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Grand Monster Slam (Amiga)

missing cover art
75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Martin Smith (63130)
Written on  :  Jan 09, 2005
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
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Summary

A classy game with a character and originality all of its own

The Good

The basic idea is sound, with a number of different approaches to be taken. The exact placing of where the next Belom will go is an interesting thing to spot, and helps you work out which order to play them to your opponent's side. The way that a succession of Beloms will get placed in front of you to be kicked away when you are behind works well to - it's like an automatic mechanism to help you catch up and keep the games frantic.

The difficulty curve is smooth and practical, especially as you can practice the bonus games from the main menu before they become important, and effectively get one 'continue' allowing you to restart from the last league you reached.

The fantasy setting works extremely well, with interesting profiles created for each character, and noticeably different playing styles and attitudes making for a variety of challenges. The presentation is generally effective, with lots of nice touches showing thoughtful design and a subtle sense of humour.

The Bad

A two-player mode would've been a nice addition - it's the kind of game that's crying out to be played against a friend face-to-face, to invoke a true competitive spirit. A link up cable would have been the ideal way, to ensure that neither player had the theoretical advantage of being at the bottom of the screen and thus 'shooting' upwards.

The exact timing of the 'home run' to win the game is a little imprecise - sometimes you can do them when you don't appear to have all 12 Beloms on your opponent's side, and occasionally one is just returning to you as you run across to take the win.

It can be quite annoying when a succession of shots hit you before you have a change to recover, potentially causing you to lose 5 or 6 shots without reply. This is especially bad as doing this to an opponent (by placing a succession of kicks in exactly the same place) is so difficult - the AI that allows this seems to be a little unrealistic.

The Bottom Line

Out of all the like-sport-but-not-an-actual-sport games on the Amiga, only Speedball 2 can beat this for thrills and spills, and the fairly short playing time keeps the variety coming. The basic idea is simplicity itself, and just the right amount of extra features (such as the wall that's added in the second league, and the Pelmans) and bonus games to ensure that things remain interesting.