The Micro User1st August 1987
Published in The Micro User 5.06
It's here! The much-heralded - indeed near-legendary - BBC version of Green Beret has finally appeared. It comes in the rather surprising form of a compilation, but what a starstudded line-up: Yie-Ar Kung Fu, Mikie and Hyper Sports make up the supporting cast.
All four titles are conversions from the arcade hits of the
samenames, licenced from coin-op machine giants Konami
The newcomer is certainly very impressive. Worth the wait? Well, it features none of the facilities I've come to expect, such as pause/continue and end game. The number of times I hit that Escape key...
There is also no provision for a high score, either as a table or a single score. If you don't get your new top score onto paper within about three seconds, the screen clears and it's gone for good.
Visually, Green Beret is hard to fault; my only possible complaint being that more attention seems to have been paid to background detail than to the foreground - the actual characters lack a certain clarity. But I'm just being petty.
On the positive side, your various adversaries have individual easily-learnt colour schemes. Jump knife-first at the soldiers wearing red tunics - or suffer an army boot in the head.
The excellent sound effects - sirens and military-style drum accompaniment - add to the vivid atmosphere. A sure fire hit.
The second game, Mikie, is best described as cute. To the cheery strains of Hard Day's Night you guide a schoolboy to deliver a love-letter to his girlfriend, while pursued by a teacher, janitor and goosestepping Chinese chef.
The action takes you through classrooms, corridors, locker rooms, and finally out onto the playground where you deliver your greeting, to a hero's welcome.
Adoration is short-lived, however, as you soon find yourself back in the classroom trying to put together another longer message for the young lady.
The game features a number of snazzy touches including some great sound effects. Author Peter Johnson has, as usual, included pause/continue and similar functions - although the game is so manic that you hardly have time to use them.
Mikie is a fun game, excellently presented but somewhat marred by sprite clashes.
Yie-Ar Kung Fu is a superb karate game released in the wave of "If it moves, hit it" games last year, rivalled only by Way Of The Exploding Fist. The ultimate aim is to become a Grand Master of this ancient art.
There are, of course, a number of adversaries out to stop you. Each opponent has his, or her. own weakness: This is for you to discover. Since you have 16 different moves at your disposal, however, the villains won't know what's hit them.
The two female opponents are possibly the most difficult, because they throw things rather than engaging in physical brutality. Their missiles, stars and fans, can cause death in seconds if you're careless. You therefore have to get very close, very quickly.
Control is by keyboard only. Nevertheless, in spite of having so many manoeuvres, you can soon master it. Since it too is written by Peter Johnson, the extra features are, once again, all present and correct.
The last and biggest of the bunch is the arcade sports hit, Hyper Sports. In common with other sports games you take part in a series of track and field events, passing a qualifying standard in each to compete in the next. The game comes in six major parts, each requiring a separate load. This, unfortunately, is its downfall.
Hyper Sports was previously only available on disc, and the cassette loading system seems to have been taken directly from the disc version. Sure, it has a quit facility - just press Escape. The original disc version just whirred for a few seconds and then presented you with the title page.
On the cassette version, however, you are instructed to rewind the tape to the start and reload virtually the whole game. After accidentally nudging the Escape key once or twice, my natural cheery disposition was starting to rub a little thin.
A small "Do you really want to restart?" safety net could so easily have ironed out the problem. Also, if at any stage you fail to qualify in an event (even the first!) you must once again reload from the start.
My only other complaint is that I firmly believe that computer sports games can be implemented without continuous left-right battering of the keyboard or joystick.
If you can put up with these major shortcomings, Hyper Sports is great. From the Chariots of Fire loading music to the brightly coloured graphics, instilling a fierce competitive urge, it is one of the best sports games for the BBC Micro.
What a pity that it's also the best reason I've seen yet for buying a disc drive.
A compilation is less likely to sell to someone who already has one or more of the featured titles than is a single game by itself. The recent idea of featuring a previously unreleased game - not to mention the first cassette showing of Hyper Sports - is an excellent one, giving everyone a reason to buy. With such a variety of entertainment on offer, Konami's Coin-Op Hits must beone of the best value-for-money pack ages around. Stab, kill, kill, kill...