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1988
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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66
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

Being a YS reader, and therefore a classicist at heart, I'm sure you'll be well aquainted with the legend of Hercules. No? Well I won't bore you with all the details. But in short, hercules (muscles, head-band and all the rest) was an ancient Greek who had to complete twelve labours, set as punishment by the King of Argos. And they weren't that easy, either.

However, none of this seems to have any relevance to the actual game, Hercules, as Gremlin seems to have abandoned what could have been quite an interesting plot and presented us with something which, apart from the beefy bloke and the number twelve, has little to do with any legend I've ever heard of!

As you'll probably have gathered from the screenshot, assuming it's in the right place this time (very droll, Ed), Hercules bares a startling semblance to a well-known martial arts game from a few years back, and about 59236911045 other games since. And what's more, rather than having to tackle a wide range of weird and wonderful mythical creatures, you get a skeleton with a big chopper (fnar), plonked in front of you. Hit it with your weapon (double fnar), a few times ( well, about 298235567 times actually), and it'll die, just as another one appears.

The rest you can probably guess. I'll just say that it happens twelve times (one for each labour, you see), and it's extremely boring. To make things a bit more interesting, no, bad word, different, a snake wriggles along the bottom of the screen and your blows are only effective while the skeleton's above it. Also there's a giant spider that drops down from above and tries to steal the skeletons. Add a minotaur at the end, and what've you got? Bizarre stuff!

Worse still, if that's at all possible, is that what little game content there is here, plays like a comatose underwater footballer with both his legs in plaster. The controls are awkward and not particularly responsive, the animation is jerky, the sound stinks and the whole thing probably wouldn't keep a sloth amused for more than a couple of minutes.

A bit of a 'nana, this one. At budget level it would have been pretty grotty, but at full price it doesn't have a hope. And from Gremlin, too! Shocking, I call it.

A Herculean failure with about as much content as an empty bag.

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