GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Five, Part One

Only three series left now, but still plenty of GamesMaster goodness to get through before the end. Another eighteen episodes long series, so I’ll be splitting this into two parts once more. And as is tradition, I’ll be starting with part one first.

Series Four

Airing from the 21st of September 1995 through to the 18th of January 1996. This series was filmed at the production company’s own Hewland International’s TV studio in Brixton. Nothing much has changed between series’ here. Dominick Diamond is still around and the format of the show is pretty much the same… pretty much. There have been a few changes and the show still has the whole gaming challenges, news and features, etc, but things are presented a little differently this time around. Some challenges last the entire length of the show now, instead of just lasting a minute or two. Some of the challenges are also given ‘comedic’ names, names that I’ll be mentioning as I go. There’s a distinct lack of hints & tips from GamesMaster too. Oh, and this series is set in Heaven. From Hell to Heaven, makes sense. But just how did Dominik Diamond ascend into God’s loving bosom? Well, we need to quickly go over the in-universe story and opening of this series.

DOMINIK DIAMOND

So, Dominik actually died within the story of the show. At the start of the fronted Dexter Fletcher series three, it was pointed out that Dominik had perished when the oil rig that series two was set on blew up. That was why DD was in Hell for the last series. However, there’s been a bit of retconning for this series. Dominik Diamond is still dead within the story of the show… But he didn’t die when the oil rig blew up. This series’ intro shows Dominik coming out of a chip shop, tasty deep-fried potato (or kebab) firmly in hand. Then a speeding bus slams him in the face as he walks across the road. DD is rushed to hospital and his life flashes before his eyes as the doctors and nurses do all they can to keep him alive. We get to see ‘flashbacks’ to Dominik Diamond as a baby, a schoolboy and his unfortunate luck with women… then he dies. His spirit leaves his body and is met by God, played by GamesMaster himself (who else?) while DD is assisted by two smashing looking female angels. And so, with that out of the way, let’s crack on with the first episode of series five. Or New GamesMaster Born Again, as it is called.

Episode One

Things get off to an unusual start as there is no ‘first challenge’. Instead, Dominik Diamond introduces a news special, which goes over what to expect from this new and ‘improved’ GamesMaster series. As this series was filmed and aired in 1995 – 96, the next generation of consoles were already hot shit. The 32-bit era is quickly previewed, then a look at the new GamesMaster interwebs site follows. A quick look at some of the latest gadgets we can expect to see through the series is shown. The latest movies play a big part of series five too, as DD covers…and admits to getting free holidays to talk to ‘fit birds’ for exclusive interviews. Finally, of course, there will be game coverage and whole the new 32-bit age is the focus this of series, the 16-bit games still get some love. Then, with all of that out of the way, it’s the first challenge of the first series. But not the usual first challenge from previous series, this one is a celeb challenge.

GamesMaster selects wipEout (PlayStation), the stylised title was like that for a good reason. Anyway, the celebs are the Scottish electronic dance band The Shamen. Gavin Knight and Mr C of the band are the duo going head to head on this one lap race, first to finish wins. Mr C doesn’t do too well and has a few knocks and scrapes as Gavin pulls ahead with a good 4 second lead. But Mr C grabs himself a missile and shoots it up Gavin’s rear, Mr C takes the lead. After a few tricky corners, Gavin regains the lead once more… But not for long. Gavin smashes into a barrier on the last corner and Mr C slips to first place about 3 seconds before the finish line. Mr C is the first person to win a golden joystick on series five… E was goode, E was goode… Sorry. Feature time next as Dominik takes a look at the Mortal Kombat flick ahead of its UK release. Then there’s a new semi-regular feature where a curious CD-ROM of the Week is looked at. This week it’s a rather strange CD-ROM called 101 Love Letters, a program that has thousands of various soppy lines to help you write your own personal love letters.

