Your Sinclair

Howard The Duck
By Activision
Spectrum 48K

Published in Your Sinclair #19

Howard The Duck

Web-footed heroes have come a long way since the days of good old Daffy and Donald Duck, who were both quite innocent in their own quackers cartoon world. Howard, on the other hand, wouldn't know innocence if it came up and bit him on the beak. He drinks, he smokes 20 cigars a day and he's rather fond of the ladies.

If you saw the film and fancy reliving Howard's exploits with this game, then forget it. This game is based on a cartoon strip from Marvel Comics called Adventure On Volcano island.

The action takes place on the two sides of Volcano island which are separated by a fast flowing river. You, as Howard, have to cross this channel several times before reaching your final goal at Volcano Mountain. You may think this poses no problems for a duck, but when Howard was born, they forgot to tell him that ducks can swim. So he can't! Because of this minor setback you first have to find Howard's solar powered jetpack.

Howard The Duck

The island itself is inhabited by Mutant Maniacs who don't seem to care much for cigar-smoking ducks waddling all over. That means they'll do what they can to get rid of you. This is where your knowledge of the ancient oriental art of Quack-Fu comes in. Using your skill in this kicking and punching art, you can send the mutants spinning off the island. In the lower levels of play the mutants aren't that difficult to cope with, and once you've dealt them a bit of death, they don't appear again.

In the final stages of the game you have to cross the bridge leading to the volcano, which isn't too hard as long as you avoid the molten rocks that come hurtling in your direction. If you choose to play on novice level then your game is over once you've stepped on the last mutant mound. If you're on expert level, then you've still got to get up the mountain in the ultralight flying machine and go through the volcano to face the Dark Overlord.

Howard's actually quite good fun - it's easy enough in the early stages to get your excitement going and challenging enough in the expert levels to hold your interest. My only gripe is the price - either Activision is paying a huge licence fee, or maybe it thinks that the name Howard is enough to justify a ten quid price tag. C'mon Activision - it's a good game, pity the pricing is a bit iffy!

Pete Shaw

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