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Issue 21, December 1985 - Rambo
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Peter Shaw - no man, no law, no war could stop him. Flown to the far north-west and dropped behind enemy lines. His mission - to discover how well Ocean is coming on with the game based on his troubleshootin' rival, Rambo!
Stallone as Rambo


Rambo is a big game. It covers an area three screens wide by about thirty screens high, though the main play area is contained within the bottom fifteen. As you move to the left and the right, the screen scrolls half a page at a time but as you go up and down, the screen goes with you. You'll be able to see this scrolling technique first in Beach Head II - also converted by the very talented programmers at Platinum Productions.
Each screen is divided into fifteen different sections and each one can contain an object - a tree, a shack or some shrubbery, for example. Using this method, the programmers can save a screen in only fifteen bytes of memory. The scope this gives to Rambo is bigger than Stallone's biceps!
At any one time, there can be sixteen sprites active on the screen and this should be done with very little loss of speed. That spells an awful lot of woodentops you're gonna have to take out in the game before you achieve your objective.
And finally, a feature that the game designers, David Collier and Tony Pomfret, are very excited about is the weaponry selector. Each armament has its own special graphic and distinct flightpath and you can flip through the choices offered by your arsenal at the touch of a button - even while you're engaged with the enemy in a spot of the old killing and maiming!
All hell has broken loose. Ack, ack, ack ... A chopper swoops in low, spitting machine gun fire. Shadoom, shadoom! The enemy bazookas explode just feet from their target. There's swamp to the left and soldiers to the right. The flames, the heat ... the jungle is a blazing furnace, a riot of fire. And in the centre stands one man ... John Rambo.
Just how do you capture that on a computer game, you ask? Well, from what I saw when I went up to Manchester to visit Ocean, I'd say they were doing a darn good job - against all the odds. After all, games based on films haven't so far been acclaimed for their fidelity to the plot, or even the spirit of the originals. Rambo is the exception and there's a very simple reason for that. Rambo, the film, is, after all, just a shoot 'em up. And shoot 'em ups still make some of the most successful Speccy games.
If you haven't seen the film or been following Rambo's exploits, here's a quick run-through of the story so far. John Rambo has been locked away for the crimes he committed while waging his own personal war in Vietnam. Now, as Rambo, the film, starts, he's been offered re-instatement to the army - but

Stallone as Rambo
there's a price. He must agree to go on one more mission.
Rambo must return to 'Nam and take photos of the prisoners of war who still remain, locked up and almost forgotten by the country they fought for. But one thing is made very clear - under no circumstances must he engage the enemy. But how can you tame a man like Rambo? All that pent up fury and frustration inevitably leads him to disobey orders - and in the game, your role as Rambo requires you to do the same!
And so, John Rambo is dropped into the steamy jungles of South-East Asia close to the POW camp where he'd previously been incarcerated until his escape. This is the beginning of your operation as Rambo ...


The Speccy version of Rambo is being converted further north than even Manchester - yes, all of us softy southerners will be amazed to know that such places do indeed exist! The work's being carried out by Platinum Productions, the same team that did such great stuff on the Speccy Dambusters. Of course, at the time of writing they can't guarantee that all the details I gleaned about the game for this preview will make it to the final version - but you can be sure they'll do their darndest to try.
David Anderson is in charge of the operation north of the border, while back in Manchester, chief programmer David Collier and stooge Tony Pomfret share the weighty task of designing Rambo. David, 26, has already designed Roland's Rat Race with 19 year old Tony. They both say that their designs come about after much verbal violence until a happy medium is reached - or one of them conks out. Sounds very much like YS to me!

So, you wanna be Rambo? Well, prepare to go on the rampage. And to help you out, just study our step-by-step - or should that be yomp-by-yomp - guide. And if you can't wait for the game to come out, you can always give it a practice run in the back garden!
Made it! Fly this way and your mission is over. It may not have been strictly to orders but what the heck - you've made a fan of Ronnie Reagan and that sure is a high score!

Wow, so you're still going strong! Now all you have to do is rescue the remaining prisoners locked up in the cell-in-the-hill and take 'em home to mom. But don't expect the sentries to give up until every man jack of 'em is dead.

Prepare for the choppiest chopper ride you'll ever have. Surely, you didn't think you'd be alone up there? You're gonna have to fend off the attacks of another chopper - and this one's from a rival firm!

Way up north of where you started you'll find a helicopter in a clearing - it's your ticket on the cheap chartered flight South- bound. But first you're gonna have to overcome the guards with extreme prejudice - yeah, kill 'em Rambo!

As soon as you're inside the camp, the guards'll make their move. Watch 'em jump out of those huts. It's no use pussy-footin' around now. From here on in, it's a case of if it moves kill it - unless it's one of the prisoners you've got to rescue.

Here's the swamp - and like most swamps it's pretty impenetrable. If the fever don't get you, the mozzies will! It seems that it's been put here so you have to go round via the Buddah but if you think the programmers are handing it to you on a plate - well, you haven't played it yet!
map H
The idea behind the game's so simple even Rambo could understand it. The more violent you are, the more points you score. So, after you've thrown the chopper off your tracks, why not shoot up the shrubbery? - it all adds up to a good score!

Now the enemy's real mad - and they're after you in a big way. It's here in the paddy fields that the attack from the air begins. And as you're on foot, you're gonna have to be quick - and don't go tripping over the vegetation. You either go to hell or get the hell out of there!

Over here you'll find your first prisoner - and the poor devil's bound hand and foot. To save him from further torment, you only have to cut him down. No, not with your machine gun, stoopid.

Right, you've made it up to the barbed wire perimeter fence. Now you're going to have to bring in a bit of brain power to work out which weapon you should use to break through. Your bow and arrow won't be a lot of use, the machine gun'll bring in the guards too soon, so that only leaves the knife. Quick, quiet and very, very effective!

Behind the Buddah idol, you'll find a machine gun - snap it up but don't use it. Why? 'Cos it makes too much noise, and noise attracts soldiers - that's why!

You're dropped into this area by plane. All you have with you is a knife and a bow'n'arrow and they're not much cop for a killing machine. So, you'll find the rest of the equipment you need scattered around the rest of the map.
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