A&B Computing1st October 1989
Published in A&B Computing 6.10
Minerva were one of the first companies to produce games - as well as serious software - for the Archimedes, although their early releases did not do the machine full justice. Later releases have been of a higher standard which certainly includes Thundermonk, a game which can loosely be described as an 'arcade adventure'. You have to guide the hero - a monk - around a series of screens collecting and using objects, clearing barriers etc as you go. Each screen consists of a large area of vividly drawn graphics upon which the screen display acts as a window. The scroll as you pan acorss the screens is, I think, the smoothest that I have seen on any game on any computer!
Unlike Minerva's fast and furious Orion - a game for computer athletes - Thundermonk is for players of all ages. Clearing screens is achieved by patient working out of solutions and memory of geographical layout and requires no fast reactions, clever jumps and so on. You can shoot objects, with an unlimited supply of ammunition, and must do so to clear obstacles. When you clear a screen you are given a password to allow direct entry to the next level. Curiously enough, these passwords change from time to time - dependent on the date presumably - so that you may have to replay a lower level to update it.
I don't know how large the game is. No-one in my family has succeeded in getting beyond level 3 yet despite many hours of dedicated play. I can vouch for the fact levels 2 and 3 are very large and complex. The graphics are excellent with a whole host of beautifully drawn sprites representing a large array of objects. The main disappointment is the sound. There is occasional digitised speech and infuriating bleating noise when you encounter a sheep, but no music. However, the game is highly playable and strongly recommended if you like this kind of thing.