The Hit Squad
by Mark Harrison, Martyn Hartley, Nigel Fletcher, Paul Scrivin
Code Masters Ltd
Crash Issue 63, Apr 1989   page(s) 83

But it's back to the future for The Hit Squad (70%) from Code Masters. In post-apocalypse 2125, evil Emilio Bocker rules the city of Los Angeles with an iron grip. Something must be done, so you decide to search the city for Booker's hidden lair. But who are you? Well, when the game starts you can choose to be one of four different streetfighters, such as stealthy Stak and 'sexy Xena'! Exploring twelve parts of the city simply involves jumping around platforms, shooting nasties while searching for teleport and weapon disks. But the action is well-portrayed by large, Colourful graphics, while the digitised title picture of the four fighters is particularly impressive.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 41, May 1989   page(s) 50


Chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap, chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap, chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap, BLAM! Nuff of that it's time for another trip to Cheapsville, with Marcus "mothballs-in-the-wallet" Berkmann!

Code Masters
Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

Yes, I know what you're wondering. Not whether it's any good or not, not even whether it's got 'NEW RELEASE' plastered all over the cover as usual (it has), but what Diddy David Darling has to say about his own game. So I quote, "Technically brilliant, ultra-fast, infuriatingly addictive, MEGA blat 'em up! WICKED!"

Nothing like a bit of solid unbiased criticism there - indeed, there's nothing like solid unbiased criticism in the wonderful world of Code Masters. Now - do you want to know what the game's really like?

Actually - and as usual it pains me to say this - it's not bad at all. The Hit Squad is a neat, fast, multi-screen shoot 'em up with colourful, intentionally obtrusive graphics and massive sprites. I say "intentionally obtrusive" because your character often has to walk behind them, which means that you can't see a thing and can be easily harmed by the marauding nasties. The idea is to collect a teleport ticket on the 12 levels which will enable you to get to the next level, while collecting any other goodies that happen to be lying around. It's called The Hit Squad because you have a choice of four people to be, each of whom has different weapons (when they pick up enough weapon tokens). The four are nicely represented by a digitised pic before the game begins.

All very well, and it's a nice variation on a million other games, but sadly it's no more than that. As with most later Code Masters games you're swiftly seduced by splendid graphics - far better thought out and more Spectrummy than, indeed, Rygar - but the gameplay does pall after a while. Still, this game has one enormous advantage over other recent Code Master titles - no pix of the ghastly Darling brothers. If only for that, this game gets my vote.

REVIEW BY: Marcus Berkmann

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 85, Apr 1989   page(s) 18

Label: Codemasters
Author: Binary Design
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Say what you like about Codemasters (we do, we do), they come up with some real rip-snorters sometimes, and this is one of them. In case you're not used to having your rip snorted, let me explain the experience to you; it involves lots of zippy graphics, non-stop action, joystick-pumping excitement, and not spending too much money.

Hit Squad is a fairly standard arcade-adventure with loads of levels and loads of flip screens. Set in a shattered Los Angeles of the year 2125, it follows the adventures of four valiant streetfighters in the their attempt to hunt down and eliminate a criminal warlord. Before starting the game you get to choose which character you play; pouty vixtress Xena, sneaky Stak, brainbox Acce or wiru Zara. The digitised pictures on the title screen look more like Kev, Shaz, Daz and Trace from MacDonald's but there you are.

The backgrounds for the twelve levels are extremely good; ruined tube systems, complex pipeways, broken vending machines, streetlamps, causeways and piles of packing cases overrun by plantlife. Part of the fun is figuring out how to get safely from one side of the screen to the other, avoiding pitfalls and using objects to reach higher and higher.

You have to move fast, too, because the screens are packed with 'orrible monsters; coiling springs, hammers, demons and the like. They come boiling out of air vents, and have to be despatched with a single shot to stop them draining your energy, shown at the top of the screen.

You start off with a simple hand-gun, and by finding W tokens you can upgrade to altogether sexier weapons such as the Wave, Burst and Bozuka. These fire in different directions and with different powers, but all basically allow you to clear out the scummies faster and better.

You also have to find a teleporter token to complete each level. These are often tucked away at the top of the screen, so you have to fight off the baddies as you climb, then find the teleport booth and enter it to be transported to the next level.

The sound effects are find and the animation extremely fast and smooth. What's strange is that each individual level seems to be over very quickly; once you've learned where the telporter and token are located in Level One, for instance, you can complete it in about ten seconds. No doubt later levels get more complex; I eventually got stuck when I failed to find the teleport on one level.

Choosing different characters doesn't make much difference to the way the game plays, so it isn't exactly a "penetrate the criminal warlord's secret hideaway-simulator", but it's so fast and bangy-bangy that you won't have time to worry about all that. Just for once, the little Darlings' wild claims on the package - "technically brilliant, ultra fast, infuriatingly addictive, mega blast-'em-up!" - aren't that far from the truth. But then, they didn't write it. Binary Design did. Teehe.

REVIEW BY: Chris Jenkins

Summary: Fast-moving, well-designed, enjoyable blaster.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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