THE SHAMEN WIN

Dominik then introduces the next very special challenge called Baby Rom. In this one, three players must go up against each other to finish specific tasks. Only there’s a twist as the challengers are aged 1, 2 and 3-years-old. Yes, the game they are playing is aimed at their age group. Andrew (aged 3) is first and he has to pick the odd one out of three different words correctly three times. For example, the first screen and Andrew is given Apple, Acorn and Bull. Bull is the odd one out as it starts with B, taxing stuff. Anyway, Andrew smashes the challenge in just 28 seconds. Jammie (aged 2) has the task of clicking on the correct parts of the body that are called out in the game. She gets off to a sterling start and clicks the head the second it is called out, only she never moves from the head and keeps clicking it despite a different body part being called out, Jammie runs out of time and fails. Then Callum (aged 1) has to select the correct shape and colour from a selection of three. Alas, he spends the entire challenge just rolling around the set, then when DD gets involved to encourage him to play the game, even to the point of bribing him with money. But the little shit just starts crying and he fails. Fucking 1-year-olds! Andrew wins a golden joystick.

DD AND CALLUM

There’s a look at the launch titles for Sony’s PlayStation. Some of the GamesMaster reviewers offer their opinions on titles like Battle Arena Toshinden which scores 88%, while Mortal Kombat 3 and Tekken are just given a quick look, no review or scores. The PlayStation link-up ability is given a bit of love via a look at futuristic, frantic racer wipEout is reviewed and lands a worthy 94%. Smash ’em up driving game Destruction Derby, Assault Rigs and Krazy Ivan are given a quick glance, no reviews. Then Total NBA, Ground Stroke: Advanced Tennis, Project: Horned Owl and Boxer’s Road are all given a preview, along with the arcade version of Tekken 2, which was due to hit the PlayStation the following year in 1996. Dominik then finishes up by interviewing the babies from the last challenge. And that’s it for episode one of series five. As you can see, the format has changed somewhat and things are only going to get more different as the series continues. 

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Two

This episode kicks off with a challenge called Cracking Blokes, it features a couple of fellas who claim to be able to find moves and characters in the latest arcade fighting games. Tekken 2 (Arcade) is the game here and the three blokes in question, Louis, Mo and Saul have to find the best moves in the game. Whoever finds the most bone-crunching moves, according to GamesMaster, wins. What’s a little different about this challenge is that the trio have the entire length of the show to do their thing and we will see how they get on as the episode continues. And with that set up out of the way, it’s news time. A look at an early online gaming service called Wireplay is explored, there’s a GamesMaster exclusive as never before seen footage of high-tec game Speed King from Konami is shown. Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright, a motion-simulation ride based on the movie Aliens is made fun of. Then, it’s back to the Cracking Blokes challenge as some secret moves have already been found. Mo playing as Nina, shows off a combo-arm-breaking move. Saul playing as Paul, performs a leg-grabbing counter move. While Louis as Baek, shows us a powerful axe kick. With more moves to be seen later, Dominik introduces the next challenge. 

GamesMaster selects Alpine Racer (Arcade) for this next one. The contestant has to ski from the top of a white powder run, to the bottom before the time runs out, simple enough stuff. Taking this one on is celeb nineties bird, Jadene Doran. I have no idea who she was either. After some looking around, apparently Jadene was a model/actress (she had a very small part in the 1992 Rutger Hauer flick, Split Second) and she also did a spot of TV presenting too. After some very typical DD flirting, Jadene Doran takes her place at the arcade machine and gets ready to hit the piste. Jadene does a cracking job flying down the slope, managing to weave in and out of the flags which give her an extra second of time, she even does a bit of a jump too. At the halfway point, Jadene has only missed one flag and she’s doing very well indeed… that’s when I noticed, looking at the bottom of the screen that she’s playing on the novice difficulty. Anyway, with only a few seconds left, Jadene misses a few more flags and with the end literally in sight and only 4 seconds on the clock, she can’t afford to miss anymore. The timer runs out, but the momentum of skiing downhill keeps her going and Jadene just about slides to victory and a golden joystick. 

