According to legend there is a secret place where all the elephants go to die. Next-door to this proboscidean hospice is the elephant's graveyard, ivory city! Your old man spent his entire adult life searching for this mysterious place and since he’s croaked you’ve taken over his mission.
Tusker is set in the horizontally scrolling style. As the intrepid grave robber you bounce through the wilderness, bashing evil Arabs and topping terrible beasts in a b id to solve the ancient mystery. There is a rucksack full of kit to pick up on your quest, each bit with a specific use.
What to do with the gun is pretty obvious, once you’ve found the bullets, blow things to kingdom come. Similarly any underground exploration requires a light source. So select the torch and what do you see? Darkness. That’s how it will remain until the matches are used to set the damn thing alight.
The epic adventure begins in the burning desert, a land populated by poisonous snakes and big guys wearing bed linen. Don’t get cocky though, because even when you’ve beaten these ordinary foes there are some unnatural enemies to avoid a deadly whirlwind that saps energy like there’s no tomorrow, and a massive hand that seeks to scrunch the brave adventurer up like so much used Kleenex.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Bright, brash cartoon graphics capture the feel of swashbuckling adventure. The simple and clean game design is only marred by the odd problems Tusk Jnr has stepping over minute pebbles, or walking around obstacles.
The flick-screen is annoying, since the hero can’t see what’s up ahead. The theme is a moody slow-paced tune that’s almost but not quite totally inappropriate for the fast pace the game encourages. The effects are unconvincing, but that’s in keeping with the cartoon style of the graphics.
The running around lark is all very exciting, but can get dull if you don’t get anywhere. After a few sorties around the desert, the caves become apparent, and after that the jungle. There’s ever more stuff to collect and more combinations of kit to discover, but with only four lives getting far takes repeated playing. Every survival trick must be learned before you stand a chance of reaching somewhere new.
If Tusker gets the hooks into you it will last for aeons, as you hack through masses of undergrowth and villains. Even with the combination factor for items, though, the game cannot be viewed as anything radically different from the avalanche of horizontal arcade adventures that have gone before. That said there’s nothing wrong with Tusker, it’s just that it will never be a contender, no matter how much pushing and shoving you do.