Cycle Knight is a combination of Dungeons & Dragons and Easy Rider that puts you atop a medieval motorcycle on a mission to rescue the queen and her loyal subjects. Up to four players have fuel, ammunition, an old map, and several lillies, frogs and toads-considered tasty by the strange people you'll meet-plus three extra lives, in the form of birth certificates. You'll need those as you pass through 10 tough chambers in the castle.
Even the first chamber is no day under the boardwalk. You must "rescue" clamoring villagers-by running them over with your motorcycle. Then you must get past a serf. Don't run him down, you'll die. Just turn him into a toad with your ion bullets and then run over him.
Attempts at an "Olde English" atmosphere don't help the game. Also, don't be surprised if half your deaths are due to unreasonable cycle response to reasonable joystick movement.
However, Cycle Knight's interesting language simulator lets you 'click on" words with the joystick. For instance, to get a guard's attention, click on GUARD and TALK. Then offer him some toads by moving the pointer to the number indicator and pressing the trigger while moving the joystick up or down. He'll gulp down the toads and belch with delight. Then click on I WISH, PASS and TALK. He'll let you pass. You can talk to Serfs, Guards and Lords, or Wizards who look like members of Z Z Top. Each can he swayed with different gifts-and each is easily insulted.
Cycle Knight has interesting graphics and provides endless random variations. It does indeed have amusing aspects-hut you're likely to be frustrated as well as being amused-GREGG PEARLMAN
$29.95, 48K disk. Artworx Software, 1844 Penfield Road, Penfield, NY
14526. (312) 480-7667.
CIRCLE 196 ON READER SERVICE CARD
BOP 'N WRESTLE
Bop 'N Wrestle is an unintentionally realistic simulation of professional wrestling-displaying clumsy, slow-moving figures in confusing action.
Your joystick-controlled wrestler, Gorgeous Greg, is supposed to have seven series of four movements each. Depending on the situation, pressing the button and moving the stick left could mean to either knee your opponent, clothesline him (smack with your extended forearm), "suplex" (forcefully invite your opponent to lie on the canvas), "reverse suplex" ("flip him up and over like a giant pendulum," says the manual) or elbow drop. Assault techniques also include propeller-spinning your opponent, kicking him in the stomach and stomping his head-all humorously described by the manual.
The main difficulty with Bop 'N Wrestle is simply getting Gorgeous Greg to cooperate with your joystick movements. The angled perspective of the "3-D" screen is misleading, and Gorgeous might just run right past his opponent instead of clobbering him as instructed. You might think that a situation calls for a body slam, only to find yourself simply grabbing your opponent, who will probably hug you back affectionately for a second or two before pinning you.
Your nine opponents include Lord Toff, the most dangerous wrestler alive today, Bad Barney Trouble, who lives to cause pain ("I love to hear them choking-it gives me a real buzz!"), and Molotov Mike, who regularly smashes blocks of ice with his head.-GREGG PEARLMAN
$29.95, 48K disk. Mindscape Inc., 3444 Dundee Road, Northbrook, IL 60062.
CIRCLE 197 ON READER SERVICE CARD
Autoduel caused me to skip meals (and consider skipping work) as I carried microchips and biohazards- determined to make deadlines and not he blown away by the toughest road warriors since Mad Max. While I battled the hordes of cars, motorcycles and killer vans, I was ever mindful that if successful, I might be called to help the FBI exterminate "Mr. Big," the sinister force behind the evil that ensnares the roads of the Northeast Corridor in the 21st century.
Based on Steve Jackson's board game, Car Wars, Autoduel is a great implementation for the home computer. You start as a pedestrian with $2,000. Since success depends on having the biggest guns, you must first make enough money to put a death-mobile on the road. To do this, you can participate in a free "Amateur Night" at an arena, where you battle other amateurs in a stripped-down car. Putting them all out of commission earns you $1,500. If not, you must start from scratch. Since it's easy to die in the arena, you might try the casino in Atlantic City and play poker or blackjack.
Once you have some money you can custom-design your car at the assembly plant. Because of the variety of vehicles you can build, the game has great replay value. But no matter what type of vehicle you build, your enemies have an uncanny ability to attack your weakest point.
As you win battles and deliver packages, your abilities and prestige will grow. You are rated on these as well as driving ability, marksmanship and mechanical skill. The higher your rating, and more lucrative your choice of assignments.
Autoduel isn't perfect. If you have only one drive, be prepared for a great deal of disk-swapping. The graphics and colors don't really take advantage of the Atari's superior abilities, but you'll know what or where things are-JOE FRANCESE
$49.95, 48K disk. Origin Systems, distributed by Electronic Arts, 1820
Gateway Drive, San Mateo, CA 94404. (415) 571-7991.
CIRCLE 198 ON READER SERVICE CARD
ACE OF ACES
Ace of Aces is excellent at giving you the feeling of being in the cockpit of a WWII fighter-bomber. Using joystick or keyboard you switch between front, side and bomb-bay views. Controls critical to flying the plane are located on side panels. Though Ace of Aces doesn't have the scenery graphics of other flight games, it gains points for the feeling of "being there" at the controls.
Scoring depends on how many enemy fighters and bombers, U-boats and trains you destroy. As you try to outposition and gun down the enemy, check on damage and adjust controls, you must switch between views of the engines and the forward, fighting view. This is an integral part of the game. World War II pilots didn't have heads-up displays, so neither do we. Warning bells sound when your plane sustains damage. To ignore warnings and the condition of your engines is to invite death in a ball of fire.
At the title screen, press the fire button for your briefing. Move the commander's pointer to choose a mission-dogfighting, bombing trains or U-boat bases, or shooting down bombers or V-1 rockets. Then select either mission or practice status. Once airborne, consult your map and head for the target. Before long you'll be attacked by an enemy fighter-either shoot him down or evade him. I highly recommend dogfighting practice.
Upon reaching your target, you'll have an arsenal of heavy bombs to drop. In attacking the U-boat base, speed is essential, because the subs start to submerge when they become aware of your attack. After unloading your bombs, the number of fighters challenging you will increase. Completing a mission is a real accomplishment.-JOHN MANOR
$29.95, 48K disk. Accolade, 20813 Stevens Creek Blvd. Cupertino, CA
95014. (408) 446-5757.
CIRCLE 199 ON READER SERVICE CARD