REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Thundercats
by Gargoyle Games: Roy Carter, Stuart Cox, Rob Hubbard
Elite Systems Ltd
1987
Crash Issue 46, November 1987   (1987-10-29)   page(s) 22,23

Mumm-Ra holds the Eye of Thundera. Thundercat must search for it... and take it. But the warrior's quest is not to be easy, despite his six lives, for Mumm-Ra's burly thugs and dirty dwarfs and flapping bats and ugly hags are lined up against this hunk of he-man. And their every touch is lethal.

Undeterred by such astronomic odds, Thundercats runs onwards through underground hallways, along stone walkways and across open plains; he leaps upward over streams and ducks downward beneath the touch of hideous things.

Thundercat begins this TV licence with just a sword, which he must wield with increasing dexterity as Mumm-Ra's cohorts attack from all sides. But as our hero progresses he can take advantage of containers and items that conceal additional features. By destroying these with his weapon and then collecting what is revealed, Thundercat can add to his lives or obtain a different weapon, such as an energy-orb blaster.

A time limit is set for the completion of each level; if Thundercat successfully reaches the level's end, he is rewarded with a time bonus and a kill bonus, which depends on the number of foul fiends he has sent to meet their satanic maker.

At later levels, Thundercat can choose which perilous pathway he takes through the elements of earth, fire, air and water, and act as saviour to those who have been captured and held by the wickedness of Mumm-Ra.

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: very detailed and beautifully-animated, with some neat digitised graphics
Sound: exhilarating tune and FX on 128K version - otherwise limited
Options: definable keys


'There's the hallmark of Gargoyle's programming in Thundercats - most notably in the large, detailed and very well-animated graphics. It's one of those games which you'll think if just too hard when you first play it, but after a bit of practice there shouldn't be much difficulty getting through at least three levels. The action is fast, and you'll need quick reactions. Thundercats is probably the best thing Elite has produced since Ghosts 'N' Goblins.'
RICKY ... 91%

'I can't say I've heard of these Thundercats chappies (although apparently they're pretty popular) - I must be a bit too old - so I can't really comment on the tie-in side of Thundercats. But on its own merits it succeeds admirably. The graphics can't be faulted: the screen is extremely colourful and the animation topnotch. The imposing enemies change from level to level so you never know what to expect, which makes you have just one more go... great stuff! I bet the TV series ain't as good as the game.'
PAUL ... 91%

'Wow! Thundercats is brilliant. The logo is very neatly drawn, and the in-game graphics match it; they're excellent in every respect. Considering that the programmers had to move the colour as well as the pixels, the scrolling is very smooth. At first, despite Thundercats's playability, I didn't think it'd last The Treatment and still be addictive, but two days later they had to prise me away from my Spectrum with a crowbar to make me write this comment! It's got weeks and weeks of playability just waiting to be used. And me, I'm still trying to finish the bonus screen after Level Two!'
MIKE ... 92%

Presentation92%
Graphics90%
Playability90%
Addictive Qualities92%
Overall91%
Summary: General Rating: A good-looking and exciting game that deserves to succeed.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 70, November 1989   (1989-10-21)   page(s) 48

Thundercats is a brilliant game based on the highly successful cartoon series and takes the player through a wide variety of levels.

You start off having to slice and dice the nasty people who kidnapped members of the Thundercats team and stole the magical eye of Thundera. You play Lion-O, one of the main characters in the cartoon. The game is basically a beat 'em up, but such a well designed and implemented one you just flow along enjoying every minute. The game of course gets more difficult as you get on to the later levels, each one with its own full colour picture of someone from the cartoon at the beginning. The graphics on the levels are just as detailed, but with slightly less colour. Sound is also excellent with a tune at the start and plenty of in-game effects. Extra weapons, lives and bonuses can all be collected by shooting the mushrooms or trees. The extra lives are a must for collection, as you don't start with that many.

Thundercats is a fab game. Buy it if you didn't before.


