As a nipper, it's not the most pleasant experience in the world to be kidnapped by a bunch of wicked mages and taken away for a life of slavery and misery, serving the evil Beast Lord.
Still, that's happened to you. And to ensure faithfulness to the master, the mages have imposed years of hypnosis and brainwashing. As a reward for all those years of service, they have turned you into a powerful, agile and swift half-human creature with few feelings and little compassion, especially for the humans who must often be herded together for the ritual sacrifices.
Until one day there you are, sitting watching the humans being taken to the altar, when suddenly the face of one particular old man stirs some long-
The game starts with the player controlling the creature: the idea is to guide him through the 350 screens of (mostly) horizontally-
As you might guess, the Lord has discovered your rebellion and has instructed the mages to send all manner of 'orrid creatures against you. Contact with any of these creatures causes you to lose energy (you start with an energy count of 12) until death forces a restart of the game.
There are also some nasty traps that tend to sap energy, including huge spikes that come up from the ground and (later) down from ceilings. To counter the creatures all you need is a well-timed and well-aimed kick or punch: and to counter the traps all you need is a little bit of good timing and good jumping.
Unfortunately, not all the creatures are so easily dealt with. Some of the monsters can only be killed after you've collected an extra weapon and many of the traps will only be avoided by walking straight into them and then remembering where they are on a later try. Just as much to the point, progress in the game is not always straightforward either. Sometimes keys have to be found to unlock certain doors, and the keys are always miles away from the door!
Things aren't all so black though, there are the extra weapons for a start and there are the occasional bottles of potion that can be picked up to restore either some or all of your energy. Make it to the Beast Lord and you'll find that your troubles are only just beginning.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The animation, the sprites, the backgrounds and the parallax scrolling are all superb. This is the sort of stuff we want! Add some great, atmospheric music and effects and you're left with one of the best-
What the graphics and sound promise, the gameplay doesn't quite match. It's tough and will take you a long time to complete, but the actual game style is very old and very uninspired. Still, make some progress in the game and you'll find it gets very addictive, as you struggle to make it to the next screen or solve the next puzzle.
There are, however, some very annoying features, not least the fact that you've only the one life: which means you have to restart from the very beginning every time. Plus there's the frustrating end and beginning sequences which are inescapable.