Licensed to... erm, thrill - surprisingly

Lethal Weapon logo

OCEAN * £25.99 * 1 meg * Joystick * Out now

The last thing that the toiling Gamer team wanted was another platform game after the excesses of Christmas. Especially after having to beat some drunken fool back up the chimney because he nicked my mince pies, but alas here it is - the first of a new breed of 1993 platformers.

Ocean are really into this film tie-in thing, they do all sorts from Hudson Hawk to Cool World and in my opinion they don't do them very well. Basically because none of the games resemble the film in any way.

You play the role of Riggs or Murtaugh the head case copper who is played so well by Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon films. Thus, being a nutty copper with a testosterone overdose, you are sent on various ridiculous missions in which you are hideously out-numbered by axe and machine-gun wielding psychopaths.

Loathed as I am to say it I actually quite got into Lethal Weapon. It has a certain simplicity, unlike most games which treat you as through you should be knowing what you're doing seeing as you bought the game and everything.

Your character starts off in police headquarters and you have to bound around from room to room to choose your first mission. There are three to choose the first of your three missions. One you cannot select until you have picked up a secret code from somewhere or other.

This was the first aspect which drew me to the game. You aren't thrown in right at the deep end, you start off on a relatively easy mission and work your way through.

I was quite disappointed at first with the graphics because they seem unnecessarily simple but the reason becomes apparent after you've been playing for a bit. Each and every sprite on the screen has its own individual little movement whether it be looking around furtively of having a peek over the side of a ledge, which is a very strong sign that the programmers have taken a long time over the game.

The rest of the scenery is very simple, barrels, plain walls and the like which gives the game a very spartan appearance. Apart from that, the graphics are pretty spot on - everything moves very smoothly and clearly.

There are three main sorts of baddies. The first are the usual henchmen - in the films you usually have about four or five of them who get shot in the first scene. Basically they're stupid and wait for you to shot first.
Next up are the commando types who get shot very quickly. But you have to watch them they do shoot very quickly too. Last but not least is the mad Chinese man with his meat cleaver - no gun, just a big chopper. He tries to lop your bonce off every time you venture in his space.

Sound FX are pretty much what you might expect - gun noises, things falling over and people dying - they're certainly not bad, but the game would undoubtedly benefit from something a little beefier )how about a cup of Bovril - Ed).

I must admit that I did like Lethal Weapon a lot - I never have been much of a fan of platform games but this one is appealing to all levels not just the hardcore bunch. In saying that true platform fans may find Lethal Weapon a bit easy in some respects. Either way, well worth a look.

Women swoon over him, men envy him and every movie executive in the world wants him. But Amiga Format tracked down Chris Buxton and got him to review Ocean's...

Lethal Weapon logo

Ho hum, another movie tie-in. Well, the Lethal Weapon movies have been around for about four or five years now, and show no signs of getting any more original with age. They're based around two cops with contrasting characters - a placid family man and a wild, disrespectful renegade - who, braving every cliché in the book, overcome their differences, work together to fight corruption and have a few jokey male-bonding scenes along the way. Usually, at a hot-dog stand. Hollywood thought long and hard about this one. Oh dear, this is all getting a bit cynical. Still, let's take a look at the facts.

Action men
Successful action movie becomes computer game. Any votes for a complex simulation? A Monkey Island-style adventure? How about a platform shoot-em-up then? Staying true to the film's lack of innovation, the programming team have come up with a good old left-to-right, scrolling platform game. But, let's face it, originality was never an essential quality for a great game.

The plot is based loosely on the three films and the main characters look roughly like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The action starts off in police headquarters where Riggs and Murtaugh (Gibson and Glover) have to solve three cases in order to get a special assignment. When they finish the special assignment they get drafted into Internal Affairs and go after some corrupt big-wigs in the force who've been selling off confiscated firearms (yes, a little bit of politics, there).

The first three cases can be attempted in any order but the manual recommends that you take case one first, then case two and finally case three. So much for freedom of choice.

There's another decision to be made before you can get down to action - which of the cops to have. Riggs is better at hand-to-hand combat, while Murtaugh carries a more powerful gun, but again the game dictates your choice. Some levels are full of extra ammunition, so you'd be a fool to pick Riggs and his weedy gun. In other levels the ammo's thin on the ground so Murtaugh is out of the question.

