The Goonies

Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 20

Mar/Apr 86

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Datasoft/US Gold
48K cassette 9.95
48K disk 14.95
1/2 players

These days software companies are latching onto just about any popular theme to base their products on - films, TV programmes, pop groups even. Anything to make a fast buck, it seems. Some work, others don't. The Yanks get it right nearly every time though and GOONIES (based on the blockbusting Steven Spielberg film of the same name) from Datasoft is no exception.

GOONIES is a platform game of sorts but, like it's predecessor CONAN & the BARBARIANS, each screen requires you to solve a puzzle in order to exit that screen and move onto the next. You get no game instructions either, only a printed 'help' sheet containing pictures of the eight individual screens with eight short verses or rhymes which give you various hints on how to tackle them, but not enough to give the game away entirely.

This may sound pretty routine so far, but what makes GOONIES unique is that you control not one game character, but two! There are seven Goonie characters in all and each makes an appearance at some time or other. There are only two on screen at anyone time though and you must make them work together to 'solve' the game screens and help them to reach their ultimate goal - One-Eyed Willy's Pirate Ship (if you've seen the film, this probably makes sense to you!).

You control the characters with a single joystick, using the fire button to switch from one Goonie to the other. You cannot solve any of the screens without close co-operation between the two characters, so you will have to master the art of quick fire co-ordination or risk getting bogged down on the first screen!

On your journey through the eight screens you will encounter an assortment of nasties such as deadly bats, demonic flying skulls and poisonous slime, but the main problems lie with the puzzles themselves. You'll experience a lot of head-scratching before things finally fall into place - I know I did. On the plus side, once you have solved the puzzles the screens concerned are a cakewalk second time round.

The Goonies go about their work accompanied by a nice little background jingle (from the film itself, I suspect) which can be turned off if you prefer. Graphics are extremely hi-res and obviously a great deal of time and effort has gone into their design. Each screen is drawn in intricate detail, though the use of colour is fairly limited - only red, blue, white and black are used - but this is just a minor criticism of what is an overall work of art. Of course, all this means that the program would not fit into the available memory and, consequently, the eight screens have to be loaded individually even on the cassette version. This sounds like a hassle, but really it isn't. The bulk of the code is contained in the main program and therefore each screen loads quite quickly - about 25 digits on the tape-counter - so don't be put off by this.

As long as Datasoft continue to produce games of this quality they will remain one of the premier independent Atari software companies. GOONIES is a winner all the way!