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SOFTWARE REVIEW: RICK DANGEROUS II BY MICROSTYLE
- The Continuing Story of Jungle Exploits -

Story by Richard Karsmakers
Review by Stefan Posthuma

The story so far: After a great many adventures, our mutant
ninj..er.. heroic explorer ventures deep into an old cave that's
apparently of Aztec origin. It turns out to be more lethal than
he reckoned, but eventually he makes it to another door, really
deep down in the cave complex where the light of day hasn't been
seen for quite a lotta centuries.
So there we pick up the storyline. It is quite dark except for a
small flame in the distance. The camera pans in, and we see a
small figure holding a torch, standing before a door that looks
immensely solid and impenetrable.

Sir Richard 'Rick' Jones had felt uncomfortable in a very
awkward way when he had gone deeper and deeper into this
dangerous, uncharted aztec cave. On top of that, his torch was
also on the verge of going out.
That had made him feel really uncomfortable.
What was he to do once the fire decided to abandon him? He had
to open this enormous door, no matter what or how. If he didn't
succeed, the light would go out, he would never find the exit
again and he would die of starvation, endlessly listening to the
fading echoes of his own cries for help.
If he would succeed in opening the door, something or other
would probably get him killed, too. But at least he had some
kind of a chance this way.
"Like Confucius said," Rick thought aloud, "If you're in a large
pile of warm damp shit, try to get out of it even if you may end
up in another one."
It might not have been Confucius, on second thought.

Rick carefully probed the door much in a way that would have
cause it to slap his face vigorously if only it had been a
female.
Frantically, he tried to decypher the ancient writings on the
ancient door and the archway that supported its iron hinges. It
was of no avail, however. Apart from the odd post-Aztec insult,
he could read none.
"Oh no. Shit," he said, kicking the door much in a way that
would cripple a couple of toes if the kicker wasn't wearing army
boots (unfortunately for Sir Richard 'Rick' Jones, it did for he
wasn't).
He was too much occupied with his own toes for a couple of
seconds to see the door opening slowly, which did not even make
the slightest hint at the tiniest of sounds in spite of its
rusty-looking hinges.
Neither did he notice that, in the split second before the door
started to open, a maggot muttered "Hey pal, that's my text!",
after which its momentary distraction caused it to fly
soundlessly into the solid stone of the old door, ceasing to
exist.

As Rick looked up from his sore toes, he suddenly gazed to where
there used to be a door. Instead of that door, there was now lots
of air which had the tendency of being totally transparent, thus
totally failing to conceal a bright red British Telecom telephone
booth from sight.
It stood in the middle of nothing (at least, it seemed to);
there were no cave walls nor anything else. There was just a bit
of floor there. A bit of floor with the aforementioned telephone
booth on it.
Limping slightly, Rick ventured nearer. An eerie kind of light
was emitted from the telephone booth, and it seemed to draw him
nearer to it in an incessant way.
When standing before it, gazing up and down, Sir Jones felt a
strong desire to open it.
So he did.
When looking into the phone booth, he didn't see anything except
for darkness. This made a strong desire to enter it build up
inside of him.
So he entered it.

At once, the telephone booth door closed in a way it usually
does once you've entered it. Also, just like British Telecom
telephone booth doors usually do when you're trying to get out,
it got stuck.
When beating and kicking the door didn't seem to help, Rick got
to terms with the thought of not being able to get out (you'll
know the feeling if you've ever used a phone booth in Britain).
The inside, however, was now no longer revealed in sheer
darkness. Instead, Rick saw what he considered to be some radio
equipment of the fairly advanced kind.
He fumbled around with a couple of switches and sliders.

Suddenly, much in a way a British Telecom telephone booth door
would after approximately half an hour (but just before the
firemen, police and national guard finally arrive), it opened in
a rather mysterious way.
Rick gazed out into a world he could quite definitely recall
never having laid eyes on before.
He was standing knee-deep in a swamp. At the far horizon, there
was a volcano that smoked in an attempt to tell the world it
wasn't exactly asleep. There were palm trees and several huge
ferns all around him and his little red phone booth.
Rick remembered scenes like this from books about Natural
History. He seemed to have discovered some kind of timetravel-
booth and his fumbling around seemed to have resulted in getting
set back in time approximately 70 million years.
"Oh no. Shit." he mumbled as the true impact of this thought
caught up with him.

A giant Tyrannosaurus rex, that happened to have been hidden
from sight by a couple of huge palm trees before, considered this
the opportune moment to reveal itself.
For a Tyrannosaurus it did seem very strange, but it felt as if
it had been robbed of something it had wanted to say, and it
could have sworn to know that little human from somewhere (be it
from his past, present or future).
For this peculiar feeling that it had never felt before (and
probably never would), it had but one proper reaction.
Therefore, it growled in a menacing way and started to prowl
towards the ridiculous red box and the accompanying little human
that had the nerve to invade his swamp.