Sewer bound
With your 'selections' made it's off to the first case. The dynamic duo must capture the profits of a drug cartel that are stashed on a ship at the harbour. The second case has them exploring the city's sewers searching for terrorist bombers and in the third they've got to rescue an informant from a derelict factory.

The object of each mission may differ but they all play in the same way. The standard mix of running along shooting heavies, jumping on to moving platforms and picking up power-ups and energy refills doesn't change from level to level.

The enemies always appear in the same places. They always fire in the same way. There's an easy route across the platforms, or you can risk losing a life and go for a hard-to-reach bonus or power-up. And after a couple of levels, at the end of each case, there's a boss villain who needs a massive load of hits to destroy.

So far all this seems OK, and it is. The graphics are crisp and the locations look good - more colour and some parallax wouldn't have hurt, though. The music's not bad and the sound of the thudding impact of the bullets is suitably gruesome. But after an hour of plugging away you begin to get the impression that there isn't a whole lot to Lethal Weapon.

When you've overcome the initial urge to race through every level with guns blazing you'll find the only way to make it through a case with your lives intact is to plod along waiting for an enemy to appear, dodge their fire, take 'em out and go on to the next one.

A desperately average game that's almost identical to every other platform game around

The platforms' layout make things tricky and when you first go through a level it's hard to tell if some are platforms or are just part of the scenery - until you plummet off screen and lose another life.

Once you know where to go and when to shoot, the game gets frustrating because you just want to get on with it and not have to wait around for the right moment to fire or jump. All this timing and practice is what platformers are all about, so what's the problem? Well, when it becomes irritating instead of challenging you know the game's not for you.

If the game had played a bit quicker, had a few more enemies here and there, maybe (Heaven forbid!) tried something new it could be something more than what it is. There are no deep, or eve shallow puzzles and even the slightest bit of detective work would make the game interesting. As it is there's only one route through each of the levels and the occasional door switch to push, and it's never a million miles away from the door.

All these niggly points show just what an ordinary game Lethal Weapon is. It isn't badly programmed, it all works very slickly and will probably give anyone who buys it a few days' fun. But there's nothing impressive about it all - even as it stands, a simultaneous two-player mode could have rescued it.

No, it's just a desperately average game that's almost identical to every other platform game you've bought, played and can now see on sale at £9.99 on a budget label.

If you're thinking about buying this because you're a fan of the films, you'll find little to link the game with the movie apart from a nice picture of Mel, Danny and the stumpy one with grey hair who's not done anything descent since Raging Bull on the box. (What about Goodfellas? Ed.). If you're thinking about buying this because you want another platform shoot-em-up, think again.

What's here is nothing new and you already have something similar in your software stash. Technically it would be at home on an 8-bit console, not an Amiga. These sort of games need to be noisy, dazzling, fast and frantic, as te console ads on TV scream at us, and sadly this game hasn't kept with the pace.

All over the city strange platforms were appearing. Riggs and Murtaugh smelt a conspiracy...

Lethal Weapon
Case one - The Export Gang. The mission - a search for stolen cash. The game - platform as far as the eye can see.

Lethal Weapon
Case two may be about stopping a terrorist bomb squad but it's much the same old platforms as Case one's docklands.

Lethal Weapon
Case three breaks off at a real tangent - saving a kidnapped informant - and goes for an all-new, er, platform look.

Lethal Weapon
Case number four is classified so I can't talk to you about it. I did get there though, honest. No, straight up, I did. Trust me.

Lethal Weapon
In the final case the cops have to sort out their corrupt bosses: or are they just minding the car park? I could never work it out.

Tödlich oder mörderisch?

Lethal Weapon logo

Obwohl mit "Cool World" in diesem Heft schon wieder ein Negativ-Beispiel für die Filmversoftungs-Künste von Ocean vertreten ist - die Jungs können auch anders: Aus dieser Lizenz haben sie ihr bestes Plattform-Game seit langem gestrickt!

