Pres play and you'll find...

Videokid logo

GREMLIN * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Billy was just an ordinary everyday kid who loved to watch television. One day, his father brought home a brand new video recorder and some vids. Billy settled down to watch one, but found it was full of naked women and well-known Conservative Mps
Billy quickly found another tape and this time instead of the sound of the videotape starting he heard a crazed, evil laugh. He approached the screen slowly, listening carefully. Suddenly it exploded into a million tiny particles, but instead of being thrown back by the blast, Billy found himself drawn in.

He felt himself being sucked down endless tubes, tiny particles of light searing through his body. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it stopped, and the acrid smoke began to clear. Looking down, Billy realised that he was dressed as a magician.
A mysterious voice boomed from above. "Billy, you are now trapped. You must find your way through the mazes and worlds I have created for you."
"There are five worlds to battle through, each with evil monsters and hazards to impede you. Should you succeed, you will be free to return to your normal life. But should you fail..."

Now all this being sucked into your dad's video business might seem a bit far-fetched, but it's a damn good idea for a five level shoot-'em-up.
As you might guess, you take on the role of Billy. Now I've led you to believe that Billy is a normal, everyday kid. Well I lied. To start with, he looks like a human lemming. But apart from this, he's a brave little dude - he dares to venture throgh five levels of danger and destruction, remember!

As well as dodging the debris, Billy can dish it out with his handy weapon which can be powered up to be, er, very powerful indeed. Billy also starts off with three smart bombs which come in very useful against the awesome end-of-level baddies - in fact they're pretty much essential.

You start in Medieval World, and as you might guess it is set inside one of those rather ace ancient castles - with some rather deadly residents. Knights, gargoyles and ghostly monks will try to stop Billy from ever leaving. Not only are your enemies against you, but the castle will try and stop you by crushing you with a portcullis or by throwing some spears.

After battling through these hazards you will reach the end-of-level baddie which in the case of Medieval World is a huge owl. This powerful beast hoots at you, causing you to lose some of that previous energy. Using a mixture of smart bombs and sheer bravery, you destroy the evil owl and progress to the next level.

It's time to shout "ride 'em, cowboy", because you're transported to the Wild West. This level is split into four parts - two dominated by cowboys and two by Indians. Only armed with his "six-shooter", Billy takes on the might of dynamite-wielding John Wayne look-alikes and axe-possessing Indians.

Beat this level and you will progress through more of the same. Blast the flying spaceships in Science Fiction World, kill the gangster in Gangster World and then fight your way through monsters, skeletons and bats in Monster World.

Finish these levels and you'll go on to face your biggest foe. I haven't a clue who or what it might be - I'm good, but not that good.

Video Kid mixes old ideas with new. It's got all the old shoot-'em-up favourites like power-ups and end-of-level baddies, but gives you enough variation to keep you interested. The difficulty level is set just right so you progress each time you play it. The graphics, as you can see from the screenshots, are excellent.

On the sound front, there is a jolly tune at the beginning and plenty of FX throughout the game to keep the gamesplayer entertained aurally as well as visually.
So, although Video Kid is not going to set the software industry alight, it's nonetheless an extremely well written and playable game. Mainly because every level is graphically different from the last, it'll keep you playing for a long time to come.

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Deja vu's a spooky feeling isn't it? Unfortunately, it's a feeling that's beginning to haunt the world of computer games more and more. But I suppose there's only so much that even the most inventive of programmers can do with a bunch of moving sprites, some bleep noises and some wacky graphics. SO it's inevitable that every now and then one video game will strangely remind you of another.

Deja vu's a spooky feeling isn't it? But sometimes it's based on pure fact. Sometimes you can genuinely say that you have actually, definitely, 100 per cent for sure, certainly played a particular game before. Take Videokid as an example. Now when you first load this little cutesy, you immediately think of Mega Twins - the platform romp from US Gold that graced these sacred pages way back in issue 29 of Amiga Format.

On paper there's nothing of earth-shattering consequence to be gleaned from a comparison of the two games' descriptions. Both of them feature big, glossy and (there's no getting around it) cute central characters. Both games are pretty fast 'n' furious platform shoot-em-ups (when your central character can fly gravity-free, it's difficult to know when a standard platform game becomes pure shoot-em-up) and both games boast the same high quality of graphics, addictive action, slick presentation and groovy audibles.

Haven't I seen you some place before?
How many games sound the same if compared in such a fashion? Loads. But the point about these two games is that they both come from the boys of Twilight. Cue coin-drop, realisation dawning and light-bulb appearing above head. It would seem that here we have a case of mutton dressed as lamb.

So this time there's only one kid (Mega Twins had two, hardly surprising), the swords have been replaced with a selection of five different firearms (collect assorted power-ups along the way), the graphics have been tweaked and tailored (but the feel remains the same) and the levels redesigned to create more of a four-way scrolling environment than its predominantly linear code-sake. But underneath the games play remarkably alike.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? Well Mega Twins was a great game and there are sufficient differences between the two games to allow Videokid to stand on its own merits. But the similarity is worth remembering, if for no other reason than it should give you an idea of what the game plays like.

