"Love. Love is, one might say, a two way road. If there is
traffic only one direction, it is bound to be rebuilt as a one
way road, and so, there is no real love."
A very, very, very lonely Norwegian computer freak (G.E.A.)
SOFTWARE REVIEW: MONSTER BUSINESS BY ECLIPSE
by Richard Karsmakers
Unfortunately (?) I have to inform you of the fact that no plot
for some kind of introductory novel to this review sprang to
mind. This is largely due to the fact that I've already written
one, and that this particular little story ended up in the
official game documentation.
It was kind of a cutesy background thingy that I would not like
to repeat here.
In "Monster Business" you become Leroy, the fabled "Best Beastie
Buster in Town", who has to rid Tin Town from the Mutant Meanies
of Monster Forest that have invaded a building site, stealing all
tools and other things working men need to get down to business.
You have only one weapon, which which you can blow up Meanies
(in the literal sense of the word!) when they're close enough to
you, at approximately the same height, and when you're standing
on something solid. You just have to try and get close enough to
a Meanie that's roaming the building site, press fire
repetitively and that's all. The monster will let go of any tools
he happens to have stolen (helmets, screwdrivers, buckets,
hamburgers...) and float off. Once it's floating, you can even
jump against it, which will cause it to fly off the screen,
taking all other Meanies with it that it touches.
So here, in short, we have the concept behind "Monster
Business", Eclipse's first real game to be brought out under
their own label name. Marc Rosocha, ex-Thalion programmer and now
manager of his own Eclipse label, did the concept and game design
together with Klaus Peter Plog. Some of you might recall the
latter for having done the concept for the technically hottest ST
game ever, Thalion's "Enchanted Land" that was programmed by
Niclas Thisell (NIC of The Carebears). The "Enchanted Land"
graphics artists, Michael "Mickey" Grohe, also worked together on
"Monster Business", doing all the graphics. The person who did
the "Enchanted Land" background novel and manual, yours truly
(ahem), also did these for "Monster Business" (I will not rate
this for obvious reasons).
The programmer of "Monster Business", however, is none less than
Fabian "Fabiaaaaahn" Hammer, better known as In Flagranti of the
ST NEWS Volume 4 Issue 4 demo and even better known as Oxygene,
member of the rather infamous Lost Boys.
All in all, this should account for quite a brill game, should
Well, we'll see in a moment.
"Monster Business" contains 45 levels. These start out as
screen-sized, but quickly progress to several screens in height.
Each level represents part of the Tin Town building site that has
to be cleared of all Meanies that infest it. The levels consist
of horizontal and diagonal platform that the monsters and Leroy
can walk on. There's nothing to be said about the horizontal
ones, but the diagonal ones are rather unusual.
You can walk up a diagonal platform by keeping the joystick
pressed in the appropriate direction, but forgetting to do this
(or walking the other direction) will result in Leroy sliding
down. This sliding cannot be stopped until he hits a horizontal
surface again - in other words, you'd better make sure there are
no monsters down that diagonal bit when sliding down, whether
accidentally or on purpose. Hitting a monster without it being
blown up (partly of wholly) is lethal!
In the starting menu, the game allows you to select between
three modes of play: One player, two players with one joystick
and two players with two joysticks.
Once you start, you basically have to get rid of all Meanies on
the current level within the time limit. This time limit is quite
OK at the beginning, but as of level 9 it already gets to be
quite short - you really have to get down to some serious blowin'
or you'll not make it in time! Of course, you should try to
collect as many tools as possible during this time. Extra bonus
points, extra jump power and lives (etc.) can be found on the
various levels as well.
There are different monsters. There are birds that can jump
(i.e. fly) greater distances, green apes that just walk around,
mutant birds that lay eggs that explode, rabid apes that use
pressure hammers to move around much quicker than the others,
monsters that spit shots you'd better avoid, and more.
Graphics are good, but not as good as those of "Enchanted Land"
that were, after all, done by the same graphic artist (probably
because I happen to know he visited a Napalm Death concert
between doing the graphics for these two games, and he's a bit of
a soft pop fan). Music is good, too, though quite cliché: One
tends to get tired of the same old twin-tone mode, with diddle-
doddle compositions. None of them cling to mind, but they're just
average. This music, by the way, was made by Laurens Tummers and
John Tonnard (are these Dutch?). I never heard of them before,
but if they improve there's a good future ahead of them.
Joystick control is quite smooth, though it is sometimes very
difficult to start blowing up a monsters immediately after you've
jumped in front of it (in which case you'll often find yourself
dying). Blowing up the monsters is easy - but you have to make
sure that no other monsters are trying to have a go at walking
into you while you're doing it, for it is not possible to blow up
two monsters at a time. Sometimes you have to pump 'em up quickly
and then walk into them, so that they will fly off taking some
others with them (these will then, however, not reveal any tools
or other stuff). You have to blow up a monster completely, for
otherwise it will quite quickly de-inflate itself again and start
doing whatever it was doing before you blew it (hmm).
When playing, you will soon discover that there is no way of
telling when a monster will jump. You will for example find a
monster walking on a platform beneath you. You try to stay away
from it so that it can jump up without it jumping right into you.
Wait. Wait. Then you decide to take a chance and it jumps anyway.
The jump is not triggered by your passing above it - it is a
purely arbitrary thing, that is damn difficult to predict. It
would have been a lot better when the Monsters would stand still
for about a second before they jump up (like in "Bubble Bobble"
and quite a lot of other games). This would have made gameplay
more fair towards the player. Now it is often frustrating.
"Monster Business" is not what I had expected of it. It's not a
bad game at all, but it gets quite difficult quite quickly, and
the fact that the game as such is quite repetitive surely turns
down the number of occasions one would reboot this game to have
another go. I would like to remark that the magazine "Zero" said
the following about it: "Next was 'Monster Business'. Well,
replace 'Monster' with 'Crap' and you know what I thought of it."
In reality, I think the game is between 'crap' and "Magic
Pockets". Not very good. Not bad. Average.
I wrote quite a nasty letter to "Zero" as a reaction to their
'review' of "Monster Business", which was all in all about 5
lines. Next time, Marc, I suppose you'd better save the money you
spend on sending them review software. They obviously don't
Title: Monster Business
Overall rating: 7-
Hardware: Colour monitor and joystick
Remark: Let's hope the next Eclipse game
well be better...
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.