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With excellent graphics, animation and realistic sound, this is a great program for those not already exhausted by this type of games. Get into training now if you want to get to challenge Brian Jacks, let alone beat the man. Despite the hernias and heart failures it will cause, this arm wrenching, joystick breaking, eyeball popping game is a real thriller.

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The whole thing looks and feels very much like Activision's superb
Decathlon to me. It doesn't really offer anything totally new, and the so-called powersync feature didn't stretch much further than an elaborate, and rather sweaty, waggling session. Despite these criticisms, I found the whole thing a thoroughly enjoyable, and exhausting, experience.

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The different events add enough novelty to make this a compulsive game, with the real fun coming in events like the dips. The sadistic combination of stop-start waggling is absolute murder, particularly over the extended time limit. The skill events like the boar shoot come as a welcome relief, although you may be shaking too much to shoot straight. I'm off to have a bath.

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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!
Brian Jack's Superstar Challenge
1985 Martech
Programmed by H.G. Joss Ellis & Gary Yorke
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the second issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (June 1985).
 

BRIAN JACK'S
SUPERSTAR CHALLENGE
Martech, 8.95 cass, 12.95 disk, joystick only


O High-energy, joystick-wrenching sports simulation

As I write, arm and shoulders a-throbbing, I wonder about the sadistic tendencies of software houses. Having just got over Decathlon and Summer Games, my shattered muscles were forced to work on the latest arm-wrencher.

Plenty of deodorant is needed as you pummel your joystick through the eight energy-taxing events of the challenge. As usual in this type of game, the faster you move your joystick back and forth, the faster your man moves.

When you start a game there are two options: challenge a fellow human, or the tireless computer. It's much more fun with another player, the competitive spirit giving you just a bit more determination and takes that last bit of energy in a dramatic effort to win.

Sweaty action in the gym

The winner of the eight events, which score in Decathlon-style, might well get to challenge Brian Jacks himself. This is only when you have passed all the 'qualifying' scores. If these are anything to go by, I reckon ol' B.J. must be superhuman.

According to the instructions, the control of this game is mostly by 'powersync'. Apparently, you should move your joystick in time with your man's motions and only gradually build up speed.

This sounds intriguing, but proves a little misleading. In most events the usual Decathlon-type hysterical threshing appears to be the best technique. However, there are some events where additional timely button presses are required.

Neck and neck with the computer cyclist

At the end of a game, while you're stretchered out, your man will appear on a rostrum. Depending on how well you've done, he'll take either first or second place.

If you've done really well, then you can challenge Brian Jacks. The trouble is that the challenge takes place immediately after the first one. This is unfair: your transplanted organs won't even had time to adjust to your body, let alone go through the rigorous tortures again.

One criticism is that there is no practice feature. Every game that you play has to be all the way through, which gets rather painful if you have trouble with one event.

JR

 


Eight gruelling events

1. CANOE RACE. Not particularly simple by any means. Plenty of energy will be sapped as you cleave your way through the water. Steady rhythm is also a necessity or else you'll find yourself careering into the markers of your lane.

2. BOAR SHOOT. No waggling involved, just a steady hand and a keen eye as you move a crosshair about the screen in an attempt to fire at a moving target. Pressing the fire button will shoot off a bolt, so you have to time it right to hit the target successfully.

3. 100M SPRINT. Simply pulverise the joystick from left to right at horrendous speeds to come in first.

4. SQUAT THRUST. With your arm hanging like a soggy toilet roll, things take a turn for the better. Tap the joystick left twice and right thrice to complete one squat thrust. Easy though it sounds, concentration should be at its utmost throughout this event. For every move made wrongly, valuable time will be lost as you try to regain your rhythm.

5. SWIMMING. More horrific joystick thrashing. This time the fire has to be pressed to allow your man to breathe as he sticks his head out of the water. We all know that a swimming performance is affected badly by either not breathing or breathing under water.

6. ARM DIPS. If you haven't changed your shirt by now, this event is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and make you sweat like a pig! Press fire button and your man will drop. When his elbow has touched the judge's fist, waggle like mad to get him back up to his starting position. Repeat the process again . . . and again . . . and again.

7. FOOTBALL. Those who haven't had coronaries will find this easier to tackle, ho, ho. Simply guide your man through the cones as he dribbles a ball, then shoot for goal.

8. CYCLING. The final challenge, which will turn even the coolest puce. A really hefty pummelling session, the last thank goodness, as you whizz down the track. The fire button will change your gears, but other than that your forearm muscle will have to be practically torn away to achieve the qualifying time.
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PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
56% Concise instructions; annoying not to be able to quit an event.
54%
An adaptation of the familiar sports simulation games.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
78% Fairly impressive animation and reasonable variety.
79%
If your arms can take it, hammering Brian is a strong incentive to keep waggling.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
52% Cute title screen tune but not too much else.
76%
Eight events and constant challenge to improve scores.
VALUE FOR MONEY
78% Cheaper than most of the games in its class.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (23 September 2001)
Sid freshly ripped by Warren Pilkington
(added on 12 Nov 2001)
Screenshot
s in the red panel weren't in the original review.

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