LEATHERNECK by Richard Karsmakers
Little blobs of red appeared on the khaki of those who fell as
their eyes turned and they hit the dirt. They had been trapped in
a deserted jungle village by a couple of dozen enemy soldiers,
armed to the teeth with M-16s and hand grenades. Many of their
comrades had been blown to pieces before their very eyes and
their bodies were covered with mud, blood, pieces of human flesh
and remains of the local vegetation. There were four all but
desolate men left when they found a bombed hut that could
function for cover. As they tried to catch their breath they
could hear bullets flying low over their heads.
"Bastards," hissed Colonel Stephen McCoy between his teeth. He
was the prototype of the rough U.S. Marine - broad, and supplied
with lots of muscles. The man looked like Rambo, one might
"Quite so, old chap," added Captain Frank Cartland. Cartland was
a typical English officer; if one had to compare him with
someone, one would probably come up with the late David Niven. A
delicate, thin moustache was present in an attempt to ornament
his upper lip. Only the black suit and the cup of tea seemed to
be missing on this man.
John van Dyk and Szu Lon Chan, both ranked Sergeant, kept their
mouths shut as they were busy recharging their weapons. Van Dyk
wasn't the talking kind anyway, being a rather timid Dutchman on
which one could always rely. He had fought at Gung Ho, Teheran,
Amsterdam and the Bay of Pigs; he had always discarded all
promotions - Van Dyk considered himself unsuitable for "a talking
job", as he called being any rank above Sergeant.
Chan never opened his mouth to utter a word except for the
occasional "Aye, sir!"; he still had this phrase left from his
sailor days, and used it whenever a superior addressed him. Chan
was an expert on explosives and detonators, and he could handle
any blade or sword with equal expertise.
The enemy had now ceased fire and was slowly surrounding the
military unit. McCoy knew that, if they wouldn't do something
soon, they wouldn't stand a chance. Their corpses would rot in
this Godforsaken jungle and, which was even worse, their mission
would not be completed.
"I am afraid, Sir," Cartland interrupted McCoy's thoughts, "that
these chaps might go quite out of their minds, Colonel." He had
seen the ever increasing nervousness because of the ever
increasing certainty of death. McCoy signalled Cartland to hush,
but recognized true facts in the Captain's statement.
He evaluated the situation: About two dozen enemy men around
them, heavily armed. Four tired men in an ambush, running out of
ammo. But one could never say they hadn't tried.
"C'mon, let's give 'em hell!" yelled McCoy as he dashed forward,
shooting like wild. His men followed...
Although the package wouldn't exactly imply such, Microdeal's
new game "Leatherneck" has again set standards for games to come.
Faithfully capturing the combat atmosphere (especially by use of
truly excellent sound effects of guns shooting, bombs exploding
and men getting killed), this game really knows how to let people
get hooked. Although we didn't have much time to play the game
(things went wrong with the post and things like that), Frank and
myself have spent more time playing it than we should have
(especially since I start my school exams in just a week's
The graphics are once again superb - probably because Pete Lyon
is the man behind them. The soldiers are very well drawn,
animation is smooth, and all objects in the landscape are very
realistically reproduced (huts, helicopters, canons, and more
like that). The explosions are also very well done (quite
something else as what we used to see in many shoot-'em-ups.
Steve Bak (who programmed the game) on his end also assured fun
to play: Smooth scrolling, animation without but a sign of
flickering and good player control. The music was again done by
David Whittaker (it seems like he's doing about all there is to
do at the moment!) and is up to David's usual standard. The sound
effects (that I already mentioned earlier) are simply great. They
were digitized with "ST Replay" and they sound like the real
thing. I suppose pascifists hate it, but I really like it when my
room is filled with war-like noises (naughty me!) when playing a
war game. Luckily, these sound effects do not interfere too much
with the music.
Whereas Microdeal are not precisely avaricious with sending
review software, they have not yet supplied me with one of their
four-player joystick interfaces - a small device that enables up
to four players to play the game at the same time (all using
joysticks on the same machine!). This is quite handy an addition,
since playing the game is quite difficult with but two players
(with one player only, it's virtually impossible!). Though one
might find too little ammo when playing with three or four
The four-player interface itself is quite revolutionary, and I
am still wondering HOW they do it. But then, I'm not what one
would call a technical genius, so it's probably not useful for me
to give it more than a moment's thought anyway.
For those of you that always liked "Commando" or "Rambo" on the
8-bit machines, and that found "TNT" on the ST a bit of a
letdown, "Leatherneck" is the game you should get. The game works
on color monitors and saves hiscores (jippie!). It's a real
addictive piece of software, so a warning with regard to damage
caused to interhuman relationships might be suitable here.
Author: Steve Bak
Value for Money: 8.5
Overall rating: 9+
Remark: Lousy packaging artwork!!
Note: The 4 player adaptor can be purchased at Microdeal's at
Thanks go to Ms. Tracey Jenkins for her everlasting support and
for also sending "Leatherneck".
P.O. Box 68
Cornwall PL25 4YB
Tel. 0726 68020