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We first reviewed this way back in issue three and I didn't think much of if. Now, a year and a couple of months later, it seems twice as bad as it did then. For a start the colour scheme is horrible and garish -- I'm sure a baboon could have chosen a better series of colours. The 'sprites' flicker and wobble as they jerk their way around the screen, and the sound, although bearable, is thin and reedy. Why the different screens have to be loaded separately is a complete mystery to me, and the whole package is a load of tripe.

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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!
Conan
1984 Datasoft
Programmed by Ron Fortier & John Butrovich
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: June 12th, 1986).
 

CONAN
Americana, 2.99 cass, joystick only


Originally released to coincide with the Conan films of a couple of years ago, this old Datasoft game is the latest title to be repackaged in budget format. It's an arcade adventure in which the player controls Conan and attempts to take him through the deadly route to Volta's lair where Volta himself must be defeated. To succeed, you must negotiate progressively more difficult levels or screens, each populated by creatures and traps.

At the base of the screen, an information panel keeps the score, number of power swords possessed (Conan's only weapon) and the number of lives left with which to complete the mission. At the start of the game, Conan has ten power swords which can be thrown by pressing fire -- in certain circumstances, they return -- and two spare lives.

Each of the screens is very different from the last and the problems contained have to be solved before access can be gained to the next screen. Many of the creatures are unique to certain screens. Some of them can be destroyed by an attack with a power sword, others have to be avoided. One creature in particular is an ally. There is a bird which turns up at random on a couple of screens. If Conan touches the bird, he receives an extra life.

There are only seven screens, but they increase in complexity very quickly. In the first, for instance, a bat has to be either destroyed or avoided to get any further. The third screen plays host to a couple of quick-footed insectoid beasties along with a giant scorpion and an immense lava pit. Patience is a valuable aide whilst figuring out the puzzles. For the most part, the way to get from one screen to the next is to obtain one or more gems (either on the current screen or the one before) and place them in special folders to trigger the exit. In the spirit of true adventuring, there is no turning back.

   

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This game has nothing on its predecessor, Bruce Lee. The graphics are fairly dull and simplistic. The sprites are tiny and flicker horribly. The animation is passable. Also the screens are far too complex too soon. Either they are so easy as to be monotonous or require several games to figure out. There is nothing in-between. In this respect I found the game sadly lacking. However, some of the puzzles are actually quite clever and I got some satisfaction from solving them after so much initial frustration. The music isn't bad either. It's not exactly Hubbard or Galway but it could be worse. When this game first came out, I had my doubts. At budget price though, it's not a bad buy.
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Presentation 70%

Good instructions and demo sequence at the beginning of the game, but individual loading of screens is a pain.

Graphics 29%
Very much below par.

Sound 40%
Limited effects and reasonable music
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Hookability 35%
There's very little to keep anyone other than the insanely curious interested.

Lastability 27%
There's very little to keep anyone other than the curiously insane interested.

Value For Money 33%
More attractive than its initial price, but not much.

Overall 28%
Although considerably flawed, the game contains some interesting ideas and puzzles -- it's just a shame that they weren't put together any better.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (2 Mar 2006)

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