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Kane is a great little game which follows in the footsteps of some of the classic Mastertronic budget releases. The game has plenty of humour, a sprite cheekily stolen from Impossible Mission, plenty of playability and a fair bit of challenge -- what more could you ask for 1.99? There are only four screens, but they are all real fun to play, especially the duck shooting screen. The graphics are fine, the sound offsets iffy, but it does play very well. How Mastertronic do it I just don't know, but this is well worth every penny of the measly two quid asking price.
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Although
Kane isn't one of Mastertronic's better releases, it certainty isn't one of their worst and does offer several hours of enjoyable play. The graphics are nothing spectacular (the animation on the horse is excellent though), and the sound is poor (although I do like the sick 'squawk' the birdies make when shot). Overall, an adequate game for a cheap price and something worthy of consideration.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Kane
1985 Mastertronic
Programmed by John Darnell
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eleventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: February 9th, 1986).
 

KANE
Mastertronic, 1.99 cass, joystick only


Running true to Hollywood stereotypes, the cowboys and Indians are fighting each other. As in all games there has to be a hero and in Kane his name is Marshall McGraw and the difference between him and the normal run of the mill cowboy is that he's trying to make peace with his redskin brothers. Standing in his way is the Indians' reluctance to trust him, so to prove himself worthy, Marshall McGraw must demonstrate his skill in a duck shooting competition. If he gets through this and wins some peace tokens from the indians, then the next priority is to get them to Washington so the peace treaty can be drawn up.

Trouble is that the N.A.S.T. Railway company intend to run a track through the indians' ancient burial grounds. Realising that the government would veto such a development if peace was made between the two races, N.A.S.T. decides it's in their best interests to stop McGraw from getting the peace tokens to Washington. In the town of Kane, N.A.S.T. place several of their men to ambush McGraw on his way to the train. The only thing is to do deadly battle with the agents -- if he wins, McGraw then has to get to the train for Washington, which is now speeding its way eastward. With his trusty steed it's possible for McGraw to catch up with the iron horse and hop aboard -- but an easy job it isn't, due to the large amount desert debris littering the sides of the railway track. McGraw has to get Dobbin to jump the various items, including rocks and tumbleweed, to make his way to the head of the train.

Kane is split into the four Stages and throughout you control Marshall McGraw, a mere pawn of destiny. The first sheet is the duck shoot and the rules state that you must use a bow and arrow for this one. Supplied with a limited amount of arrows, the idea is to down as many ducks as possible. An on-screen cursor is joystick controlled, fire loosing an arrow from McGraw who stands in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. The arrow whizzes to the spot the cursor was at when the button was pushed. The duck shoot is held in an idyllic valley near the indian camp and the ducks fly innocently from left to right at random heights. Piercing a duck with an arrow results in an anguished quack from the sky and a thud as the animal hits the floor. The better your performance the more peace medallions come into your possession -- and the less pesky ducks there are. If none are collected, then the game is over.

The next screen depicts McGraw's heroic dash to Kane on Dobbin, his pure white dedicated mount. At the top of the screen the miles left to travel are shown, and as Dobbin gallops along his merry way the background scrolls past. The longer the left or right directions are held on the joystick, the faster Dobbin trots. Fire makes McGraw use his spurs and get Dobbin to leap.

Once at Kane, N.A.S.T.'s desperados make an attempt to finish of the good Marshall. McGraw moves left and right along the bottom of screen, controlling a cursor that aims his gun. Fire draws and fires the trusty six shooter and any baddies hit unleash a synthesised scream. Once out of ammo, McGraw needs to run off screen left where his weapon is reloaded. Stand still too long and a desperado will dispatch him to that big OK Coral in the sky. After the bad people have been shown the light with a bullet through their torso, McGraw has to catch up with the 15:51 to Washington.

McGraw is on Dobbin once again, dashing for the head of the train. Unlike the first horse ride to Kane, Dobbin's speed needs to be carefully controlled to bound over the obstacles. Once at the front of the train you have saved the Indians and N.A.S.T. are defeated.

If you wish it's possible to practise on various screens with the practice mode supplied, though it is impossible to complete Kane like this.

     

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Most striking thing about
Kane is its main sprite's resemblance to the one in Impossible Mission. The game itself is really not that bad. Certainty worth the 1.99 asked for it. Though presenting some challenge, it's very easy to reach the final screen of Kane and though the last stage is quite hard, it seems likely that with some practise most people should be able to finish it. Graphically it is very pleasant, but the music is absolutely awful. Though this is certainty not the best Mastertronic release to date, it looks like they are still bringing out very playable games, for extremely modest prices.
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Presentation 64%
Clumsy game start and icky title screen.

Graphics 78%
Unimpressive backdrops but some excellent sprite animation.

Sound 50%
Brilliant sampled sound but really dire accompanying tune.

Hookability 79%
Great fun to start with ...

Lastability 65%
... but appeal soon fades due to lack of challenge.

Value For Money 85%
Still well worth 1.99 but ...

Overall 63%
... not the best that Mastertronic can achieve.

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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (22 Nov 2004)

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