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Revenge of the Mutant Camels

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Released: 1991

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Llamasoft

Developer: Jeff Minter

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

I've played a few of Llamasofts 8 bit games, but they were always a bit too intense for me (Defender not being the love of my life and all that), but I always admired Jeff Minter, he seemed to have a kind of ethos that I went along with (apart from his love of Defender that is), and that’s what drew me to this tripped out shooter.

Two versions of this exist on the Amiga, a 512k and a 1meg one. The 512k version was freely distributed as shareware, and the 1Meg version obtained when the £5 shareware fee was paid to Llamasoft. The two versions are essentially the same – the 1Meg version has more sound samples. An ST version exists as well, but in Jeff’s words, the Amiga version is ‘more chocolaty’. 

Firstly this is a shooter where you can relax. The skill level isn’t insanely difficult, and the movement of your character (a camel of course, or a goat in two player mode) is nice and slow, one might even say graceful, if indeed you’re into that kind of thing…

There are forty-two levels of side scrolling action for camel and goat to trot through, each with a suitably Minter-esque name and theme, (Ollantayambo anyone?). Your camel can be computer assisted by his goatee chum, who either can ride on his back or leap independently around the screen, picking up power ups and helping to fight off a multitude of nightmarish opponents. Power ups are plentiful, ranging from cups of ‘goa-tea’ to rather curious cigarettes which cause your character to slow down…

This game has surreal and downright silly humour in abundance – enemy opponents include chaps on the toilet, ZX Spectrums that fire machine code towards you and even Jeff himself, ably abetted by sheep, ducks and, er,  skiing kangaroos. The action itself is sedately manic, with lots of sampled farmyard noises flying from the speakers when enemies are struck down, and strobing light effects which increase to epileptic inducing states in certain levels.

Insane, surreal, this is Minter letting his hair down.