Your Sinclair

Run The Gauntlet

Author: Duncan MacDonald
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Your Sinclair #40

Run The Gauntlet

The Professionals. Episode 18.

Bodie: You know something Doyle? I reckon that I'm the toughest out of the two of us. No one messes with me.

Doyle: Don't be a doughnut, Bodie, I'm the action man - you're just the ineffectual sidekick.

Run The Gauntlet

Bodie: You're asking for a poke in the eye, you muesli-muncher. You're the weak-kneed glamourboy. All the viewers know that if we fell out and had a fight you'd get the pips kicked out of you.

Doyle : Ho, ho, ho. Says who - says a bloke who once played a handbag swinging, bouffant-hairstyled burk in The Cuckoo Waltz, a crap seventies sit-com!

Bodie: Right! You've had it!

Run The Gauntlet

Gordon Jackson: Boys, boys. boys. Calm down now.

Bodie: No. come on boss, you're our sort of 'father figure' who do you reckon is the hardest?

Gordon Jackson: I'm afraid Doyle is.

Run The Gauntlet

Bodie : Right! You've had it too you old git! Bosh!!

The casting director of Thames TV's Run The Gauntlet obviously agreed with Gordon Jackson - for who got the plum part as presenter of this tough men doing 'daring' things series? - Doyle, that's who (or Martin Shaw, as his mother prefers to call him). Have you seen the series? Four teams of moto-cross riders/marines/crocodile-wrasslers battle it out over five or six rounds of 'high action' stunt tomfoolery on impressive machinery: there are hovercrafts, speedboats, inflatables (Oo-er), dune buggies and jet-skis to name but five. And that's basically it.

So, the question is: what has Ocean done with its licence. The only way to find out is to read on, chum! Most of the events from the TV series have been retained, and they've all been tackled in the same manner - viewed from above. There's a sandy off-road, flips-screen, race course for the meteors, supercats. buggies and quads (the essential difference between these are their respective speeds - the faster the-buggy, the harder it is to control), and there's a vertically and horizontally scrolling lake scenario for the speedboats, jet-skis, inflatables and hovercraft. The same 'speed' rules apply here as well, the hovercraft being the hardest to control. There's also a section called The Hill in which you're out of the machinery and on your feet. It's assault course time - leap over holes, trudge through mud and try to avoid the water-jets - they'll knock you down. Up to three players can join in, by the way, or you can play solo against the computer.

When I first loaded up Run The Gauntlet I was quite disappointed, 'cos the same piece of coding for the racetrack and the lake is just used over and over again. The only differences are the vehicle sprites and their personal handling characteristics. Birrova con, thought I - until I'd had a few goes that is - the game's actually quite addictive. There's quite a bit of colour, and the graphics are quite chunky, although the animation is slightly on the jerky side. I've got a sneaking feeling this was a bit of a rush-job, after all, it could easily have been awesomely brilliant, but as it stands Run The Gauntlet's a bit on the mediocre side.

Multi-event racing, boat driving and assault-course game from the TV show of the same name. Not particularly well implemented, but quite good fun despite it. Slap on the wrist for Imagine - it could have been a lot better.

Duncan MacDonald

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