Saboteur! (ZX Spectrum)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

This was recommended to me ages ago and, erm, I forgot about it. But it's always been a game that was in my mind anyway. I quite fancied it back in the day, but never got around to playing it. Now I can, but I had to decide which format I would go for. As the Speccy version is in many Top 100 lists, I went with that one.

It's an odd title for the game, Saboteur!, because there's no actual sabotage involved in the gameplay. Instead, you have to search an enemy compound for a computer disk which contains names. Lots of lovely names, of people that no doubt need to be stopped from, erm, doing something. Probably something bad.

That'll teach you to mess with a ninja, sucker!

The enemy won't just let you stroll around unchallenged, though. Oh, no. From the moment you climb out of your little rubber dinghy, guards and security devices are out to stop you. The guards can fight, and some are armed, and there are also attack dogs and laser-firing security cameras, so you'll need your wits about you. Just as well you're a ninja.

It's set out in typical 8-bit platform fashion, with you running across the screen and "flicking" on to the next one when you reach it. It's also, as is fairly typical for these games, a bit repetitive, but given the setting of the game, that's not surprising or even any kind of a detraction.

What? Hang on... I didn't find the disk, and I got killed. How did the worst ones get on?

Once (or if) you've found the disk (against the clock... you can't just wander around for as long as you want!), then you must make your way to the roof where a helicopter is waiting to whisk you to safety. Just as well... that dinghy would be a bit of a rubbish getaway vehicle with all the heat you'll have generated!

Saboteur! is a pretty enjoyable game. It gives you a choice of nine difficulty levels which is pretty nice... get proficient at one level and you can ramp it up and try your hand at the next. There can be some frustration when you can't find the disk, or your way out, but that's just the nature of these games. Overall, this one was a pretty good pick.

The Legend of Kage (Arcade/MAME)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , ,

This might seem to be a bit of a left-field, from-out-of-nowhere choice, but there's a reason I'm playing it, so stick with me!

The Legend of Kage is not a game I ever saw in an arcade. The only reason I'd heard of it previously was when I read a review of the Commodore 64 conversion in ZZAP! 64. They seemed to think it was distinctly average, and I didn't bother hunting it down for a play.

Fast-forward, oooh, donkeys years, and I find myself playing it in MAME.

And it's alright, actually. A bit odd for an arcade game, perhaps... although thinking about it, it plays a bit like a precursor to Shinobi, which I have certainly enjoyed quite a bit over the years, or maybe Ninja Spirit.

Ugh! Get away! Get awaaaaaay!

Typically, the game starts with a princess being captured, and you drop into the scene to chase after her. As you would expect, ninjas fly about, chucking pointy stars at you. Luckily, you can throw stars of your own, and you have swords for dispatching anything that gets a bit close for comfort.

You're also possessed of an implausibly mighty jump. This game sees you flying around in treetops a lot, with the ninjas whizzing by all around you. It's quite good fun, if a little strange. Other enemies appear through the game, including fire-breathing Raiden-types, just to mix it up.

The Legend of Kage is quite a nice little arcade game, which probably offered something nicely different at the time, and yet was more than likely the one that sat unloved in a corner while everyone else was playing Gauntlet. Still, it set me up nicely for tomorrow's game...