REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Navy SEALS
by James Higgins, Warren Lancashire, Martin McDonald, Matthew Cannon
Ocean Software Ltd
1991
Crash Issue 84, January 1991   (1990-12-13)   page(s) 74,75

The ‘Navy SEALS’ movie isn’t out until February, but Ocean’s game-of-the-film is already complete! How’s that for efficiency?! The Navy SEALS is special commando unit of the US Navy. One of their helicopters has been shot down over the Gulf and the pilots captured by a bunch of Arab nutters. A team of five Navy SEALS commandos storm their HQ to rescue their chums and destroy the Arab’s collection of lethal Stinger missiles.

There are two different missions in the game, each loaded separately, and you can play whichever you want without solving the other. Mission one’s a platform/combat/strategy game (there’s a mix — Ed) and mission two is basically Renegade with guns.

Mission one, with five levels, begins as the squad of five SEALS sneak into Oman harbour. You control each of the five SEALS one at a time, so you’ve got five lives.

Each level is big, or maybe it just seems like it because the graphics are so huge. And you can’t just go running around, guns ablaze, hoping to take out the guards before they see you in this maze of crates, platforms, buildings and tunnels. I did that and lost all five SEALS in about 20 seconds! You need to be brainy, planning your moves as you go. It all seems impossibly difficult to begin with but with every go you get a little bit further. When you know the best attack plans you’ll whisk through it! It’s just like organising a real tactical raid!

The detailed scenery scrolls multi-directionally as you move about and all the SEALS are very agile. You can run and jump to the left or right, leap up, grab a girder and swing along, crouch, crawl and most importantly shoot! Actually, shooting is a real pain as you can only point your gun to the left or right. It would have been better if you could swing your gun around like in Midnight Resistance.

Arab opponents are all over the place and the second they spot you they open fire. You can retaliate with your handgun and later, as you discover weapon crates, flame throwers, machine guns and more!

The objective on each of the levels is to locate the Stinger missile cases, place a time bomb on each and then escape before the whole place gets blown to bits. The action gets increasingly more difficult as you go up the levels, though the actual gameplay remains the same.

Mission two is a much simpler game and is almost relaxing after the complexity of level one. It’s played on the streets of Beirut and you have to find your way, with the help of a map and a few useful tip-offs, to the Arabs’ store of Stinger missiles. The scenery scrolls horizontally as you move through streets swarming with Arabs. The nearer you get to the Stinger store, the more attackers there are about. After shooting down a wave of opponents prepare for some heavy-duty combat as the Arabs ride in on armoured vehicles. It’s all simple violence and not too straining on the brain, as long as you follow the map correctly!

Navy SEALS is one of Ocean’s 128K only products and it shows. It’s incredibly well presented and really makes use of the 128K’s power. There’s none of the corner cutting there’d be if it had to be chopped into multiloads for a 48K Speccy. Graphics are very colourful, detailed but always clear, and colour is effectively used throughout level one. Animation of the characters is simply brilliant, the SEALS and Arabs perform all their movements well and surprisingly quickly considering their huge size! Mission two is the more immediately playable of the two but in the end it’s mission one’s five complex levels that’ll keep you enthralled!

RICHARD ... 94%


'Oozing quality, Navy SEALS is one of the most well designed, programmed and produced products of the year. It’s tough to begin with, but make a map, plan your movements and you’ll be well away. Graphics are superb and there are loads of really neat touches to the animation in mission one: the scenery normally scrolls smoothly around you, but when you climb a ladder it scrolls in chunky steps with every rung you climb, and there’s the devastating missile launcher weapon — fire that and the whole screen is clouded in a red and yellow explosion! Navy SEALS is excellent value too, you really are getting two very different games: the strategic mission one and the very playable stroll down Hell highway in mission two. In fact, it’s a bit of a landmark in Speccy gaming!'
OLI ... 93%

Presentation95%
Graphics94%
Sound92%
Playability91%
Addictivity93%
Overall94%
Summary: A brilliant game, stunning in every aspect - a landmark!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 62, February 1991   page(s) 70,71

You may not have heard of the film (in fact, you probably haven't - it bombed badly in the States and has yet to be released over here) but Navy SEALS is actually quite a spiffing little game.