Overall84%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 25, January 1988   page(s) 90

Purrfect! That's my opinion, chums. So excuse me while I do my reviewer's duty and foam at the mouth and rave with excitement. For an absolute rave is what this spanking game deserves. Right, let's wipe away the drool and get on.

Well, we've had just about every other range of 'action' toy converted into playable software, and now comes the turn of those furry feline fighters for freedom, the Thundercats. If you didn't know already, the Cats appear in a TV cartoon series, which is itself based on a toy range (as these things are). How can this latest addition to the swelling ranks of toy spin-of is be different to the rest? Just take a look at the programming team -none other than the chaps from Gargoyle Games. Their deft touch with game software is noticeable all the way through this classy epic. It's a quite faultless piece of programming with many cracking detailed digitised piccies and (on the 128) a very satisfying soundtrack from that Commodore music maestro Rob Hubbard.

For those of you who need a dose of story background before embarking on the game itself, here's the plot. Thundercat arch-enemy, the nasty Mumm-Ra, has nicked the all-powerful eye of the Tundera - the power behind the awesome Sword of Omens. Unless Lion-O can retrieve the eye, Mumm-Ra will inflict her evil vengeance throughout the land, and destroy the last of the Thundercats. Along the way, Lion-O has to rescue his fellow Cats if he's to succeed.

Thundercats is a well wicked left-to-right scrolling bash 'em up in the tradition of Cobra and Hysteria. The trick is to get to the far end of the level as fast as your padded paws will take you. Avoid or bop off the enemy along the way. At the end of each level is a bonus screen that converts spare time and kills into valuable points. It's no picnic though, each level is more of a pig to beat than the last.

The top of the games screen contains the digitised pics, and as you can see, they're pretty neat. They were all sourced from the 128K Speccy using a Sunset Digitiser and a Hitachi video camera, and with the programmers having enhanced the images further, the final effect is stunning. They may be borders, but these pics add real class to the game.

The central character of Lion-O looks like something out of Dun Darach, which is no surprise considering who did the coding. He's animated with a fair bit of style, as are the other assorted, weird and wonderful (well, pretty dangerous actually) inhabitants of the Thundercat world. There are some bizarre characters to be found in the game's 14 levels, but I'll leave you to find them!

I was much reminded of Kung Fu Master while battling through Thundercats. The action is similar (the large and small creatures, for instance), but while the older game fell down because of sloppy graphics and play, Elite's effort climbs high in the addictivity stakes with its excellent design and brilliant joystick-destroying gameplay. The 128 version with nifty sound FX is utterly the cat's whiskers. So my advice is to get your paws on a copy as soon as possible. It's the top cat as far as I'm concerned


Graphics10/10
Playability9/10
Value For Money9/10
Addictiveness9/10
Overall9/10
Summary: Tastier than a can of Kitty-Kay more playful than a kitten, it's an unashamed sweat-inducing beat 'em up with bags of style and fantastic graphics.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 48, December 1989   page(s) 30,31

A not dissimilar game to G 'n' G, but substantially less interesting. True, the graphics are lovely - including some very neat digitised backgrounds - but the gameplay, which essentially involves hitting everything you see with a giant sword, is mundane going on breathtakingly tedious. Naturally, to make up for this, the characters are all called things like MUMM-RA™ and BI- CEP™ and that's because it's all based on Thundercats™ the cartoon, the comic, the T-shirt and the wibbly thing on legs. But, as we all know from past experience, a cracking licence does not often a good game make, and Thundercats™ is no exception. Do you realise we gave this a Megagame last time round? What were we thinking of?


Overall60%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 69, December 1987   page(s) 64,65

I'm always a bit surprised at the dress sense of your average superhero. No trusty parka or balaclava, no handy first aid kits for those inevitable little amputations that occur in the line of duty. Lion-O, Thundercat super hero is no exception. What must his mother be thinking of. sending him out with just a loin-cloth and head band.

Mind you, he probably got caught on the hop. I mean, it's not every day that a gang of marauding Molemen rush into your gaff while you're in the middle of Grandstand, nick your precious gemstone and run off into the wilderness. Small wonder he didn't have time to put his trousers on.

