GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Five, Part Two

Time for part two of series five of this (already taken me around fifteen months… So far) rather big retrospective look at GamesMaster. With some great, celebs and some barely qualifiable celebs too. Plus there’s the, always a highlight, Christmas special to look forwards to as well.

Episode Ten

Gladiators hard? Don’t Make Me Laugh! is the name of this multi-part, episode length challenge. And from the hit TV show Gladiators are the tight spandex wearing Panther and Cobra. First, GamesMaster selects the punch ’em in the face, Victory Boxing (Saturn) as the game. With only one round to prove how ‘hard’ they are… But Panther and Cobra are not going to be punching each other. No, Pushpa and Spyros, two non-celebs have been selected to go up against the highly trained ‘athletes’ to see who is the hardest, the Gladiators, or the everyday folk. But guess what? News first. Nintendo’s N64 console is given a little preview ahead of its Japanese reveal, along with some of the launch titles. On-rails shooter, Time Crisis (Arcade) is given a quick look at. Then there’s a bit on legendary filmmaker and game-fan, Steven Spielberg launching online gaming platform, Starbright World. Starbright was designed specifically for serious/terminally ill children to connect and play with other similar children around the world. Then it’s back to the Gladiators hard? Don’t Make Me Laugh! challenge and first, Panther is taking on Pushpa in this single round boxing match. Pushpa wastes no time and knocks Panther down in just 14 seconds, and again in around 1 minute later. With two knockdowns in one round, Panther is in danger of losing due to a TKO… And she does too. Even though Pushpa put Panther on her posterior, there is not golden joystick to award as this is a multi-part challenge with more to come as the episode continues.

So, on to the reviews and isometric shooter Viewpoint (PlayStation) gets a very decent 89%. Pointless beat ’em up Golden Axe: The Duel (Saturn) gets a way too generous 80%. And finally, the action-adventure game Alien Odyssey (PC) manages a 69%. There’s another CD-ROM of the Week segment and Sci-Fi Movie Machine (PC) where you can ‘create’ your very own sci-fi ‘movies’ is explored. Feature time and Dominik is on holiday presenting from Los Angeles. This time he’s looking behind the scenes of Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (Multi-format). Taking a look around the bar set during a filming break, DD talks to Biff Tannen and Luke Skywalker.

DOM AND BIFF

Then it’s back to the Gladiators hard? Don’t Make Me Laugh! challenge once more and GamesMaster has Spyros take on Cobra at WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (PlayStation). This one is a classic best of three rounds bout as Spyros plays as Doink while Cobra favours Yokozuna. The first round is fairly close, but Cobra wins out in the end. Round two and Spyros wins in a fight that could be described as anything but close. One round each, so on to the decider… Which Spyros easily wins. So with Pushpa winning the first game and Spyros the second, that’s a whitewash that (supposedly) proves that the Gladiators aren’t hard, as Pushpa and Spyros win a golden joystick… One between them.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Eleven

No first challenge as it’s straight into the news this time and Nintendo’s N64 console was shown for the first time in Japan. Sega’s Saturn console gets conversions of a few, previously exclusive, PlayStation titles. Then there’s a look at the American TV show Robot Wars ahead of the airing io the UK version. Still no first challenge yet as Dominik Diamond introduces the reviews. The LucasArts point ‘n click adventure game The Dig (PC) is given 88%. Sega Rally Championship (Saturn) is praised for its 40 FPS and awarded a 95%. 3D shooter Warhawk (PlayStation) gets given 79%. After which… There’s a challenge! This one is called Get That Celebrity On The Phone Now! and as you can probably guess, it’s a celebrity challenge. Using cutting edge modem technology, Virtual Pool (PC) is the game chosen. GamesMaster sets up a standard nine-ball game of pool and it is non-celeb Melanie taking on snooker supremo Ronnie O’Sullivan. As this is the first-ever GamesMaster challenge using a modem, Melanie is in the studio… Sorry, Heaven while Ronnie is at his home and the two have to play pool against each other over the interwebs. Melanie breaks and pots the white ball, which Ronnie uses to sink a couple of balls. The two then take it in turns to do some really shit shots, until Ronnie clears the table, leaving just the final nine ball… which he misses. Melanie is left with a somewhat easy pot, which she misses. The missing of the nine ball continues for a while until Ronnie O’Sullivan finally puts it away to win a golden joystick. Some tip-top telephone action there.

DOM AND RONNIE

The feature is an N64 special and takes a look at all thirteen games in development for the just unveiled in Japan, Nintendo 64… which DD keeps calling the Ultra 64 (which was the working name of the machine) despite the fact the images clearly show that it is called the Nintendo 64. Kind of interesting to see some of the games still in development that were different when released, including slightly different names. Like Blastdozer (Blast Corps) and The Legend Of Zelda 64 (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). Dominik keeps calling the N64 ‘the most powerful console’, was it? Actually, I don’t really care. There’s a quick look a the console and of course, the now famed controller. Then there’s a detailed look at Super Mario 64, despite being only 50% complete at the time. And that’s it for this very light on content episode.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twelve

Oi! Bloke In Suit Fancy A Fight? is the name of the first challenge. GamesMaster selects Doom (PC) for this one and three businessmen in suits are pitted against a champion Doom player called Dave, who looks about 7-years-old. A simple deathmatch with the three suits against the pro Doom player. But first… News! Sega’s Virtual On (Arcade) is given a quick look at. The Digital Beastie (PC), an early website where you could create a monster and fight other players is explored. The TV show Space: Above and Beyond is also given a bit of attention… No, I don’t remember it either. Anyway, it’s back to the Oi! Bloke In Suit Fancy A Fight? challenge and David takes on the three suits in deathmatch Doom. Dave wastes no time in grabbing the chaingun and goes in search of his first victim. It doesn’t take too long for Davis to get his first kill (frag) and take the first suit out of the game. There’s a lot of walking around looking for each other, until David finds and kills number two. Then there’s more walking and searching until he finishes off number three. David wins this very dull challenge.

DOOM WIN

Time for a few reviews and Tintin in Tibet (SNES) gets 86%. Virtua Cop (Saturn) is given an impressive 95%. Then Hebereke’s Popoitto (Saturn) is given a puzzling 57%. R ‘n B group E.Y.C. (no idea?) are the celebs for this episode and they have to play a classic bout on Super Bomberman 3 (SNES) is the game of choice. Last man standing wins. the three members of the band Damon Butler, Dave Loeffler and Trey Parker (not South Park Trey Parker) have to try to blow each other up. Trey manages to kill himself in about 4 seconds and goes out. Damon takes out the AI player, leaving just him and David left. Then Damon decides to walk into a dead-end and David traps him with a bomb to win a golden joystick. Then we have a feature looking at the first-ever greenscreen, virtual TV set… which is really boring and ends the episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Thirteen

GamesMaster selects Virtua Fighter 2 (Arcade) as the first challenge and a trio of contestants have to beat as many AI opponents as possible, playing only one round each. Whoever beats the most opponents wins, easy enough but GamesMaster throws a spanner in the works by adding an extra challenge. The challengers have to win their fights without taking a single hit, even so much as a slight tap means they are out. The three fighting for victory here are Hatim, Gordon and Joel. News time again and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Arcade) is looked at. The Keanu Reeves flick Johnny Mnemonic is given a quick glance. Then a concept for a virtual supermarket from Sainsbury’s is explored where people would be able to order their shopping online and have it delivered to their door… As if! Back to the first challenge that Dominik calls Virtually Perfect, with each player using the Akira character and up first is Hatim as DD still insists on calling the game Virtua Fighters. Hatim wins the first round as Gordon steps up to the game and wins his round. So play switches to Joel, who very cleverly wins by knocking his opponent out of the ring. All three make it to the next scrap. Hatim back in control and he wind his round with ease. Gordon next and after getting in the first attack, he’s hit by a four-hit combo and goes out of the challenge. Joel needs to win this round to stay in and he does just that. It’s fight three and Hatim goes first, where he makes very short work and wins the fight in just 7 seconds. The pressure is on Joel now but he also wins with one of his round outs in just 4 seconds, it’s a very even matching between the two. So, it is onto the fourth fight, which Harim wins, though there were a couple of close calls. Joel and boom, another ring out victory. Harim must be feeling the pressure now as he messes up and gets hit, he’s out. However, this doesn’t make Joel the victor yet as he has to win his fight. Ring out? Yup, Joel wins a golden joystick.

Review time and Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn) gets a knockout 95%… Oh and Dominik Diamond actually calls the game Virtua Fighter and not Fighters (plural) for the first time ever. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (SNES) gets another 95%. Then Time Crisis (Arcade) is awarded a 90%. Dominik warms up his best (worst) chat-up lines as it’s celebrity challenge time and one-hit-wonder, Europop singer Whigfield is the lass that has to put up with DD’s leching as Dominik asks Whigfield to marry him. Anyway, GamesMaster has chosen the platformer Yoshi’s Island (SNES) as the game. Whigfield has 2 minutes to collect 32 coins and if she does, she has to marry DD. At the 30 second mark, she’s nabbed 14 coins, at 1 minute she’s grabbed 26 coins. Whigfield is well on the way to having to marry Dominik with only 6 more coins. With plenty of time left on the clock, Whigfield wins the challenge, a golden joystick and gets a husband too.

DOM AND WHIGFEILD

As the GamesMaster wedding is quickly arranged, it’s time for a quick feature. The London Computer Animation Awards is the focus and several of the nominees and winners are looked at and several (for the time) very impressive CGI animations are shown. But then, it’s the event of the episode as Dominik Diamond ‘marries’ Whigfield.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Fourteen

Dominik calls the first challenge PC Impossible and GamesMaster sets the rules. Two celebs have the length of the show to set up and get a game running on a brand new PC. Nowadays, PCs pretty much work out of the box but back then, it was a very different story and setting up a PC to work was the equivalent of working at Mensa. Anyway, the celebrities are Patsy Palmer and Dean Gaffney from London-based soap, EastEnders. This nail-biting challenge gets underway by the opening of the boxes the PCs are in, before removing the manuals, monitor and, wires and so on. Then we are saved from boredom by the reviews. 3D fighter Criticom (PlayStation) is given a still too high 72%. Then futuristic racer Hi-Octane (Saturn) gets itself an 81%. Finally, we get back into the action of the PC Impossible challenge and we are ‘lucky’ enough to be given a replay of the exciting developments of getting a PC set up.

