Bates? Steba? Beats? Tebas? Baste?

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WHEN you are dead you might think that at long last you will get some time to yourself. Take in a few movies, hang about with your dead buddies, do a spot of haunting perhaps, and get a chance to find out what really swell guys worms are are after all. But no. For these are the pinky blue skies of ancient Greece and, here old heroes never die, they just around and wait to get resurrected.

Sure enough, some old geezer pops up eventually and asks you to rescue his daughter. So it is time to shuffle back on this mortal coil, but probably not for too long.

Here ranged against you are wolves, skeletons, large blue monsters and some more skeletons which are even more upset than the first bunch. Oh, and I forgot the funny flying gargoyle things that try to whip your wig off. Why the wolves do not run off with all those bones beats the hell out of me.

If you cripple enough white wolves and collect the glowing globey things, nothing much changes - a bit like getting the ECS I suppose. However, if you collect three of them, then for some jolly good reason you will transform into a werewolf yourself.

This new hirsute physique comes with the ability to hurl fireballs, whiz about at the speed of the blitter and beat everybody up fairly easily without even trying.

Everybody, that is, except for one. Some baldy old bloke with a face only the front of a very large truck could love will intervene, trying to do his dirtiest to stop you. He seems to have some sort of static electricity problem 'cos large sparks fly from his fingertips whenever you get close. Eventually he will turn into a large monster which keeps throwing his head at you. It is all right, he has a few to spare. And that is only the first level. I want danger money.

Progress further into the passageways of the earth and meet even more terrible monsters who defy gradation on any meaningful scale of horribleness. If I ever see those eyes again...

Fear not, though, for later you have the power to turn into a fearsome dragon and some sort of blue teddy bear with terribly bad breath - well the beasties do not like it anyway, and I cannot blame them.

If there is anything worse than a ball of blue fluff in your belly button it is a giant ball of blue fluff breathing all over you.

Ancient Greece is looking pretty good. Live at Pompeii, the only thing missing is the constant swarm of insects. The animation at the beginning and of the end-of-level beasties is quite impressive, but the transformation sequences, which were by far the best parts of the original arcade version, are sadly missing from this other fairly faithful conversion.

Also your bloke and his fellow combatants sometimes looks a bit murky - perhaps because of the choice of colours. Their animation is not up to quite the same standard, either.

It is a good job Activision has included those nice graphics for the intermission because it seems about a day's wait. What can it be doing all that time? Playing a sneaky game on its own? I thought part of the idea of re-writing the disc format was to make it a bit faster.

To say the gameplay is aggressive would be to commit criminal understatement. At later levels you will know what a small white plastic sphere feels like at the Olympics. If you do not get your enhancer potion quick, it is party time for all the worms again. It is easy to speculate that with such a long period between the release of the arcade machine and this Amiga conversion that someone could have done a better job of the graphics. Nevertheless, it is sufficiently playable and challenging to warrant investigation.