Copyright : Elite Systems Ltd | Reviewed by : hiro
Most people in their 20's know who these guys are. This group of feline-human warriors were one of the massive hits of the 80's with their long running cartoon show (130 episodes!), successful toy range and the usual mass merchandising. They also got themselves a video game released on all the major computer systems of the time.
This game is done in the Mode 1 resolution but actually features more colors than you might expect as the background at the top of the screen seems to have a different palette to the main game area most likely by splitting the screen. Unfortunately the graphics themselves aren't very good with poorly defined sprites and most if not all are just one color with a black outline. It just looks identical to the Spectrum version except the sprites are filled in with color as the CPC doesn't have the Spectrums color attribute problem. Lion-O's sprites and animation lack any of the dynamic style featured in the cartoon (especially in the show's title sequence) and most of the time he looks more like a timid little kitten than the mighty Lord of the ThunderCats. Between certain levels there are what seem to be digitized images of various members of the team which look ok but are strangely textured losing the cartoon feel. The other ThunderCats do not appear in the actual levels at all either. Levels looks bland and empty and are not interesting to look at or interact in. All in all it's very poor stuff.
Bad things first, the in game sound effects are average at best and theres no in-game music, however the title tune is fantastic and worth tracking down a music file of for listening to outside the game. It ain't a rendition of the famous theme tune from the show but it's still a quality piece of old fashioned computer game music that can show the bland soundtracks of the majority of today's games how it's done.
Gameplay And Final Comments
It's a very basic platform slash 'em up that is extremely repetitve, frustrating and dull. For the most part it only scrolls right and occasionally left, no chance of up and down here, which again makes the levels feel uninteresting as theres no opportunity to explore. Theres even a clumsy lil spacecraft thing to pilot in a much later level in a vain attempt to add some variety. It wouldn't be so bad if the game was actually fun to control and if the Sword of Omens had even a fraction of the powers it shows off in the show (the game occasionally has you trading in the Sword for a laser gun just to be more ridiculous), but it just all feels below average and becomes tiresome very quickly. The show had a lot of potential for a great game with its cast of varied characters each with their own special skills and weapons, and it also had some beautiful design work and and a lot of interesting locations across their world that each could have made exciting and fun levels to play. This game is a total wasted opportunity and the only good thing I can really say about the CPC version (apart from the quality music of course) is that the game was pretty much the same on all other versions so it ain't like us CPC owners had to put up with having a lesser conversion. I don't even recommend it to fans of the show (of which I am one if that wasn't yet clear) as it's likely to just annoy you and make you wish for something far, far better. As for the non-fans there are many other better platformers on the CPC to occupy your time with.