To be honest, I was not overly thrilled when I first heard that Elite had signed up the kiddie's cartoon Thundercats for conversion, primarily because there is not a lot you can do with a cartoon concerning 5 cat-like mutants and their battle against an Egyptian mummy. All my suspicions were confirmed with the 8-bit versions were released back in '87. It was indeed quite a drab and boring game.
Before I start moaning, which I inevitably will, I will give you a brief rundown of the plot. Lion-o, Lord of the Thundercats was happily residing on Third Earth, an alien planet, along with his feline buddies, when Mumm-ra, a pretty nasty chap with big muscles covered in bandages, came along and nicked the all-powerful Eye of Thundera, the source of the Thundercat's power (yawn). Lion-o is understandably a bit miffed and sets about, under your control, entering the domain of Mumm-ra to get it back. What all this adds up to is basically Rolling Thunder with cats. Not very promising.
Lion-o runs from left to right across a series of changing backgrounds on his quest for the Eye of Thundera, and is provided with a sword with which to deal with the blood-hungry minions that Mumm-ra sends out to thwart your progress. A quick stab of the fire button will send an enemy to meet its maker by dissolving it in stunning Amiga-vision.
As you make your way across the landscape, you will come across water-filled abysses that must be jumped over to progress. Mis-time your jump and poor 'ol Lion-o takes an early bath, and as cats hate water so much, he loses a life in the process. Lion-o can also lose a life by running into an enemy. The enemies are pretty fiendish, and vary from catmen, both large and small, and, on later levels, falcons and armored wolfmen, who patrol the rocky platforms suspended above the water (particularly level 2). Extra lives are available by hitting pots held in the air with your sword, and more powerful weapons, such as laser gun are also available in this way.
Unlike a lot of Amiga software today, Thundercats makes no effort to look like an Amiga game. It is very similar to the ST version, which was no great shakes anyway. Although the sprites are reasonably well defined, the backdrops are bland, and animation surprisingly poor. The music is nothing to shout about (unless you want to shout "Turn that bloody awful music off!") and is accompanied by rather lackluster in-game FX. The actual game itself is of a very poor quality, consisting of little more than 'run-bash-run-bash' monotony. There may be an initial attraction to get through the first couple of levels, but after that, the consistently uninteresting gameplay will soon have you reaching for the power switch.
Elite have released a couple of right corkers on the Amiga in the shape of Buggy Boy and Ikari Warriors, and both Paperboy and Ghosts 'n' Goblins looks set to be equally impressive. With such a long string of releases in such a short time, there had to be a duff one in there somewhere. And here it is.
As everybody knows, the Thundercats including Lion-o, fled their home planet of Thundera just before it was destroyed, and are traveling the stars in their lone spacecraft in search of a new home. They crashed on the Third Earth only to be threatened by another peril: the Ever-Living Mumm-Ra has kidnapped Tygra, Panthro and Wilykit and stolen the Eye of Thundera, a magical gem set into the hilt of Lion-o's Sword of Omens. Lion-o has to fight his way through 14 horizontally scrolling levels to get them back.
Luckily, the Sword of Omens is still powerful enough to crack enemy skulls and break into supply boxes which hold blaster pistols and extra lives (phew!). A life is lost on contact with a mutant, by falling into one of the pits which lie between platforms, or failing to complete a level within the time limit.
As you approach Mumm-Ra's fortress, Castle Plundar, your aims of cat liberation are realized. Tygra is rescued on completion of level three, Panthro can be saved on level eight, and Wilykit on stage 13. The final level is a showdown between the leaders of good and evil, as you face the mighty Mumm-ra, who stands guard over the jewel. Destroy him, and the Thundercats return to their lair for a relaxing bowl of cream.
The Molemen, agents of the evil Mumm-Ra, have launched an attack on the Cats-Lair and captured all the members of the the Thundercats team. Fortunately, Lion-O was not in the lair when the Molemen struck.
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