Rick did just about the most stupid thing one could possibly do
in such a situation: He tried to get back into the telephone
booth. Its door, as could have been expected, had found ways of
slamming shut and consequently getting jammed, though - much in a
way ordinary British Telecom telephone booth doors would when
sensing that someone wants to make an urgent phone call or, more
generally, whenever it's raining outside.
So he froze. He closed his eyes, opening them quickly again
after finding out that it merely (and unwantedly) resulted in
appearances of the Grim Reaper beckoning towards him from the
inside of his eyelids.
The time that had elapsed during Rick having his eyes closed,
however, had sufficed for someone else to be introduced into the
scene.
Yelling "Matcha! Matcha! Matcha!" and wielding some kind of
barge pole, something that could not be described to be anything
else rather than a caveman distracted the attention of the huge
dinosaur.
It turned around its huge head and growled even more menacingly
than it had growled before. It went for the caveman.
A cavewoman now also appeared on the scene, much to the surprise
of Sir Jones. She had long black hair and wielded a small burning
torch, yelling "Hureka! Hureka! Hureka!" and pointing at it.
The caveman beckoned the cavewoman to throw the torch, yelling
"Tonga hureka! Tonga hureka!"
The cavewoman threw the torch towards the caveman, who caught it
clumsily.
The giant Tyrannosaurus was now getting pretty close to the
caveman, yet slowed down as it seemed to be frightened by the
fire. Its utterly limited brain capabilities lead it to getting
exceedingly confused. It lost interest in what was going on in
quite a complete fashion.
It trudged off in search for prey that would tax his brain less
vigorously.
The cavewoman ran towards the caveman, jumping in his arms.
They both growled and did something that looked very much like
kissing. Then, the caveman whispered: "Tonga aluna Lana."
The cavewoman whispered: "Lana aluna Tonga."
The caveman now looked up and asked: "Zak-zak?"
The cavewoman, turning red, nodded.
They both trudged off to where they had come from.

A sound as if a jar of beans was just unscrewed brought the
spontaneous opening of the red telephone booth's door to Rick's
attention.
He went inside again.
After the door locked itself, he probed it much in the fashion
someone would when getting locked in a British Telecom telephone
booth for the fourteenth time.
It was jammed again.
Outside, some heavy thumping sounds indicated that the
Tyrannosaurus had, some way or another, regained knowledge of
what it set out to attack for in the first place.
Rick quickly fumbled a bit more with the manifold buttons and
sliders, trying to get them back into the same positions he had
found them in when he had discovered the booth.
The heavy thumping sound ceased.
Carefully, much in the way someone would after having been
locked in a British Telecom telephone booth for the fourteenth
time, he opened the door.

"Hey! What the f.ck are you doing in my time machine?!"
Rick looked straight into the agitated face of a middle-aged man
with grey curly hair and a long travel-worn scarf around his
neck.
"Who are you?" Sir Jones ventured.
"Who?" the man cried, "Who!"
He kicked Rick out of the booth.
Totally confused, Sir Jones walked off, directly in front of a
car approaching him at a slightly unhealthy speed. In it, someone
sat with a broad grin on his face, muttering something about
'industrious retaliation'.
The car collided with the jungle explorer annex time traveller,
causing him to get flung against a wall - getting lethally
injured in the process.
Just before dying, Rick muttered: "Oh no. Shit."
He then sighed his last sigh without uttering as much as a.....
well...a....sigh, really.

The car drove on and its driver got shot by a passing cop who
had accidentally witnessed the hit'n'run.
This was the start of a new vendetta that was to continue for
aeons throughout the continuum of time and space, breaking
miscellaneous laws pertaining life and death.
But that, as you'll be happy to know, is another story
altogether.

*****

Rick Dangerous is back!
The original has kept me glued to my joystick for quite a few
hours, trying to negotiate the brave adventurer through many
screens of peril, and now he's bigger, better and badder!
The story starts when London is under attack by Flying Saucers,
of which the mothership has landed in Hyde Park. Rick enters the
ship, and has to find the controls to take over. If he succeeds,
he flies to the planet where the baddies come from, but he crash
lands on the ice planet freezia. Here he has to find a
teleporter to enter the headquarters of the bad guys. But clumsy
as he is, he teleports himself into the midst of the forests of
vegetablia. After surviving these, Rick has to do the final
battle: the atomic mud mines.

Again, the people responsible for this game have achieved a very
playable and enjoyable game. Admitted, it isn't very original,
but who cares if it is fun and playable?
Gameplay has remained the same, you run/jump/crawl through the
screens, shooting baddies or blowing up things with bombs. The
only difference is that you can also 'throw' bombs, so the puzzle
element becomes even greater.
The good thing about this game is that every screen contains a
few puzzles and/or traps. Sometimes it depends on timing, jumping
a moving object at the right time and sometimes it depends on
remembering things. Things just drop from the ceiling, or spikes
appear in walls or ground. The first time you encounter these,
you simply die but the next time you will remember (and be very
angry with yourself if you don't) and jump/crawl or whatever you
have to do to stop getting killed.
There are some funny sounds effects in there, if you kill a
monster, it falls down from the screen, screaming, grunting or
whatever. It sounds a bit simple, but if you see and hear it, it
is very funny. The graphics are clear and effective, and like I
said before the strong things about this game are the playability
and the lasting interest. (or hopeless addiction in some cases)
If you like platform/puzzle games, RDII is for you!

Game rating:

Name: Rick Dangerous II
Company: Micro Style (Core Design)
Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Playability: 9
Hookability: 10
Overall rating: 9
Price: £24.95
Hardware: Colour monitor & joystick required
Remark: Yeah!! Rick's back!

We am sorry to mention that Microprose is no longer sending us
review material. Therefore, reviews of Microprose material have
shrunk to a considerably less quantity (and, therefore, also
reviews of Microstyle, Microstatus, Firebird and Rainbird
software). This is a pity, really, but I guess it's due to the
fact that they've actually read ST NEWS Volume 5 Issue 1 - in
which we, after all, stated that we stopped.
Too bad.
Now we had to buy the game. Lucky enough, this wasn't much of a
shame as Richard liked the game very much and even if he hadn't
then Miranda would have insisted on him doing so anyway.

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.