DD AND JARDINE

After all that, it’s time to quickly check in on the Cracking Blokes challenge on Tekken 2 (arcade) once more. Saul discovers a power move using Lei. Louis playing as Nina finds two moves, a painful-looking leg break and a rib crushing double-handed smash. While Mo unleashes Yoshimitsu’s impressive ten-hit combo. Then it’s review time as footie game, Goal Storm (PlayStation) scores a 93%. While Yoshi’s Island (SNES) is given an impressive 94%. New to this series and the review section occasionally includes movies. The Sandra Bullock starring The Net is awarded a reasonable 50% as its questionable technobabble is bought into question. To finish up, it’s back to the Cracking Blokes challenge and the trio pick their favourite three moves for GamesMaster to pass judgement on. Louis goes first and he picks Baek’s three-kick, flying kick combo called Hunting Hawk, Jack 2’s crushing Body Press to Hammer move and Nina’s multi-slap combo. Saul chooses Lei and his leg sweep to spinning roundhouse kick, Pauls’ ten-hot combo (though I counted eleven hits) and Lei’s triple somersault kick. Then to finish, Mo selects King’s leglock/break, King’s (again) five-throw combo and for Mo’s final pick… it’s King (again, again) and his multi-limb breaking Surfboard move. GamesMaster awards the golden joystick to Mo for his many throws and painful bone-breaking move from King.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Three

It is news that starts this episode off. A recap from the Cracking Blokes guys from the previous episode and they have found a hidden character on Tekken 2 (Arcade), with a claim that the character (Bruce) has not even been found in Japan at the time. There’s an exclusive peek at a Sony PlayStation ad campaign called S.A.P.S. A plug for the GamesMaster website is also thrown in too. Then it’s onto the first challenge called Schwiiing. Aside from the Wayne’s World reference, this is a challenge on a golf sim called Smart Golf (Arcade). Players use a real gold club and a real ball, which they hit towards a touch-sensitive screen. When the real ball hits the screen, a virtual ball takes over and depending on how the real ball was hit, the virtual ball reacts. Got that? GamesMaster selects two holes to play on and the challenger has to finish on or under par to win. Taking this one on is record-breaking snooker star, Stephen Hendry. Stephen takes his first swing, an impressive 191 yard whack that lands nicely on the fairway. His second hit clears a water hazard and lands on the green for a possible putt, which he leaves just inches short. But Stephen finishes the hole on par. Hole two next and Stephen hits a whopping 251 yard smasher… But he sends it into the rough. It’s a decent recovery, still landing in the rough, but close to the hole and sets up a doable chip. Getting the ball onto the green at last, but a huge distance away. Stephen has to putt this to win as a miss will send him over par. It’s a very tough uphill putt, which Stephen misses and fails the challenge. 

Feature time now and an interactive movie type game called McKenzie & Co. is looked at. This is a dating kind of thing aimed towards female gamers, no nudity or adult content, just good clean high school fun telling the story of a girl wanting to get a date for the big prom. Riveting stuff indeed. Reviews again and Mortal Kombat 3 (PlayStation) gets a 90% with reviewer, Rik Henderson, boldly claiming that he thinks this will be the last game in the series… About that. Then in keeping with the MK theme, there’s a quick look at the Mortal Kombat Live Tour stage show, yes that was a thing. Plus a peek at the Mortal Kombat kids animated show. You know MK with its overt violence and blood turned into a kids TV show. It’s challenge time once more and GamesMaster picks the previously mentioned Mortal Kombat 3 (PlayStation). Here, the challenge has to win yer standard best of three rounds fight, only the game is set to its hardest difficulty. Taking on this one is Mark who is titled as being the All Formats National Games Champion. Playing as Sub-Zero, Mark takes on the Jax controlled by the game’s AI on the hardest difficulty. Mark wins the first round with ease… And the second one, while ending with a fatality move too. I’m really not sure this was on the hardest difficulty, it looked way, way too easy. In an obviously scripted moment, Dominik decides not to give Mark the golden joystick as it was a very one-sided challenge. Instead, DD adds a new challenge and Mark now has to play again, but blindfolded. This time playing as Sektor going up against Liu Kang. The first round is a lot closer than before and Mark loses, but only by a little. Round two goes to Mark, so it is one round apiece. Just to ensure that Mark definitely can’t see, Dominik asks his Heavenly angel helpers to hold a book in front of his blindfolded eyes as the final round starts. Mark takes a few hits and gets down to the last third of his health… But he does it, he wins the round while blindfolded. An impressive feat for sure.

