Get your baps out for the lads...

Elvira: The Arcade Game logo

FLAIR * £25.99 * 1 meg * Joystick * Out now

Wahey. Elvira's back (and front, ooer) and this time you get to control the well-proportioned beauty around three levels of arcade fun. You may well remember Elvira's first computer game appearance a couple of years ago and you may also remember it was an adventure role-playing game that played rather like Dungeon Master.

What did help the game to become immensely popular was, errr, ummm, Elvira's large chest (I'm not a man to beat around the bush). This important factor, which sold the first game, is also back. For all the hearty full-blooded males out there it's good news, but for all you feminists it's decidedly bad news. You have to admit that if it wasn't for Elvira, the first game would've more than likely bombed.

Sex sells games. Take Leisure Suit Larry for example - even way back in the depths of time when Barbarian came out, Maria Whittaker's ample bosoms made the game a top seller.

Anyway, enough of this tittle tattle chittle chattle, on with the review. Elvira was asleep in her home when an almighty storm blew up, rain lashed down upon her house and lightning lit up the sky. The storm was enough to awaken even the dead and that is exactly what it did.

Elvira woke with a start and at the bottom of her bed was a ghostly figure dressed in a highly regal robe. To cut a long story short, this ghostly dude was apparently the King of Transylvania and he said that Elvira could have his castle.
There is only one snag - our busty buxom beauty has to conquer two hostile environments, Arctic Earth and Underworld of Fire, and then conquer the castle itself.

Elvira - The Arcade Game is, you've guessed it, a platform game. Elvira has to walk around collecting spells, runes and weapons to help her conquer the worlds. Also there are all manner of beasties trying to stop our heroine from completing her tasks. Despite having, erm, an ample chest, Elvira is really quite nimble - she can jump from platform to platform with the greatest of ease.

Elvira can also use some spells to good effect. Some give her energy back, while others allow her to walk over hot molten lava and other such improbables.

You encounter an ancient trader in each of the three worlds. The trader has the ability to trade a spell that you have collected for one that he has in his collection. You can also ask him for information to help you solve the quest. The trader can be visited as many times as you like.

Time to wrap up the review, methinks. The first, well OK, the second thing you notice about Elvira is the graphics. They're amazing! One of the most impressive bits is the ice world - it actually snows. I know it doesn't sound good on paper, ut you really have to see it to believe it. There's also a nice little intro featuring some digitised pics of the lady herself.

Soundwise, there is an average little tune and the sound effects are nothing to write home to mother about. The game plays alright, but sometimes you get beasties leaping out at you from nowhere and it can be a little frustrating. It's quite difficult, but you get nine lives to play around with. There is a puzzle aspect to the game, but most of these can be worked out easily.

If you are into large-chested, heavy metal-loving women then this game is definitely for you. For the rest of us lesser mortals, you're better off finding something else.

Elvira: The Arcade Game logo

Die Fürstin der Dunkelheit, bisher einzig und allein den Abenteurern vorbehalten, hat ins Actionfach gewechselt - und wie nicht anders zu erwarten, macht sie auch hier wieder eine hervorragende Figur!

Ja, die Joystickartisten sind gegenüber den Rollenspielern sogar im Vorteil, dürfen sie doch Elvira höchstpersönlich durch drei umfangreiche Plattform-Level steuern. Den Anlaß für diesen abenteuerlichen Spaziergang hat König Gustav von Transsylvanien geliefert, ein verstorbener Vorfahr unserer Heldin.

Er erschien ihr letzte Nacht im Schlaf und ließ verlautbaren, daß er die Mitternachts-Queen gerne als seine (Thron-) Erbin sehen würde - falls sie unter Beweis stellt, daß sie über die erforderliche Courage für den Job verfügt. So ein Rüpel, wie kann der Kerln bloß daran zweifeln? Aber der Mann ist nunmal König, man muß ihn halt überzeugen. Das heißt natürlich, wir müßen ihn überzeugen...

Die Beweisführung beginnt wahlweise im ewigen Eis des Arktis-Levels oder in der Flammenhölle des Feuer-Levels, den Abschluß bildet dann in jedem Fall das Schlößchen von Onkel Gus.

Aussehen tut es überall wie eine Mischung aus "Shadow of the Beast 2" und "Gods", selbst vom Spielerischen her ist durchaus eine gewisse Verwandtschaft mit diesen Games festzustellen. Natürlich stöckelt Elvira viel eleganter über die Plattformen als die gewöhnlichen Muskelprotze, genauso, wie sie bei Monsterberührungen nicht einfach nur ein bißchen flimmert, sondern einen spitzen Schrei dazu losläßt - einfach wundervoll, die Frau!

Wehren kann sie sich aber auch ganz gut, und zwar mit Wurfmessern (immer), -sternen und -fackeln (erst finden, dann schmeißen). Alle Waffen können mehrfach aufgerüstet werden, außerdem findet man unzählige Extrawaffen und Boni wie Feuerbälle, Schutzschilde, Energieauffrischer, Runen, Schriftrollen, Schlüssel, Schätze und Lebensmittel.

Gegner gibt es in allen Formen und Größen, vom normalen hausdrachen bis zur bildschirmsprengenden Superechse, dazu kommt das übliche Bodenpersonal, also Untote, hüpfende Giftpilze und dergleichen Nettigkeiten mehr.

Gezaubert werden darf auch ein wenig, und gelegentlich stößt man auf einen Shop, wo man seine Spells austauschen und Informationen kaufen kann.

Grafik und Sound sind Gruselklasse eins - exzellente Animationen, allerfeinstes Parallax-Scrolling und volle 32 Farben auf dem Screen! Musik gibt es leider nur im Intro, aber die FX im Spiel sind schön und vor allem sehr abwechslungsreich.