PC CHALLENGE

GamesMaster introduces the next challenge on Duke Nukem 3D (PC) before we all die of boredom due to watching two soap actors set up computers. Three peeps are taking on this challenge and they have to finish a level in the fastest time. Michael, Julian and Sameer are the plucky three trying to race through the level to win a golden joystick. But before the action kicks off, news time. Dominik introduces a competition where you could win a PlayStation or Sega Saturn with games. All you have to do is guess DD’s all-time favourite game to win. I’m guessing Sensible Soccer (Amiga). Anyway, back to the challenge and Michael goes first. He gets off to a blistering start and ignores the bad guys, rushing his way to the end. However, he decides to jump into a laser tripwire bomb and dies after just 39 seconds. Julian goes next… And only lasts 12 seconds before doing what Michael did by jumping into a laser tripwire bomb. Finally, it is Sameer and he’s just watched two people fail miserably, all he has to do is not do what they did. Now, Sameer can take all the time he wants as all he has to do is finish the level, what with the other two blowing themselves up and all. He does it too in 43 seconds, not that the time matters. One golden joystick to Sameer.

So it’s back to the PC Impossible challenge and both PCs have been set up. Now all the celebs have to do is load a game. Both Patsy and Dean are completely flummoxed by installing the game, so we get to watch a feature. Dominik Diamond is in Seattle to take a look at the new and improved Windows 95 operating system from Microsoft… Which is somehow, less interesting than the PC Impossible challenge. Speaking of which, both Patsy and Dean have the game installed, but there’s a memory problem for which they need a boot-disk. Both of them fail, what a waste of time.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Fifteen

It’s the GamesMaster Christmas special. After previous series’ festive episodes with celeb-filled panto challenges, bizarrely beach-themed Christmas specials and more. What madcap fun does the series five X-mas special hold? Nothing, just a compilation of bits from all the series so far. That’s it, nothing much to write about as I already wrote about them when I covered the previous series. Dominik Diamond does a visual penis joke involving a carrot and two sprouts… And that’s about it for this special.

DOM CARROT

There is a look at some of the biggest games released so far through the episode and that’s the only new content that’s not taken from previous episodes that’s not a DD introduction. Nothing much to cover. Next episode please.

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Sixteen

GamesMaster sets up the first part of a multipart challenge, Blokes With Bikes. This one involves the contestants having to use an exercise bike hooked up to a PC, where they have to finish a race. Celeb health-nut type bloke, Mr Motivator is tackling this one but not alone. He is joined by a genuine Harley-Davidson rider, non-celeb Andy (biker name, Gringo). The two have to take it in turns to put in the fastest time on the exercise bike race-thing. News first though and the MindDrive, a device that allows you to control your computer with your thoughts, is shown and demoed. The original Resident Evil (PlayStation) is given an exclusive first look before the answer to DD’s all-time favourite game competition is revealed. Yes, I was right, it was Sensible Soccer (Amiga). Even though I was right, I didn’t win. Turns out that the competition from twenty-six years ago was no longer open… Also, I didn’t actually enter anyway. So it’s back to the Blokes With Bikes challenge. Mr Motivator goes first and while he has a few wobbly moments, goes off the track a couple of times, he finishes with a time of 1 minute and 22 seconds. Andy goes next and also has a few wobbly moments but he puts in a slightly better 1 minute and 20 seconds. The biker beats the health-nut at his own game, it’s not over yet as there’s another part to this challenge coming soon.

DOM BIKER

Reviews next and the John Rambo-esque Lone Soldier (PlayStation) gets a very understandable 60%. Ridge Racer Revolution (PlayStation) is given an 85%. Then Worms (Saturn) scores a 90%. Feature time and Dominik takes a look at the god-awful film, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. So, back to the Blokes With Bikes challenge and this part sees the roles being reversed as the bike-racer Cyber Cycles (Arcade) is the game of choice. No exercising here, just pure bike racing action. The finish time of the race here will be added to the previous time from the exercise bike challenge, with the overall fastest time winning the golden joystick. Going first is Mr Motivator and he rubs the barriers a few times, before crashing… Several times and wasting valuable seconds. The very rough rides ends with a time of 1 minute and 29 seconds. Andy gets in the seat next and he needs to finish in 1 minute and 31 seconds or less to win. Andy crashes very early on, but he soon gets to grips with the handling and begins to put in a decent performance, using the drifting to slide around the corners. Andy finishes with a time of 1 minute and 30 seconds, just about winning by just 1 second. Andy wins a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Seventeen

Blokes On Film is the title of the first challenge and GamesMaster has picked Nickelodeon Director’s Lab (PC) as the game for this episode length challenge. The contestants have to edit together their own mini-movie, which will be shown at the end of the show. GamesMaster will pick the one he found the most entertaining as the winner of the golden joystick. Going head to head on this directing challenge are genuinely funny nineties comedians, Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. As Stewart and Richard take their places at their PCs, it’s news time. First up is an exclusive offer to join an online gaming network, Wireplay for a pre-launch test. There’s a look at the visually impressive Toy Story (Mega Drive). To finish, there’s a look at the Ariel Robotic Competition (whatever that was). A feature now and the Pixar flick Toy Story is previewed ahead of its UK release, plus there’s a few behind the scenes snippets to see how the film was made. The Blokes On Film challenge is really (not) hotting up as we get to see what Stewart and Richard have been up to.

DOM MOVIE CHALLNGE

GamesMaster introduces a proper challenge next with Total NBA 96 (PlayStation). The two challengers, Linton and Lawrence are to play a single 2 minute quarter with whoever has the highest score being the winner. Linton is playing as the Houston Rockets, whole Lawrence favours Orlando Magic. Linton fouls Lawrence early in the game, giving him two free shots, which Lawrence sinks to make the score 2 – 0. Linton soon strikes back and scores, then he steals the ball and scores again. 4 – 2 to Lawrence. Linton steals the ball again and puts another away with only 28 seconds on the clock. Once more, Linton steals the ball and scores, it’s now 8 – 2 and getting more than a bit embarrassing for Lawrence as the quarter ends with Linton the very clear winner. There’s a quick recap to see how the Blokes On Film challenge is going.

Time for a few reviews and horror game D (Saturn) is given 69%. Next, Time Gate: Knight’s Chase (PC) is given an impressive 92%. Finally, mech-based shooter Krazy Ivan (PlayStation) is awarded a 90%. It’s the not very exciting climax of the Blokes On Film challenge as Stewart Lee and Richard Herring’s films are put up for judgement. Stewart’s film revolves around food consumption, which GamesMaster lambasts with a 1/10 score. Richard’s flick offers a bit of a political satire edge, or a satire of satire as he calls it. GamesMaster is a bit more forgiving with this effort and gives it 2/10. Both very poor efforts, but Richard Herring wins the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Eighteen

This is it, the finale of series five, which kicks things off with the news. There’s an exclusive look at some soon to be released games. Killer Instinct 2 (Arcade), Time Crisis (PlayStation), Soul Edge (PlayStation), Fighting Vipers (Arcade) and Manx TT Super Bike (Saturn) are all looked at. Then it’s challenge time and Iron Maiden guitarist, Janick Gers, is the axeman up for the Blokes Who Sweat Rock ‘N Roll series finale contest. The game is Quest for Fame (PC) that uses a guitar peripheral to play the guitar in the game, predating the likes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero by several years. Anyway, Janick has to impress the audience and get at least six people cheering and dancing by the end of the song, which is Aerosmith’s Eat The Rich. Janick’s first attempt is a failure. His second one, he gets four people dancing and now seems to be getting to grips with the game. By the time the song ends, he has everyone up and dancing to win the golden joystick.

GUITAR CHALLENGE

The final reviews of the series next as Assault Rigs (PlayStation) is given a 66%. And X-Men: Children of the Atom (Saturn) gets a bone-crunching 89%. Then GamesMaster sets up the final challenge, Rave Racer (Arcade). This is a simple first to cross the finish line win-type race. The two peeps taking this on are Amar and Cecil. Getting off to a better start, Cecil takes the lead. Amar soon begins to catch up and when Cecil bumps the barrier, Amar manages to slip into the lead. It’s a very close race as Cecil tucks in close behind and he retakes the lead… Only for a few seconds though. Cecil makes a bit of a hash of it and crashes through to a different and slightly longer bit of the track. Sorting himself out and getting back onto the main track, Cecil rejoins just behind Amar. Seriously, this is actually a close and rather exciting race. Cecil really puts his foot down to try can catch up, but Amar crosses the line first to win.

And that is it for GamesMaster and his challenges this series. But before the credits roll, there’s a cheeky little feature. Dominik is in California (again), just on the California/Nevada border. This time he’s taking on the (then) world’s biggest roller coaster, Desperado. This ride was one of the first designed using specialised computer technology too. We get some nice onboard footage as DD rides Desperado and genuinely looks terrified. And that’s it for another series.

DOM ROLLER COASTER

Golden joysticks won – 2


Overall

I think that depending on who you ask, this series is where GamesMaster began to lose its lustre. There was less content all round with fewer challenges per episode, with some of them being downright dull (see the looking for websites challenge from part one or the setting up a PC from this part). Dominik Diamond was slowly evolving from a cheeky but charming host, to a bit of an egotistical prick. I don’t know but to me, DD just seemed to be a bit meaner here and not as charming as he once was. He also came off as more than a little lecherous towards all of the attractive women on the show. There’s flirting, then there’s whatever the fuck Dominik was doing here, he was trying to be too ‘lad culture’ I feel and he just came across as a bit too slimy. Now, I’m not looking back on this quarter of a century-old series and applying modern-day ethics to it. It just feels ‘off’ compared to the previous four series, all of which were older. It’s certainly not the same cheeky Dominik Diamond from previous series, he’s just more lecherous and a bit nasty really. There was a format change that dropped the GamesMaster tips, to make way for content that just wasn’t that interesting really, or a poor excuse for Dominik to go on holiday to provide behind the scenes looks on things that were just not exciting. Plus there was no Christmas special, just a ‘best of’ thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, series five still had some good moments but they were few and far between and series five is rather empty overall. It feels as if the producers just threw it together last minute.

The focus from games began to shift over to other things not game related. Do we really need or want to see the Waterworld live-action show at Universal Studios, a review of the Sandra Bullock flick The Net or Robot Wars on tv? Personally, I’d rather have seen more gaming content on this show that focused on gaming. I mean, this series aired at the end of 1995 and the start of 1996, during the 32-bit generation and the 3D revolution. Sony’s PlayStation and the Saturn from Sega were already out, then the N64 was on its way too, plus there was so much more. It’s not as if there wasn’t a lot of gaming-related stuff to cover, that’s before we get into the still (somewhat) popular 16-bit era before it finally died out. Quite a few episodes felt rather ’empty’ in terms of content with more pointless filler to pad out what little content they had. You know, like Dominik ‘marrying’ Whigfield.

