In the back of the packaging of Fire and Brimstone, you are promised a wondrous story of a journey into the very depths of evil. Journey to the depths of hell that is, not the southern stretch of the Northern Line.
What is mildly amusing about this tale of Thor's adventures in Niflheim to search out and kill Hel, resident evil person, is that the programmers have confused Hel (the demoness) and Hell (licking flames and misery) on one introductory screen.
The plot about Thor hunting down Hel is still a load of cobbler though. It reads like the Microprose people thought it up after lunch in the local pub (always a possibility).
Besides that, Fire and Brimstone offers nine levels of sideways moving arcade action. The screen does not scroll, but is redrawn as you reach each new one. A lack of programming ability undoubtably, but the excellent graphics makes up for it. So you control Thor, in a very Ghosts and Goblins style game - minus the scrolling of course.
You can carry up to two weapons and two potions at once, any surplus being left behind. The weapons vary in effectiveness and design, and needless to say, the better ones are on the screen after you really needed them. The potions are more important than your weapons.
These have effects ranging from the mundange smart bomb effect to making you leap the highest buildings (well, small bushes anyway), and most importantly, creating magic platforms (are you sure this is nothing to do with LRT?) so you can get over impassable pits.
While it scores nil points for originality in design, programming or plot, Fire and Brimstone can at least claim to be both difficult and extremely fiendish. On the opening screen you face a snoozing demon. Above its head a fluffy little bird watches. Fire at the demon and he kills you. Just walk up to him and he strolls off leaving you unmolested.
After jumping past death-delivering fire, you need to turn around, jump up in the air, and hit the fluffy bird a number of times. Finally it dies and leaves behind a potion for creating a magic platform. If you do not collect this potion and use it in the right place you won't get past screen four.
Using just this sort of malicious design Fire and Brimstone conspires to give you a really hard time. It took me ages to get past screen four. Now I can do it with no trouble at all. That tells you what to expect, if nothing else.
Thankfully you can restart the game at the level you last completed rather than having to go back to the beginning, but mapping, notes and hints in magazines are all going to be essential to finishing the game.
So there you have it. A traditional romp across lovely scenery, decent animation - what there is, considering very little actually moves - and a reasonable piece of music on the title page.
If you want something out of the ordinary, something that pushes back the limites of computer gaming, then look elsewhere, because this is not it. Still, it does not pretend to be either. Old fashioned gaming thrilss are Fire and Brimstone's promise.