Anyway, personal tastes aside. Thundercats is a hackety-slash game featuring a suitably (or entirely unsuitably, depending on your viewpoint) fur clad gent who's quite desperate to regain the stone of Thundera, which is the key to his, and all the other Thundercats, power. The bloke who's currently in possession of the jewel is Mumm-ra, who, judging by the tasty digitised picture at the beginning of the game, is an extremely badly wrapped mummy, with quite appalling halitosis.

The race is on - across some fourteen levels of differing landscape, and increasingly repulsive villains. As well as nabbing back the stone, there's a coupla cats to rescue, seemingly the Molemen ran off with one or two of Lion-O's buddies as well. (Don't ask me why they're called Molemen, but there's something very unthreatening about a villain with a long nose and poor eyesight who eats dirt.

All this, however, is more or less irrelevant in the face of the greatest question any hardened games player can ask, that being, "Is it any good?" And the answer, without any doubt whatsoever, is, "No. It's not good, it's absolutely blinkin' marvellous.")

Yes, Thundercats is great. It may well be almost exactly like Hysteria in idea, and very similar to the forthcoming Rastan Saga in the region of loin-cloths, but that doesn't matter a jot. It's still got a certain something about it that lifts it up well above yer average slashety-jab game.

Firstly there's the music. Wonderful, heroic, heavy drum machine sort of stuff. (Rob Hubbard on 128K.) Makes you want to gird up what there is of your loin cloth and get into the breach, so to speak. During the game there's less tune, but I more drum machine. Each time I you kill a baddie there's a sickening thud. Each time you get killed, seven times in a game in all, folks, there's a booming twaaang! and your now lifeless body is hurled across the screen to the accompaniment of a blood-curdling scream. Impressive stuff.

Then there's the graphics, which are superb and in some places, digitized. And that's all down to Gargoyle Games, who undertook the programming of this little licence and turned it into something really special. There's no attribute clash, but loads of colour. The game is filled with it, check out the backgrounds: blocks, boulders, stones and rivers all detailed with relative scrolling. At the top of the screen, whichever level you happen to be on, there's always a picture, the Thundercat's panther-head symbol, a pair of eyes, watching your every move, or a landscape.

You progress through a world in which heavily bandaged individuals have the last say in anything, and things aren't very nice at all. And all you have is a sword, and a good strong, solid running, jumping action to go with it. You move pretty fast, in fact, Carl Lewis with a strong wind behind him would be hard pressed to keep up with you. And because you move so fast, you quite often find yourself pelting headlong into a mole and getting snuffed. There's not much you can do about the baddies, whether they be moles, bats or hunchbacks. Sure you can jump over them or bash 'em with your sword, but should they change direction, or should you swipe just a bit too fast, you're in shtuck. Make contact with a nasty, and you're Mumm-ra's next meal.

Actually, that's the only complaint I have with the game. Perhaps if you didn't belt about the place like a rat up a drain pipe you might live a bit longer, but the baddies don't hang around, so I guess you just got to keep going boy. And going. Trying not to fall in the ponds, because you can't swim (what is it about these guys? You'd have thought even you most basic superhero could've managed the doggy paddle).

I managed around 3 levels of the game - there are 14. The first person to get through the lot deserves a Smartie, because this is one difficult game. Gargoyle has done a splendiferous job on this one, and Elite has surely got a major hit of its hand.

Label: Elite
Author: Gargoyle
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard


Overall10/10
Summary: Marvellous graphics, brill sound and fiendish gameplay, Thundercats is "just one more go" with a vengeance.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 92, November 1989   page(s) 77

Thundercats are go! And so is Elite's budget label ENCORE, which will be releasing all the greatest oldies that you missed the first time around, because you'd spent all your pocket money on fabbo games like Night Rider, Eastenders and the like. Well, you can stop feeling sorry for yourselves and hippety hop for joy 'cos you can now get the old masters at a fraction of their original price! We're not talking a few million quid Van Goch, Rembrandt or Constable oh no siree! We're talking 2.99 for the likes of Paperboy, Ghosts n' Goblins and Thundercats, and the pleasure of knowing that you're loading a great game onto your spectrum... or are you? We're going to review Thundercats for those of you who don't know the game. (Oh come on, there must be one of you) and for those of you who have played it and already know it we're going to remark it and see how it fares against the marks that we give to today's software.

