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BIG sprites, that's what you will find here. Unfortunately, not much more can be said about them though. The bad guys have captured your gorgeous galactic gal (coo!) and to make matters worse, have imprisoned you in an ED-209-style robo-suit. And what a robo-suit it is.

It resembles a rather disastrous cross between Max Wall and Wayne Sleep, and it now your sorry lot to plod, leap and pas de deux your way through three levels of baddie-infested wasteland in search of your gal. You have to pick up different weapons, learn how to beat the bosses and try and blast your way through 57 varieties (well, almost) of extra-terrestrial hard nuts.

The dance goes on...
The action is the standard left-to-right platform scroller, with occasional route deviations in the form of (semi-relevant) lifts and (completely irrelevant) teleports. Sometimes you walk up hills, and other times you have to bunny-hop down steps. But there is no chance of you having losing your way - everything you need to find is scrolled block-by-block into your monotonous path.

Doors open and shut, bridges give way under metallic size twelves , and laser beams sizzle unconvincingly across your path. There's almost enough to provide a challenge if only it weren't all so painfully slow (BIG sprites, remember) and if it weren't for the fact that it's possible to complete the lion's share of stage one with your thumb glued to the firebutton, your joystick stuck 'right' and your eyes firmly shut.

As you destroy the bad guys, they release shells (the sea variety). Scattered along the bottom of the screen you'll find a whole Argos catalogue of weapons, and in this game seashells mean power-ups.

Every shell you collect gets put towards your next power-up. If you can collect an extra four you are allowed to claim a better weapon. If you're after a smart bomb for example, simply wait until you've the requisite number of shells, then press fire and crouch. Your eyes go red and you're all tooled up. Next time you press the fire-button, a smart bomb decimates all around you. Just like that.

...and on, and on, and on
The baddies appear in various guises, each one is particularly vulnerable to a particular weapon. Learning which weapon corresponds to which Achilles' heel is not always enough though, often you have too many or not enough shells at your disposal at the relevant moment. But then again you can always opt to spend your shells on extra energy after a really hard-fought skirmish.

The graphics on the whole could really have been quite good, but sadly there are a couple of glaring glitches that just ooze laziness.

While going up and down in the lift, there's no sign of movement (both background and foreground stay rooted to the spot) until all of a sudden the floor appears. The same occurs while falling to your doom. Also, the scrolling while jumping is all too often disconcertingly haphazard. But the real problem is the game's pace - it's just all too slow.

The whole business of rescuing girlfriends out of the evil clutches of should be fraught with tension and excitement. But both the comical animation of your hero and the hiss-whir-clunk sound effects leave you worrying more about rusting to an undignified halt, than of the glorious liberation up your loved one.

Really and truly, Under Pressure is a bit tedious, monotonous and just a little bit unconvincing. It is a game that can only come unreservedly recommended as an ideal Xmas gift for practical jokers.


Well, bridges, lifts and teleporters actually. Your robo-suited character is ushered around the levels in a set route, with token novelty gestures thrown in to relieve your otherwise monotonous trudge from left to right.

Under Pressure
Just keep walking and shooting. Don't worry about the collapsing bridge, you've got plenty of time. And the stationary, practically unarmed and to-all-intents-and-purposes feeble dragon will be dead long before you reach it.
Under Pressure
Just look at those pointy toes! Wayne Sleep would be proud of you. Shoot out that light bulb and the lift platform (below you) is kicked into life. You have to jump on it a bit to get the left working, but like all machines, thumping does the trick.
Under Pressure
Crouch down in the teleport and you're off. A whole load of bubbles appear and you're whizzed to your next destination. Serves no purpose and adds nothing to the game. It pays to take them to save the shoe leather - or at least shoe metal!

Held in Dosen

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Also auf der CES hat uns die Vorabversion von Electronic Zoos neuem Ballerspiel ja noch recht gut gefallen - beim Testen der Endversion im heimatlichen Haar hat sich die Begeisterung jedoch schnell wieder verflüchtigt...

Endlich! Endlich ist die Welt wieder um eine hochdramatische Entführungsgeschichte reicher: Wie so oft geht es um ein gekidnapptes Mädchen und ihren heldenhaften Freund.

Der einzige echte Unterschied zu den zahllosen horizontal scrollenden Vorbildern besteht darin, daß der Held hier in einem riesigen Kampfroboter hockt. Damit walzt er nun Richtung Freundin, schießt mit seiner Laserkanone alle Gegner über den Haufen, sammelt deren Hinterlassenschaften auf (diverse Extrawaffen), und wenn er nicht verrostet ist, dann walzt und schießt er noch heute.

Halt, eine klitzekleine "Besonderheit" hatten wir beinahe vergessen: Gelegentlich stößt unsere Kampfmaschine nämlich auf Laserbarrieren oder automatische Mauern, die sich ständig rauf- und runterbewegen. Da gilt es dann, den richtigen Moment abzupassen, um die teuflischen Hindernisse zu überwinden, die dem armen Robbi sein bißchen Lebensenergie klauen wollen.

Tja, Ihr dürftet es schon gemerkt haben, der letzte Schrei in punkto Spieldesign ist Under Pressure nicht gerade. Dabei wäre die technische Seite gar nicht mal so übel, die Sprites sind zwar etwas farbarm aber riesengroß, die Hintergrundgrafiken (Stadtsilhouetten, etc.) kann man ebenfalls anschauen, und das Scrolling ist butterweich.

Auch die Titelmelodie ist recht knackig ausgefallen, dasselbe gilt für die verschiedenen Explosions- und Stampfgeräusche, die der eingedoste Held produziert. Aber das Gameplay hat halt wirklich schon Moos angesetzt... (C. Borgmeier)

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A 'tribute' going on here, I think. This horizontally-scrolling shoot-'em-up from star programming geezers Eldritch The Cat (best known for the fab Projectyle) owes so much in feel to Psygnosis games in general and Shadow Of The Beast in particular, that I suspect it's been done as some giant practical joke.

'Giant' is certainly a word that's applicable in other areas here, as the main sprite's easily the biggest I've seen for quite some time, but 'unfortunately 'joke' is also a highly apt term for a game which is the crappiest load of crappy old crap I've been forced at gunpoint to play all month. There's no getting away from the fact that it's dreadful, and the main reason for that is that there is no actual game in here.

Your huge sprite lumbers along through an uneventful landscape, shooting the odd baddie and dodging the odd laser beam fired from the ceiling (a good way to avoid all the lasers on Level One is to keep the joystick held to the right all the way through th level without stopping, tip fans).

Occasionally there's a pit or something exciting like that to cross, and after five or six minutes you'll reach level Two, which is laregely the same but with different graphics.

Throughout this involving and demanding experience you'll encounter lots of static baddies which you can kill by standing out of their reach and lining a lot, and lots of sections where the screen dimensions force you to take a leap into the unknown in search for the next bit of floor.

It's almost as if old Eldritch deliberately set out to sanitize Psygnosis' tendency towards games with lovely graphics and no gameplay, and if so they've done a great job of it. Literally incredible.