LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE
With a plot that mimics the classic cartoons, everyone's favourite comicbook sailor must rescue his beloved Olive Oyl from the dastardly clutches of that old sea-dog, Brutus, in this latest release from Alternative.
Popeye II is a platform game in which the player must guide Popeye up a vertically-scrolling screen in pursuit of his arch-enemy and the girl of his dreams. On the way, our muscle-bound hero encounters a variety of obstacles, such as falling girders, bombs, fireballs, bouncing springs, coconut-throwing monkeys, and collapsing masonry among many other perils.
Each stage also boasts another popular character from the cartoon strip who will either help or hinder Popeye's progress. For instance, Wimpy will only let Popeye pass if he feeds him the many hamburgers which are scattered throughout the first level and Swee'pea needs to be rescued before he falls off a high ledge.
Points are scored for every bomb that's defused, the number of hamburgers or tins of Spinach which fill each level - and extra points are also available for rescuing Olive Oyl. Each player starts the game with three lives which are represented by three beating hearts at the bottom of the screen.
After each mishap, Popeye loses some all-important energy. Each heart slowly decreases in size after each hit until it disappears, indicating the loss of one life. Lose all three, and Brutus comes on screen to gloat at your incompetence.
Apart from a chance to beat up Brutus and his goons at various stages in the game, this is sub-standard platform fare with absolutely no originality. Popeye's creator must be spinning in his grave by this drivel.
There really isn't anything complimentary I can say about the game, apart from its budget price, but that's really no excuses for this rot. None of the atmosphere or flavour of the famous cartoon strip has been retained: the graphics are awful, the animation dreadful, the gameplay is boring, and the concept reeks of creative apathy.
The most embarrassing thing about the whole affair is that the game's a sequel! I always thought King Features Syndicate took great care in protecting the integrity of their licensed characters, but there's very little proof here. How they let Alternative get away with such a poor game for the second time is a mystery. Let's hope it sinks without trace.