For me, series five was the beginning of the end for GamesMaster. Not a terrible series and to be honest, GamesMaster never had an outright terrible series (no, not even series three). But this was most definitely one of the lesser ones and where GamesMaster began to forcibly try to be a bit too ‘nineties’. GamesMaster was the first-ever video game dedicated show on TV when it first aired. But by 1995-96 when this series was on, there were others doing what GamesMaster did. I think that the producers at GamesMaster felt they needed to diversify to stand out but the truth is they didn’t. There may have been other gaming shows on TV at the time but none of them were as good as GamesMaster was. Anyway, onwards to series six!

GAMESMASTER

Total golden joysticks won – 12

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

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part Two

Continuing from part one, it’s part two of series four of GamesMaster. With more challenges, more news and plenty more near the knuckle humour, thanks to Dominik Diamond. There’s also a special episode at the end of this series. So special in fact, that it had to be shown late at night instead of its usual 6:30 pm slot. But before that, time for some more GamesMaster action and conclude series four.

Episode Ten

GamesMaster picks out the platform game Mickey Mania (Mega Drive) for his first challenge. The game was released for Micky Mouse’s 65th anniversary. With only a 1 minute time limit, the contestants must try to grab as many marbles as they can. Taking this one on is Tyra and Nora. As always, the news interrupts as Roland Emmerich’s Stargate film gets a quick look at as well as a quick mention of the game of the film too. Then there’s a peek at a few Sega 32X games. Virtua Fighter 2 also gets a sneaky look at, even though Dominik keeps annoying calling it Virtua Fighters. Back to the first challenge and Tyra goes first. Missing a few easy jumps, Tyra messes up and dies after just 34 seconds and collecting only thirteen marbles. not a great effort and very easily beatable. Nora next and she only needs to nab fourteen marbles to win, which she does after just 36 seconds to win the golden joystick.

MICKEY MANIA

Review time and Wild West shooter Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters (Mega Drive & Sega CD) gets 75%. Magic Carpet (PC) is given a slightly too high 90%. Finally, Zeewolf (Amiga) is awarded 85%. So, it’s on to the celebrity challenge and the game is Vid Grid (PC)… No, I’ve never heard of it either. It’s a modern spin on one of those sliding puzzle game things, only using music videos instead of static images. GamesMaster chooses the music videos to November Rain by Guns N’ Roses and Give It Away from Red Hot Chili Peppers. So GamesMaster’s music taste is pretty damn awesome. Taking on the challenge is Britpop band Let Loose. The three members of the band, Richie Wermerling, Rob Jeffrey and Lee J. Murray have 2 minutes to unscramble both of the puzzles by working together. Starting with November Rain the boys really make a mess of it and after 50 seconds, they’re no closer to finishing the first puzzle. They do manage to finish it… With only 19 seconds left to sort out Give It Away. Very tricky, but not impossible if they move fast. Honestly, they get pretty close and only need to move four pieces into place… but they’re just not quick enough and time runs out. No golden joystick here and Let Loose are put in the cage as punishment.

As is the norm, it is time for GamesMaster to dish out some video game help. Benefactor (Amiga), Mortal Kombat 2 (SNES & Mega Drive) and Banshee (Amiga) all get assistance. There’s a feature that looks at the ImagiNation Network from Sierra On-Line. A very early online multiplayer, multi-game, social thingy. Then it is final challenge time and GamesMaster picks out Creature Shock (PC), an on-rails FPS. Taking on this one is Mark who has to kill two of the game’s bigger and nastier creatures. Mark takes out the first spider-like monster fairly easily, taking a few hit himself along the way. After being attacked by a bat (not the second main creature), Mark is left with 71% health to take out the second octopus/mantis hybrid. As big and as ugly as this second monster is, it’s no problem for Mark who wins himself a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Eleven

The first challenge of this episode is on PGA Tour Golf III (Mega Drive) and GamesMaster gives the challenger 2 minutes and twelve shots to put the golf ball in the hole. Adil is the challenger stepping up to the tee for this one… After the news. There’s a preview of Ace Driver (Arcade). Early online game service, Sega Channel, is also given a look at, this was a very early subscription service much like Microsoft’s Game Pass of today. Then there’s a look at Girlfriend Terri (PC) a virtual girlfriend type-thing for your computer so you can be a really sad little bastard and ‘talk’ to a model on your PC and try to get her clothes off. Back to the gold course and Adil is not using a standard controller but a peripheral that detects the swing when it breaks a light beam when using a real gold club… So that twelve shot limit will come in handy as the golf club thing is utter shit. Anyway, Adil tees off and his first shot is very poor, low power and he slices it, landing him in the rough. His second shot gets him on the fairway, but still far away from the green. The third shot is better, nice and straight and lands Adil on the fairway once more, he seems to be getting the hang of it now and is just seventy-four yards from the hole. A decent shot here can land him on the green and very close to the hole. Adil follows up with a terrible shot that sends him way into the rough. After another bad shot, Adil is finally on the green, but far away from the hole itself. He’s on for a putt, but a very long one. He takes a few swings at the ball, but they’re all weak and the ball barely trickles toward the hole. Adil runs out of time before shots though and fails this challenge. Still, that gold club peripheral was fucking awful and barely responsive.

Star Wars Arcade (Sega 32X) is reviewed first and it scores a very understandable 85%. Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn) gets given a way too high 96% … And Dominik still, calls it Virtua Fighters, plural. That’s it for reviews as the celebrity takes on the next challenge. GamesMaster picks out Chaos Control (CD-i) for some shooty-shooty action. Given just 45 seconds to score as many points as possible, every day, non-celeb Mark takes on long-forgotten reggae singer C.J. Lewis. Mark goes first and sets a very miserable 2,095 points. Seriously, this guy didn’t shoot anything until the last 5 seconds of the challenge, a very beatable score indeed. So C.J. Lewis takes up the controller next and all he has to do is shoot anything to win. Within the first 10 seconds, C.J. has more than half of Mark’s score, 5 seconds after that and he’s smashed Mark’s ‘high’ score. Despite hitting a few targets that reduce his score (more than once), C.J. Lewis finishes with 3,115 points and wins a golden joystick.

BOOGERMAN

GamesMaster dishes out more morsels of help as Super Stardust (Amiga), Psycho Pinball (Mega Drive) and finally, Earthworm Jim (SNES & Mega Drive) are all helped out. The original PlayStation console is given a preview ahead of its Japanese release and several games are looked at too. So the final challenge is on Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure (Mega Drive) and the challengers are given 45 seconds to score as many points as possible. Taking this one on is Andrew and Ross, going first is Andrew but GamesMaster has thrown in a little twist, the challengers have to wear the Aura Interactor, a wearable force-feedback device so they get to ‘feel’ the game as well as play it. So Andrew kicks things off on this nasal mucus themed game and ends with a score of 2,700. Not bad, but not great and definitely beatable. Ross goes next and only last 15 seconds before dying cos he’s shit. Andrew wins the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Twelve

GamesMaster gets things going with Super Bomberman 2 (SNES) in a simple last man standing thing. It is David, Matthew and Charles playing this one but they’re not playing each other, oh no, GamesMaster as the trio going up against Bomberman himself. Each of the three will play against the titular Bomberman in turn and whoever can beat him will win a golden joystick… If they can beat him that is. But first, the news. A look at some rather strange Japanese exclusive Super Bomberman 2 TV ads, this is followed by a sneaky peek at some up and coming Sega 32X games. Then Man Enough (PC), another virtual girlfriend-dating thing is also shown. Back to the challenge and David is the first to take on Bomberman at his own game. Getting off to a slow start, as Super Bomberman 2 always does, Bomberman nabs himself a few powerups and lobs a bomb over at David to take him out. Next up is Matthew and after that first win, Bomberman’s confidence is sky high and he goes on the attack pretty much from the off. This round is a bit close as both come close to taking each other out a few times, but Bomberman manages to trap Matthew on one of his own bombs and BOOM! No one can beat Bomberman at his own game and not there’s only Charles left to try and win a golden joystick and he fails as Bomberman traps him between a couple of bombs. No one wins. Just a quick question to finish this challenge. How is Bomberman even playing holding the controller like this?…

BOMBERMAN

It’s the game reviews once more and Animaniacs (SNES) gets itself a decent 80%. Sensible World of Soccer (Amiga) scores a very worthy 91%. Then Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Mega Drive) get a still too high 33%. GamesMaster picks out the fighter Fatal Fury Special (SNES) for the celebrity challenge. Taking this one on are two pro wrestlers, Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Del Wilkes. Marcus plays as Big Bear and Del favours Wolfgang Krauser in this classic beat of three rounds. The first round is a bit close, but Del manages to take it. Marcus puts up a decent fight in round two and slams Del into the ground to win. It’s one round each but Marcus wins the final round and the golden joystick.

More desperate gamers seek out help from the GamesMaster. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament (Mage Drive), Bubsy 2 (SNES) and Alone in the Dark (3DO) have their hidden secrets revealed. Yup you’ve guessed it, it’s final challenge time, but first, a feature. Various studios show off their tech demos at the London Graphics Expo. The (then) latest 3D graphics revolution was just emerging and there were plenty of prerendered videos showing off what games wouldn’t be able to realistically do for another two decades. Then a quick look at the fully CGI created TV show Insektors. So, the final challenge is introduced by Dominik… but there isn’t one. Instead, Dominik presents a feature on motion capture technology and Dominik is put into a fighting tech demo.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Thirteen

Wasting no time, GamesMaster selects Twisted: The Game Show (3DO), as the title suggests, it’s a game show in video game form. Taking this on are David and Jason, but not before the news. There’s a look at the rise of PC gaming, a preview of the game based on the seaQuest DSV TV show. Then a PC app that predicts lottery numbers is given a viewing. So back to the first challenge and there are three times mini-challenges, whoever finished all three in the fastest time wins. David goes first and the opening game is one of those annoying sliding puzzle things, which David fails. Jason manages to do his sliding puzzle to win the first round. The next game is the classic Concentration, Memory, Matching Pairs thing, which David also fails. Jason goes next and if he wins, he does it, he wins the golden joystick…  He doesn’t, so it goes down to the final mini-game. This one is a sliding, match the faces kind of thing, which David finished in just 7 seconds. With one round each, Jason goes next and runs out of time, failing the last game. David wins the golden joystick because he won his game in the fastest time of 7 seconds while Jason won his game in 15 seconds.

Cutesy platformer Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel (SNES) gets 81%. Bloodshot (Mega Drive) is given an 80%. While Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (SNES & Mega Drive) is scored a 74% in the reviews. It is Scottish, very square-jawed F1 driver David Coulthard who is the celeb taking on GamesMaster’s next challenge. GamesMaster chooses SuperKarts (PC) and David has just 3 laps to finish in 1st place. Hitting a few of the barriers around the track, David still does well and gets up to 3rd place by the final lap. But after a few more bumps, he drops down to 6th place as the chequered flag waves and he fails the challenge.

