Game Review: More Adventures of Big Mac – The Mad Maintenance Man (Commodore 16 and Plus/4, Mastertronic)

More Adventures of Big Mac - The Mad Maintenance Man, Commodore 16 and Plus/4, Mastertronic - 2C0057
  • 8/10
    Score - 8/10
8/10

Summary

 

This version of More Adventures of Big Mac – The Mad Maintenance Man is an improvement on the Commodore 64 version in every way.  The graphics make some excellent use of the colour palette on offer with a pseudo-3D effect on the blocks, the sound is reasonable enough, and all the addictive one more go gameplay is still there in abundance.  Being able to skip to the last level you completed is a positive touch, and allows you to practice later levels before going for a high score challenge.  It is a quality platform game for the Commodore 16 and Plus/4 and one you should own.

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User Review
8.5/10 (1 vote)

The game’s front cover calls this game More Adventures of Big Mac – the Mad Maintenance Man (which I will shorten to Big Mac for rest of the review) which is somewhat confusing.  As per the Commodore 64 version, there were not any previous games featuring the Big Mac character, and even the title screen does not mention the More Adventures part.  In any case, the plot is the same – you are Agent 007 ¾, disguised as code name Big Mac, the maintenance man.  Your mission is to achieve the shut down of the enemy power station by going through fifteen power vaults, three less than the Commodore 64 version.  Not every vault on this version has switches either, you will just need to find the exit on some of them, with the switches introduced a little later.

Make It Mac Tonight

From the moment the title screen shows with a dainty little title theme playing, you can see that the colour palette of the Commodore 16 and Plus/4 is being used well, with plenty of bright colour in the platforms, which look like they have had a pseudo 3D effect placed on them to make them more defined.  Once you press RETURN you can press the function keys for 1 or 2 players using joystick or keyboard – and nice to have that two-player option, even if it is one go at a time.  The first vault starts and nice and easy enough, just get to the lit exit sign whilst dodging the plungers.

The second vault shows the security guns that fire bullets at you.  Timing is everything to avoid the bullets, and on this vault, ensure you jump the deep chasms that you will not be able to fall out of should you fall in.  This is where one of the game improvements comes in handy – rather than wait for the air meter to run out (displayed at the bottom of the screen) you can press the D key for instant death and loss of one of your four lives, which at least gets you back into the game quickly.  Each time you do complete a vault, an extra life up to the maximum of four is gained, which is also a nice touch.

Mac Your Day

As you progress through the vaults, you will see that the exit will not always be shown straight away.  This is because, from the fourth vault onwards, you will need to activate the switches to either turn off enemies, open barriers or show the exit itself.  Thankfully the switches switch off and on much more fluidly, and you normally do not have that awkward jumping mechanic like the Commodore 64 version to jump over the switches.  The timing of the jumping over those bullets though does need care and attention to make sure you are not hit on the way down as you fall on some screens.

You can also in at least one of the vaults take a riskier shortcut to just turn off the switch needed to show the exit, and then exit the vault, so the risk and reward factor comes into play here. And if you lose all your four lives and play again, there is a handy shortcut of being able to press the Y key to skip the levels all the way to the one you previously got to, albeit with a small bonus instead of the much larger one for playing the game normally. This may be useful to help you practice the later levels and then go for a high score run without the level skipping enabled and it is a positive and nice touch that shows some careful thought and consideration for the game player.

Big Mac, Fries to Go

The later vaults really do become more difficult, and require some timing when turning off the switches – in one of the rooms for example this stops the plungers, so if you stop them too low you cannot make the exit.  You will also need to work out in which order to turn off the switches so that you can complete the level before the air meter runs out, so more strategy is involved later. Some of the platforms also collapse if you stand on them too long, so nifty jumping is required to keep them supporting Big Mac.  This also makes the action even more frenetic as you try to get to a safe spot to work out your next move.

Final Thoughts

Big Mac on the Commodore 16 and Plus/4 shows just what the machine can do in the right hands.  The game plays at a good pace, the sound effects are functional and the bright graphics really do draw you in.  The gameplay is fiendishly addictive and having that one more go factor is very present here.  I also like the fact you can at least try out later levels with the skip function to get some practice in, and both the collision detection and response to your joystick movement are both spot on, allowing for some excellent arcade action that is lots of fun.  Well done Tony Kelly!

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You know what we think but why not share your thoughts on this game! Let us know what you think of it in the comments below, or add your own score using the slider in the summary box at the top of the review!

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