Oh no. Mum-Ra has stolen the Eye of Thundara and only you can can get it back, although to do so you must hack and slash your way through the hordes of Mum-Ra's minions.

Control is a left, right, crouch and sproing affair with the fire button unleashing a mighty swing of your sword which should despatch even the most determined of Mum-Ra's mugging monsters.

Along the way, there are bonuses and such to pick up which you collect by firstly smashing their containers which on the first level are found in trees and look not entirely unlike lavatory bowls. All I can say is that for somewhere as dangerous as Thundara, the birds must be the cleanest you'd ever hope to meet. Anyway, the graphics are still crisp and clean and show a good use of the machine even from all those (two) years ago. And the gameplay? It's simple, it's responsive and most of all, it compliments a really tricky game which relies upon your prowess (Fnarr), and timing.

So if you didn't manage to catch it the first time around then why not earmark a few bob so that you have a complete collection of software. After all, you'll end up paying a budget price for a piece of software that could still compete with some of the full price games on the market now.

Label: Encore
Author:
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter


Graphics81%
Sound68%
Playability85%
Lastability79%
Overall81%
Summary: It was great value at full price so what're you waiting for!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 3, December 1987   page(s) 62,63

Feline fury from Elite.

Puss Boots takes on a whole new meaning this Xmas, as the fruits of Elite's Thundercats tie-up hit the worthy chemists and thousands of other software dealers. Elite are producing three games based on the hit TV series/comic/plastic toy, this first one written by software house Gargoyle.

If the mention of their name puts you in mind of Gargoyle sideways-scrolling games like Marsport or Dun Darach, then the look of Thundercats won't come as a surprise: it's a side-on view scroller with all the graphic flair of old. Don't expect complex arcade adventuring though: that Elite influence has given the game buckets of good honest arcade playability instead.

The Eye of Thundera, source of the Thundercats' power, has been stolen by the evil Mumm-Ra's henchmen and somebody's got to go and get it back - you. As that heroic moggie Lion-o you'll have to fight your way into Mumm-Ra's stronghold, hacking and blasting hordes of nasties and leaping across lethal gaps which block your path.

Each of the game's 14 levels is a straight-line dash from start to finish. Though there are obstacles to leap over and platforms to run across, there's no real choice of route. Just cover the distance within sixty seconds, killing or dodging any nasties you come across, and it's onward to another, tougher level.

You start off armed with a broadsword to fend off the foe. Its a tricky weapon to use: timing is critical, and you'll need to duck while using it to hit opponents below (or shorter than) you. Lion-o stops running to use his sword, giving any pursuing nasties a chance to catch up, so you'll need to work on turn-and-slash moves if you want to live long. You'll also have to keep moving: run out of time, and Mumm-Ra himself will polish you off very quickly indeed.

Tokens along the way can be picked up for extra lives, and also for a change of weapon. Learn which ones do what - some of them can be distinctly unhelpful - and you'll soon be blasting your opponents instead of hacking them. There are vehicles you can use too (if you can find them) to help beat those time limits, not to mention those bad guys.

As well as recovering the Eye itself, you can rescue imprisoned comrades on your mission. The game has three rescue levels, but you only get one shot at each of them - lose a life and you're straight on to the next level, with no second chance for that hefty rescue bonus. To further vary the pace of the game, levels 4 to 7 can be taken in any order you want. Find the right order and you'll make things a great deal easier for yourself, but working that strategy out will take you plenty of time.

The pace of the game never lets up, and its simple short term aim - get to the finishing line before the time runs out - combines with the toughness of the opposition to make it fiendishly addictive. The game demands your full concentration, and gets it too. More than Green Beret. Ghosts and Goblins or anything else in this style, Thundercats goes the distance.

