Commodore User1st March 1986
Published in Commodore User #31
Geoff Capes Strongman
Geoff Capes has a lot to be unhappy about lately. First of all Commodore User spells his name incorrectly on the front cover of the December issue (er, sorry, Geoff, grovel grovel). Then his game arrives about three months late and, to top it all, the music that accompanies the final version is an uptempo rendition of the lumberjack song.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that he is not going to go overboard about the game either. Or at least he wouldn't do if he were a seasoned C64 gamer.
It's not that it's particularly bad - it's just not going to earn Geoff Capes mega bucks like Ocean's game did for Daley Thompson.
It's just too intricate - and this intricacy is in no way entertaining. In the barrel loading event, for example, you have to walk down the steps to the cellar, hoist a barrel above your head and take it back to the lorry.
The most difficult part of this is not the lift itself but negotiating the steps. Put a foot wrong and you take a fall and must begin again.
Beginning again is another tedious part of the game. Each time you start a new event you have to allocate energy to each muscle and decide how much effort you are going to put in.
This is a laborious business of moving a cursor around Geoff's seven major muscles and pressing fire to make a bar chart representation of the energy fill up beside it. You need to calculate this carefully to suit each event.
The Tug-O-War calls for strong legs, log chopping strong arms, and so on. It would have been better if you could have got this over and done with at the beginning of the game.
That said, I did enjoy playing a number of the events. Rolling the car took a great deal of skill and there was a great feeling of achievement as it toppled over.
Bashing the fairground hammer to ring the bell was also fun especially as I have always wanted to have a go on these machines.
Overall, I didn't get that much out of the game. The events are too isolated - with no interconnecting theme. It lacks the feeling that you are competing for something.
Geoff Capes Strongman appears to be one of the few games I've seen that doesn't improve with its conversion to the C64. It lacks the detail in the graphics that the original Amstrad version had, and its icons are not incorporated into the game like they were in that version. They are really just unnecessary frills on the C64. Most disappointing of all, the game doesn't have the lorry-pull event - which was the highlight of the original.
This is a classic example of a game with a lot of promising new ideas that just doesn't work.