A close shave with terrorists

Mayday Squad logo

RESCUE simulators are on the up, what with the astounding total of two in the last few months. Unlike the other - Hostages - where the deployment of your team was a large part of the game, Mayday Squad has a fixed assault team of three that sticks together at all times. WHich is just as well, for each member has a different skill which the others can't duplicate.

You can choose your team members from the second option screen, the first giving control and difficulty parameters. There must be one leader, one explosives expert and one communication expert, chosen from a list of three each.

The leader is the best shot of the group, the explosives person a wizard at setting charges and throwing grenades, while the comms boffin picks locks and removes security devices.

The Lutonian Embassay - high wit and humour here - has been taken over by the Red Legion, a previously unknown band of international criminals, if such thing is possible. They have a list of 143 demands, one of them obviously being that all razor manufacturers must close forthwith - not one of the terrorists has seen a shave in months.

Unknown to the beardies, the Ambassador's daughter is hiding in one of the rooms. It's your job to find her and take out as many terrorists as possible.

The three brave folk trog around the embassy in what Tynesoft calls a Modified First Person Perspective and what the rest of the world calls a 3D maze. Most of the doors in the embassy are locked, so you'll need to call in the comms person. As it's a good idea to keep the squad leader leading the pack, you'll have to keep swapping which member you are controlling.

Most rooms contain at least two terrorists, so again you'll have to move rapidly from the movement icons to the action screen to off the opponents of Freedom. A joystick is no use here - make sure you choose the mouse option.

Each team member can take between 20 and 50 shots before copping it, but if you find the correct room you can be cured by the resident doctor. This is very necessary because many rooms are booby trapped and as you must search for useful objects, you often set them off.

Hidden doorways, stairs and objects lie in wait for those who search, so the danger element is unavoidable. Once the time is up the terrorists all escape in a helicopter, pausing only to kill anyone they meet.

I guess the graphics fall into the "sort of OK" category, but the doors and objects are all identical. The entrance hall is the worst offender - four doors, north, south, east, west, two terrorists. No matter which way you turn, the view doesn't change.

The end-game sequence is neat, with all sorts of tabloid reports on the siege. Very nicely done.

Tynesoft should have kept this game either purely strategy, which it is partly, or purely arcade. It falls exactly between the two stools by picking a few bits of each. You might like it - I wasn't stunned - but see it running first.

Mayday Squad logo


International terrorists are a nasty bunch, especially when they take control of foreign embassies and threaten to blow them up. Luckily for civilisation, the Mayday Squad is here.

As the Squad's commander, you must select a team of three (each member specialises in a certain area, such as explosives or communications) who explore the floors of the embassy, shooting terrorists before they score too many hits on the team. The aim is to rescue the ambassador's daughter and free the prisoners before guiding them safely to the roof for collection by a helicopter: all within a time limit.

Each room is well drawn from a first-person perspective and the graphics are of a very high quality, although repetitive. Sound effects, such as machine-gun fire and explosions, are extremely good. All in all, with plenty of baddies to blast and some clever puzzles to solve, it is enjoyable and exciting for a while: but it is ultimately a simple 'search and shoot' game, lacking in variety and lasting challenge despite the advantage of changeable skill levels.

Mayday Squad logo

Price: £19.99

Na na na nan nuclear rocket, got a ticket gonna put me on it. Good morning Vietnam, some hot noos' just in, the so called Red Legion have assaulted the Lutonian embassy. As far as we know everybody is off the premises apart from the ambassador's daughter who is believed to be hiding somewhere in the building. We will keep you posted with further details, when it happens, as it happens...

In a crisis situation like this only one thing can be done - send for the Mayday Squad. The Mayday Squad by the way are an elite team of the United Nations top anti-terrorist personnel, trained to deal with almost every situation.

Choose the three members from a group of nine, one being a leader and weapons expert, the second trained with explosives, the third is the comms expert of the party, and should be able to pick locks, use computers, search rooms and more besides.

Slowly your team descend into a deserted embassy corridor, one route is the exit, the other is a locked door. "Cannot hear anything on the other side", comes the report from the blonde comms woman. "OK team, let us be subtle about this". A volley of machinegun fire soon reduces the door to so many matches. The squad advance, waiting on the other side are two subversives who open fire without question. Quickly the explosives 'jock' introduces the room to a grenade and out go the terrorists, the lights, the doors and most of the walls.

Later on in the mission the squad find unknown hostages who are usually of some benefit to the party, not to mention other enemy soldiers and their booby traps.

Mayday Squad is played from a first player perspective with you watching the action over the shoulder of your team. All movement, combat and actions are controlled via a cursor and icons.

The lasting appeal of Mayday Squad should be a lot longer than it is, as it stands the game is a bit drawn out due to the lack of variety in the building. It would make a fairly skilled mapper a matter of hours to have the entire game clocked and on paper.

The graphics are marginally above average, spiced up somewhat with some gore at times. For example, blood sprays everywhere if you blow a civilian away. My only complaint here being that the cursor is too slow to have the desired effect during combat.

A moderately good game which leaves you wondering if it could not have been a great one.

PRICE: £19.99 cass; £19.99 disk
The 64 version should be on the shelves much the same time as the Amiga version.
Apart from the graphics being a tad on the dull side, most of the 'nice' gore effects have been axed too, which significantly detracts from the game's atmosphere, though it does play faster.
Even for the 8-bit machine Mayday Squad fails where a good programming team could have created a classic.