When it comes to appreciating the finer points of the music of Motorhead, I have got to admit that my experience is limited to two separate and really quite feeble events. One is watching the warty rock gods strumming harmoniously away in The Young Ones' living room while the boys rushed to keep a date with Bambi Gascoigne, and the other is being a spoggy twelve-year old jumping around at the school Christmas party, mumbling along to the verse as if I really did know the lyrics and then shouting out 'The Ace of Spades! The Ace of Spades!' over the chorus.
All of which, I think, leaves me amply qualified to have a bash at Virgin's latest offering, Motorhead, a sort of lovable, fluffy homage to these leather clad kings of rock starring their legendary head man and chief screecher Ian 'Lemmy' Kilminster. In a not entirely original sequence of events it transpires that while our Lemmy was lying in a recreational Jack Daniel's type of coma, vicious gangs in a small town have kidnapped and made off with various band members and roadies.
Confronted with a note telling him to bug out or face the consequences, Lemmy takes the only option open to a man who makes a living out of drinking heavily and wearing soiled jeans - he kicks butt.
With such a shallow pretext to hurt people there is very little left to do other than getting down to the serious business of busting people's faces. The ultimate aim of all of this violence is to release all the boys and to get down to lots of debauched rockin' and head bangin' but of course life is never that easy.
The gang factions that have the lads are numerous and split along musical lines, so before the gig can proceed Lemmy must traverse the trauma of listening to music as diverse as country and western, hiphop and punk as well as the physical pain of bad guys bashing his spleen.
Moving through levels such as Karaokeville, Nashville and a particularly gothic Cathedral setting, it is obvious to any casual onlooker that this game is drenched by egalitarian bigotry, throwing scorn on all types of music regardless of race, creed or colour.
Lemmy rattles his tonsils convincingly
It is also blatantly clear to even my white-haired old grandmother (bless her) that this is in fact that arcade classic Golden Axe revisited, with Lemmy using his 'axe' in the way it was originally intended before Jimi Hendrix got his hands on the word. This is not actually a problem, imitation being after all the sincerest form of flattery, and the humorous touches add an appeal that I always found lacking in the sword and sorcery version.
Lemmy can punch, headbutt, swing his guitar or use halitosis attacks, always assuming he is loaded up on cockles or Jack Daniel's first.
By collecting magical Motorhead talismans he can unleash a devastating musical chord or summon up helpful demons, ranging from a tasty lass who distracts his opponents for a bit, up to WWF's very own 'Undertaker', who just plain kills everyone.
The characers are well animated with Lemmy rattling his tonsils convincingly, and the bad guys range from a slick-haired Japanese businessman to a clubfooted inbreed called Clint. When killed they either melt away into a sticky pool or get turned into charcoal with a surprised look that is a joy to behold. End of level sub-games - such as bike rides, hippy bashing and beer guzzling - break up the stages and supply a bit of variety.
For a game based so heavily on musical themes the sound is pretty crappy, with plinkety-plonkety themes that only seem fit for Karaokeville. How hard can it be to come up with a convincing heavy metal guitar sound? Still, despite that rather glaring flaw, Motorhead is not at all bad. It is no instant classic, but it is a bit of a laugh, and at the reasonable price of sixteen quid (middle-quality games at middle-quality prices! At last!) you could do much worse than spending an evening with 'No Sleep 'Till Hammersmith' on your stereo and this on your Amiga.