MK 3 CHALLENGE

Now, I don’t want to take anything away from this challenge. But, Mark did just spam Sektor’s teleporting uppercut and homing missile moves. I’m pretty sure anyone could’ve won that blindfolded as long as they were well versed in those two moves. It’s just far less impressive seeing someone play a game blindfolded when they are just using the same two (almost unavoidable) moves over and over. Anyway, Mark wins himself a golden joystick and that’s it for this episode.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Four

There’s another one of those episode length challenges here which Dominik calls Rozzer Rumble. The game Virtua Cop (Arcade) and taking it on is Martin Mathers. Now, Martian is no stranger To GamesMaster as he appeared in episode eight of series one. He failed his challenge on Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Amiga), but he’s back to take on Virtua Cop. For the challenge, Martin has to finish the entire game, all three levels with just one credit and five lives. Martin adds to the challenge by saying that not only will he win, he will also win with a perfect score of 9,999,999 points too. Cracking on with this Rozzer Rumble challenge, Martin gets off to a great start by blowing away bad guys and using the multiplayer to add to his score. As that continues, it’s news time. The Hyper Score add-on for the SNES and Mega Drive which allows you to upload your score to the interwebs to be displayed on Teletext is looked at. Sega’s Indy 500 (Arcade) racer is previewed. Then there’s a peek at the Earthworm Jim cartoon. It’s the CD-ROM of the Week segment once more and this time, we get to look at Michael Jackson’s World Beer Hunter (PC). This CD-ROM is packed with info on beers from all over the world. Oh and no, it’s not that Micheal Jackson, beer has to be left to mature to enjoy and we all know how that MJ got his enjoyment from a much younger source. There’s a recap on how Martin is doing with his challenge as he faces the first level’s boss, which he finishes off with ease. The stats show that Martin has an accuracy of 44.7% and a 1,474,600 score. Quite a ways off that 9,999,999 maximum score, but he’s getting there. 

VIRTUA COP CHALLENGE 

It’s celebrity challenge time again and there’s an all-female scrap on The King of Fighters ’95 (Neo Geo). It is Donna Air and Vicky Taylor from teen soap Byker Grove who are going up against each other here. Vicky favours King as her character and Donna plays as Mai. It’s a very typical button-mashing and the two lasses are about even, they both get down to a couple of hits/flashing health bars each. But the time runs out Vicky is the winner due to having a tad more health. Round two is a bit more one-sided as Donna smacks Vicky around to win. One round each, so it’s on to the decider. Donna takes the lead and only need a couple more hits to win, but Vicky makes a stunning comeback and both health bars are flashing away, it really goes down to one hit each as the time ticks away. There’s only 5 seconds left on the clock when Donna lands the final blow to win a golden joystick. It’s back to Martin and his Virtua Cop challenge, he’s doing very well as highlights of some of the action we’ve missed are shown. The end of level two stats show that Martin has a 46.3% accuracy and a score of 6,408,800. Impressive indeed. Only one level left and Martin is on target to win a very much deserved golden joystick.