DAVID COUTHARD

GamesMaster is back offering his much needed help. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (SNES & Mega Drive), Zeewolf (Amiga) and Power Drive (Mega Drive) are all helped by the big man’s knowledge. Feature time and there’s a look at the new games for the Sega Saturn in Japan. And Dominik still calls Virtual Fighter, Virtual Fighters. Dominik once more introduces the final challenge, and once more, GamesMaster presents a feature instead (who edited the show?). So this time, Dominik takes a look at some early websites. The official Pulp Fiction site, an underground music archive site, the Warner Bros. BBS, The Nightmare Before Christmas site, Star Trek Generations site and even the then new GamesMaster site all get looked at.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Fourteen

It’s Christmas at GamesMaster, so Dominik introduces this very special beach themed episode. Seriously, DD is dressed in nothing more than a towel and sunglasses while enjoying the sun and sipping cocktails… in Hell (this series is set in Hell in case you forgot). So yeah, it’s a beach Christmas special. Anyway, the first challenge is on the Frisbee inspired, beach set Windjammers (Neo Geo) and playing are pop princess Kylie Minogue and former UK Prime Minister John Major. Okay, so they aren’t the real Kylie and John, just *cough* ‘lookalikes’ hired for the beach Christmas special. Still, it’s news time first and Dominik looks at the big Christmas purchases for 1994. Titles such as Donley Kong Country, Rise of the Robots and Street Racer on the SNES are given the spotlight. While Earthworm Jim and Mega Bomberman for the Mega Drive are next. Then DD asks if the Sega 32X is really worth buying (no it’s not). A gaming PC that cost £6000 is looked at… it’s probably worth about £5 today. Then Doom II and Star Wars: X-Wing Collector’s CD-ROM Collection are both given Dominik’s seal of approval. The Japanese imports of Sony’s PlayStation and Sega’s Saturn consoles are looked at too. So back to the first challenge and whoever has the most points when the timer runs out wins the round in this best of three rounds Frisbee battle. John scores the first 2 points, but Kylie hits back and scores 5 points and wins the first round. John comes back fighting in round 2 and scores first with 3 points and another 3 points, Kylie doesn’t stand for any of that and scores 5 points and only 9 seconds left on the clock… and then quickly secures another 3 points, winning the round 8 points to 6. Kylie wins two rounds and the golden joystick.

DOM AND KYLIE

Christmas review time and Cannon Fodder (Mega Drive) gets a very worthy 88%. Then Super Street Fighter II Turbo (3DO) is given a very nice 90%. Only the two reviews this time as there are many more ‘celebrities’ to get gaming now in this GamesMaster beach Christmas special. Taking on the next challenge are boy band Take That and GamesMaster has picked Smash Tennis (SNES) and more specifically, the beach themed court. And yes… the Take That boys are just more ‘lookalikes’ called actually Fake That. So they have to play a game of the old tennis in a doubles match. Simple enough stuff win the most points in this best of three games match. Fake Jason and Mark take the first game and the second one too. Fake Jason and Mark from Fake That win a golden joystick. Not one each though, just the one between them. You’d think they could get one each, it is the GamesMaster beach Christmas special after all… in Hell.

GamesMaster is back to hand out his very own Christmas presents in the form of much needed help. Checkered Flag (Jaguar), Donkey Kong Country (SNES) and Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive) are all handed some Christmas cheer. So it’s final challenge time… and there is an actual final challenge this time too (kind of). The game is Buggy Ball (VR), which was basically Rocket League a couple of decades before Rocket League existed and in virtual reality too. Anyway, going up against each other this time are special ‘friends’ Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin. Whoever scores the most points when the timer ends wins. There are two AI controlled opponents and both Michael and Macaulay have to score more points than those to win as well as beat each other. When one of the AI controlled cars scores 3 points, with neither Michael nor Macaulay managing to score anything, GamesMaster interrupts the challenge to end the pitiful display of gaming to show a feature instead. So bad that it’s bad, Street Fighter (the movie) is given a bit too much of the limelight. And that is it for this GamesMaster beach Christmas special.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Fifteen

With the ‘celeb’ filled special from last time all done and dusted, things get back to ‘normal’. GamesMaster selects The Smurfs (SNES) as the first challenge and whoever can finish the level in the fastest time wins. David and Lee are the two contestants to take on this slice of very typical 16-bit platform action. News time first and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD) and Killer Instinct Gold (N64) are given a sneak peek. Then there’s a butchers at the Timex Datalink watch, a precursor to the smartwatches we have today. So Davis is first to tackle The Smurfs and after messing up on some falling platforms, he fails the challenge, lasting just 29 seconds. All Lee has to do is finish the level, the time is irrelevant and he breezes to the end in 41 seconds. Lee wins himself a golden joystick.

Indeedy, it is review round up again and Ristar (Mega Drive) scores a 73%. The arcade perfect After Burner (Sega 32X) is awarded 66%. Then Biker Mice from Mars (SNES) gets itself a 72%. Feature time and the concept of interactive TV is explored. TVs that could possibly be used to browse the internet, download TV shows and films to watch at your own convivence, online shopping and more are thought to be possible. Yeah right, as if that would ever happen. British athletes Roger Black and Du’aine Ladejo are taking on Numan Athletics (Arcade). Competing in three different events, whoever wins two of the three wins the golden joystick. The first event is the 100m dash and Roger wins in 10.3 seconds. Next up is the train push and each of the celebs take it in turn to stop and then push back speeding train, furthest distance pushed wins. Going first is Du’aine who manages a distance of 45 meters 74. Roger only gets 44 meters 54, Du’aine wind round two. With one round apiece, it goes down to the final event, the block smash. Playing together, both Roger and Du’aine have to smash as many blocks as they can before the time runs out. Roger smashes himself 17 blocks, but Du’aine just pips ahead with 19. Du’aine Ladejo wins the golden joystick.

CHALLENGE

There are more gaming hints & tips handed out by GamesMaster. Street Racer (SNES), Death Mask (Amiga) and Ballz (Mega Drive) are shown a little love. Another feature as The 11th Hour (PC) is previewed and a little behind the scenes info is shown ahead of its release. No final challenge once more, that’s quite a few times in this series that there hasn’t been a final challenge. I’m beginning to think they were possibly running out of golden joysticks.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Sixteen

Kicking things off is Whizz (Mega Drive). GamesMaster gives the challenger Jason just 2 minutes to finish a level. But first, news. Mortal Kombat II (Sega 32X) is looked at. While Sega’s (unreleased) Mega Drive and 32X hybrid, the Neptune is made fun of. Then there’s a little behind the scenes look at the upcoming Alien Trilogy game. To finish, the Sly Stallone Judge Dredd flick is given a brief looking at too. So Jason has 2 minutes to finish a level on Whizz and he gets off to a blistering start, a slight fumble regarding a jump, but overall he does really well. He does lose some valuable seconds towards the end and Dominik Diamond in the commentary box doubts that Jason can do it, with only 4 seconds on the clock, Jason just about squeezes past the finish line and wins a golden joystick.

Reviews this time sees movie tie-in True Lies (SNES) get a reasonable 78%. Beat ’em up Cosmic Carnage (Sega 32X) lands a 66%. Then RPG Soleil (Mega Drive) scores a decent-ish 77%. Feature time and infotainment CD ROMS are explored. Dog simulator P.A.W.S, the self-defence teaching Escape With Your Life and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Cookbook CD ROMS are laughed at. Boxing supremo Prince Naseem Hamed (what happened to him?) is the celebrity taking on the next challenge and GamesMaster has picked Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) as the game. Naseem has to knock out the beefy looking Bear Hugger to win. Prince Naseem takes a few blows and his health is low, he still manages to put Bear Hugger on his arse though… only for a 3 count. Then Bear knocks Naseem down, who gets back up to continue the fight. Bear is knocked down for a second time and he gets back up in 5 seconds. The health bars between the two are about even, but Prince Naseem knocks Bear Hugger down for the third time and wins by a TKO.

NASEEM

GamesMaster serves up more help to those poor gamers that just are pretty shit. Magic Carpet (PC), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES) and Dark Seed (CD32) all get helped. Feature time and Dominik Diamond is in LA on the set of the flick Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace to offer an exclusive behind the scenes look. No idea why, the film was fucking terrible. Guess what? No final challenge… again.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seventeen

Dominik Diamond welcomes you to the final episode of this series… but it’s not as there is the special episode to come next. But yeah, I guess that this is the final episode of the ‘normal’ GamesMaster. Anyway, the first challenge is on Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (Arcade) and it is Gill and Steven who are going to punch each other in the face on this beat ’em up. News first! A digital jukebox is looked at where you could possibly download music from the interwebs, direct to your PC.  Religious ‘games’ like Captain Bible and Defender of the Faith (PC) are given a peek at. Then Stargate the CD ROM that explores the making of the film is given a shout out. Back to the challenge and Gill plays as Jon Talbain while Steven has Bishamon as his fighter. It’s a close first round, but it eventually goes to Gill. Round two is even closer, and Steven takes that one. So it’s down to the final round, which Gill wins and takes home the golden joystick.

So it’s time for the reviews again and Road Rash 3 (Mega Drive) is given an 80%. Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC) gets several comparisons to Doom as well as a 95% score. Finally, Uniracers (SNES) lands a 90%, before being sued by Pixar for using a unicycle, true story. Celeb challenge and it is Kid Klown in Crazy Chase (SNES) that is the game of choice here. Aussie songbird Natalie Imbruglia takes on non-celeb Scott. Each player takes it in turn to play and are given 1 minute to collect as many coins as possible. Going first is Scott and he does well… until he falls into a river and loses valuable time. Scott finishes with 8 coins. Natalie grabs the SNES pad next and she manages to hit pretty much every hazard in the game to grab just 6 coins. Despite his poor performance, Scott wins a golden joystick. As an aside, Dominik does one of his funniest jokes during this bit while talking to Natalie Imbruglia.

NATALIE

More unfortunate gamers seek out assistance from GamesMaster. Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel (Mega Drive), The King of Fighters ’94 (SNES) and Probotector (Mega Drive) have their deepest secrets revealed. So the big question is, will there be a final challenge this time? Nope, instead DD is on the set of the Mortal Kombat film. Dominik gets to chat to the stars and he gushes and flirts with actresses Bridgette Wilson and Talisa Soto. He doesn’t get quite so gushy when talking to Robin Shou though… strange. So that’s it. Dominik signs off this final episode and says goodbye as GamesMaster sings a few lines of the song We’ll Meet Again. Touching.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Eighteen

So this is it, the very special episode that couldn’t be shown in its regular timeslot of 6:30pm. Because this was a gore special that looked at some of the most bloody, violent ad just more adult games on the market at the time… With a little bit of boobage thrown in too. Due to its content, this episode was shown after midnight. Now, there were actually two different versions of this one, a standard 20-odd minute long cut that aired on TV and a longer (slightly over) 40 minute one which was on VHS. For this retrospective, I’m using the longer 40 minute cut, which means there’s a lot more to cover. So with that out of the way, it is time for the GamesMaster gore special. But before the show starts proper, there are few ads for various Atari Jaguar games.