Die Handhabung geht bis auf ein, zwei unfaire Stellen ebenfalls in Ordnung, das Gamedesign ist sogar ein absoluter Volltreffer: labyrinthisch angelegte Level (Karten zeichnen!), versteckte Räume und drei Schwierigkeitsgrade, die sich wirklich unterscheiden; im schwersten sind sogar zusätzliche Monster und Schätze geboten.

Alles in allem ein rundum gelungenes Actiongrusical mit einem Hauch von Adventure, das die relativ unbekannte Company Flair auf einen Schlag berühmt machen dürfte! (mm)

Elvira: The Arcade Game logo

In the introductory paragraph of the manual the coquettish Elvira announces, "It's not very often I get out of bed for a man", but that's exactly what she does for us here. Still never mind, lads - there's a job to be done, and happily the three-stage, ghoul-ridden arcade adventure she hops out of bed for is actually rather good.

Those who played the demo on a recent AMIGA POWER coverdisk will know that already, of course - the game sees Elvira strut her elegant, long-legged stuff with panache, in one of the most absorbing walk-crouch--and-jump-'em-ups I've seen in a long time. Beautifully detailed baddies swagger onto screen smoothly, and disappear (on the business end of our buxom babe's weaponry or magic spells) with similar attention to detail. The backdrops look wonderful, the animation is as smooth as one would like to imagine our heroine's undergarments, and the eight-way scrolling shifts the parallax scenery around with ease.

Elvira can chuck sharp-edged hardware around, and also collect magic potions as she goes, which can then be used at any subsequent point in the game. Don't waste them though - fireballs, invincibility and a first aid spell (to name just three) need to be cast at strategic points to prove most effective.

For example, the 'Feather Fall Spell' gives Elvira the ability to fall from heights and drift down to a safe landing - very handy, but probably best kept in reserve until a suitable drop rears its vertigo-inducing head. Don't worry if you're totally stuck without the correct potion - this being a traditional arcade adventure you get shop sequences where a friendly Trader allows Elvira to swap one of her collected potions for one of his. This way you can be sure to have the right bottle at the right time (if you manage to find him at all, that is).

I mentioned thre stages back there, didn't I? You see, at the start of the game you get to chose whether you want to play either Arctic Earth (snow, ice and more snow) or the Underworld of Fire (fireballs and demons) - take your pick, but both have to completed before you're allowed to progress to the Castle. Emerge victorious from this final level and the title Queen Elvira of Transylvania is yours (or, erm, hers).

Don't worry about the size of the game either - three levels might not sound like very much, but they're all big and tough, and packed with a whole Halloween-party full of baddies. There's a definite puzzle element to much of it too, a sudden loss of life informing you that a quick trigger finger isn't all you're going to need to ensure victory. On your next approach to whatever particular trap it was that killed you, select your chosen weapon with a bit more cunning, and use the old grey-matter. There's nothing here too mind-bending - just enough to keep you on your toes.

Elvira moves as well as we all imagine she would, and it's easy to see that a lot of thought has gone into her animation (tap the pause button when she's halfway through changing direction mid-jump for a better look). In fact the whole presentation of this game is of a high, professional standard. The chilling soundtracks at the start, the click of stiletto on granite as Elvira hits the ground - this is a finely groomed product through and through.

The only real complaint I have is that when the action hots up, Elvira's dagger-throwing arm isn't quick enough. It's beautifully animated, but all too often the baddies are on top of you before you have time to unleash your hardware. But this is being finicky - if this style of (albeit slightly dated) game is what lights your fire then it's quite possible that Elvira could be the girl of your dreams.

Elvira: The Arcade Game logo

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, returns to our screens, but not in the much-touted follow up to Accolade's first stab at the licence. This time it's new publishers, Flair Software, who've come up with the goods in an arcade adventure which is radically different to Accolade's RPG-inspired gorefest.

After being visited by the ghost of a dead relative, who wants Elvira to claim back his castle from an evil King, she is shown two globes containing the two worlds she must conquer before she can enter the castle. In return for her efforts she will be crowned queen of Transylvania.

The choice of which world to enter first is up to you and, once chosen, the quest begins. The two environments, Arctic Earth and the Underworld of Fire, each contain their own individual puzzles and monsters and are populated with an assortment of snake-like worms, slugs, flesh-ripping birds, wizards and ogres.

Whilst leaping across platforms the parallax scrolls as smoothly and impressively as Elvira's animation. But don't be fooled by her feminine attire - with a sharp swish of her wrist she can send forth any number of weapons including knives, throwing stars and flaming torches.

She can also pick up and collect numerous spells which you're advised to save for the bigger nasties, including a rather unsociable blue dragon capable of spewing out a deadly stream of fire.

Throughout each world, large rune stones are located which, when collected, can be traded for more helpful items from an old sage who crops up randomly throughout the game. He's also useful for information, but only if you pay him well.

Elvira's a lot of fun, but due to the amount of time and effort lavished on the memory-intensive graphics, there's not much much more than a few hours of play in the entire game. The size of the screen and positioning of the score table often hides what's coming next.

Lots of lives and a continue option make this a very playable arcade romp which, unfortunately, fails to give lasting fun.

The Elvira character is a massive hit in the States. Although the sultry temptress has only starred in one movie, she's also fronted a collection of cheesy horror films presented on cable TV late at night. Over here, Elvira is relatively unknown, only noted for her ample assets the size of a small Welsh mining village and a bouffant hairdo that could house a small managerie. If you want to get a closer look at the ultimate camp vamp then take a look at her film, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark - it doesn't get much better than this.