The reviews for this episode are Virtua Fighter Remix (Saturn) which is given an 84%. Ridge Racer-like arcade racer Screamer (PC) gets an 89%. Then finally, smashing car game Destruction Derby (PlayStation) is handed an 80%. Then it’s back to Martin and his Virtua Cop challenge. We join him as he takes on the final boss of the game, making short work of the boss, he unlocks an extra boss fight in the form of an attack helicopter. He needs to finish this one flawlessly to get that perfect score. Dominik comments on how the show is running out of time with only about 1 minute of airtime left and he’s worried they will have to end the show before Martin can finish. But hold on a second, this isn’t live, it’s pre-recorded, so they have as much time as they need. All they have to do is edit the show so Martin can finish. A little bit of faux tension added by Dominik for no reason. Anyway, Martin takes a hit battling the final boss, his only hit in the entire game. That causes him to lose some of his score multiplayer and puts that perfect score challenge into doubt. Martin’s trigger finger is tired and he’s slowing down, but he does take the boss out just as the credits for the show roll (editing!). We have to wait to see if he has got that perfect score, or if that hit he took messed things up. The stat screen shows an accuracy rating of 49.8% but more importantly, the final score is the full 9,999,999 points. Martin Mathers wins the golden joystick as the credits and show ends, without Martin being awarded his prize because they ran out of time… In a pre-recorded show that could have easily been edited to show the end proper.

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Five

No messing around here as it’s straight into the first challenge. GamesMaster selects Destruction Derby (PlayStation) for some car smashing action. The contestant has to survive for as long as possible before their car is destroyed by the AI. Ryan and Roxane are the pair readying themselves to create some twisted metal but first, the news. Sega shows off three new arcade ports coming to their Saturn console. Sega Rally, Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter 2 all get looked at. Then it’s back to the first challenge and Ryan goes first and with the game set on the hardest difficulty, there’s plenty of car crunching action ahead. Going for a cheeky ‘I’ll stick to the edge of the arena to avoid the cars’ type of a tactic, Ryan lasts 53.60 seconds before being stopped dead. Roxane takes up the pad next and she makes the mistake of just driving right into the centre of the arena, where all of the AI cars just pile into her from all sides. Before long, she’s trapped in a swarm of angry drivers and more smashes follow but this actually works to Roxane’s advantage as the sheer number of cars surrounding her works as a barrier and she beats Ryan’s time to win the golden joystick.

Reviews up next and WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (PlayStation) gets a huge 92%. Then Vectorman (Mega Drive) is given an 82%. Time for a celebrity challenge and two stars of farmyard based soap Emmerdale, Stuart Wade and Tonicha Jeronimo are the celebs tacking this one. The two actors played a couple in the soap, so this two-part challenge is created to test their fictional love in this challenge that DD calls Mr & Mrs. As I said, this is a two-part challenge, first up Stuart and Tonicha have to test their on-screen love on Cupid: The Relationship Tester (Arcade) by answering love-based questions about each other. When done, the game will then calculate how compatible the couple are. After the round of questions, it is revealed that this coupe (who are actors and not a real coupe remember) are 75% compatible. Then it’s on to the next part of this Mr & Mrs challenge as the not a real couple have to work together to play Bug! (Saturn). They have just 1 minute to collect fourteen blue gems. As this is a compatible test to see how they work together, Stuart is blindfolded and has to play the game, while Tonicha has to guide him via voice directions.  At the 30 second mark, the duo have nabbed ten gems and not taken a single hit. With only four more to collect and still half the time on the clock, this one is in the bag. With thirteen gems now grabbed, they take a couple of hits and are only one hit away from failure, after a bit of tricky blindfolded jumping, they secure the final gem with 4 seconds left on the clock to win a single golden joystick… for two people?

BUG!

