48K cassette £9.95
48K disk £14.95
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