Bounty Bob Strikes Back

Reviewed by Jim Short

 

Issue 18

Nov/Dec 85

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Big Five (U.S.GOLD)
64k cassette (NOT 400/800) £9.95
48k disk £14.95
1 player/joystick

 

This game is, in effect, the follow up to the enormously popular MINER 2049er. It has taken some considerable time for MINER's successor to appear - the original Big 5 game is well over two years old - but, in between we had the elusive Scraper Caper which failed to see the light of day. Still not to worry, Bounty Bob is back, bigger and better than ever before in this latest game from U.S.GOLD and the good news is that it retails on cassette and disk at sensible prices. You won't have to fork out £50 for the ROM version.

Most of you will be already be familiar with the scenario of the original MINER game. BOUNTY BOB follows a similar plot as our intrepid hero embarks on a journey covering 25 exciting new levels in his bid to secure the mine and defeat the plans of the evil Yukon Yohan (whoever he may be!).

Gameplay is virtually identical to the original. You must guide Bob around the platform levels, filling in all the sections of the framework in order to 'claim' them. Deadly mutants patrol the framework and you can either avoid them by jumping over them or destroy them by collecting one of the many 'treats' scattered throughout the mine and then touching the mutants.

Bob still retains his incredible jumping powers from the previous game but, unlike MINER, you can vary the delay between pressing the fire button and directing the joystick and thus control his jumping distance. This greatly enhances the playability of the game. All the old familiar objects and modes of transport are there to both help and hinder Bob - transporters, pulverisers, lifts and of course, the cannon and there are a whole batch of new ones waiting to be discovered and explored such as the gravity lift, grain elevator, suction tubes, mobile suction unit, acid rain, utility hoist and a host of other wierd and wonderful contraptions.

First impressions are generally important and the title screen is a mere taster of what is to follow. A flock of birds fly on carrying the letters of the alphabet and they quickly re-arrange them onto a huge 'billboard' affair to spell out the opening credits. The accompanying tune is excellent and sounds suspiciously like a re-working of the Superman and Star Wars themes.

The high score table is another eye-opener. You must spell your name by pushing letters onto a conveyor-belt with the aid of a pair of bulldozers, whereupon the birds swoop down and transfer your name and score to the High Score billboard. The fun starts when your name is added to an otherwise full High Score table as the birds have to fit you into the correct slot whilst rearranging all the other names and scores in their proper order. Clever birds these ones!

My main gripe concerning the original MINER game was that it was just too difficult, especially for someone of my limited skills. No such problems with BOUNTY BOB though, an 'Options' Screen allows you to alter numerous game parameters to make the game as easy or as hard as you like. You can choose to start the game with up to 4 lives, set the bonus life to be awarded anywhere from 10,000 to 90,000 points, re-start the game at the point you left off after losing a life, enable 'secret messages' which allow you to 'warp' to higher levels and so on.

It would be no great shakes to write a book about this game but, naturally, magazine space won't allow it. The graphics and animation are superb and the quality and variety of the 25 levels are unsurpassed in any other platform game Iíve seen. Colour has been used to great effect with the mine levels constantly changing colour each time you play. Sound effects are also first rate.

Normally, at this point, reviewers quote the tired old cliché that 'follow up games are never as good as the original' but in this case it couldn't be farther from the truth. BOUNTY BOB STRIKES BACK is as important to your collection as STAR RAIDERS and POLE POSITION were. Mark my word, it is destined to become the number one game of 1985. Miss it at you own peril!

One final note. The cassette version of BOUNTY BOB is only compatible with the XL and XE models as it requires 64k RAM. Owners of 400/ 800 models will have to settle for the 48k disk version.

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