Popeye 2 logo

Alternative * £7.99

"Ug, ug, ug". No, dear old Popeye doesn't transfer well to the printed page (A messed-up black 'n' white picture is printed in the original review). Never mind. He transfers pretty well to the Amiga, though. This is a platform game which sees our (mutated, I can't help thinking) hero scrambling over various themed levels such as building sites and jungles.

It's tougher than the Dizzy games, and there isn't the same feel of friendliness to it as you will find with the eggoid one. But the graphics are clear and bright and what you see is what you get, really.

Each level sets you the task of climbing to the top, avoiding everything that falls on you and jumping over other dangerous objects. Once you get high enough, you get to meet one of Popey's classic enemies (Bluto or the Goons, usually). At this point, or rather, these points - there are many of them - Popeye must do his violent spinach-related thing under your expert guidance.

It's bright, cheerful fun of the non-adult variety. Limited in scope, but if you're a two-year old kid you're probably not intelligent enough to realise that yet.

Popeye 2 logo

Am 64er waren die Plattformgames mit dem Spinatgetuneten Seebären noch ein vertrauter Anblick, gegenüber unserer "Freundin" entwickelte der Comic-Opa aber seit jeher starke Berührungsängste. Nicht ohne Grund!

Denn was Alternative Software dem alten Popeye mit dieser verspäteten Amiga-Konvertierung angetan hat, ist fast so schlimm wie, wie... nein, das übertrifft sogar noch die unverständliche Begeisterung vieler Eltern für diesen Grünschlamm, den sie ihrem Nachwuchs als Kraftfutter verkaufen wollen!

Wie üblich sucht der Hochsee-Muskelprotz mal wieder nach der von seinem ewigen Widersacher Brutus entführten Olivia. Dazu muß er in erster Linie viele Gerüste, Häuserfassaden, Baumwipfel oder Schiffsmasten entern, sprich emporklettern. Dabei aufgesammelte Hamburger bringen Punkte, und die unvermeidlichen Spinatdosen lassen die Unterarm-Muskulatur anschwellen.

Im Gegner- und Hindernis-Sortiment finden sich tickende Bomben, abstürzende Stahlträger, züngelnde Gasbrenner, morsche Plattformen, rollende Fässer und andere hinlänglich bekannte Widrigkeiten des Lebens.

Soweit alles Popeye, nur Ausweichen ist manchmal schier unmöglich, außerdem trachtet die ungenaue Kollisionsabfrage nach den drei Matrosen-Leben, deren Energie sich nach einem undurchschaubaren Schema verringert. Insgesamt aber ist der Schwierigkeitsgrad genauso niedrig wie das technische Niveau: Das vertikale Scrolling ist ja noch ganz erträglich, doch die Hintergründe und (Sammel-) Objekte hat man alle schon x-mal gesehen, die Sprites werden mit höchstens fünf Bewegungsphasen animiert, und der Begleitsound ist schlicht miserabel.

Nö, selbst zum Kampfpreis von rund 25,- DM ist dieser Langweiler nur Dosenfutter! (pb)

Popeye 2 logo

First off, don't panic if you don't remember Popeye 1 - there wasn't one. Secondly, it doesn't matter anyway - if you remember Donkey Kong, you'll know everything you need to know about Popeye 2.

Set in four levels of vertically-scrolling platforms, you guide our incoherent hero shinning up ladders and drainpipes, along rickety tree branches and across perilously large gaps in a quest to free Olive Oyl from 'Brutus' (wasn't he called Bluto in the cartoons? Shome mishtake shureley?), while things fall on you out of the sky and barrels roll ever-earthwards, sending the bold sailor man flying at the slightest contact.

Okay, so Popeye 2 isn't going to win any awards for services to intellectual advancement. In fact, to be honest, it isn't going to win any awards full stop, unless someone invents one for 'Cutest Platform Game Featuring A Deformed Pipe-Smoking Spinach Eater'.

Still, this is a sweet little game, with something of the natural addictive qualities of Rainbow Islands or Nebulus. It looks bright and cartoony, and the characters move better than sprites their size usually do, giving things a smooth, pleasant feel.

The four levels (which, incidentally, all do have a different atmosphere to them, unlike many games which feel like the same thing with different graphics) are all pretty big, and while the game seems easy, it's deceptively quick to swipe all your lives and dump you back at the start. Being so simple, of course, you can't quite believe it, so you have another go...

Truth to tell, it does get repetitive fairly quickly, but for a quick burst of undemanding platform fun now and again, or something for the kids, this is a very fair deal at eight quid.

Popeye 2 logo

A life on the ocean wave isn't always a barrel of fun. Dan Slingsby eats his greens and gets stuck into Alternative's latest licence...

With a plot that mimics the classic cartoons, everyone's favourite comicbook sailor must rescue his beloved Olive Oyl from the dastardly clutches of that old sea-dog, Brutus, in this latest release from Alternative.

Popeye II is a platform game in which the player must guide Popeye up a vertically-scrolling screen in pursuit of his arch-enemy and the girl of his dreams. On the way, our muscle-bound hero encounters a variety of obstacles, such as falling girders, bombs, fireballs, bouncing springs, coconut-throwing monkeys, and collapsing masonry among many other perils.

Each stage also boasts another popular character from the cartoon strip who will either help or hinder Popeye's progress. For instance, Wimpy will only let Popeye pass if he feeds him the many hamburgers which are scattered throughout the first level and Swee'pea needs to be rescued before he falls off a high ledge.

Points are scored for every bomb that's defused, the number of hamburgers or tins of Spinach which fill each level - and extra points are also available for rescuing Olive Oyl. Each player starts the game with three lives which are represented by three beating hearts at the bottom of the screen.

After each mishap, Popeye loses some all-important energy. Each heart slowly decreases in size after each hit until it disappears, indicating the loss of one life. Lose all three, and Brutus comes on screen to gloat at your incompetence.

Apart from a chance to beat up Brutus and his goons at various stages in the game, this is sub-standard platform fare with absolutely no originality. Popeye's creator must be spinning in his grave by this drivel.

There really isn't anything complimentary I can say about the game, apart from its budget price, but that's really no excuses for this rot. None of the atmosphere or flavour of the famous cartoon strip has been retained: the graphics are awful, the animation dreadful, the gameplay is boring, and the concept reeks of creative apathy.

The most embarrassing thing about the whole affair is that the game's a sequel! I always thought King Features Syndicate took great care in protecting the integrity of their licensed characters, but there's very little proof here. How they let Alternative get away with such a poor game for the second time is a mystery. Let's hope it sinks without trace.