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HOW many gamesters are tired of playing the hero all the time? Now is the time to reveal your innermost, wicked ambitions. A little more offbeat in your computer entertainment, maybe just occasionally you would like the chance to play the bad guy or in the latest Melbourne House creation,a wicked monster.

Aaargh! is probably as screwy as anyone could possibly hope for. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Rampage coin-op, it has been developed on the basic ideas used in the money muncher and given a sense of purpose and depth that the arcade lacked.

The story takes place in time of ancient mythology when monsters really did exist and men were simply used to keep them quiet by providing suitable nourishment.
The two monsters upon which this game is based are the one-eyed Cyclops and a Godzilla-style Lizard.

At the beginning of each game you can choose which of these monsters you wish to use to wreak mayhem and destruction on the various locations within the game.

Each monster is able to unleash hefty blows by punching up, down and sideways in order to demolish the various buildings and towers. They can also breath fire which will burn houses and other adversaries.

The purpose of smashing the abodes in each location is that when the house or tower crumbles it reveals a prize that will either replenish your monster's energy and fire-breathing abilities or ultimately present the much sought-after egg. This will take the monster on to a special bonus level where you fight it out monster to monster to win the coveted egg. This short interlude works quite well and makes a change form the main game action.

I particularly liked the Neanderthal roar when one of the monster triumphs and holds the prize above its head.

As you progress through the game the location changes and the enemies become more hostile. In later levels giant insectoids zoom in and out of the screen trying to bring you to your knees with a fatal sting.

These levels require a fair amount of planning; you must destroy wells which provide villagers with water to put out fires. The simple solution is not only to destroy the wells but also to eat as many villagers as possible, giving you great personal satisfaction and a boost to your energy supply.

Aaargh! Really is a solid piece of entertainment. The graphics are superb. The sampled roars and grunts enhance the theme of mindless destruction.

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Melbourne House, £19.99 disk

Ah, the peacefulness of an island paradise. Sunshine and scenery, not a care in the world. But wait, what's that noise? A ferocious monster! AAARGH!

Such is the pitiful scene on the island of Darance - a normally quiet place, but when the evil creatures decide to end their banishment, life becomes rather difficult. It's not easy to go about your normal everyday business with a marauding meanie smashing up your town!

It seems that the two creatures are searching for a golden Roc's egg, hidden deep inside a volcano, which will give them untold power. The humans must show respect... or else!

Aaargh! commences with the selection of the creature you wish to control - either a scaly Dragon with a whiplash tail, or a musclebound Ogre with a horn sprouting from his bonce. You are then transported to a randomly selected city, where buildings must be smashed by punching, whipping or setting fire to them, until a Roc's egg is discovered and collected to end the level.

Unfortunately for you, the residents don't take too kindly to having their homes destroyed and hurl missiles at you with their giant catapult. Also to contend with are giant hornets, buzzing around trying to sting you. All the damage inflicted upon you is shown at the top of the screen, as is the word AAARGH! gradually issuing from the monster's mouth. When the word is completed the monster dies a hideous death, ending the game. Fortunately, buildings sometimes reveal items of food which restore your health - such as hamburgers, pizzas, tacos and hot dogs - and there is always the odd person, running around just asking to be munched!

When an egg is collected, a one-on-one battle with the other creature ensues, the winner claiming the prize. Five such battles must be won to gain access to the volcano, where you must negotiate a path through the lava pools to the great golden Roc's Egg.

Gordon Houghton This is a game for misanthropes everywhere, giving them a chance to splatter mankind all over the shop! Why does this kind of game appeal to so many people? If I could answer that I'd be a leading psychiatrist earning more money than PG can imagine! In any case Aaargh! is beautifully designed with some very pretty graphics and sound, which create loads of atmosphere. The cities are brilliantly drawn and it almost seems a shame to smash them up. OK, I admit it, it doesn't - smashing them up is great fun! The only problem is that the game is too easy to complete (I finished it on my tenth attempt - but that was only 'cos Maff had discovered the secret and told me what to do), and many players may tire of the destructive action once all the city scenes have been seen. However, others may return every now and then to devastate a few townships - maybe, like me, you're one of them. Try it out and see.
Maff Evans When Rampage first hit the arcades, it brought an original twist, in that nasty creature was the hero. This made the game a lot of fun and Aaargh!'s appeal is in a similar vein. The wanton destruction for some reason appeals to a lot of people, and when it's presented in such an impressive package as this it's a sure winner!
The graphics are extremely good, as good as any I've seen on the Amiga (the food sprites look good enough to eat!), and these are complemented by very good use of sampled sound. Both of the monsters are impressive, each having lots of character - you feel like there is a real battle going on when you're scrunching the cities into rubble! The only disappointment is the head-to-head section. Because it's so easy to win once you've mastered the technique, it means that the game doesn't take too long to complete, thus affecting the lastability. Even though, many people (myself included) will enjoy the odd scrap from time to time to relieve tensions of the day.
Paul Glancey As Arcadia coin-ops are based on the Amiga custom chips, it's hardly surprising that Aaargh! is faithful to the original. The monsters are very well defined and neatly animated, and go about their monster-like business of guzzling and roasting accompanied by atmospheric and amusing samples. The battle between the lizard and ogre is very impressive indeed, with a suitably raucous Heavy Metal guitar trash backing the frenetic arcade quality battle. Another treat is the grunt of 'Fooood!' whenever a helpless human or piece of pizza is chomped - the chewing and gulping sounds and the graphical munching of the ogre's jaws are very amusing. At the other extreme, the death sequence is gory and blood-strewn - almost horrific! The only drawback to this addictive fun is the dubious lasting interest: apart from layout, the cities are identical to play, and the combat section is unchanged, so variety is lacking. If a slick arcade is what you're after, though, it's well worth a try.