There’s a feature that looks at the Mortal Kombat flick (again), the day before it is released in the UK. Dominik Diamond gets to chat to Christopher Lambert who played Rayden (as it is spelt in the film instead of Raiden, God of thunder in the flick… in Christopher’s hotel bathroom… For some reason. DD then gives Christopher Lambert a challenge to play Mortal Kombat 3 (PlayStation) where the Rayden actor uses the obvious character choice of Shang Tsung (why not Rayden/Raiden?). Anyway, Christopher beats the crap out of Sonya and even tops the bout off with a fatality. I’m pretty sure that was just a very heavily edited clip to make Christopher Lambert look great a the game, cos the shots we do see of him with the controller, it’s quite clear he has no idea what he’s doing. That’s ‘yer lot for this episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Six

Killer Instinct (Arcade) is the game for the first challenge, a challenge Dominik calls King Combo. Rory, David and Galen are the trio fighting it out to win. Only, this is no standard, best of three rounds beat ’em up action, the rules set by GamesMaster are, one bout each against the AI and the player who pulls off the most impressive and biggest combo with the highest amount of connecting hits wins. All three of the challengers pick Orchid as their character of choice, so this is a very even battle. Rory goes first and after a few tires, he manages a forty-one hit combo, a good but beatable effort. David steps up to the game next and he takes the lead with a forty-three hit combo, very, very good… but still beatable. Finally, it’s Galen’s turn and he puts in a smashing forty-six hit combo to win the golden joystick.

KILLER INSTINCT CHALLENGE

Then it’s review round-up as Killer Instinct (SNES) is given a very high 96%. Time for another CD-ROM of the Week and adventure game, Panic in the Park (PC) starring Erika Eleniak is explored. Then it is time to quite literally kick-off with the start of GamesMaster’s (mini) footie championship. But first, a review of some new football games. FIFA Soccer 96 (PC) scores an 86%. Then Actua Soccer (PC) beats its rivals with an impressive 93%. Back to the GamesMaster footie championship and Dean Holdsworth and David Kerslake battle it out on the pitch on Japanese import, Winning Eleven (PlayStation). Both Dean and David smack the ball towards the goal, yet by halftime, the score is 0 – 0. The second half gets underway and after a flub by the goalie leaves the goal wide open, Dean tucks one away with only 17 seconds left of the game. David gets a couple of late chances, but can’t score. Dean Holdsworth goes through to the final round of the championship.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Seven

Dominik gets things started with an event he likes to call Three’s a Crowd. GamesMaster picks Puzzle Bobble (Neo Geo) a nice little puzzle game where you have to match three bubbles of the same colour to make them disappear before they fill up the screen. But that’s not what this one is called Three’s a Crowd, oh no. GamesMaster has thrown in another one of his twists as the challenger has to play three different games on Puzzle Bobble simultaneously on three different consoles, without failing any of them. If they manage to clear all three of the games, then they win a golden joystick. Damon is the fella up for this one and he needs pretty quick reflexes to play and win three separate games at the same time. But before we see that, it’s the news. The Sci-Fi TV channel is looked at before its launch. Virtua Cop 2 (Arcade) gets a cheeky preview. Then there’s a mention of a Battle Arena Toshinden (PlayStation) guide book and a CD with a patch that adds new features. Back to the Three’s a Crowd challenge as Damon cracks on. Going between the three different games, Damon clears a few bubbles away, bearing in mind that he only has 5 seconds on each game before it auto-shoots the current bubble being held, which could seriously mess up this challenge. While busy on game two, game three begins to fill up. Damon quickly rushes over and sorts that mess out. Then both game one and three begin to get close to failing, Damon keeps darting from one game to the other, trying to keep the increasing madness under control. But things get a bit too overwhelming and game one fails, as does the challenge. A very exciting challenge to be honest. 

