Saturday, 10 March 2012

Crap Game Corner's dribbly aunt: Masters of the Universe: The Movie (1987, Gremlin - ZX Spectrum)

Masters of the Universe is a somewhat cult movie nowadays (at least i think it is). Back then, it was a box office bomb, even though I thought it was a rather good movie. It starred Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, Frank Langella as Skelator and James Tolken as Detective Lubic (complete with his trademark bald head!), and was a 100 minute romp with lots of action and a bit of humour thrown in for good measure. Gremlin picked up the rights to produce one game, whereas US Gold did the another which was based on the cartoon. But that was crap. Whereas Gremlin's one was an action game. And that was also crap. Sigh, here we go again.

The game starts with you controlling a little squat version of He-Man. You have to go around and bash Skelator's troops, whilst finding the chords that are required to make Gwildor's invention, The Cosmic Key, work once more, so you can get back to the planet Eternia, and give Skelator a slap around his boney head. Sigh. It's a shame that the game is actually quite rubbish because the story is quite good. Not once did I get to use He-Man's sword, but a weedy little pop gun instead. The enemies respawn all the time (there's sometimes about 6 enemies onscreen at any one time), and sap your energy like there's no tomorrow, especially when you kill them, as they send 4 bullets going in all directions. The compass at the top of the screen points to where you can find the chords are, and there are roughly 8 to find in total. Only I didn't even get to find one, as I was too busy fighting loads of troops to even get near to one. But when you do find one, it's through sheer blind luck, as the compass is actually quite near pointless. It says, for example, to go up. When you do, you come to a dead end, and have to back track. Through loads of bad guys, before you can even find the right way to go. Yet again.

The graphics aren't too bad, and are clutter free, plus the title screen isn't too bad. There's hardly any colour clash, mainly because the main area is monochrome which changes when you reach the edge of the screen and enter a new one. The only problem is that when you reach the graveyard section, you'll end up getting stuck behind a gravestone most of the time, and get shot like there's no tomorrow by the baddies. At least the status bar is pretty straight forward. Your health is represented by the Sword of Eternia. Skelator's is his staff, with the compass at the top. The timer, that represents how much time is left before sunrise on Eternia, is at the bottom, with your lives status by the side. Simple.

It's not a bad game. But on the other hand, it's not a good one. It's just crap.  I don't know what Gremlin were playing at. After classics like the Monty Mole series, MASK I, II and III, Way of the Tiger and it's sequel, Avenger, it's a shame to see this released by a respected software house like Gremlin. And it's put a tarnish against a damn good movie. Even the PS2 version of the game based on the rebooted cartoon from the '00s is better than this. Play that instead, and wonder what could have been, instead of what is. A bloody big let down!

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