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Will you do something for me, chums?

If you get this game in your CD32 bundle, or if you somehow come by a copy in some other way (God forbid that you should actually go out and deliberately buy it), will you do me a favour? Will you IMMEDIATELY take the CD out of its case, make five or six big scratches across the surface with a nail or a Stanley knife, then take a hammer and smash it into lots of little pieces (it'll break easier if you've scratched it, you see), then flush them down the toilet. Or preferably burn them to little twisted melted lumps, then flush them down the toilet. Whatever you do, DON'T be tempted to play it first. Not even once. Because if you do, I'll tell you what'll happen.

First, you'll laugh so hard that your brain will be starved of oxygen and you'll lapse into a coma, but that's alright because medical technology is very advanced these days and they'll probably be able to revive you without too much trouble. After that, though, you'll stick the game in the bottom of your game drawer (NO! BURN IT! BURN IT AND SMASH IT! DESTROY IT! NOW!) and forget about it. Then, one night weeks or months into the future, you'll be out with some of your mates, maybe down the pub or at a party or something.

You'll get a bit drunk. You'll bring a couple of your chums back to your house for a cup of coffee or a last couple of lagers or whatever. Suddenly, in your alcohol-addled state, you'll have a great idea. 'Hey, I've got this really funny game,' you'll slur, 'Get a load of this!' You'll load up Dangerous Streets.

You'll start to play it, as you all giggle in that pathetic, hysterical way. After a minute or two it'll dawn on you that no-one else is laughing any more. Your friends, suddenly sober, will be gaping at your new state-of-the-art games machine with barely-concealed disgust. All at once they'll remember that they have to be up early for work/college/school/washing their hair in the morning, make their excuses and hurriedly leave. They will never speak to you again. They will tell everybody they know. You will be shunned by society. You will lose your job, and probably your home. You will become a sad, lonely alcoholic. Eventually, wasted and withered, lost and unloved, you will die in a cold gutter, of shame. Don't let it happen to you. Just Say No.

I know what you're thinking. You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? I'm not. This game - and I'm not joking - could single-handedly destroy the credibility of the CD32, beyond repair. It's the lead game in the bundle that most people will get their machine in (it's actually called the 'Dangerous Streets Pack', for God's sake), and hence probably the first one they'll play. If they then tackle Oscar and the actually-quite-good-ish-but-none-too-friendly Diggers, they'll probably take the machine straight back to the shop there and then and demand a Mario-pack SNES and two hundred quid back. You're not going to believe how dreadful this is, but I'm going to try to explain it to you.

The first thing that happens when you load up Dangerous Streets is that it gives you some instructions to read through. The first of these instructions tell you how to load the game. Jesus. The rest of the instructions reprise the ones printed in the manual, which is to say they give you not even the most elementary idea whatsoever of how to actually play the game. Which button punches? Which button kicks? Why does the blue button have the same effect as pressing 'down' on the pad, but only half of the time? These, and any other questions you might have about the control of the game, remain unanswered. Then you start playing the game and you realise why. You don't need them.

Pick a character, any character. Walk up to the computer opponent and press the punch button (hit them all, and eventually you'll discover that the yellow one is the one which actually appears to launch any kind of useful attacking move). You'll score a hit, probably. It's important that you try not to be distracted at this point by the spectacularly dismal animation or the eye-wateringly poor backgrounds, as they'll only make you lose concentration and forget which button the 'punch' one was again.

Also, don't go wandering around the room looking for the badly-tuned crackly radio which appears to be broadcasting the sound of someone with really bad laryngitis hacking up a throatful of watery phlegm into a broken microphone from underneath some thick blankets. That's the game sound, that is. (And simply try to ignore the dire 1970s Euro-pop background music.) Fix your attention firmly on the screen, and continue to hit the yellow button. Although there's no visible or audible difference between successful and unsuccessful hits, eventually your opponent will buckle and fall to the floor, seemingly arbitrarily. You have won a round.

Repeat the process once more and you'll have won a bout. Repeat the process again, but this time against a different character (there are eight, and you have to fight them all, including a bout against yourself, as is traditional. Although it's not quite as traditional for your clone to be dressed in exactly the same colours as you and hence completely indistinguishable, but hey, let's not be nitpicky). Try to retain your suspension of disbelief as one of your computer opponents suddenly changes into a solid rectangular block of steel as a defence, or inflicts their 'Hair Gel Attack' on you. Take a moment out to wipe the tears of mirth/disbelief/ embarrassment from your eyes, in case you impair your vision in later years. Decide that now would be a good time to stop playing before you do yourself an injury of some sort, or have an accident in your trousers. Go round to Flair's office. Kill everyone you can see.

UPPERS Get out of here.

DOWNERS Abysmal graphics (they might look alright here, but wait till you see them move), woeful sound, staggeringly bad animation, incomprehensible control, and it tells you the loading instructions after you've loaded it up. I killed my first four opponents on the middle difficulty level simply by hammering the yellow button repeatedly, without even looking at the screen. Oh, and you really ought to get a load of the artwork in the manual as well.

THE BOTTOM LINE CD32 The worst game you're ever likely to see on the CD32. If you've never played International Rugby Challenge, probably the worst game you're ever likely to see in your life. Don't let anyone who owns any other kind of games machine see it, or none of us will ever live it down. Definitely worse than Doofus (4%, AP33), so...


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