Captain Planet and the Planeteers logo

Is this the biggest cartoon conversion to hit the Amiga since the Turtles? Well, at least people watched the Heroes in a Half-shell. The scenario's the usual Saturday morning stuff: five do-gooders out to right the wrongs of the world. What's different about these 'meddling kids' is that each one's been individually chosen from a different nation by the almighty Gaia.

To help them, he's given each a special power: Wheeler (America) has a fire ring; Gi (Japan) an ice ring; Linka (Russian) a wind ring, Ma-Ti (South American?) has a growth ring and Kwame (France) has a rock ring. When combined, these powers form the Superhero Captain Planet.

How to save the world
That's the scenario, now the game? Well there are six levels: Fire, water, Heart, Earth and Showdown, each centres on a specific character. The first level focuses on Wheeler and his powers of fire. To complete it you must destroy radiation canisters board your Geo-Cruiser and exterminate all of Sly Sludges CFC balloons in order to save the ozone layer.
This allows the seals (who sit on the clouds!) to walk safely across the ozone layer to the south pole!

The second level is where you take control of Gi and the power of ice. She has to save the poor little dolphins who have been porpoise-napped and trapped in an evil water prison by the hideous Looten Plunder. The wind level puts you in command of Linka who has the control of the air. You have to rescue the ancient Egyptian relics from the evil clutches of Dr Blight. Bombs have been placed inside a temple and you must use here powers to whisk them away.

The heart level is Ma-Ti's moment of glory and she has to help withered plants grow into strong trees while rescuing some suffering animals in her Eco-Copter. The Earth's level is an underground caverns job where you must clean up toxic waste and the ponies trapped in it. The final level puts you in control of Captain Planet and you must save a whole nation from destruction.

Go Planet
The silliness that drives the characters through each level should be one of the game's strong points. It's fun to think about, but their surreal overtones - seals walking along the ozone layer! - make player logic difficult to apply. Without this it's a guessing game and the vital visual clues you need aren't there.

Structurally Captain Planet should work well, giving each of the sub-superheroes a chance to shine. Their different powers should help vary the gameplay and create challenging new puzzles every step of the way. All the individual powers, though, exhibit inescapable control foibles that swiftly up the frustration factor. Add to this consistent but strange platform edge detection, you've a mix that even the best structure in the world couldn't off-set.

Apparently harmless looking objects kill without any real need or warning. For instance, when cruising in your Geo-Cruiser, saving seals, you fly to the top of the screen and, whoops, you crash into a horrific killer cloud! This is annoying because there's no warning of danger, which makes the game both tough and frustrating. This, sadly, makes Captain Planet almost a chore to play.

Award-winning game?
The tune's quite fun and bouncy and there's a tune for each level so you won't be reaching for the volume control after five seconds of listening. The graphics are bright and bold but lack character. As a licence these cartoon folks should sit happily on an Amiga, coming alive under your control, but instead these do-gooders aggravate swiftly. They've the trappings of superheroes but none of the benefits.

Captain Planet is not a 'must purchase'. Unless you're a veggie, a greenie or a member of the RSPCA who's desperate to act out you're good intentions through silicon, you're better off giving it a miss. Anyway isn't it slightly hypocritical for the good Captain to promote global warning by heating tempers?

Haltet die Screens sauber!

Captain Planet and the Planeteers logo

Lang, lang ist es her, da ersann Micro Style das erste umweltverträgliche Actiongame: "Rainbow Warrior". Jetzt ist auch Mindscape auf den Öko-Trichter gekommen...

Die Anleitung ist auf Recyclingpapier gedruckt und gibt Tips zum Umweltschutz, auch die eigentliche Plattform-Action (samt ein paar Puzzle-Elementen) steht ganz im Zeichen des Regenwaldes und bedrohter Tierarten.

In den ersten fünf Leveln tritt jeweils eine andere Hauptfigur auf und löst ein Ökoproblem: Da gibt es z.B. den südamerikanischen Teenager, der durch die darbende Amazonas-Botanik läuft und Herzen "verschießt". Trifft so ein Herzchen eine der (scheinbar) toten Pflanzen, fängt diese zu wachen an und wächst auch nach jedem erneuten Treffer beständig in die Höhe. Das kommt dem Knaben gerade recht, denn so kann auch er immer weiter nach oben klettern.

Irgendwann trifft er dabei auf eine gefangene Elefantenherde, und sobald die armen Tiere befreit sind, wäre auch der Level geschafft. Das wiederholt sich dann noch viermal mit wechselnden Hauptdarstellern und Problemen (z.B. verschmütztes Meer, gefangene Delphine), bis es im sechsten Abschnitt zum großen Duell Held vs. Umweltsünder kommt.

