Highlander
Copyright/Publisher: Ocean, Programming By: Roy Gibson, Artork By: Steve Cain,
Martin Calvert & Simon Butler, Music By: Martin Galway,
Release Year: 1986, Genre: Fighting Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

It's a kind of magic. Immortals are not just the stuff of legend, they actually exist and roam the Earth engaged in a never-ending battle to decide who will be 'The One'. The immortal who succeeds in this titanic struggle will become the holder of 'the knowledge', and either the saviour or the destroyer of the world.

In Highlander, you take the part of the immortal McLeod; born originally into an ancient Scottish clan, and now a respected art dealer in New York. In order to save the world, McLeod must do battle with three remaining immortals and kill them in the only way possible - by removing their heads. Remember 'there can be only one'.

Highlander is a sword fighting game which can be played in two ways: either against a series of increasinlgy nasty computer opponents, or as a two player head-to-head. The action takes place over three different, separately loaded scenarios. In the first stage you face Ramirez, the least skilled of your three opponents. This stage can be used to gain experience and develop skills in attack, defence and swordplay.

There are fourteen different moves at your disposal, all accessed via combinations of joystick directions and presses of the fire button. McLeod can be moved left and right across the screen and made to kneel by pulling down on the joystick. A forward push lifts him off the floor and back into a standing position.

While standing, McLeod has two defensive moves (allowing him to defend his head and bloody), and six for attach. Each move is executed by keeping the fire button pressed and moving the joystick in the appropriate direction. In the kneeling position there are three attacking moves, and three defensive moves which allow McLeod to defend his neck, head and feet.

McLeod's energy status is dsiplayed at the bottom of the screen in the form of a bar which shrinks to a fatal zero as hits are sustained or when an attack is unsuccessful. The enrgy slowly recharges itself, so if the bar is a bit on the low side, McLeod can back off from the fray and wait until his strength returns.

The second opponent is Fizir, an ancient and skillful fighter who is vicious with his swordplay and completely merciless. In the thrid stage, set high on the rooftops above the city streets, you battle the mighty Kurgen, supreme swordsman and a deadly enemy. Beat him, and you become the keeper of the knowledge. Fail, and the world is damned.

R.E.
I'm not impressed in the slightest with this feelbe offering. Weak graphics with unresponsive gameplay. Yeuch! This is a real case of a film tie-in rip-off. There is no real scenario provided, and McLeod even ends up fighting a couple of characters who were his best friends in the film!

This is simple a tacky fencing game with the name Highlander tagged on, almost as an afterthought. I mean, this could just as easily have been called 'Robin Hood' or even 'Star Wars' with only a few minor changes in the graphics. No atmospehere and no inspiration leads to a dull and repetitive game. Give it a miss.

P.S.
There's nothing vaguely original or interesting about this game. It's a slow and incredibly banal beat'em up which seems to have very little to do with the film of the same name. The characters are well drawn, but move slowly and hobble across the screen in a most amusing manner.

A reasonable rendition of 'It's a Kind of Magic' plays during the game, and the spot FX are rather good. Otherwise, Highlander is drab. I dare say some people will enjoy the limited challenge, but there's no way I would fork our the nine quid asking price for such a slow and boring game.

Julian Rignall
I don't think much of this bland one-on-one fighting game at all - there's just not enough in it to keep you interested for more than a couple of games. The gameplay is slow and the characters are sluggish to respond to joystick manipulation.

The graphics are very poor - the main sprites are extremely blocky, and the backdrops are dull and lack any interesting features. If you're after a fighting game then look elsewhere - there are many others on the market which offer a lot more in the way of excitement and challenge.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 79%
One or two player option and good use of joystick. Annoying and seemingly unnecessary multi-load system though.
GRAPHICS 46%
Extremely slow moving, blocky sprites and bland backdrops.
SOUND 70%
A reasonable version of Queen's 'It's a Kind of Magic', and functioal spot effects.
HOOKABILITY 45%
Mildly interesting at first, although the joystick controls are tricky to get used to.
LASTABILITY 27%
Too slow and tedious to captivate.
VALUE 23%
A high price to pay for such a dull and unoriginal product.
OVERALL 30%
A poor fighting program hiding behind an official licence.


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