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Spin Master

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Released: 1993

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Neo Geo

Publisher: SNK

Developer: Data East

Submitted by: Craig Hawkins

Yo-yos go in and out of fashion as often as they go up and down. I've lost hours to Rocking the Baby, Walking the Dog and contemplating Suicide. The early Nineties wave of fizzy drink promotional spinners set me off. Coke, Fanta and Sprite-branded objects of spinny, tricky awesomeness started my collection. All this shameless padding about sprites and yo-yos serves only to lead me to Spinmaster Johnny – he of the deadly yo-yo skills and massive blond quiff.

As you'd expect of a videogame hero, Johnny's girlfriend has been kidnapped. Speaking from personal experience, I find it improbable that a guy with a terrible hairdo and a passion for yo-yos could ever get a girlfriend, but them's the plot details. His friend Tom is also onboard for some multiplayer fun.

Before Metal Slug arrived on SNK's Neo Geo MVS hardware, SpinMaster was doing screenfuls of comic death and mayhem just fine. It has all the intense action platforming, the winsome pixel art and some less [expletive deleted] bosses. Spin Master proves the yo-yo is mightier than the gun, especially when combined with a pocketful of ninja stars, ice daggers, bombs and guided missiles as back-up measures.

On the introduction screen is the message 'winners don't use drugs'. I'm unsure as to what they're implying here – a serious Speed problem that was plaguing the yo-yo community or something? Nevertheless, the message rings true and it makes no mention of losers using unlimited continues, so I'm sorted.

Upon stage completion Jimmy yells his take on 'yippie-ki-yay'. As the Die Hard fans among us round off the call and response session, the perfect package is thus created. It also betrays Johnny and Tom's cowboy tendencies. This adventure is a companion to the Mega Drive's Dashin' Desperadoes, which partly takes place in the Wild West and focuses on events prior to Johnny and Tom's yo-yo addictions, trips to the deed poll office and how they battled for the hand of she who'd become Mary.

Yep, those two chaps probably have been up Brokeback Mountain, so don't feel too bad if you fail to rescue the girlf in this one. Feel a little bad, though, coz she'll be murdered, and all because you had some map that is important to some evil bloke.