Mean Arenas logo

In 2093 game shows will be a hybrid of Jim Bowen meets Dynablaster, only more mean looking.

One hundred years from now industry has become totally automated resulting in mass unemployment (or should that be 'pandemic' seeing as we already have 'mass'). Anyway, in 2093 we find everyone is using their increased leisure time to sit in front of the telly and watch a programme called Mean Arenas.

Buzz: "Welcome sports fans to the latest action packed edition of Mean Arenas. I'm Buzz McCloud and along me is Bob Bilinski. Well Bob, have we got a show for the folks sitting back at home".

Bob: "Yes Buzz, we have got a show. It is called Mean Arenas, you've just told everyone".

Buzz: "OK, don't get smart with me son or I'll haul your ass back to Come Dancing faster than you can say Crackerjack".

Bob: "Sure thing Buzz. Buzz's right folks, we have got a show for you. It's kind of a cross between PacMan and Smash TV with a bit of Dynablaster thrown in for good measure. You, the ordinary members of the public come on down and play for big prizes. But remember, it is risky out there and if you do not make it, you are gonna, heh, he, die".

Buzz: "Folks, Bob has hit the nail right on the head. Death is the consequence of losing, but it is not that bad a scenario. Heck, at least we do not send you home with a goddamn blankey Blank checkbook and pen".

Bob: "So come on Buzz, tell the folks what the game is all about".

Buzz: "Listen son, I'm the anchor. Don't tell me what to do. Folks, the object of the game is to make your way around the arena collecting coins as well as a whole host of other bonuses and extra armoury. Jeez, did I say arena? Actually, there are 22 arenas, four speed arenas and many, many secret arenas to go through. Say Bob, has anyone ever done them all?".

Bob: "To tell the truth Buzz, no they ain't and it's saved the network one heck of an amount in prize money. Mind you, it costs us a fortune in funerals. Still, as long as it doesn't come out of my salary heh, heh. Folks, there are four types of arenas - Robozone, Dungeonzone, Starshipzone and Rainbowzone. Some of them are straightforward and some have up to eight floors".

Buzz: "You are not wrong Bob and standing in the path to completion folks are the robot guardians. Now these guys may look like dustbins, but you will be dead within 3-2-1 seconds of meeting them".

Bob: "Buzz, you are not only the anchor, you are also one heck of a funny guy. The guardians come in various guises. Some walk, some fly and some of them even go around dropping coins - the contestants should kill them very quickly".

Buzz: "You are not wrong Bob - for a change. Only kidding partner, you're the greatest. So come on down, Cecil Watkinson from Selby". KABOOM!

Poor Cecil. Still, it is not a bad show. There is a lot to go and through it is not sophisticated fayre, Mean Arenas is fun. I will be watching some time next week.

Mean Arenas CD32 logo CD32

Ice * £26.99 * Out now

No-one watches Big Break in 2093. That is because the programme is not going then and Jim and John are no longer with us. So everyone tunes in to Mean Arenas - a 21st Century televised PacMan, where contestants compete for big cash prizes but failure brings the ultimate sacrifice - no, not a ceramic Bully, but Death.

This is a straight port from floppy as you can get - even the disk accessing appears on the screen. Now this is not the most sophisticated of fayre for the great machine that is CD32; the graphics are at best basic and the samples poor but Mean Arenas has one great quality - playability.

It is darn good fun as you take on the role of contestant and career around collecting weapons, keys and most importantly, gold tokens. In all, there are four types of arena and some have up to eight floors, so it does get incredibly difficult later on in the game. There are no enhancements to the floppy yet the CD version is a quid more than the original - but heck, it is still great fun.

Mean Arenas CD32 logo CD32

Bei Ice hat man das legendäre Spiel "PacMan" mit dem legendären Film bzw. Buch "Running Man" gekreuzt - und das sowohl auf Disk als auch auf Silberscheibe vorliegende Ergebnis spielt sich verblüffend gut!

Dabei war der erste Eindruck keineswegs überzeugend: Selbst beim dritten Testmuster verweigerte die Diskversion jede Zusammenarbeit, so daß wir hier nur über die CD-Fassung berichten können. Auch optisch ist das Spiel alles andere als vielversprechend, aber das Gameplay hat es tatsächlich in sich!

Im Jahre 2093 kämpfen moderne Gladiatoren in einer Gameshow um Geld, Ruhm und ihr Leben. Dazu müssen sie in 26 aus der Vogelperspektive gezeigten Labyrinthen alles Gold aufsammeln, ohne dabei in eine der unzähligen Fallen oder die Fänge der Wachroboter zu geraten. Klappt es, dürfen sie den ganzen Plunder behalten, anderenfalls übernimmt die TV-Gesellschaft die Bestattungskosten - das Risiko ist also zumindest finanziell begrenzt...

Vor jedem der teilweise auch mit einem Zeitlimit versehenen Suchabschnitte geben die beiden Moderatoren noch einige Tips, dann muß man selbst die passenden Schlüssel finden, Hebel drücken oder Edelsteine zur richtigen Stelle bringen.

Insgesamt 22 verschiedene Extras wie Bomben, Schutzschilde und Erste-Hilfe-Koffer erleichtern die lebensgefährlichen Aufgabe, außerdem werden an manchen Stellen Paßwörter verteilt.

Rein technisch macht die grafisch wenig berauschende Show nur bei der problemlosen Steuerung und der flotten Soundbegleitung (mit glasklarer Sprachausgabe) Boden gut. Aber das ausgefuchste Leveldesign mit dem stetig ansteigenden Schwierigkeitsgrad und der rasante Spielablauf sorgen dennoch für eine langanhaltende Motivation des Todeskandidaten! (st)

Mean Arenas CD32 logo CD32

Amiga version: not reviewed

Due to various internal misunderstandings we never got the chance to review this when it originally came out on floppy disk, but now it's on CD32 and luckily, it's exactly the same (right down to showing a picture of a floppy disk when it accesses the CD), so we can finally find out what it was we missed.

What we missed was a Pac-Man-derived maze game in that old deadly-future-game-show setting, with power-ups and weapons and teleports and all that kind of stuff, but still basically Pac-Man.

It's not too prettily put together, with lots of disk accessing and half-heartedly tatty presentation, but the actual game is playable in a neat old-fashioned sort of way. Not much use of a CD32, but not bad either.