PUZZLE BOBBLE CHALLENGE

A handful of games get reviewed with Victory Boxing (Saturn) getting an almost knockout 90%. Hexen Heretic II (PC) is given a spellbinding 96%. And finally, World Series Baseball (Saturn) is awarded a 70%. Then it’s on to round two of the GamesMaster footie championship as Phil Babb and Graeme Le Saux play Winning Eleven (PlayStation). You already know how football works by now, two halves, most goals win. After only 12 seconds, Phil Babb tucks one away, then another shortly after, then another. The first half ends 3 – 0 to Phil Babb. The goals keep coming in the second half too as Phil sticks another in the net and the game ends 4 – 0 with Phil Babb going through to the final to face Dean Holdsworth. Before this episode ends, there’s a feature that takes a look at the Waterworld live-action show at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California. Of course, Dominik Diamond had to fly out to California to see the show in action as well as getting a look behind the scenes and talking to those who made the show possible. 

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Eight

After GamesMaster received a letter from someone calling himself The Executioner, who claims he can do every finishing move on any beat ’em up game ever. Of course, GamesMaster couldn’t ignore that boast, so he has devised a challenge where The Executioner must pull off three finishing moves in a row from three randomly selected games. Dominik presents the challenger a bag that contains twelve different beat ’em ups, totalling one hundred and forty-seven possible finishing moves. The Executioner then blindly picks three games at random and he has to do the finishing move for the character that GamesMaster has picked for each of those three games. Got it? Game one is Mortal Kombat 3 (SNES), game two is Primal Rage (3DO) and game three is Killer Instinct (SNES). At this juncture, I’d just like to point out that we the viewer do not see which games have been ‘randomly’ selected. For all we know, this could’ve all been set up in advance and The Executioner already knows what three games and three characters he will have to do the finishing moves with. So all he has to do is remember the finishing moves of three characters… Just saying. Anyway, before this challenge gets underway, news time. The Destruction Derby (PlayStation) ad gets a look at, then Soul Edge (Arcade) is given a quick preview. Games on the Net, a VHS that acts as a guide to the internet and online gaming is also given a look at. Then it’s back to this ‘random’ selection challenge of three finishing moves and first, The Executioner had to play as Kabal on MK 3. Of course he does it and ends the fight with Kabal’s rhino animality finisher. Next up it is Primal Rage, the character is Blizzard and his To-Da-Moon finisher, which is successful. Finally, it’s Orchid on Killer Instinct… which The Executioner fails, no golden joystick here. Even so, I still call shenanigans on this one.

MK 3 CHALLENGE 2

More reviews again and Endorfun (PC), a puzzle game found to contain subliminal messages, gets just 51%… maybe some of those subliminal messages should’ve been for better reviews? Tekken (PlayStation) is given a whopping 97%. Next up, it’s the final of the GamesMaster footie championship and there’s been a late substitution as the game is changed to Virtua Striker (Arcade). It’s Dean Holdsworth vs Phil Babb to kick it out on the pitch to win a golden joystick. With Dean playing as Italy and Phil as brazil, this is a classic battle of football giants. The game ends with plenty of fouls and freekicks, but no goals, so it is penalties. Dean shoots first and it’s saved. Phil puts his first shot away to go 1 – 0 up. Dean tucks his second away, while Phil misses, it’s 1 – 1 after two penalties each. Dean scores, Phil misses. Dean misses, Phil scores. It’s 2 goals apiece, with just one more penalty to take each. Dean puts the ball in the back of the net, putting all the pressure on Phil, if he misses, Dean wins… And he does. Dean Holdsworth wins GamesMaster’s (mini) footie championship and a golden joystick.