DOMINIK

Straight into the action with the first challenge and Kasumi Ninja (Jaguar) is the game of choice. Taking each other on in this bloody beat ’em up is Karl and Mark. But first, News. There’s a very detailed look at The National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project. Okay, so this needs some explaining. Convicted killer, Joseph Jernigan was executed by lethal injection in 1993. He gave permission for his body to be used for medical research. That research saw Joseph’s cadaver frozen and then cut up into one millimetre thin slices, photographed and digitized, then put into a computer so the human body could be explored in more detail. The entire process is shown in great detail, including the cutting up of the body and the many different ways the data is being used for research. Yup, I can see what this episode wasn’t shown at its usual 6:30 pm slot. If you want more details on the whole thing, click here. Back to the first challenge and Karl plays as Alaric, while Mark uses Habaki. Mark takes the first round and even finishes the fight with a gory head stomp. Karl wins the second round and also does a gruesome finisher… What are the chances in this gore special that both players know the finishing moves? One round apiece, so it’s on to the decider. Mark wins and yes, another finishing move. It’s almost as if there’s some editing going on just to emphasise the bloody violence for this gore special episode. Anyway, Mark wins a golden joystick.

KATSUMI NINJA

There’s a very lengthy feature looking at the goriest games around. Mortal Kombat II (SNES), Doom II (PC), Heretic (PC) and Night Trap (Sega CD) all get hyped up for their use of blood and violence. Then the previously played Kasumi Ninja (Jaguar) and BloodStorm (Arcade) have a few of their gory finishing moves looked at. Violent shoot ’em ups, Corpse Killer (Sega CD), Revolution X (Arcade) and Burn Cycle (CD-i) are shown what they can provide in terms of blood. Ecstatica (PC) also gets a mention, then Dominik points out the censorship in the RoboCop Versus The Terminator (Mega Drive) game as the retail version of the game is compared to the earlier and far more violent prototype version. Splatterhouse 2 (Mega Drive) is claimed to be the first Mega Drive game to be banned. Then The 11th Hour (PC), Snatcher (TurboGrafx-16), Police Quest: Open Season (PC), I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (PC), Dark Seed II (PC) and Harvester (PC) are all given the spotlight for being bloody and downright disturbing. Then to finish, there’s a top ten countdown of goriest finishing moves in beat ’em ups.

With that long look at gory games, it’s onto the GamesMaster celebrity challenge. Alien vs Predator (Jaguar) is the game of choice and the player is given 1 minute to score as many points as they can. But who is the celeb that has to shoot as many xenomorphs as possible? Only Robocop… Only Dominik comments how he said this was a crap idea for a challenge and so they skip to GamesMaster handing out hints & tips instead. Ecstatica (PC), Isle of the Dead (PC), Banshee (Amiga) and BloodStorm (Arcade) have their gory secrets revealed. Feature time again and Dominik Diamond is in California, where he presents an exclusive behind the scenes look at bloody adventure game Phantasmagoria (PC). Dominik chats to the creators of the game and the actors, as well as getting to explore the blue screen filming before exploring the various gruesome props used for the game. Then there’s a look at several soft porn/titillation games such as Perfect 10 Bikini Contest (PC), the infamous Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties (3DO), National Lampoon’s Blind Date (PC), Voyeur (CD-i), Spy Club (PC), Cover Girl Strip Poker (PC), Winner Takes All (PC), Scissors ‘n’ Stones (PC) and Penthouse Interactive Virtual Photo Shoot (PC) all get to show off their tits, I mean wares… I mean tits. Then Dominik goes to Digital Dreams HQ. A (then) new gaming magazine that blended gaming news and reviews with porn in one handy magazine that featured an interactive CD ROM. with loads of nude lasses Yes I checked and yes it really existed. Dominik then gives his top tips of (his words) ‘how to pull birds’ in a comedic way, using several of the previously mentioned games as scenarios.

WINNER TAKES ALL

Then it’s back to GamesMaster as he picks the game for the final challenge. It’s an all-time classic too, Doom II (PC). GamesMaster gives the player 2 minutes to kill twenty-five enemies before they kill him. Dermot is the mortal taking up this one and he’s the greatest Doom II player in the world… according to Dominik Diamond.  After 30 seconds, Dermot has ten kills and is doing well. Then at 1 minute, the halfway point, he has sixteen kills. With 60 seconds and nine kills to get, Dermot only has 20% health left. Finding himself in a room full of bad guys and armed with a chainsaw, Dermot goes crazy massacring anything that moves. Soon finding himself on just 1% health too, Dermot completes the challenge with 1& health and 34 seconds left on the clock. Dermot wins a golden joystick… though I’m calling bullshit. See, I’ve played a fair bit of Doom myself over the years and many times in this challenge, Dermot is seeing getting hit multiple times, you see the screen flash red as it should, but his health doesn’t drop. He’s on 1% health for a while with about five enemies shooting and hitting him and it stays on 1%. I think this one was edited to make it a tad more exciting. Still, it’s all just a bit of harmless entertainment. Here’s some more boob action from the soft porn games…

STRIP POKER

Anyway, this gore special is a good watch. I’d love to see GamesMaster return with a more adult theme like this. Then just to finish, while I used the longer version of the special for this write up, I thought I’d watch the shorter version too, just to see what the differences were. So the feature looking at the whole Visible Human Project thing is massively cut back on to show far less of the cutting up of the body and so on. To make up for the missing time, a feature on the TV show Robot Wars is shown instead. The first feature is also padded out with an edited version looking at some violent games from the second feature in the uncut version before the first challenge starts. There is a second feature in the edited version of this special too, but it is cut back a great deal. The Robocop celebrity challenge is the same, but instead of cutting to GamesMaster handing out hints & tips, it cuts to an ad break. Then when it returns, that’s when we get GamesMaster’s help. The feature looking behind the scenes Phantasmagoria (PC) is here, but edited to remove most of the more disturbing parts. Yes, the soft porn games are looked at here too, but again, massively edited and cut back from the other version. Then it’s onto the final challenge and the show ends. If you want to watch the gore special, the full, uncut version is best.

Golden joysticks won – 2


Overall

I think pretty much any GamesMaster fan will happily admit that series four is the best of the entire show’s run. Things just seemed to work. Dominik Diamond was very much a welcome return after the (not as terrible as I remember) Dexter Fletcher fronted series three. That cheeky charm and near the knuckle, double entendre humour that Dominik did so well was sorely missed. Though I’m really not a fan of how they put the news and features mixed in with the challenges for this series. It broke up the flow and just felt out of place. It would’ve been fine if they had them at the end of the challenges, but to have the introduction to the game, then the people taking part in the challenge, to then cut to news and features, to then come back to the challenge. It just didn’t work for me at all.

There’s a genuine feeling of camaraderie running through series four, as everyone is getting on very well. There’s some fun banter and everything seems fine… seems. I can’t go into detail just yet, as there’s more to uncover in later series. But, things were not quite as rosy off camera as they were on. In fact, if you know what to look for, things were not exactly harmonious on camera for one certain person on the show.

Series four of GamesMaster really marked the beginning of the end for the show for me. As great as series four was, the quality of the show begins to drop from this point on. It’s not that the next few series were bad or anything, but let’s just say that Dominik Diamond began to get a bit egotistical and for me, the show began to suffer.

Total golden joysticks won – 16

Oh, and before I forget. Dominik Diamond has penned a GamesMaster book.

GamesMaster: The Oral History charts the highs and lows of Channel 4’s iconic and anarchic UK videogames entertainment show.

Guided by show host Dominik Diamond and featuring a foreword by one-time games playing champion Robbie WilliamsGamesMaster: The Oral History spans over 80,000 words and features over 40 contributors including production crew, celebrity guests and the games playing members of the public who became either playground heroes or defeated outcasts vying for the iconic Golden Joystick prize.

You can buy/back it on Kickstarter right now. It looks great.

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part One

Phew! After two series of an epic twenty-six episodes each, I needed a bit of a break. However, things get a bit more manageable now as the series episode count drops to eighteen episodes for series four. Still, a lot to cover, but at least they won’t take as long to do, as with the last two series. I’m still doing this as a two-parter though just to make things a little easier for both you and me. Oh yeah, and things get back to ‘normal’ after the madness of series three.

Series Four 

Aired from the 20th of September 1994 to the 14th of January 1995, things have changed once more. Gone is Dexter Fletcher as host from series three and back is Dominik Diamond. So too is St Paul’s Church, Dock Street, London, which was the filming location of series one and now this series too… Though it looks unrecognisable thanks to some set dressing. If you’ve been keeping up with the ‘story’ that’s been going on within the show, then you’d know that Dominik actually died at the end of series two when the oil rig exploded, thanks to Auntie Marisha’s cooking. So, how is Dominik Diamond brought back from the dead? Well, we don’t know just yet, series five will answer that with some retconning. In the meantime, all you need to know is that series four takes place in Hell, so DD is still definitely dead. However, what is open to question is why Dominik Diamond had turned into a Bond villain since series two.

DOMINIK DIAMOND

We are taken to eternal damnation via a train ride quite literally to hell. And that’s the set-up for series four. In terms of the format, it’s still pretty much as it has always been, but there are a few little changes in how news and features are shown. Instead of being at the end of the review section as before, they now kind of (annoyingly) interrupt the challenges before they begin proper. You’ll see what I mean as I go on. Plus if anyone puts in a particularly poor performance, they are punished by being locked into a cage.

There’s always been one burning question I’ve wanted answering with series four. See, the reason Dominik Diamond gave for not wanting to do series three was that he didn’t agree with McDonald’s being the sponsor of the show. But series four is also sponsored by McDonald’s… So why did he return to a show sponsored by McDonald’s if he disagreed with the fact McDonald’s sponsored the show? I guess money can make you sidestep your personal moral compass? Anyway, on with series four.

