Hercules - Slayer Of The Damned
Copyright/Publisher: Gremlin/Cygnus Software, Designed By: Nicholas Mills & John Tometzkt,
Programmed By: John Tometzkt, Graphics By: Norman Illings & Bob Hawker,
Andy Morton, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Fighting Sports, Number Of Players: 1
I hope you're listening, because this is a complex story. As all mythology buffs
out there doubtless know, Hercules ws the son of Zeus, cheif of the Gods. His
mother, however, was not Zeus' wife, but a mere mortal named Alcmene; as a result,
Hera (Zeus' wife) hated Hercules. Clear so far? OK, then...
Apart from trying to poison him with serpents when he was an infant, Hera later
bewitched him and made him kill his own children. When he recovered, he felt so
much remorse that he was ready to do anything to make amends for his sin.
Thus the Gods sent him to the King of Argos, who gave him 12 difficult tasks
to complete: the Labours. The object of the game is to collect these Labours while
fighting off sword-bearing skeletions one at a time.
Hercules can only inflict damage to them when they are standing above a snake
which slithers along the bottom of the screen. When a Labour appears on the screen,
Hercules must hit it to send it flying into his urn. From time to time a spider
will descend to try and steal a Labour from the urn and must be despatched with
a hefty sword-chop to stop it.
Several moves are available to our mythical muscleman: these are graced with such
amazing names as The Mountan Shaker (an overhead blow), Pluto's Messenger (leg sweep)
and The Crasher (head blow). These are accessed in the usual fighting game style
using combinations of directions with or without the fire button.
If Hercules manages to collect all 12 Labours he can take on the mighty Minotaur
(loaded separately). This overgrown moo-cow is armed with a trident and deadly
sharp horns with which he tries to gore Hercules. If this final opponent is
overcome the game is won and a Greek victroy message appears.
So, Hercules has been a naughty boy and is being punished by having to complete
12 very difficult tasks; unfortunately, for me it was punishment enough to have
to play the game.
Maybe it's because I've seen so many of these beat'em ups before that this one
unfortunately did nothing to fire my interest. Graphically it's mediocre, porky
main sprites doing their best to beat the hell out of each other, backed by pleasant
scenery: the grating, repetitive tunes is even less appealing.
Playability is a joke: all it involves is beating the stuffing out of the
skeletons and pick up the 12 icons as they bounce around the screen. I'm afraid
Hercules isn't a game that I would recommend to anyone.
Some good ideas make this a beat'em up with a difference, but after several games
I felt that with more work it could have been so much better. The action is more
repetitive than most other similar games: until the final confrontation,
Hercules has to fight a never-ending army of indistinguishable skeletons in the
It was also a surprise to find that the 12 tasks are reduced to icon-bashing -
a pity, since there's plenty of scopre in the legend for a good arcade adventure.
The soundtrack has a suitably Greek minstrel feel to it, but the thwack
of club connecting with jaw is reminiscent only of a spoon dropping into a tim
mug. Unless you have some kind of psychopathic urge to get as many fighting games
as possible, remember the old reviewers' adage: try before you buy.
Though, it's not the most incredible beat'em up around, Hercules is enjoyable
for a short while. The graphics would be very good if there was any more variety
- unfortunately, the backdrops, icons and sprites are all pretty unimaginative,
and the animation isn't all that clever.
Sonically it's merely ordinary, with a passable tune and some bonk-clang sound
effects - no grunts or screams to liven up the atmosphere. The action doesn't
very overmuch, and all the skeletons behave in the same way - a lot more should
have been made of the legendary figures involved.
It's probably worth checking out if you're a manic fan of the beat'em up;
however, when you look at classics such as IK+, it isn't in the same league.