Danger Freak logo

Rainbow Arts
£9.99 cass
£14.99 disk

Remember the theme to "The Fall Guy"? "I've been on fire with Sally Fields, I've made love to a girl named Bo, yes I've had Farrah in the sack, I've been in love with Kim Basinger. Oh I'm the unknown stuntman, la de da da da"? What a great life eh? All the danger, excitement yes, women yes (or no depending on sex and/or sexuality) but danger? What sort of person thrives on danger?

The Danger Freaks, an elite band of stuntmen and women that's who. The idea behind this game is to carry out all the stunts in a certain movie without killing yourself and without going over budget. Flash tricks and breakages of any equipment are expensive. Smashing into anything or falling off or over things is damaging.

You are given three attempts to complete each of the stunts, which are composed of three sections. The "racing forward very fast" section, the "run to the getaway vehicle" section and the "clamber aboard the helicopter" section.

The racing forward bit consists of you moving at top speed, weaving in and out of obstacles such as violent policemen, holes, and rampant sharks. Certain obstacles take different approaches to get around. Barricades need to be ducked under, potholes need to be wheeled over. Sharks need to be avoided etc.

Graphics aren't very good unfortunately. Sound isn't that much better: the intro tune is poor and the in-game FX aren't really anything in the way of a step up.

Not Rainbow Arts' finest. A surprisingly sub-standard quality product from a company famed for raising standards.

Danger Freak logo

US Gold/Rainbow Arts, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

The stuntman is a hardly fellow, and in Danger Freak, you can find out first hand what happens when the soppy actors step aside and the going really starts to get tough.

How about a bit of climbing on motorbikes, jumping over ramps, ducking roadblocks and avoiding hazards such as blazing barrels, holes in the road and vicious baseball bat-wielding extras?

Next try and stand on the back of a speeding sports car and attempt to grab hold of a rope ladder attached to a waiting helicopter (but make sure you don't leave it too late or you'll go smashing headfirst into a wall!), then pull your water wings on and get into the sea for a mad dash on jet-skis, taking care not to go careering into logs, buoys, sharks and landmines!

You begin the game with three lives, and eight 'takes' per life. Hitting an obstacle means the scene must be cut, using up a take, and losing all eight forfeits a life.

I thought Colt Seavers was a hero. But that little lot, the Fall Guy may well go into retirement!

Gordon Houghton I thought stuntwork was supposed to be an exciting job, full of danger - and isn't it meant to be demanding to an almost unbelievable degree? If it's anything like it's portrayed in Danger Freak, I think I'll join them - I just fancy a bit of a kip. The only exciting thing about this game is waiting for the next level to load, to find out if it gets any better. Saying that, though, the levels are very difficult, with new obstacles appearing almost directly after negotiating the previous one. As an example (and this applies only to the Amiga version, by the way) in 80% of the cases, if you jump over a ramp, you'll land right on top of an explosion, losing one of your eight takes. Not very forgiving, to say the least. The C64 game is streets ahead of its 16-bit counterpart in the graphics and sound departments, sporting some really effective characters and obstacles. Playability wise, though, Danger Freak should go back to the storyboard.
Paul Rand Smashing, I thought, an action packed stuntman sim, full of different obstacles, to really test your skill and courage. Playing, however, made me feel like smashing my head against the wall. And the trouble is that the game (well the 64 version at least) could have been something special if not for one problem: it's just too difficult. The 8-bit version stands head and shoulders above the Amiga in terms of presentation but in both the obstacles are way too close to one another. Graphically, the 64 wins hands down, with neat sprites and scrolling backdrops, while the Amiga has to make do with basic character definition and animation, with average parallax scrolling scenery. This'll take a long time to master and in the long run it's probably not worth it. Try it out first.
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