And not that little either - it comes in two massive missions, each one more or less a complete game in itself. One is a giant, single level walk-around-and-shoot-people affair (not unlike Renegade with guns, though there's a certain amount of mapping to be done too) while the other, much more sophisticated, mission comes in lots of little sections, features generous wedges of spot colour, and some of the best animated characters seen in an action game in many a month. In fact it's rather special.

Since you can play the two in any order you like, I'm pretty sure most people would opt for the second mission first off (though the other would be fine to kill a few spare hours with later on).

So anyway, the second mish. In it you play a Navy SEAL (a sort of super-commando type bloke) on a mission to rescue hostages from the centre of Beirut. Gameplay is of the running about, climbing ladders, shooting people school of thought, and since Beirut is the sort of place that's absolutely packed with terrorists taking pot-shots at each other an awful lot of running around shooting people is going to have to be done.

The whole thing is broken up into five eight-way scrolling sub-levels (starting at the harbour, and working through a radio tower, into the enemy barracks and finally to the rescue and escape) - all fairly short but colourful and varied nevertheless. On each level you have to a) survive to the end (obvious really) and b) find and blow up a number of stolen Stinger ground-to-air missiles which are lying around the place. The whole thing is sort of loosely based on the plot of the film, though unlike Robocop, Batman et al it doesn't take particular action sequences and animate them, it just sort of echoes the whole thing in one go.

All well and good (but fairly normal) so far - so what makes it so snazzy? Well, it's pure attention to detail really - it's obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into just about every aspect of it. You can tell how pretty it is from the screenshots (nice big sprites, and oodles of spot colour) - what you can't see is the movement, which is really exceptional. Our hero can walk or jump, crawl, climb ladders or swing arm-over-arm along the ceiling. He can even twissle himself up onto the floor above with a sort of gymnastic flourish. It's a great effect and very easy to control - but it doesn't end there. They've thought it through further, so a SEAL can't hang around from his arms forever - he gets tired after a while and just has to drop down to the floor.

He's not the only nifty character either -- the baddies ('towelheads' according to the film) are good too, only spotting you and firing after you've entered their line of sight and (best of all) just keeling over and dying once they're shot, rather than disappearing (as in most games). The computer remembers where they are too, so if you find yourself retracing your steps at any point you're soon wading knee-deep through a bunch of dead bodies. All clever stuff, and rarely (if ever) seen in a game before.

Oh dear - I've just realised. I've been going on about that half of the game so much there's hardly any room for the other load. Not that it matters too much I guess, 'cos this bit is far more ordinary - originally designed when SEALS was going to be a 48K game (as opposed to 128K only which all new Ocean stuff seems to be). Based fairly closely on a real street plan of Beirut, it's a run-around-shooting-things sort of game - monochrome, packed with baddies (there doesn't seem to be an innocent civilian on the streets anymore), fun to play, but nothing out of the ordinary at all. There are some big baddies (like jeeps and motorbikes), bullets the size of pancakes (which actually cast shadows as they fly!) and, erm, lots of violence. And that's about it - out of space. just time for a quick summing-up paragraph.

I enjoyed Navy SEALS a lot, though how well it'll do probably depends a bit on the success (or lack of it) of the film. Half of it is very, very good indeedm and the other half isn't too bad (though a lot more boring). Yep, I liked it loads. (Why not give it a try?)


Life Expectancy82%
Instant Appeal88%
Graphics80%
Addictiveness83%
Overall86%
Summary: Half unspectacular runaround, half snazzy multilevel shoot-'em-up. Rather excellent really.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 109, March 1991   page(s) 12,13

From the title, I was hoping that this was one of those games featuring cutesy amphibian mammals balancing balls on their noses and collecting fruit, but NO!

Navy Seals is in fact based on the Orion Pictures movie of the same name, and deals with a group of tough American Navy officers, specially trained to jump out of aircraft, swim long distances underwater, shoot dozens of people, blow up enormous buildings and run all the way home - and that's BEFORE having their Weetabix!

