd find the 24 pieces of circuit board required to fix the ship, bring it under control, and still have time to send a postcard home to mother. Again watch out for alien attackers, your life's in danger. Shoot them quickly and collect supplies as you go in order to restore your health.

Hero or space-wimp, the choice is yours.

Then, just when you thought that space was the final frontier, you're transported into a mutant city, searching for a vital document. The document has been tom up and hidden in (guess what) - 24 locations. Lying about the city are keys, which allow passage between buildings in search of an escape route. But escaping without the document results in a court martial and a docked pension is inevitable. In all scenarios you can pause to save position.


Control keys: up/down. left/right and fire - all definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: average but bold in use
Graphics: large but undetailed
Sound: no tunes, minimum variety of ubiquitous FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: three scenarios


'I think I like this! Nice big graphics with plenty of colour, and most characters are well defined. The nasties tend to flicker, though, which is somewhat off-putting. A neat trick is to let you select the starting level. The game's rather slow, making play a bit boring but its addiction is great. I fail to understand how deteriorating pineapples reflect your health status; is our hero a secret pineapple eater? As a shoot it if it moves game it's quite good and worth the money'


How To Be A Hero looks good. The graphics are big, bold and colourful, and though the aliens flicker they're quite bearable. It's essentially playable, and therefore, as it isn't too difficult, and you can select your starting level, it's pretty addictive. The instructions are too hard to read; but this doesn't ruin what is a brilliantly simple game that doesn't take any skill to understand or even to enjoy. Good for the price.


Mastertronic's last Gauntlet variant Storm was disappointing to say the least, How to be a Hero isn't much better. The action's boring, repetitive and sometimes unfair - nowadays nobody wants to search a maze for hours and then get killed because he can't fight off more than three baddies at one time. The graphics are large but simplistic, more detail could have easily been added to make the dull playing area more interesting. The sound is also below average with no tunes and sparse effects. Given that this is effectively three games, How To Be A Hero offers reasonable value, but it's a package I wouldn't recommend.'

Ben StoneMike DunnGareth Adams

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