Vielleicht liegt es daran, daß hier nicht bloß ein Film, sondern gleich die komplette Movie-Trilogie mit Mel Gibson und Danny Glover in Bytes verwandelt wurde. Passenderweise stellt auch das Game selbst sowas wie eine Zusammenfassung mehrerer Ocean-Titel dar: Viel Jump & Run à la "The Addams Family", düstere Fabrik-Atmosphäre wie bei "Batman", knallharte schußwechsel im Stil des "Robocop 3"-Vorgängers (hüstel...), Kletter-Einlagen, die stark an "Hudson Hawk" erinnern - dazu noch eine kleine Anleihe bei der "Killing Game Show" von Psygnosis und deren berühmten Steigwasser-Effekt.

Zuerst sucht man sich im Polizei-Hauptquartier das Männchen seiner Wahl aus, was wegen deren Winzigkeit aber grafisch (und spielerisch) kaum einen Unterschied macht. Anschließend muß man sich für eine von drei Missionen entscheiden, wer sie alle geschafft hat, bekommt dann das Paßwort für die vierte und letzte. Zunächst gilt es, die Flucht einer Gangsterbande zu verhindern, die sich in den Hafendocks rundtreibt.

Mit begrenztem, aber ergänzbarem Munitionsvorrat für die Bleispritze, drei Bildschirmleben und der Lizenz zum schwimmen im Hafenbacken (Vorsicht Haie!) ausgestattet, turnt man über bewegliche Plattformen, hangelt sich an Seilen entlang und verpaßt nahestehenden Gegnern herzhafte Fußtritte. Klar, Extras für mehr Munition, Schußkraft oder Lebensenergie gibt es auch, bloß sind sie entweder gut versteckt oder hängen an besonders gefährlichen Ecken rum...

Die zweite Mission ist noch härter, dort wollen Terroristen die Stadt in die Luft jagen, weshalb wir sie nun durch die Abwasserkanäle jagen. Die Brüder haben sich mit einem ganzen Arsenal von Raketen- und Flammenwerfern eingedeckt, zudem explodieren des öfteren Ölfässer, und vom Schwimmen in der Giftsbrühe ist aus gesundheitlichen Gründen dringend abzuraten.

Der dritte Akt spielt in einer alten Fabrik, aus der eine Geisel befreit werden muß. Hier fallen Ninjas in rauhen Scharen von der Decke, die Bombenleger arbeiten im Akkord, gelegentlich gibt der Boden unter den Heldenfüßen nach, und sogar das lustige Fässer-Hüpfen aus dem Uralt-Klassiker "Donkey Kong" feiert fröhlich Wiederauferstehung.

Der Inhalt der vierten Mission bleibt unser Geheimnis, dafür verraten wir Euch großzügigerweise, daß bei Lethal Weapon die Sticksteuerung reibungslos klappt, der Begleitsound teilweise Ohrwurmqualität besitzt und gut animierte, jedoch wenig farbenfrohe Grafik sich flüssig und sehr flott bewegt.

Zu bemängeln wäre allenfalls der hohe Schwierigkeitsgrad, die geringe Auswahl an Extras, das Fehlen von Continues und der obligate NTSC-Streifen. Aber was bedeutet das schon, wenn man endlich mal wieder ein Spiel bekommt, bei dem auch ohne Festplatte und Turbokarte so richtig die Post abgeht?

Lethal Weapon logo

Round here we tend to think that the only good film licence is one that hasn't been taken up yet. Maybe Ocean can put an end to that.

Think of the Lethal Weapon movies. They're big budget affairs, spectacular, slick, funny, though not exactly what you'd call 'high art'. Oh, they aren't very original either. Ocean's game of the movies (it's no longer just based on number three in the series - this is now a name licence) rather predictably transforms the antics of the wisecracking duo into a platform shoot-'em-up.

Initially this may seem like a Bad Thing. Memories of Navy Seals resurfaced when I first loaded up Lethal Weapon. But forget any such comparisons. Superficially, Lethal Weapon may appear to be from the same packet of instant-platformer-just-and-water. But believe me, there are just enough new ingredients in there to make it a worthwhile affair.