Episode One

Mortal Kombat II (SNES) is the very first game chosen for the first challenge of the first episode. Three challengers take on the game, but GamesMaster has thrown in a little twist. The three are Graham, Daniel and Zen The twist the big guy has added is that all three have to fight Baraka from the game. I don’t mean they have to fight the character in the game (though that’s exactly what they do), I mean they have to fight against Baraka in person. Baraka being played by actor Richard Divizio (who actually played Baraka in the game) in a Baraka costume. Up first is Graham, who plays as Jax while Baraka plays as… well Baraka. It’s actually quite a close fight with both of them getting down to a couple of hits left before losing. But Baraka manages to take the win and even tops it off with a fatality finish too. Daniel takes the SNES pad next, playing as Kung Lao. Daniel gets off to an amazing start and takes away half of Baraka’s health in about three seconds with some great combos. Baraka makes a comeback, but Daniel isn’t having any of it and wins with yet another fatality. The final challenger, Zen, is next and he chooses Kitana as his character. The exchange blow for blow in this very close fight, each with only one hit left. Baraka jumps in with a kick and wins. No fatality here, but a nice friendship finisher instead… in a seemingly carefully edited clip. So with both Graham and Zen losing, leaving only Daniel as a winner, the first golden joystick goes to him.

BARAKA

As is the format of the show, it is review time next. Alien vs Predator (Jaguar) gets 83%. Strange beat ’em up Ballz (Mega Drive) is given 80%. Then finally, Smash Tennis (SNES) sores a very worthy 95%. Celebrity guest challenge time. It is the football game, Super Strikers 2 (Neo Geo) as the game picked by GamesMaster. Taking on the game is football fan and comedian, Frank Skinner and going up against Frank is non-celeb Hugh. Frank plays as England, while Hugh favours Brazil. Hugh wastes no time in tucking a goal away, which Frank responds to by putting one away himself, 1-1. Hugh manages to put another away just before half-time and takes the lead. Frank starts the second half strong and scores, as the final whistle blows, it’s 2-2. So it’s onto sudden death penalties. Frank goes first and his shot is saved, but when Hugh takes his shot, Frank stops it from going in. The second round of shots goes the same way too, both being saved by the keepers. This sudden death penalty shootout is actually quite tense. Frank takes his third shot and puts it away in the top left corner. Hugh needs to score or he’s out… he scores, neither player able to take the win. The fourth shot by Frank is saved, while Hugh scores and wins the golden joystick. Honestly, that was genuinely tense.

As is the norm, it’s time for a few games to get some help from GamesMaster himself. Mortal Kombat II (Mega Drive and SNES) gets a few secrets revealed. Then, of course, it is final challenge time. Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive) is the game of choice and two contestants have sixty seconds to collect as many neutron capsules as they can. But there’s a quick look at the making of the game first (this is that interrupting of the features I mentioned earlier). Anyway, playing Earthworm Jim are Eddie and Tim, with Eddie going first and managing to nab thirty-six neutron capsules, a very decent score. Tim gets off to a very slow start, but with some deft platforming skills, he manages to grab thirty-eight and wins the golden joystick as well as an Earthworm Jim statuette too. 

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Two

GamesMaster picks Mehmet as the challenger for the first game and that game is Road Rash (3DO). More of the, annoying break from the regular format, as the first challenge is interrupted by some gaming news. The impressive sales of the home console versions of Mortal Kombat II are looked at. The Imaginator, a ride/game that used to be at the Trocadero arcade in London is also given some screen time. Then to finish, the GamesMaster Network (it gets a mention several times through the series), a very early interwebs website dedicated to all things GamesMaster is given a plug. After which, the first challenge begins and Mehmet has to finish in first place in the race to win. Mehmet gets off to a cracking start, from fifteenth, he makes his way to tenth place with ease. He manages to get up to eighth place at one point… before crashing into a tree and dropping down to twelfth place. Back on his bike, Mehmet finds himself in sixth place, with not too much left of the race and a clump of other racers in front of him. Offering a few slaps to the face, as is the way with Road Rash, Mehmet takes first place with only about four seconds of the race left to win. 

Yes indeed, it is review time again. The all-time classic Shaq Fu (Mega Drive) get a way too high 65%. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (SNES) gets a still too high 60%. Then 3D space-shooter Infernal (PC) is given 80%. Aussie soaps Neighbours and Home & Away provide the celebs this time around. It is the trio of Bruce Roberts, Dan Falzon and Sarah Vandenbergh who are taking on this one and GamesMaster gives them the three-player, based on the movie of the same name, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (SNES). A classic last one standing wins scenario here as three Bruce Lee’s punch and kick each other in the face. Sarah is the one who gets off to the best start in this melee but the other two begin fighting back and health-wise, it’s all pretty much even. Sarah is the first one taken out, despite her initial lead. Quickly followed by Dan, leaving Bruce (quite aptly) as the winner. 

GAMESMASTER TIPS

More hints & tips are dished out by GamesMasterPete Sampras Tennis (Mega Drive), FIFA International Soccer: Championship Edition (Sega CD) and The Adventures of Mighty Max (Game Boy) get some help. On to the final challenge which is on the prehistoric beat ’em up, Primal Rage (arcade). Taking this on is Eddil playing as Blizzard and Paul as Diablo. But before things get underway, a quick ‘making of’ feature is shown that covers how the devs got the dinos in the game to look so Ray Harryhausen-like. Anyway, the fight begins proper and its a close one, but Eddil takes the first round… and the second. It really wasn’t much of a fight to be fair. Eddil wins the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Three

Kicking episode three of is a challenge on Novastorm (Sega CD) and it is James and Chris. The challengers have to take it in turns to score as many points as possible in sixty-seconds but before that… gaming news. A little look at The Lion King game is shown, Cybermax, an early VR headset for home use is given a look Then Dino Island, a motion-ride gets a quick mention and a feature looking at a Loch Ness interactive ride is also sown. Then after all of that, the first challenge. James goes first and manages a score of 376,900 points. Not too shabby. Chris goes next and gets a slightly better 385,510 points to win the golden joystick. 

Games under review this week are Doom II (PC) which gets a criminally low, but still great 88%. Ghoul Patrol (SNES), the follow up to the much loved Zombies Ate My Neighbors lands a reasonable 70%. While Way of the Warrior (3DO) gets a way too high 72%. This episode’s celebrity guest is an old friend of the show, snooker supremo, Jimmy White. Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker (Mega Drive) is the game here and in a rather unusual twist, Jimmy has to play against the game on a real snooker table. Both the game and the real table have the balls set up the exact same way and Jimmy has to pot all of the coloured balls on the real table before the AI can do the same on the game, both playing at the same time too. Jimmy misses the first ball and loses valuable seconds over the game, after sinking the first ball, he then misses the second, leaving Jimmy White way behind the game at this point. Making up some much needed time, Jimmy pulls level and both he and the game are on the pink ball… which Jimmy sinks first, just a second or so ahead of the game. Jimmy eyes up the final back ball and misses, just as the game lines up the final shot. With only a second or less left, Jimmy takes another shot at the black ball and pots it with mere moments to spare. Jimmy White wins himself a golden joystick.

JIMMY WHITE

More helpless folk seek help form GamesMasterSuper Metroid (SNES), Micro Machines (Game Gear) and Cybermorph (Jaguar) have their secrets revealed. The final challenge is on Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy (Neo Geo) and trying to win a golden joystick are Jonathan and Colin The challengers have just 1 minute to score as many points as possible. Jonathan goes first and chooses to rush through the level, missing a lot of easy points to get to the mech weapon in an attempt to use it to gain more points later. It’s a risky strategy and he ends up with 9.400 points. Colin is up next and that 9,400 is certainly beatable… but Colin is completely pants and dies early doors with only 4,900 points. Jonathan gets the golden joystick despite his very beatable score because Colin was so crap. 

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Four

The gaming challenges continue in the bowels of Hell and first up is Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive) and the challengers have to finish the first level as fast as possible while using the Knuckles character. Playing this one are Tom and Daniel. News time first though and there’s a look at a couple of Star Wars related games. First up, we get a sneak peek at Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger starring Mark Hamill… he was in Star Wars don’t you know? Star Wars: Dark Forces gets a preview ahead of its release. Back to the first challenge and Tom goes first to try and finish the level in the fastest time. After hitting a few obstacles and losing a few seconds, Tom manages a beatable time of 51 seconds. Daniel takes the controller next and really messes up, aside from hitting some easily avoidable hazards, he struggles with some of the famed Sonic loops and doesn’t even make it to the end of the level in 51 seconds, never mind finish it. Tom wins the golden joystick.

After the first challenge, kicking off the reviews this episode is Sega’s famed mascot himself as Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear) gets 85%. Earthworm Jim (SNES & Mega Drive) scores a very high 94%. While Bubsy II (SNES & Mega Drive) is given a still to high 70%. Kart game Street Racer (SNES) is the game picked by GamesMaster for the celebs this time and it’s a simple case of whoever crosses the finish line in first place wins. Taking on this challenge are these cheeky Geordies and stars of kids drama series Byker Grove, PJ & Duncan and they’re certainly ready to rhumble. Wey-Aye Man! PJ really doesn’t do well at all and stays in last place for the entire first lap. Duncan barely does much better and struggles too… just not as much. After the second lap is done, Duncan finally gets the hang of the game and even manages to finish in a fairly respectable third place. PJ though, well he only manages a very poor seventh place… out of eight. But to be fair, he was blinded by paintballs in Byker Grove. Still, neither of them actually won the race as per the challenge, so they are punished by being put into the cage. Of course, the duo do eventually get out of the cage to become the hugely popular and very highly paid TV presenters Ant & Dec… the bastards.

STREET RACER

No prizes for guessing what’s next and I’m not giving you any hints & tips either, that’s the GamesMaster’s job. Mega Man X (SNES), The Jungle Book (Mega Drive) and John Madden Football (3DO) all get some much-needed assistance. There’s a feature looking at the popularity of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Then the final challenge comes in the shape of Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Drive) as the trio of Sam, Scott and Phil have to take it in turns to collect as many rings as they can in 45 seconds. Up first is Sam and she manages to grab an impressive forty-eight rings. Scott is next and he just about squeezes in a better fifty-three rings. Then finally, there’s Phil who, despite a bit of trouble with one of the enemies, ends his run with a winning fifty-six rings to take home the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

GamesMaster picks the rather overrated Ecco: The Tides of Time (Sega CD) for the first challenge and challengers are given just 1 minute to finish a level. Robert and Adam are the guys to try this one… After the news. A look at the sales of Doom II, there’s also a peek at soon the be released arcade games Cruis’n USA and Virtua Cop. The Neo Geo CD console gets a look in, while Bass Masters Classic (SNES) gets a mention (am I the only one finding this interrupting the challenges with news and features a tad annoying?). So, back to the first challenge and Robert goes first and has a bit of trouble with one of the enemies on the game, he runs out of time before the challenge can be completed. Next up is Adam and he has much more luck, finishing the challenge with 13 seconds still on the clock to win the golden joystick.