Captain Planet ist ein abwechslungsreich gestalteter Geschicklichkeitstest mit durchaus putzigen Ideen, wie etwa Schmutzwasserspuckende Blecheimer als Gegner. Der Sound (Musik & FX) klingt hervorragend, die Grafik wirkt dafür ein wenig karg, außerdem ruckelt das multidirektionale Scrolling leicht. Aber was macht das schon bei soo viel Umweltbewußtsein... (C. Borgmeier)

Captain Planet and the Planeteers logo

You've seen the cartoon, you've read the comic, you've perhaps even played the Cartoon Classics version of the game. But now, the real first...

Captain Planet. Sounds familiar? Then you're either an avid early-morning cartoon fan, or you're the proud owner of an A500 Cartoon Classics Pack. If you're the former, then you'll probably feel quite enthusiastic when we tell you that our eco-aware chum and his trusty Planeteers are now the stars of an action-packed, pollution-busting game. If you're one of the latter, and are already acquainted with the pixilated incarnation of our lycra-wearing super-hero, then you're forgiven a slight cringe when you realise that a (slightly) different version of the game is now being sold to innocent Amiga owners at a fairly hefty price...

Yes, the version of Captain Planet that came bundled with the Cartoon Classics pack was really rather poor - pathetic even. The pretty(ish) graphics were often disturbingly blocky, the animation was appalling and the gameplay frustrating - it was, without doubt, the duffer of the pack. It is with some trepidation, then, that we approach the full price, stand alone version. But Mindscape are no fools. Hence the new and improved Captain swaggers into the fray with promises of improvements, enhancements and a general gameplay overhaul. So let's put the past aside and assess this game as if we'd never seen or heard of it before...

Captain Planet has five buddies (the Planeteers) who have heroically taken it upon themselves to save the Earth from ecological disaster. Each Planeteer has a special power based on the elements - Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, or Heart (not quite sure about that one). There are six levels of action, five of which where you play one of the suitably 'tooled-up' Planeteers on an individual mission, then level six which places you in control of the good Captain himself.

The gameplay is essentially a platform shoot-'em-up affair, with each level offering custom gameplay elements inserted to spice up the action. For example, level one not only finishes with a spaceship shoot-'em-up sequence after kicking off as a Turrican-style platform blaster, it also encompasses elements of Mario Bros along the way as Wheeler (the Planeteer) headbutts blocks to earn points.

Level two is strangely reminiscent of Rainbow Islands as Gi throws (slowly melting) ice platforms in front of her to aid her passage. You get the idea?

Unfortunately it doesn't work. Despite some nice effects, the basic framework of the game doesn't hold up. The limitations placed upon the central character's movement veto any attempts to introduce new, exciting elements. You want illustrations? (You sure?) There are plenty of them. For instance, press up on your joystick and your character leaps. That's it. End of story. The next time you have any influence upon your pixelated pal is when he comes to rest, often a good second or two later. You can't determine his (or her) length of leap - it's standard. You can't control your character in the air. And you can't fire whilst in the air.

Amazing. What are Mindscape playing at? Surely this is all basic, standard stuff - as much an essential element within the platform and ladders genre as power-ups are in the shoot-'em-up? Sorry to harp on, but there's really no excuse for what comes across as little more than laziness on the part of the programmers.

Fundamental flaw number two: when you die, your character is reincarnated (lives permitting) at a seemingly random spot close-ish to where you died. OK, but there's no brief period of invincibility, no moment's respite from the monster that previously dealt you such a fatal blow. Hence, before you have a chance to make good your escape, more often than not you die again. Then again. Wallop, wallop, wallop - before you know it, it's all lives lost and game over. Just like that.

There's really no excuse for what comes across as little more than laziness

Reasons not to buy this game, part three: some of the scenery is seemingly just an illusion - you can't really stand on it at all. Hmmm. Call me old fashioned, but I'd be prepared to argue against anyone who claimed that this provides an extra, exciting feature to the game. I like my backgrounds nice and solid, thank you very much, and anything that looks like it should be standable upon, you should be able to stand on.

And there's more. Take this: walk through a gap, and then immediately try and walk back through it the other way. In a number of pieces it simply can't be done. Why? It's beyond me...

So the game is largely unplayable, your character is more often than not uncontrollable and the whole affair is monumentally frustrating. Can anything be salvaged?