Its graphically impressive too: the animation is stylish and the scrolling impeccable, with digitised backdrops adding enormously to the game atmosphere. The enlarged 128K version uses the extra memory to store further digitised graphics for bonus screens and the like, along with an enhanced soundtrack for Rob Hubbard devotees, but even with only 48K you'll still have a good-looking, compulsively playable game for your money.

Reviewer: Andy Wilton

RELEASE BOX
C64/128, £9.95cs, £14.95dk, Imminent
Spec £7.95cs, Reviewed
Ams, £8.95cs, £14.95dk, Reviewed

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 80/100
1 hour: 85/100
1 day: 90/100
1 week: 85/100
1 month: 60/100
1 year: 30/100


Visual Effects6/7
Audio4/7
IQ Factor1/7
Fun Factor7/7
Ace Rating931/1000
Summary: Playability with legs.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 74, December 1987   page(s) 16,17

MACHINES: Spectrum/C64/128/Amstrad 464/6128
PRICES: £7.95 (Spectrum 48/128), £8.95 (Amstrad), £9.95 (C64), £14.95 (all discs)
VERSIONS TESTED: C64/Amstrad/Spectrum

Thundercats Ho! If you've been disappointed by cartoon characters in the past then you could be in for a big surprise. These cats are definitely cool - and the game is addictive enough to make you purr with pleasure!

Thundercats is a Rygar-like scrolling hack 'n' slash epic. Fast-moving and packed with action, the game grabs you from the moment you load it up. Attractive graphics, nice animation and good sound and gameplay that gets you grabbing the joystick for more, more, more!

The Amstrad and Spectrum versions have been created by none other than the highly-experienced team at Gargoyle Games - and true to form they have come up with a little gem. And the C64 version is pretty neat too!

If you're a fan of the TV cartoon you'll know all about the team of cat-like folk who inhabit a fantasy world and bat the evil Mum-Ra and his nasty henchmen, the Mole Men.

In the game Mum-Ra has stolen the Mystic Eye of Thundera, the last remnant of the Tundercats' once proud planet to Lion-O, the T-Cats main man by the elders.

The jewel gives Lion-O's Sword of Omens all its powers - so you can guess he's pretty mad with Mum-Ra. On top of all that Lion-O's mates, Tygra, Panthro and Wilykit have been imprisoned by old Mum-Ra and Mr L wants to save them as well.

This is the task that confronts you when you've loaded up the game. Easy? You're joking. You're going to have to move fast, be quick on your feet, as agile as a cat and quick on the draw with the mystic sword if you're going to succeed.

There are no less than 14 levels in this game, levels of varying difficulty and packed with different hazards. From the Fertile Plain to the Final Battle you'll have lots to do - and I'm betting you're going to need and infinite lives POKE to see the end of this awesomely challenging game.

Watch out for the Mole Men and other assorted baddies, beware of vanishing bridges and the useful Nosediver - a high-powered jetbike - in the Garden of the Fire Elementals, level four to you!

Enemies come at you from all sides - beware those that chase you. Don't hang about waiting to kill them - keep moving! On the Spectrum version you generally outrun these nasties - but the Amstrad and C64 baddies seem to move faster! Maybe my reactions are slowing down...

Don't forget to collect the extra lives/weapons etc hidden various objects dotted along the way.

You'll recognise these objects when you see them - they are about the only things that aren't behaving in a hostile fashion! They are disguised as shields, vases and even skulls.

You'll need all the extra lives you can get your paws on - so build them up earlier, easier levels in preparation for the horrors to come.

Brilliant graphics, a driving soundtrack by Rob Hubbard and superb action make Thundercats a real winner - and we're not just saying that because we had a tape on the front cover last issue either!

If you like the Arcade games Raston Saga and Rygar then you're going to want to add Thundercats to your collection - all the versions are well wicked. I reckon it could soon collect the same cult following as Ghosts and Goblins - and we can't wait for your maps and tips to start flooding in.