Ah, but wait a minute - the Lethal Weapon stories all hinge on the buddybuddy relationship of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. How can that be recreated in a computer game? The designers obviously decided it couldn't, and so what we have is the option to play either one of the characters in a series of solo missions.

And what about that big budget aspect then? Surely the game must feature some pretty spectacular set pieces and special effects. Ah, well actually, now. There are a few generic platform identikit pieces - swinging girders, ropes, ladders, even a Donkey Kong sequence - but in Lethal Weapon, big time spectacular things are conspicuous by their absence.

Okay, let's turn to the humour. Surely there are some moments of humour to relieve the tension, some fine set-pieces where Mel Gibson's character gets to do his wig-out crazy guy routine? Well, no. This isn't Monkey Island, and the fact that the characters look laughably unlike their big screen counterparts aside, I suspect most player's ribs will remain untickled.

Nuts. I'm not painting a very positive picture. And, strange though it seems, I really do like the game. You know what I'm talking about. Just take a bash at the demo on our coverdisk. Fun, isn't it? Not exactly a breakthrough in programming technology, but fun nonetheless. And the great thing is that the full game contains loads of the stuff. Masses of people to shoot, kick and blow up. Miles of locations to explore, with lots of variation, and some reasonable background stuff - construction sites, factories, sewers - that kind of thing.

Probably Ocean's finest computer platformer yet

Where Navy Seals trudged, and Hudson Hawk was awkward and frustrating, Lethal Weapon finally gets the balance just right. The main character feels controllable, the odds aren't ridiculously stacked against the player, but neither are the levels a walkover.

With four sizable levels, plus sub-levels and hidden bits, it's going to take the best player weeks to penetrate eery nook and cranny of the game. Lethal Weapon works in an unpretentious, single minded kind of way. Sort of like your average quality console product really (and you thought you could read at least one review without a console reference in it).

Right, I've blown the review by telling you exactly what I think of the game, so in a bizarre reversal of reviewing code, I'm going to tell you exactly what happens in the game (just in case you haven't been playing the coverdisk demo).

Lethal Weapon finally gets the balance right

From the main office, it's initially possible to select one of the first three missions. All these must be completed before the fourth can be tackled - neat. After a not-too-painful loading delay, it's then into the thick of the action. Statistics and stuff are kept to a minimum, with lives and ammo being pretty much all the player has to worry about (extra weapons and ammo clips can be collected along the way).

And that's pretty much it, really. It's then a matter of kicking, shooting, climbing, running and jumping through the scrolling levels, walking through doors to other sections, throwing switches, locating hostages, defusing bombs, and all that kind of Lethal Weaponish stuff.

As I said, it's not terribly original. And it lacks the grace and beauty of games such as Another World or Prince of Persia. But as movie licences go, this is no disgrace, despite the rather predictable platform format. And of course, in time honoured fashion, it's got practically nothing aside from a few namechecks to associate it with the actual source material.

But I'm not here to discuss the positive and negative aspects of licensing (not right now anyway). I'm here to tell you whether Lethal Weapon is fun or not. It is. End of story. Goodnight.

Lethal Weapon
  1. From the police station below, it's through the green door, and straight into mission one (as seen on our groovy coverdisk, plug plug). If Riggs fails this one, he'll be sitting as they dock all his pay. (I'm firing myself - Ed.)
  2. The computer room gives all sorts of performance stats.
  3. Mission three is pretty much based around a factory/construction site setting. Swinging girders, ladders and several hundred bad guys are just some of the things in wait for our hero.
  4. The changing rooms - to change character, of course.
  5. Dive, dive, dive! Even big hard guys like the old riggs have to take evasive actions when faced with flame throwers. It's just a shame that that water is sewerage. There's not much chance of pulling Patsy Kensit now, is there?

Lethal Weapon logo CU Amiga Screenstar

Our very own Vietnam Vet (well, he acts shell-shocked) Mark Patterson takes an exclusive look at Ocean's stunning new licence.

Joel Silver's trilogy of Lethal Weapon films are undoubtedly one of the movie success stories of recent years. If you are one of the few people who are unfamiliar with them, they star Mel Gibson as Marin Riggs, a whacko LA cop who's gone from suicidal to near-homocidal in the first two films and his straight-laced partner Roger Murtaug, who is played by Danny Glover. As you might expect, Riggs is always dragging Murtaug into dangerous situations while cracking one-liners and shooting every villain in sight. Despite this limited formula the third film, which was released this summer, was another box office hit.