GOLDEN JOYSTICK WIN

The games up for review this time are The Lion King (SNES & Mega Drive) gets 87%. Mega Bomberman (Mega Drive) blows up with 91%. Finally, Cluedo The Mysteries Continue (CD-i) is given 51%. So, time for the celeb challenge once more, we have former English footballer, Andrew Cole, going up against former American footballer Kasey Keller. I don’t mean Kasey played American football, he played English football for the US team. Basically, two football players going up against each other. And this is another one of those mini-football tournaments that GamesMaster likes to throw into the series every now and then, with the winner going on to the final held in a couple of episodes time. The game of choice is FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive), with Andrew playing as Newcastle while Kasey plays as Seattle. It’s quite a slow and uneventful first half with neither team scoring. The second half is a bit more interesting and when Andrew gives away a freekick, Kasey tucks one away in the back of the net. The game ends with Kasey Keller the winner and going through to the final.

Time for GamesMaster to throw a bone to the poor gamers seeking help. Time Trax (SNES), The Jungle Book (Mega Drive) and Tempest 2000 (Jaguar) are all helped. Before the final challenge, there’s a look at Double Dragon (the movie). Then we get to witness one of the worst beat ’em ups ever made with Way of the Warrior (Jaguar). Taking on this challenge are Ian and Andrea, who are said to be a couple, so a few rounds on a beat ’em up should sort out any relationship issues. Ian takes the first round while Andrea wins the second. So onto the final round, which Andrea wins. I suppose I could’ve given this challenge a bit more coverage, but Way of the Warrior is such a shit game that I really can’t be bothered. Anyway, Andrea wins a golden joystick. The end.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Six

This episode is a Donkey Kong special according to Dominik Diamond and the first challenge is on the arcade classic itself. The challengers have to finish the first level of Donkey Kong (Arcade) in the fastest time. Chi, Simon and Alistair are the trio taking this one on, but first, the news. A preview of the Mega Drive add-on, the 32X and a handful of games is shown. With Chi going first to try and take pre-Mario to the top of the screen and save Pauline. Chi does some pretty nifty barrel jumping and makes it to the top in 29 seconds. Simon next and he has a barrel miss him by mere millimetres… only to come a cropper soon after and fail. Alistair is just as nifty as Chi before him, in fact, he’s about 1 second more nifty as he finishes the challenge in 28 seconds to win the golden joystick. With more Donkey Kong action to come later in this Donkey Kong special episode.

DONKEY KONG

Reviews this time are Street Racer (SNES) which gets a 91%. Tiny Toon Adventures: ACME All-Stars (SNES & Mega Drive) scores 75%. Finally, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures (SNES) finds itself with 83%. The celeb challenge is the next part of the FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive) mini-tournament, with the winner here going through to the final against Kasey Keller from the previous episode. Playing a game of football this time is old friend of the show and footie player turned actor, Vinnie Jones and ex-pro footballer Andy Townsend. Vinnie playing as Wimbledon while Andy as Aston Villa. Despite a few attempts on goal by both teams, the first half ends 0 – 0. With only 30 seconds of the second half left, Andy puts one away and Vinnie is just not able to claw his way back. Andy Townsend wins and goes through to play Kasey Keller in the final.

The Incredible Hulk (Mega Drive), Ruff ‘n’ Tumble (Amiga) and Theme Park (PC) are all given a leg up thanks to GamesMaster. Then we get a world exclusive behind the scenes look at Donkey Kong Country (SNES). Which according to Dominik Diamond, is the first time the game has ever been seen on TV. There are a few words from legendary game designer Tim Stamper as he shows how a level in the game is made. Then yes, it’s final challenge time, a world exclusive too as it is on the already mentioned Donkey Kong Country. Three challengers have to finish the first level in the fastest time. Tim, Christian and Sharif are the lucky people who get to be some of the first in the world to play the game. Tim is up first and he uses a hidden shortcut to get a time of 46 seconds. Christian chooses to not go for the shortcut and gets a time of 36 seconds, a whole 10 seconds faster than Tim… who used a shortcut. Finally, there’s Sharif who wastes valuable seconds at the start along with going for the not so short shortcut, he gets a time of 45 seconds. Christian’s impressive 36 seconds wins him a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seven

GamesMaster selects the very tough The Lion King (Mega Drive) for the first challenge. Lewis and Michael are the two taking on this one and they have to get to the halfway point of the second level of the game in the fastest time. But first, the news. A VR Disney game based on Aladdin is shown and the very little known, educational Pico console from Sega is shown too. Anyway, Lewis goes first on the challenge and he gets off to a blistering start, but messes up on a double jump and fails. Michael is next and as Lewis failed, he can take as much time as he likes and still win… and he does in 1 minute and 4 seconds. Not that the time even matters, Michael wins the golden joystick.

The trilogy of reviews this time include, Twisted (3DO) gets an unexplainable 81%. Dynamite Headdy (Mega Drive) is given a reasonable 89%. Then the cut-down Samurai Shodown (SENS) is awarded 79%. There’s a quick preview for Thunder in Paradise (CD-i). If you’ve been keeping up, then you’d know that it is time for the final of the GamesMaster mini-football tournament, only there’s been a last-minute substitute. Instead of playing on the previously used FIFA Soccer 95 (Mega Drive), GamesMaster has chosen FIFA International Soccer (3D0). It’s Kasey Keller vs Andy Townsend in the final, with Kasey playing as USA while Andy favours the Republic of Ireland. Andy puts an early goal away, thanks to a fumbling goalkeeper… followed by another. The first half ends 2 – 0 to Andy. The second half doesn’t exactly go Kasey’s way either as Andy outs two more away. Kasey does get one goal back, not that it matters as Andy pelts another ball into the net to make the final score 5 – 1 to the Republic of Ireland. Andy Townsend wins the golden joystick.

FIFA CDI

Time for GamesMaster to share his vast knowledge once more. Battlecorps (Sega CD), Benefactor (Amiga) and Archer Maclean’s Super Dropzone (SNES) are all helped. A feature looking at various football management games is shown and… that’s it, no final challenge in this episode, which I think, is the first time ever in the entire show there hasn’t been a final challenge. Bit of a damp squib to end on really. 

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Eight

Straight into the first challenge and it’s a driving test on Power Drive (SNES). The challengers are Ricky, Mervin and Tom. For this particular driving game, GamesMaster is staying away from the typical racing and instead, opts for something more precise. Each of the three must come to s stop from speed in a small box, then they have to reverse into a parking space, followed by speeding through a multi-chicaned road, a winding set of traffic cones is next and the challengers have to dive into the middle of a spiral without hitting any of the cones, then finally, they have to stop precisely in the finish box. It’s a five-point challenge on this very tricky driving game and they only have 1 minute to complete the whole thing. But first is the news. There’s a mention of the Timecop game, based on the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick of the same name. A look at the first-ever fully CGI TV show, ReBoot. And a quick preview of the Sega Saturn console. Back to the Power Drive challenge and up first is Ricky and while he manages the first stop with ease, he really messes up on the reversing part, smashing his car in the process, he struggles to get into the parking space, losing valuable time before finally reverse parking. Ricky does make it through the chicane road… with several more bumps before the cone spiral, of which he crashes through and fails the challenge. Mervin next and he passes the first step easily, the second one just as easily, makes it through the next step with a few bumps. And so it’s onto the spiral cones, where Ricky messed up so badly. Mervin, very sensibly, takes his time here and almost makes it to the middle… before deciding the slam on the accelerator and crash through the cones for no reason, failing the challenge. Finally, it’s Tom. Step one, easy, step two, easy, step three, easy, step four, the spiral cones… Yup, he messes up just as badly and fails. No golden joystick for anyone and all three are locked in the cage for such a poor performance. 

POWER DRIVE

Time for the reviews again and Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (SENS & Mega Drive) gets 81%. Virtua Racing Deluxe (Sega 32X) wins an impressive 90%. Then Newman/Haas IndyCar featuring Nigel Mansell (SNES) is given a still too high 60%. Ian Kelsey and Camilla Power from popular soap Emmerdale are the celebs for the next challenge and GamesMaster has them going up against each other on ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay (SNES). Ian playing as Kangoo, with Camilla using Goo Goo, the fight gets underway. Ian takes the first round fairly easily and the second round just as easily… but he was just spamming one move over and over. It was a cheap win, but a win none the less and Ian Kelsey wins himself a golden joystick.

GamesMaster throws out more gaming life preserves in the shape of Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Drive), Doom II (PC) and Donkey Kong Country (SNES) all get some much-needed assistance. then there a feature looking behind the scenes of the awful beat ’em up Supreme Warrior (Sega CD). Final challenge time… or at least that’s what Dominik Diamond introduces, but GamesMaster says he’s had enough challenges and instead plays a special feature. Ridge Racer (PlayStation) is put under the spotlight and given a good look at. No final challenge for the second time running.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nine

Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (SNES) is GamesMaster’s first challenge and for this one, contestants have just 45 seconds to get as many Jedi coins as they can. Goldie and Richard are the two tackling this one, but first, news. There’s a look at the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers game (SNES), the long cancelled AT&T and Sega team attempt at early online gaming is looked at, then there’s a bit looking at a two-way TV that allows you to interact with various TV shows. So back to the challenge and Goldie goes first, managing to go the wrong way and to mess up quite a lot, to only grab thirteen Jedi coins, very beatable. Richard goes next and pretty goes the same (bad) route as Goldie before him, missing so many easy to get coins. Richard only just about wins by nabbing fifteen Jedi coins before his time is up. Both were very poor, but Richard wins a golden joystick.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES) is the first game up review and it gets a very worthy 90%. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament (Mega Drive) scores a very high 92%. With FIFA International Soccer (3DO) getting an 84%. Rugby players Rupert Moon and Dewi Morris are the celebrities taking on GamesMaster’s next challenge. Rugby World Cup ’95 (Mega Drive) with Rupert playing as Wales and Dewi as England. Rupert scores the first try as well as scoring the following goal kick, 7 – 0 to Wales as the first half ends. But England scores a try in the second half… only to miss the goal kick. The game ends 7 – 5 to Wales and Rupert Moon wins the golden joystick.

KING OF FIGHTERS

More hints & tips from GamesMasterPink Goes to Hollywood (SNES), Shadow of the Beast II (Sega CD) and Micro Machines (Game Gear) are the trio of titles that get a leg up this time. Next up is a feature looking at LucasArts’ Full Throttle (PC) adventure game and Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC). As well as a chat with the developers of the games an a few behind the scenes secrets are revealed. Then finally… a final challenge! GamesMaster selects the beat ’em up The King of Fighters ’94 (Neo Geo) for this one. Michael and Stephen take each other on in a classic, best of three rounds bout. The first round goes to Michael all too quickly, with Stephen hardly even putting up a fight. Stephen comes out fighting for round two and gets in quite a few good hits… then Michael completely decimates him to win the second round and the golden joystick. 

