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Shamus is getting on a bit now, and it certainly shows. It's graphically very simple, but reasonable, just like the sound effects and the game itself. I never have liked Shamus (I prefer the follow up, Shamus Case II), but that doesn't mean that you won't -- check it out, you may well find that you like it.

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I remember playing this on the Atari yonks ago and thinking it was about the best thing I'd ever seen. Nowadays the game is a far cry from that sort of status but is still an enjoyable arcade adventure/shoot em up. The graphics aren't brilliant and the sound isn't wonderful but the program is nicely presented with four different maps to explore and solve. If you want a cheap and enjoyable arcade adventure then take a look at this, you might like it.

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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!
Shamus
1983 Synapse Software
Programmed by Jack L. Thornton Jr.
 
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).
 

SHAMUS
Americana, 2.99 cass, joystick only


The Shadow is out and about! Yes he is, and putting yourself into the shoes of Shamus you must destroy him and rid the world of his evil. HA! You thought we were talking about THE Shadow, you know, ZZAP!'s goodly do-gooder didn't you? Well, we're not. The Shadow in question is a horrible meany who eats babies and enjoys reading Mike Pattenden's gossip column, and as you can see, anyone who is that evil just has to be destroyed.

Shamus is an arcade adventure played in Sabre Wulf style -- a flick screen game viewed from above but the sprites are viewed from the side, sort of like a Picasso painting, and what the intrepid hero must do is penetrate deep into the core of the fortress of the nasty Shadow and destroy it. This castle is made up of many rooms spread over 32 screens through which Shamus trundles, picking up whatever he can before his task is finished. Some rooms have exits locked by padlocks and the only way they can be opened is by finding the relevant coloured key in another room. There are also mystery bonus question marks and extra life potions which help the quest when collected.

All the walls are electrified and if Shamus touches one the 'this is how to disrupt the tube train timetable' syndrome comes into effect, turning him into a pile of ashes and one of five lives is lost. The Shadow's laser-spitting robots fill the rooms and these try and kill our hero by shooting or by touching him with their electrified exoskeletons. Luckily Shamus is armed with a powerful Ion Shivs (TM, Pat Pending) laser rifle and can shoot the deadly denizens before they damage his frail and pink little bod.

Throughout the quest the Shadow monitors progress made by Shamus, and if the hapless fellow spends too much time in one room the Shadow enters and gives chase, hell bent on killing him. Shooting the evil character merely causes him to pause for a second, but this pause gives Shamus enough time to get out of the room and enter another.

     

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Poor ol' Shamus, he's nearly as old as the off ice crumbly, Malcolm, now. Though this game was a great fave of mine in the golden age of software, nowadays it really fails to thrill. Even the previously impressive gameplay seems to be rather simple indeed. Even for all you players out there who may never have seen Shamus before, I'm sure it would bore you silly -- compared to today's releases it really is crude. Have a look maybe, especially if you're a Robotron fan.
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Presentation 86%

Beautiful title screen logo, and several options.

Graphics 45%
Simple characters and backdrops.

Sound 69%
Good title screen music and spot FX
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Hookability 56%
Mildly addictive initially.

Lastability 50%
Mildly playable -- eventually.

Value For Money 55%
Low priced and -- mild.

Overall 51%
Fairly Liquid couldn't be any milder.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (2 Mar 2006)

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