Rather than opt to produce a game based on just one of the films, Ocean have gone the whole hog and taken aspects from all three movies, as well as coming up with a plot of their own. To get around the problem of the film having two main characters and there not being a two-player mode in the game, you can choose to play either Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. There are no advantages to either character, even though Murtaugh is old, slow and constantly complaining in the movies.

The object, quite simply, is to get your chosen hero through a series of levels in one piece, while blowing away as many bad guys as possible in the process. What this boils down to is a platform game where timing and shooting accuracy are the order of the day.

The game is divided into four levels. The first is set in a dockyard which is run by an organisation of drug dealers and racketeers. Here the dynamic duo have to board a ship and recover a wad of drug money and put paid to the criminals for good. Part of this level involves swimming underneath a pier to get the drop on some drug dealers. Unfortunately, there is a shark with a taste for cops in the area, and if you are not quick he'll drain your energy. There are also ninja frogmen, who spring out of the water and unleash a volley of machinegun fire.

After that is a Subway stage, complete with train, where the aim is to foil a gang's attempt to hold the city to ransom by placing bombs underneath it and threatening to set them off. The bad guys now have cop uniforms and come in full riot gear. They haven't got bullet-proof vests though, so they're easy to kill. From here it's onto the subway car, where your problems are compounded by the lights which flicker on and off, often leaving you shooting in the dark.

Leo Getz makes an unwitting appearance in the third level, where he's being held hostage beneath a dingy old factory. Now you're facing enemies armed with flame throwers. These don't have the same range as guns, but they cause more damage and you can never tell when they're going to fire. These three levels can be played in any order. When you complete them you enter a fourth stage, which is marked in the manual s classified, so you're going to have to find out about that for yourselves as I'm not going to spoil the fun.

Unlike their big-screen counterparts, Riggs and Murtaug aren't bullet proof in the game. They both have energy gauges which deplete every time they're punched or fall a long distance. Some enemies are armed with machine guns and rocket launchers though, and one hit from either of these means an early retirement for the character on the receiving end. Very long drops are also fatal, so you can bet that the game's designers have included a good few.

Murtaug and Riggs aren't entirely defenceless. They're armed with pistols and an unfeasible amount of ammunition. A display in the top-left of the screen shows how many bullets are left in the current magazine, and how many magazines they have in total. Should the unthinkable happen and they run out of bullets, they can kick their enemies out of the game. Although running straight up to a machinegun toting ninja and hoping he stands still while you axe kick his head isn't an advisable course of action.

There are no special weapons to collect, but most levels contain packing crates and oil drums which explode when shot, killing everyone nearby. If you time it right you can take out two or three bad guys at a time. Many enemies can be avoided by taking another route through the level, but more often than not they just jump out of nowhere so you're forced to deal with them. It can often take a few bullets to down a foe, so sometimes it's actually worth dropping behind and kicking them. It pays to move quickly, as most of the villains can shoot through platforms and home in on your position if you hang around for too long.

The graphics are small, but very detailed, although the Riggs sprite looks more like Shakin' Stevens than Mel Gibson. The backgrounds are very plain though, and much more could have been done with them. On the other hand, the levels are absolutely huge. The majority are large multi-directional scrolling affairs, populated with various characters from the movies. The way through them normally lies through a series of doorways, which are dotted throughout such types of level, behind which are more hazards such as moving platforms and massive drops.

There are some variations on this theme though. One level is a maze of small corridors, many of which are blocked by electronically opened security doors. The objective here is to find the switches which give way as soon as your character treads on them. Another takes place in a subway train. The graphics for this stage only take up about a fifth of the screen, but they're very effective nonetheless.

The initial dockyard level stage has our heroes jumping from mast to mast to get past some ships and warehouses. This bit is quite tricky, because all the jumps are different lengths.

