Taskmaster (Creative Sparks) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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Taskmaster
By Creative Sparks
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #3

Seven-screen blast with surprisingly good graphics

Taskmaster

This is one of the two first budget releases from Creative Sparks that go by the very fitting name of Sparklers. It's a simple shmup spread over seven different scenes.

Despite the cliche scenario (you have fallen in love with a beautiful princess and in order to win her hand in marriage you must complete seven tasks set by her father, the King), the game is in fat a cross between High Noon and Robotron.

Before you attempt a task, you are told what you must do in some very classy and authentic antique script. You start the tasks in the centre of the screen and can shoot or move in one of eight directions. Each screen consists of an appropriate graphical backdrop, depending on the task, and plenty of shooting.

These backdrops are graphically very good, as are the large, but fairly well detailed, and well animated sprites. The sound isn't so hot though, consisting of little more than a few 'byoos' when you fire.

On some screens you not only shoot anything that moves, but you have to pick things up as well. On others it's a simple case of blasting to survive, and on a couple the nasties actually fire back!

You have a bonus at the start of a task, which is 'hit' related - 10 points are deducted from the bonus whenever you miss something with a shot, so you have to be accurate. If any bonus exists at the end of a task, then it will be added to your score.

The Seven Tasks

  1. Survive a night alone in the valley of zombies. The sun sets behind the castle in the hills, and hordes of mortified-looking zombies mill out of the sides of the screen. Shoot as many as possible and stay alive before the sun rises.
  2. Slay the Wizard of Dabbit Wood. A fairly effeminate wizard materialises at a random point on screen, fires at you and then dematerialises, leaving you little time to destroy him.
  3. The four sacred statues from Vampire Mountain are randomly placed on screen in front of a bats cave. Quickly collect them, avoiding or shooting the bats that attempt to stop you.
  4. Wipe out the devil worshippers of the Temple of Demons. Evil monks come out from the edges of the screen onto an impressive Stonehenge-style backdrop, firing in all directions in an attempt to kill you. Shoot a certain number of monks to move on to the next level.
  5. Destroy the ancient spirit stone of the Runes of Tygorth. It appears on screen as a small object guarded by large numbers of spirits.
  6. Steal the five ritual skulls from the village of the Northern Barbarians. Walk around the screen and try to locate the right five out of the many placed randomly about. Avoid or shoot the vicious Barbarians before they shoot you.
  7. Your final task is to get to the wedding ceremony at the Castle of the Birdmen. The entrance into the castle is blocked by aggressive birds that kill on contact. Shoot and avoid the birds and sneak into the castle doorway to take the Princess's hand in marriage - ah!

GP

Most of the screens are quite simple and enjoyable to play, although the two where things fire back are rather tricky and I found the final screen well nigh impossible. This playability, combined with some nifty graphics and a low price means Taskmaster is one cheapo game that I wouldn't feel ashamed to be caught buying.

JR

This cheapo game gives plenty of fun for your money. Blast your way through the various screens of evil baddies to win the Princess's hand in marriage. The graphics and animation are pretty good, but the sound is grotty. Plenty of challenge to keep you killing the meanies at a really low price.

BW

I can think of less infuriating games than this, but not many of better value. I enjoyed the seven screens and good animation, providing hectic shoot-'em-up action. I thought movement was a little slow, which can be annoying when you're trying to deal with a bunch of killer monks or ruthless barbarians. Good value, though, and great to see another company entering the cheapo market.

Verdict

Presentation 71%
Terrific character set and silly romantic scenario.

Originality 48%
Cross between Robotron and High Noon.

Graphics 74%
Good sprites, well animated and some nice backgrounds.

Hookability 73%
Plenry of frantic action to get you engrossed.

Sound 23%
Byoo, byoo, byoo, byoo, byoo, byoo.

Lastability 70%
Level four, six and seven are diabolically difficult.

Value For Money 77%
Excellent cheap game with enough difficulty to keep you busy.

GP