So what (at last) is Videokid all about then? Well, Billy was just an ordinary kid sat watching telly. His dad brings home a brand spanking new video that not only plays all your favourite flicks but actually sucks you deep into a spaced-out video-world from which you must try to escape. What will they think of next?

Video star?
So the scene is set (contrived, even by computer-game standards)_ for the now green-haired Billy to embark upon a five-stage adventure through Medieval, Western, Science Fiction, Gangster and Horror world. Each stage (except the first) comprises four levels with a traditional end-of-stage boss breaking up the grab-shoot-dodge gameplay.

The pace is quick throughout, and graphically Videokid is fairly impressive. Each stage boasts its own character and variety of baddies, while the soundtrack attempts to keep in style with the radical fluctuation of film genre-inspired backgrounds.

Try the cheap seats...
If you enjoyed Mega Twins then Videokid offers more of a similar sort of thing (hasn't that been said before? Déjà vu again!). It's difficult to pigeonhole Videokid exactly, 'platform shoot-em-up' is as close as you can get. Again, there's not much that could be called original, and at £25.99 this inevitably leads to suggesting you have a glance through the Budget Pages (92-93) as an alternative way of grabbing yourself some extra VFM. But Videokid is fast, fun and worth investigating. A respectable, entertaining but ultimately unoriginal game.

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Gremlin, sonst eher für flotte Renspiele bekannt, zeigt hier mal, daß auch im englischen Sheffield typisch japanische Actiongames programmieren kann. Untrügliches Erkennungsmerkmal: Der Held hat grüne Haare...

...und sitzt für sein Leben gern vor der Glotze. Pech fur ihn, daß seine Eltern gerade einen Videorecorder mit einer teuflischen Macke angeschafft haben - als er ihn ausprobieren will, wird er prompt ins laufende Programm gesaugt!

Nun muß sich Videokid den Heimweg (nacheinander) durch einen Raubritter-Schinken, einen Western, einen Gängster- und einen Horrorstreifen freiballern.

Neu dabei: Nur einige der insgesamt 20 Abschnitte warten mit dem gewöhnten, "heldenorientierten" Scrolling auf, in den anderen bewegt sich der Screen automatisch in alle acht Richtungen, wobei unser TV-Killer darauf achten muß, nicht an Wanden oder einem der vielfältigen Gegner (Mönche, Cowboys, Monster, etc.) hangenzubleiben.

Der Rest ist mehr oder weniger die übliche Ballerkost: Vier Leben gilt es gegen riesige Schlußmonster, herumschwirrende Geschosse, Fallgitter und andere Widrigkeiten zu verteidigen, wobei eine breite Palette von (Extra-) Waffen, Schützschilden und Smartbombs zur Währung des Energieaushalts zur Verfügung steht.

Die Grafik ist durchwegs putzig und nett animiert, das Leveldesign abwechslungsreich, die Steuerung unproblematisch und die Titelmusik ebenfalls recht gelungen.

Lediglich die FX im Game können nicht überzeugen, und ein paar hinterhältige Stellen trüben die ansonsten ordentlichen Spielbarkeit.

Videokid ist somit zwar kein Überhammer, aber doch eine sehr ansprechende Mischung aus Geschicklichkeits- und Ballerspiel.

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A cute scroller with added dja v.

You'd never guess that this was from the same authors as US Gold's Mega Twins. Showing a quite astonishing talent for diversification, Twilight have produced a game so far removed from that cutesy arcade slash-'em-up romp as to be practically unidentifiable as their handwork.

Admittedly, there is a tiny, tiny similarity in the basic style - in as much as you do progress through a cutesy landscape with no control over the screen's movement and zap lots of nasties out of the way - but really, besidesthat superficial resemblance we're looking at a while new game.

I mean, the plot! Have you ever heard such imagination? Our hero, a fashionable young chap called Billy, is watching a video one day when POW! - he suddenly finds himself sucked inside the TV, his bodily parts pixelised so that he becomes a character in the movie! (Well, okay, maybe that bit is just a smidgen Tron-like but hey - there are only seven truly original ideas, apparently). It's great!

And then there's the graphics! Well, alright, to the uneducated eye it does look very slightly like someone took the characters from Mega Twins and half of the backdrops and sort of rearranged them a bit, but if you look closely you'll see that, in some cases, up to 80 percent of the pixels in any one sprite can be totally different!

And as for gameplay, well... There's none of that boring scrolling-along-in-various-directions-mincing-the-baddies-with-your sword rubbish here, oh no! In Videokid, you scroll along in various directions mincing the baddies with up to five - count 'em! - different kinds of gun, not to mention the two - count 'em! - other power-up weapons you can also collect to help yourself out! So it's nothing like Mega Twins at a;; - (They don't believe you. Spill the beans - Ed).

Oh alright, so I'm lying. Videokid is just a slightly more shoot-'em-uppy version of US Gold's coin-op conversion, but hey - I'm sure Twilight put a lot of work into that code, and why shouldn't they be allowed to make a few bob more out of it? There's a recession on you know, mortgages don't just pay themselves, and in any case this is a groovy zapper in its own right, with great sound, varied graphics, lots of action and some really nice touches (the jingle at the start of the Wild West level is a snatch of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and, er, some other ones). Just don't buy it if you've already got Mega Twins, that's all.