I wasn't very impressed when I first saw this game. I'd been expected something a bit more than a platform game. Ocean have already produced more fair share of this type of game (Total Recall, Addams Family, Hudson Hawk, Robocop 2 and so on). A very good example of something different is the excellent Robocop 3, which is one of those rare breeds of film licences where the game actually captures the atmosphere of the movie. Despite its haggard style Lethal Weapon is still a very playable game. The levels are large enough to keep you occupied for quite a while and there is plenty to do. It is also very addictive and challenging without being frustrating.

Fans of the film will no doubt be disappointed by the lack of tie-ins in the game. The movies had some excellent car chases and the inclusion of one of the those wouldn't have gone amiss. As it stands it would have been a lot cheaper for Ocean had they just changed the graphics and given the game an original title. No one would ever have connected it with the film.

Having said that, this is a very good platform game, but nowhere near as good as Ocean's previous movie-to-platform game licence, Addams Family. It is likely that it will do very well in the charts, especially in the run-up to Christmas. However, it remains to be seen whether it will run for as long as the film series.


Altogether, the Lethal Weapon trilogy movies clocks up an impressive six hours of mindless mayhem. You'd think with such material to work from that Ocean could have picked up some good bits. Here's our list of what scenes should have been included in the game.

Lethal Weapon 2. Roger Murtaug is sitting on the pan, behind him is a bomb, in front Riggs. Play Roger and try to complete what you started doing by carefully tapping the joystick so you don't set the bomb off. Or play Riggs - should you cut the red wire, or maybe the blue one?

You are Martin Riggs, capable of dislocating your shoulder at will. Convenient when you're strapped-up in a straight jacket. Waggle the joystick real fast to run at a wall, then hit the button to turn side-on and bash it out.

You're after a South African gunman, he's driving a truck and you're doing an impression of a hood ornament on the front. Goad the driver into swerving to throw you off as you try to make him steer into the path of an on-coming vehicle, so he crashes and gets his head smashed in by a low-flying surf-board. And you thought it was an unfortunate accident!


Lethal Weapon's programmers have taken a few liberties with the plot. For instance, do you remember the shark in Lethal Weapon 2? Or how about the lamppost climbing scene in Lethal Weapon 1? You must remember the bit from the third film where Riggs and Murtaug perform a balancing act on a series of moving blocks in a police car park? No? Didn't think so.


The first film was the most violent of the lot. It opened with a young lady throwing herself off a sky scraper, then carried on with shooting, jokes, torture, more shooting, more jokes and the odd car chase. It led to ITV slicing about ten minutes off the movie when they screened it earlier in the year. The film also boasted some fantastic stunts, although one went tragically wrong during the scene where Riggs lept from a building handcuffed to another man. The Riggs stunt-double got up off the air-bag straight away, but the person he jumped with landed wrong and snapped his neck. The movie culminated with psychotic henchman, Joshua (played by Gary Busey) being shot by Murtaug and Riggs in Murtaug's front garden.

The game features a few backdrops which are vaguely connectable with the film, plus plenty of nebulas henchmen whose only purpose, as in movies, is to die before their boss does. Lots of opportunities for mayhem there, I think.


For this film the violence was forced down and the humour turned up. The plot revolved around a bunch of South Africans involved in Krugerrand smuggling who took time off to drown Riggs' girly (played by Patsy 'fairy bubbles' Kensit) and blow up half the LA PD serious crime squad. This film featured the best car chases out of the three, and as we've said elsewhere, it is a shame that they weren't included in the game.

The opening scene of the game is set in the dockyard where the final part of the film took place. There are several tricky bits, including a section where you have to get around a bunch of crooks by swimming under a pier in shark-infested water.


In the most recent installment the lads are up against an ex-cop who had a nice little number going with stolen weapons and drugs. Naturally, there are all the usual one-liners and this time the shoot people with armour-piercing bullets. This film cost several million more to make than the previous two, mainly because it opened with the demolition of a nine-floor building and closed with the burning down of a gigantic wooden-building. All good clean fun.

There is one scene in this film where Riggs hairs off down a subway tunnel, which belongs to the LA PD, in pursuit of a train. Naturally, that would be a bit boring in the game, so instead you're actually on board the train doing what Riggs does best, shooting everything in sight.