And crikey, or gee whillikers Mom as the Yankees say, what a scorcher of a game it is! Whether the films any good or not (and seeing as it features all sorts of Brat Packers like Charlie Sheen spouting platitudes, it probably isn't) the game is a rip-roaring multi-stage arcade blast with some of the most tubular graphics and animation I've seen for ages - no wonder it's 128K only.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and I don't think they give you much choice in the matter in the Navy Seals) is to infiltrate Beirut, rescue a bunch of hostages, eliminate a cache of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, blow up enemy installations and generally wreak havoc on the infidels - topical or what!

There are two major missions to accomplish, each consisting of a number of stages, and though you have to complete the stages in order, you can play either mission first.

Part one Of the mission where you hove to destroy a terrorist base, is one of the most impressive sections. Basically it's just a platforms and ladders effort with five eight way scrolling sections, but the design of the big character sprites and the animation of the central character is remarkably good. This section is also pretty realistic in that you have an energy bar next to your character's portrait on the lower left of the screen, and your energy falls very quickly if you're shot or suffer a bad fall. If you buy the farm, one of your five colleagues takes over.

The background details of walkways, ladders, packing cases and balconies are nicely drawn, and your amphibian hero runs, jumps, swings hand-over-hand and crawls very smoothly. His best stunt is grabbing an overhead walkway and swinging himself up onto it - usually followed, by a quick blast with the submachine gun as he takes out another towel-head. The clever bit is that the baddies only shoot when you're in their line of sight, and if you lose a life your new character starts from the beginning of the level, but any dead baddies stay dead.

More impressive weapons like flamethrowers can be recovered from enemy hiding-places, and the current weapon, ammo and time limit are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

The next mission is good but not so impressive - there's less use of colour, and not so much variety in the action. Here you roam the back-streets of Beirut, with 3-dimensional action moving in/out and left/right looking for hostages and taking out everything that moves. Hordes of Ayrabs armed to the rotten teeth attack you, firing big fat bullets which cast shadows which help you to avoid them. With courage and a quick trigger-finger you will prevail, but the action is a bit repetitive.

You will need a more impressive weapon than your side-arm to deal with the heavy weapons such as the motorbike-and-sidecar combination and the armoured car. So far, this is the spot where I always run out of lives, in the absence of weapons sufficiently radical to take out the baddies.

Although the graphics and animation (especially in the first mission) are mega. It's the little background details like portraits of the Ayatollah on the wall, the dialogue screen with Ali the informant and the touching display when you finally run out of blood, which make Navy Seals worth the SU Gold. So come on, get your feet wet!

Label: Ocean
Memory: 128K only
Price: £10.99 Tape, £15.99 Disk
Program: James Higgins
Music: Matthew Cannon
Graphics: Warren Lancashire
Sprites: Martin McDonald
Release: As film date - End of Feb
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


GARTH'S COMMENT: A superlative blaster with excellent animation giving an immediate feel of action. Should go great guns!

ANDERA'S COMMENT: Leap, sproing, cavort, blast! So good I forgot to go to the beauty parlour for my weekly facial.

Graphics92%
Sound87%
Playability94%
Lastability93%
Overall92%
Summary: Graphics: 92

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 111, February 1991   page(s) 46

Ocean
Spectrum £10.99, GX4000 £24.99

Tension has risen in the Middle East (pretty topical, eh?), to a stage where Arab extremists have shot down an American helicopter on a surveillance mission in Beirut, and are holding a group of American soldiers to ransom. Not only that, but they've also managed to get their hands on a large number of missiles, which can be fitted with nuclear warheads! Enter the Navy SEALS - the US Navy equivalent to our SAS - who are sent to rescue their comrades-in-arms, and do over more than a few Arabs on the way.

The action is viewed side-on, with the team members having to run, jump, crawl, somersault and blast their way through six levels of platforms and obstacles, in order to both rescue the military hostages, and knock out the captured missiles. The terrorists aren't going to make your life easy, though, and will shoot on sight! Time is running out - have you got what it takes?


Overall73%
Summary: Huurgh! The Spectrum game is a monochromatic version of the GX-4000 one, except this is even less playable, because the main sprite has an annoying tendency to get stuck in silly places, leaving you wide open for a bullet in the bonce! Again, a very disappointing licence, and one that could have been made so much better by simply making it a bit easier.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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