Well, to some extent, yes. The backgrounds are very pretty. I'm sure the screen-shots look lovely - don't be fooled, they are at best merely cosmetic, but they do look good. The inventive game-plot just manages to hold your attention long enough for the game to develop an addictive hook, too. Despite my frustration with it, I found myself coming back to it a number of times, as the ideas underneath are actually quite neat. Each level is almost a whole game in itself, with a logical(ish) plot dictating the action.

Some of the 'special' sequences (the way your ice bridges slowly melt, say) are quite good. And an ecological theme has to win an extra five per cent from any reviewer (spiky-haired Scotsmen excepted).

Still, it's not enough to make this a good product, or even an average one. It's poor. At the end of the day you just can't help thinking about what Captain Planet could have been - I'd love nothing more than to give an environmentally sound game a rousing round of applause - but this is too ludicrously executed to make it.

Level one of Captain Planet, and you play the part of Mai-Ti, the "nature-loving teenager from South America". Apart from such Miss World style character references, however, you're not really given that much indication as to what it is you're actually supposed to be doing. Hmm. After a lot of confused wandering around, then, may AMIGA POWER present a complete walk-through guide to level one - stick with it and (flying seals - and are you sure they're seals, not polar bears? - perhaps excepted) it relly does all start to make a spooky sort of sense...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
First off, any budding environmentalist must select a mission. There are six in all, but the beginning's a good place to start.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Hmm, "Remove toxic waste fix the ozone-layer free the seals". Bit of a tall order. You might as well get on with it...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Blast the radioactive blocks and avoid the baddies. You can't crouch but can jump in the air to the left or the right.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Dead baddies don't die but instead become goodies. Until you lose a life, these little ghosts will follow you around.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Into the cavern for yet more block-busting action. She's got all five lives left and has earned 5050 points so far.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
You see those coloured blocks above her head? Well, if Ma-Ti headbutts them Super Mario style...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
...then she earns even more points! The bottom section of the level is now almost cleared.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
When all the blocks have been blasted away, it's time to leap from cloud to cloud until you find your space-cruiser.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Jump into the space-cruiser and now you're airborne. Your little froggy chum is still with you, so you're still learning.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Shoot those balloons! In the multi-coloured sky you'll find them dropping acid rain onto the ozone-layer...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers shoot them and collect the parachutist who bails out. There's enough wildlife for an impromptu nativity play!
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
With all other airborne objects destroyed, it's time to talk to nice Mr Ozone who's busy dropping bubbles out of his pipe.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Catch the bubble on top of your ship and fly until you find a hole in the layer. By this point it looks a lot like a tea-bag.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Release the bubble and all ozone in the locality is repaired. Time to go back to see Mr Ozone for a new delivery.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
With the layer repaired, the seals(?) in the clouds(!!) can now be encouraged to walk along the ozone to safety(!!?).
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Job done. Finito. Adios level one. Well, no one can say that this game lacks 'atmosphere'. (You're sacked! - Ed)

Captain Planet and the Planeteers logo

It's funny, but I always had the impression that Superheroes were real hard men, who had achieved their strange powers through some sort of mutation or by arriving from another planet. Obviously not, as Captain Planet doesn't feature a bad cell in his body, and is instead made up of five schoolkids who all care for the environment in their own sweet way.

Still, despite the Captain's failure to grab the 'younger generation's' attention, Mindscape's game is finally here in all its colourful glory.

Written by coding veteran, Tony Crowther, Captain Planet is a six-stage platform affair, which also contains traces of shoot 'em up action. Despite the six characters (including Planet himself), the basics of the gameplay remain virtually identical, though, and involve the negotiation of several platform sections as the heroes attempt to collect a number of objects before entering a linked blasting section.

The game is played over a series of gaudy but attractive scrolling areas, which are inhabited by hordes of evil nasties. These are overseen by the evil gang of Looten Plunder, Sly Sludge, Hoggish Greedly, Duke Nukem, and Doctor Blight, and should be avoided at all costs. However, you're not unarmed, and can destroy such nasties by shooting them with your heart (gruuueee, get me a bucket) or a handy flame-thrower (that's more like it), depending on your character's particular elemental power.
In addition, the character's can run, jump and climb, whilst the good Captain is the only hero capable of flight.

The main problem with Captain Planet is that it's just so ordinary. OK, so the licence isn't exactly the hottest one doing the rounds, but everything about the game just comes across as so... bland. It's certainly playable, and the platform sections do offer a lasting, if repetitive, challenge, but the assorted meanies are too persistent and make progress infrequent and the game frustrating.