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SHORT LIST 16 - January 1998


Sick to the back teeth of Star Wars yet? Us too. Still, this follow-up to the dull and over-rated Dark Forces breathes a bit of life into a long-suffering licence, by giving players what they wanted in the first place - the chance to get their hands on a light sabre and get right down to brass tacks. Charmingly, you can fight the good fight or surrender to the Dark Side of the Force, and the dramatic scale everything's done to finally does the films some kind of justice.

(From LucasArts for PC, 35)



Every game released in the last three years has trumpeted itself as "a return to old-fashioned gameplay", but on this occasion, it's actually true - Overboard is an ultra-simplistic cartoony pirate-ship shoot-'em-up straight outta 1985 or thereabouts. In fact, it's actually slightly too simplistic and repetitive for any long sessions (over 20 minutes at a time, say), but it's such a joy to play a game that doesn't need 50 pages of instructions that you'll probably just let the splashy graphics and cheery Captain Pugwash-style atmosphere carry you along regardless.

(For Playstation from Psygnosis, 40)



It's business as usual for the latest game in this long-running, massively successful series - helicopter, bad guys, missiles, total carnage, next level, end. The slight twist this time is that you get to have a go in a tank and an "attack hovercraft" as well, but for all the difference it makes to the tried-and-tested gameplay, they might has well have given you a pogo stick and a Chopper. They've probably got robots churning out Strike games at EA now, but it's still fun all the same.

(For Playstation from Electronic Arts, 40)



In the increasingly "professional" games biz, it's good to see there's still room for the occasional homely touch of good old-fashioned astonishing incompetence. Thus we see Tetris, a game which can run perfectly on a keyring toy, being screwed up in 1997 by whichever idiot decided that, given a picture which only takes up half the width of the screen, the best thing to do was stick it all on one side, leaving half the screen blank and a chunk of the picture lost down the left-hand border. Nice one.

(For Playstation from JVC, 35)

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