Saturday, May 7, 2022


Publisher:Go! Media Holdings (an imprint of US Gold)
Developer:Probe Entertainment
Time:50 minutes

Cartoons from the '80s aren't something I've seen a lot of. While I grew up with access to Boomerang, which showed a lot of classic cartoons, I can't really remember much of it beyond Looney Tunes. Bravestarr is the kind of cartoon I just never saw anything of or anything like. I think the only such cartoon I've ever seen was Star Trek: The Animated Series and He-Man...and I saw ST years after I was a kid. With this knowledge I cannot imagine that Bravestarr is worth watching.
The story of the series is that Marshall Bravestarr and his sentient alien horse "Thirty/Thirty", defeat various ruffians and villains. I'm sure this, like all other such adaptations, was decided solely upon the potential financial gain the publisher could get for the game. Considering that the title was only released in Europe, I suspect the answer was not a great one. Title music's great though.

Another Amstrad game with a horde of enemies, how original

The game starts up, and it is ass. A & Z go up/jump and down, while walking left or right is confusingly enough, done with the < & > keys. Space shoots. Its somewhat clunky to use but it works. What's more confusing than the controls seems to be the game itself. I get hit and hit and yet I don't die. Whatever's keeping me alive is a mystery. Perhaps this is something I should have known from the show? Eventually I die...but I just get stuck for a moment and then Bravestarr returns. I figure out later that getting hit drains the amount of time I have, Bravestarr is effectively invincible otherwise.

I see...does "nobody" want some money?
Pretty soon I manage to enter a building by pressing A in front of a door. This enters a menu where I can examine a room or talk to someone in it. However, more often than not there's nothing to do here. Why? I don't know. The first person I manage to find wants money and I wasn't even aware I could get money!
Some typical gunslinger enemies, who will stun Bravestarr for quite a while

After dealing with that, what's going on with my character dying becomes pretty clear. Don't know if this is how it happens in the cartoon though. So whenever Bravestarr gets hurt enough he dies, but only for about 12 hours. This is bad in this particular case because he only has a week or so before some horrific event happens. This makes the whole experience feel very ambitious for a title based off a presumably mediocre children's cartoon.

We're definitely not finding fun here
Exploring the entire area, there are three buildings I can enter, only the one with the dude who wants money has anything in it right now. The boundaries of the game are dictated by two invisible walls. How does one advance in the game? Well, I wouldn't have figured this out if I didn't check a LP, but you can interact with a hoverbike on the left side of the game area. Unless there's something in the manual I don't have, this isn't something you could figure out except by accident.

If only there was some way to depict this in a graphical action game
After a brief shoot 'em up section, I arrive at a mine, whereupon I automatically enter a menu. The plot thickens...I guess. This opens another location, where another plot point happens. Basically the game offers the faintest illusion of being open world, there's only one path through the game, but you can go to any location you have unlocked at any time. There's no reason to.

Maybe if I shoot in the same direction as him, he'll think we're on the same side
I have to trade in an item I got from the tied up miners, to pay a dude in a bar to find out where the first boss is. Another side-scrolling level later, and I promptly take him out, and then have to go back to the jail in town. Why I had to do it this way...well, I don't know. After freeing him he gives me the location of the final boss.

Despite having the illusion of a day and night cycle, I don't think there are any differences between the two

The final boss, apparently the "Spirit of Stampede", is actually hard, because by this point you have hours on the clock and the boss is one of those enemies. This is really only hard because of the inflexibility of jumping, you always jump a certain height and in whatever direction you were going when you started jumping. Every shot he fires is the stunning kind, and he doesn't seem to have a pattern.

I'm not sure what this is in the distance, but it isn't good
By the time I actually beat the damn thing I don't feel any kind of satisfaction. Its bizarre. The game up until the ending is basically a joke and then it turns into a really hard game. Probably would be easier if I had restarted the game and kept more time. There were a lot of interesting concepts, but everything was poorly executed. I would have been disappointed if I had bought this back in the day.

A single-fire weapon. The number of shots on-screen seem to be governed by how many power-ups you have, and if you get knocked out/dead they reset. You can however, fire and remove one of the on-screen shots. 2/10

There's a decent attempt at providing variety in enemies, but because the game's approach is to just overwhelm the player with them, its hard to appreciate. 2/10


Despite trying something clever, this is ultimately just walking left and right until something interesting happens. 1/10

Player Agency:
They work, but the controls feel stiff, especially the "realistic" jumping. 3/10

Basically an illusion. 1/10


Very nice-looking, at least stationary. Items that are interactable aren't obvious, and animations aren't great. 3/10

Hey, an actual story for once. I mean, its not complex or really interesting, even I think to those who watched the cartoon. 1/10

A nice theme tune, but mostly blips and bloops. 2/10

That's 15, somehow.

Period reviews were mixed and I can't say I care enough to examine them too closely. What's more interesting is that the game was apparently put on the German BPjS index, which means it was illegal to sell it to minors. The game based off a children's cartoon. That went well.

No comments:

Post a Comment