To finish, there’s a feature and DD is in Silicon Valley to check out Magic Edge, a flight sim/dogfighting motion simulator type game where wannabe Mavericks can live out their Top Gun fantasies. After talking to some of the players, Dominik himself gets into a virtual cockpit and tries it out himself. Lasting only a short while before he’s blown out of the skies, bringing this episode to an end.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nine

Is The Net Full Of Cak? is the eloquently titled first challenge and GamesMaster gives two people the length of the show to find five interesting sites on the internet. Whoever finds the best internet sites wins a golden joystick, it is Neil Gary, two internet magazine journos who are taking this one on. A smattering of news first and motion simulator Voyage to Atlantis is looked at. The Silicone View gadget from NEC is previewed, a handheld video player that can show up to 4 whole minutes of sound and video. Just try to imagine that, a handheld device that can play 4 minutes of video! Some up and coming CGI flick called Toy Story is given a preview too. Back to the Is The Net Full Of Cak? challenge and Neil has found the trailer for the Sly Stallone film Judge Dredd, while Gary picks out the NASA space shuttle homepage where you can find all kinds of info on NASA’s work involving space exploration. Riveting stuff. 

INTERNET CHALLENGE

GamesMaster gets the celebrity challenge underway with Sega Rally (Arcade), first to cross the finish line in this 2 lap race wins. British Formula 1 drivers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell are the two going head to head here. Johnny of course had already been on GamesMaster in series two, episode eleven, where he failed on Lotus 3: The Ultimate Challenge (Amiga). Mark gets off to a lightning start and takes the lead, with Johnny trying his best to slip past. There’s a bit of a tussle, but Mark remains in the lead. Then while flying over a few bumps on the track, Johnny takes the lead. As the first lap ends, it’s pretty much neck and neck as the two cross the line. When Johnny Herbert hit the wall a few too many times, Mark Blundell slips through on the inside to go into first place… for about 3 seconds as Johnny soon regains the lead. It’s actually a very close race as Mark is right up Johnny’s jacksie for the remainder of the last lap. But it is Johnny Herbert who crosses the line first just one-tenth of a second ahead of Mark Blundell. Johnny Herbert wins the golden joystick. Dominik mistakenly says that Johnny has won the second golden joystick, when he actually failed the first time in series two. Quickly back over to the Is The Net Full Of Cak? challenge and Gary as shows off the official website of The Shamen and some of their music video clips. Neil digs up the LucasArts site and some of the free demos they had available for their games. 

Time for some reviews now and Earthworm Jim 2 (Mega Drive) scores a pretty huge 94%. Rayman (Saturn) is awarded a very generous 93%. Then Power Serve 3D Tennis (PlayStation) receives a 76%. A sneaky feature and Dominik Diamond is in Seattle for the World Doom Championships. Out of fifty thousand entrants, only twenty-four remain and DD gets to chat with two British contestants, Andre and David, while some Doom (PC) deathmatch action is shown. Andre does well and wins his game, but Davis is not quite so happy as his match is stopped due to technical difficulties. When the issue is sorted, David loses the game and his temper. He was winning the game when it was discovered there was no sound for either player and so, the game was restarted. Now, both players had the same issue of no sound so neither of them had an advantage. Then when the game was restarted, David lost, which he obviously was not too happy about. Then, Andre is knocked out in the next round and the British hope of winning the World Doom Champion ends. Dominik can’t be arsed to stick around so he declares the winner of the contest as being ‘some American bloke’.

DOOM CHAMP

Then it’s back to the ‘gripping’ finale of the Is The Net Full Of Cak? challenge and adding on to his Judge Dread and LucasArts discoveries, Neil also offers up the Kylie Minogue official site, a fan-made football site and a Björk music video clip as his top five interwebs discoveries to impress Dominik and GamesMaster. While Gary adds to his previous NASA and The Shamen sites with The X-Files site, the Universal Studios VIP page and the official PlayStation page as his five picks. More impressed with Neil’s selection, he wins the golden joystick in the dullest GamesMaster challenge yet! In fact, this whole episode was a huge damp squib to be honest.

Golden joysticks won – 2


And that is it for part one of series five. There’s more to come, including the now traditional Christmas special in part two.

Total golden joysticks won – 13

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