Take Shadow Of The Beast 2, remove some of the visual excellence, add a bigger and more involved game and you've got Beastlord from Grandslam - surely one of the weakest arcade adventures yet seen. The plot waffles on about a mythical forest full of squirrels that is kept in check by a unicorn, hawk and a beam of light.
One day, however, the unicorn is tied up, the hawk turned to stone and the beam of light stolen, and the forces of darkness take over the forest. Who steps forward to reclaim the land? No, not the Dutch. You - the Beastlord.
The game is played out over three parallax scrolling levels, each splayed over huge maps during which you hit people, eat a lot, occasionally order dogs and squirrels to fetch things for you and hold very simple conversations with very simple people. Just as well really, as you have to keep your mind on quite a few things. time runs a lot faster than usual in this game, so your energy reserves can drop quite rapidly. The only real way to gain food is to beat people up, so you'll find yourself fighting a hell of a lot of the time just to stay alive.
The design of the game means that you'll need to do a lot of searching about and mapping before you can really get into the swing of things - many locations can't be entered without specific objects, so be sure to find everything you can first. For example, on the first level, you can't enter the witch's house without the cloak of invisibility or you'll get zapped.
The controls are a little suspect, to say the least. The control of the main character feels slack and unresponsive, and the mouse-controlled bank of items makes the game impossible to play with a hand-held joystick. It isn't bad, and touches like the ripple effect caused by the cloak bring it up above the average mark, but only just.