Graphics8/10
Sound8/10
Value9/10
Playability9/10
Award: C+VG Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 97, December 1989   page(s) 100

Encore
Spectrum/C64: £1.99

Thundercats is a horizontally scrolling, hack 'n' slay bonanza as you become Lion-O in a multi-level bash through New Earth, bumping off Mumm-Ra's Mole Men by the score and collecting extra weaponry, points and lives as you go. After every few levels the chance is given to rescue a member of the Thundercats team which, should you be successful, results in a massive points bonus.

What makes a game such as this is action, and Thundercats is laden with the stuff. Baddies attack you almost non-stop, and it's important to be on your toes at all times if you want to stay in one piece. Although mostly monochromatic, colour is used when it will not interfere with the gameplay, livening up on-screen presentation no end, as do the effective backdrops and neatly animated character sprites. Thundercats is a challenging chop 'em up.


Overall85%
Summary: Cheap and cheerful arcade fun of the first order.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 2, December 1987   page(s) 73

Spectrum 48/128/+3 Cassette: £7.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad Cassette: £8.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64 Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Atari ST Diskette: £14.95

NOT TO BE TAKEN LION DOWN

For several years Gargoyle Games have enjoyed a string of successes such as Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach, most notably on the Spectrum and Amstrad, although with their FTL label, Shockway Rider made its mark with Commodore 64 owners as well. More recently, Gargoyle Games has concentrated on game development - they did Scooby Doo for Elite - and it was this expertise, as well as the physical proximity of both companies, that Elite called upon when they asked Gargoyle to program ThUndercats, licensed from the well-known TV series. Those familiar with Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach may well notice a certain familiarity about the hero of the game, Lion-o...

The third Earth is in turmoil. Agents of evil Mumm-ra have entered the Cats Lair and stolen the Eye Of Thundera - a magic jewel that is the power of the sword of Omens - and captured a few Thundercats while they were about it. Mumm-ra' s agents succeeded in incarcerating Wilykit, Panthro and Tygra but the others managed to escape. The Eye Of Thundera was given to Lion-O for his safe-keeping, and he now vows to return it to its rightful place. To do this he must journey to castle Plun-dar and retrieve it, or die in the attempt.

There are 14 levels to fight through in Thundercats, including the fertile plain, the caves of the Molemen, the hunting plains and eventually the final battle. Each level is a horizontally scrolling hive of action with Lion-o as the central character running, jumping from ledge to ledge and either swinging his sword or firing energy bolts to dispose of the enemy. Hordes of Molemen and other mutated lifeforms attack from all directions; one touch is all it takes to end a life, although extra lives, weapons or transport may be gained by hitting containers which are situated throughout.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Levels three, eight and 13 are rescue missions where lives are not lost, but the player has only one attempt to free his fellow cat before moving on to the following scenario. A time limit operates for each non-rescue level, and should the player go over it Mumm-ra himself enters the fray and Lion-O meets a swift demise, The elemental levels from four to seven (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) are slightly different from the others in that the player is allowed to choose in which order he wishes to enter them.

Thundercats features fast, smooth parallax scrolling which is very effective. The top of screen is decorated with a nicely digitised picture just below which is a slower scrolling atmospheric backdrop (trees or rocks depending on the current location) with the main action taking place below that. Gargoyle Games have worked hard on each version so that Lion-O runs and jumps in a quite realistic way, hair flowing, arms pumping and with a general air of meaning it. Thundercats may not be totally original in its implementation but the attention to detail, gameplay and addictiveness associated with previous Gargoyle games that are all present, make it a great game to play. If your joystick dexterity is up to it, then Third Earth should soon be free and Mumm-ra sent packing.


Overall90%
Summary: The 48K sound is admittedly a bit thin, you need a 128 to appreciate the effects and music. Gargoyle's experience with parallax scrolling on earlier Spectrum games pays dividends, and using colour planes neatly avoids what otherwise would have been a very monochromatic appearance. This is probably the fastest version of what is a highly addictive game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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