An arcade adventure with 'Dropzone' graphics and the challenging
perplexities of 'Spellbound'. Could this be the ultimate budget
release? No, but it certainly could have been if S.A. Riding had
remembered to include some sound and Mastertronic had provided some
From what I was able to ascertain from the (inadequate) information
supplied on the cassette inlay, the plot is that an incapacitated
space freighter is out of control and it's up to the Universal Hero,
alias you, to find the parts necessary to mend it and thus save
mankind. Trouble is, the freighter's on another planet and the only
way to reach it is by shuttle. By some incredible coincidence the
shuttle is also in disrepair so you've got to locate the bits to fix
it before going any further. What's more there's a time limit before
the freighter hits the planet and the Hero has a restricted amount
of Oxygen. Phew!
Brilliant is a very apt description of the graphics. The Universal
Hero is himself a superbly drawn little chap with space helmet and
jet-pack, used for propulsion around a vast maze of caves and
planetary landscape, which is very reminiscent of the 'Dropzone'
graphics in design and colouring. 'Useful' artifacts are waiting to
be found at some of the locations, and these may be taken, dropped
or examined by means of a keyboard input. The Hero has a nine object
carrying capacity and all articles he has obtained are displayed in
a box above the main play area. Surprisingly there is absolutely no
sound whatsoever during normal gameplay. A beep signifies when an
object has been taken or dropped and a series of beeps are heard if
you touch something you shouldn't. Other than that, it's golden
At this stage I ought to be telling you about the puzzles the Hero
encounters on his travels, but I'm afraid I've got to admit that the
game has me temporarily baffled. Despite obtaining eight objects and
exploring all of the immediately accessible screens I have come to a
complete standstill. There's a pile of rocks blocking one entrance,
and I've got dynamite and a plunger, but how do I use them? Your
help would be appreciated!! The instructions are completely abysmal.
They don't even mention that starting the game requires pressing 'S'
on the keyboard – an inexcusable oversight.
All in all, UNIVERSAL HERO is a very good game that could have been
truly unbeatable if a little more thought had gone into the
finishing touches. It's a shame that Mastertronic have come so close
to creating a classic and then blown it at the last minute. Maybe
they'll do it next time?