Golden joysticks won – 3


Were halfway through series four now and there’s still more to come in part two to finish this series off.

Total golden joysticks won – 21

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Three, Part Two

So here we are,after part one, the inevitable part two of series three of my GamesMaster retrospective. There’s yet another slight format and location change coming up. This latter half of the series focuses on the previously mentioned GamesMaster Team Championship that people had been applying for and taking part in while the normal show was being aired. Due to this, the format changes to focus on said championship. Also, the set location was changed to the furnace you heard about in part one of series three (filmed at Clerkenwell House of Detention, they really liked filming in prisons!). Another change is that the co-presenters are gone. In the previous two series and the first part of this series, Dominik and Dexter were always joined by various gaming journalists (sometimes a celeb) to commentate on the challenges. Well, they’ve all been given the boot for this championship and Dexter is joined solely by Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry… they’ll be much, much more on him later.

DAVE AND DEXTER

So anyway, this second half of the series starts here with episode thirteen. The GamesMaster Team Championship breaks down like this, twenty-seven teams play nine knockout heats of three teams, with the winning team of their respective heat going through to the semi-finals. Three semi-finals of the previous nine winning teams follow, and then onto the grand final for the last three teams who won in the semis. Each of the teams consist of three players, of which there is a beat ’em up specialist, a platform specialist and an all rounder. Then in each episode, the teams will select their best gamer to play two initial challenges for points in a mini-league type thing. Team with the lowest amount of points will be eliminated from the championship after the second challenge, with the final challenge being a knockout, leaving just one team the winner at the end of each episode (heat) as the series progresses,. Which will all lead to the semi-finals and eventually, the grand final and win some smashing gaming prizes. Got that? Look, it’ll make more sense as you read this retrospective.

Now, even with this new approach, the show still pretty much sticks to the previous formula, but adds a new challenge just for the championships. So we’ll now have the first challenge, reviews/feature, second challenge, celeb challenge, hints & tips, final challenge. So with that lengthy explanation out of the way, on with the GamesMaster Team Championship.

Episode Thirteen

The first team are Armchairs of Hertfordshire (yes, the teams will all have team names) and they go up against Redbridge Raiders and Turbo Destructors in this first heat. The first challenge is on Aladdin (Mega Drive) and the players have to collect as many apples as they can in 45 seconds, each team choses one person for their team to take this on. The Armchairs grab 13 apples, Turbo Destructors manage to get 14, while Redbridge Raiders die in three seconds by falling into lava and score nowt. So this is how the scoring works, the winning team of each challenge will get 5 points, the second place team get 2 points and the losing team… well they get nothing. So this early in the championships the scores are:

Armchairs of Hertfordshire – 2
Redbridge Raiders – 0
Turbo Destructors – 5

SCOREBOARD

No, I’m not going to be posting a pic of every scoreboard in the championship, just this one as an example. Anyway, it’s the first set of reviews, Sensible Soccer (Mega Drive) scores with a 92%. Dennis the Menace (SNES) gets a 58%. Then Goal (Game Boy) get an embarrassing 37%. No feature, so it’s on to the next challenge and the game is winter sports game, Val d’Isere Championship (SNES). Contestants have to snowboard down a slalom course in the fastest time. The losing team always goes first in the second challenge, that’s Redbridge Raiders who finish with a time of 39.12 seconds. Armchairs of Hertfordshire are up next and get a time of 38.92. So, Turbo Destructors are up last and get a very impressive 34 seconds dead. After that, the scoreboards are:

Armchairs of Hertfordshire – 4
Redbridge Raiders – 0
Turbo Destructors – 10

That means the Redbridge Raiders are out of the championships already. But, Turbo Destructors and Armchairs of Hertfordshire go on to do battle in the final challenge (see, makes sense now eh?). Before that though, it’s celebrity challenge time, and just to make things a bit more confusing, there’s a little celeb championship going on within the main championships. A friendly game of footie with Vinnie Jones and Les Ferdinand. The game is the first ever FIFA game, FIFA International Soccer (Mega Drive) with Vinnie playing as Holland and Les as Brazil. Vinnie takes an early lead when he tucks one away, followed by another soon afterwards and the first half ends 2-0 to Holland. The second half gets underway and Les comes out fighting, her gets a couple of decent shots on target, but nothing gets through. The final whistle blows and Vinnie Jones is the winner, securing a place in the final of this championship… within a championship. Dexter Fletcher and Vinnie Jones together five years before appearing in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in1998.

VINNE JONES

Hints & tips next and GamesMaster helps out Aladdin (Mega Drive), Super Star Wars (SNES) and Syndicate (Amiga). Then it’s the final of this opening heat and there are no points here, just a simple win or lose, with the wining team going through to the semi-finals of the GamesMaster Team Championship. The game is the beat ’em up, World Heroes 2 (Neo Geo). Turbo Destructors play as Captain Kidd while Armchairs of Hertfordshire use Johnny Maximum. Armchairs take the first round, though it was a close fight. Turbo Destructors win the second round… using some spamming techniques. So it’s one round a piece and the final round goes to Turbo Destructors who win with relative ease and they go through to the semi-finals while Armchairs of Hertfordshire go home.

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Fourteen

This episode sees The Wizards, Culture Crew and The G.I.T.S fight for a place in the finals, the first game is Skyblazer (SNES) and the teams have to collect 50 diamonds in the quickest time. First up, The Wizards manage to grab 59 (thanks to a cheeky bonus) diamonds in 35 seconds. The G.I.T.S only pick up 25 diamonds in 22 seconds as they die before they can collect the total. So it’s Culture Crew next who mange 49 diamonds before the 35 seconds set by The Wizards is up:

The Wizards – 5
Culture Crew – 2
The G.I.T.S – 0

SKYBLAZER SNES

Reviews again and Aladdin (SNES) gets 78%. While Cybermorph (Atari Jaguar) get an inexplicable 81%. Then it’s feature time and we get an exclusive look at Mortal Kombat II (Arcade) before it’s release. The second challenge is on Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Mega Drive) and the three teams have 45 seconds to get the highest bean count possible. The G.I.T.S go first and get a count of 28 beans. Culture Crew is up next and 25 beans before running out of time. Lastly, The Wizards also nab 25 beans, that makes the scoreboard look like:

The Wizards – 7
Culture Crew – 4
The G.I.T.S – 5

Despite failing the first challenge, The G.I.T.S secure second place with The Wizards in first, so they go through to the final challenge. But Culture Crew get sent packing. Onto the second round of the FIFA International Soccer (Mega Drive) celeb challenge and it’s Dennis Wise vs. John Barnes kicking a ball around bit, with Dennis playing as Germany and John as Italy. It’s an action packed first half and John Barnes really comes out attacking, scoring two goals. Dennis fights back and tucks one away before the halftime whistle blows… only for John to sneak in another goal seconds later. The first half ends 3-1 to Italy. John Barnes just keeps attacking and sticks another away, the final whistle blows and it’s 4-1 to John Barnes, who goes through to the final against Vinnie Jones from last episode.

TMNT TOURNEY

Micro Machines (Mega Drive), The Ren & Stimpy Show: Veediots! (SNES) and Donk! Samurai Duck! (Amiga) get some help from GamesMaster. So it’s the final challenge on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES) and The G.I.T.S play as Leonardo while The Wizards favour Shredder. The first round is very nearly a perfect as Leonardo destroys Shredder with ease. Round two is pretty much more of the same as The G.I.T.S win and secure a place in the semi-finals. 

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Fifteen

First challenge this time is on Street Fighter II Championship Edition (Mega Drive). The Hackney Pranksters, Essex All Stars and Humberside Hawks are the teams. Now, as there three teams, this particular two-player fighting game causes a few issues with how to fairly pit each selected member of the team against each other. So, this is a single round fight and each of the team’s beat ’em up specialist will play each of the other team’s beat ’em up specialist in a round robin tournament-thing, each round won earns the team 5 points. So Hackney Pranksters go up against Humberside Hawks first and the first fight goes to Humberside Hawks. But Hackney Pranksters stays on to fight Essex All Stars. Anyway, the second round goes to Essex All Stars. So next up are Humberside Hawks fighting Essex All Stars, so each team has then fought each other team on the same game… that’s how a round robin works, and they’ll be more later. Essex All Stars win against Humberside Hawks. All that is left to do next is tot up the points and it works out like this, Hackney Pranksters didn’t win a single round in the fight, so score 0. Humberside Hawks won one round, 5 points but Essex All Stars won two rounds, which leaves the scoreboard looking like this:

Hackney Pranksters  – 0
Essex All Stars – 10
Humberside Hawks – 5

It’s on to the reviews and this section features an inspiration to me and a man I didn’t even know was ever on GamesMaster until doing this very retrospective. So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Mega Drive) gets 75%. While World Soccer (SNES) scores 69%. The feature looks at the (then) soon to be released, disaster of a game Rise of the Robots (Multi-format). Oh, and as for the man I admire and didn’t even know was on GamesMaster

BIFFO

Paul ‘Mr. Biffo’ Rose! If you don’t know who he is, click here and here andhere as Paul has been one of my biggest influencers, I seriously love this guy. Platform game Magic Boy (SNES) is the second challenge and the teams and they have to capture as many animals as possible in 45 seconds. Hackney Pranksters are up first and they manage to catch 9 animals before the clock runs out. Humberside Hawks don’t have time to see the end of the 45 seconds as they die before that can happen, but they did nab 6 animals. Finally, it’s Essex All Stars who get 7 animals. The scores stand at:

Hackney Pranksters  – 5
Essex All Stars – 12
Humberside Hawks – 5

With two teams on 5 points and as only the top two can go through to the final, it’s a tie-breaker. GamesMaster pits the two tying teams against each other on Super Mario Kart (SNES). One lap on the Mario Circuit track and whoever crosses the line first wins. Humberside Hawks do a cheeky shortcut to win and meet Essex All Stars in the final. Speaking of finals, it’s also the final of the FIFA International Soccer (Mega Drive) celeb challenge. Vinnie Jones vs John Barnes with Vinnie playing as Holland and John as Italy. Vinnie scores a bit if a sly goal and that’s the only goal in the first half. The second half sees two more goals… both of them from Vinnie Jones. Final score 3 – 0 to Vinnie Jones who wins the first golden joystick of the second half of series three.

VINNIE AND DEXTER

GamesMaster throws out some more gaming life preserves with his hints & tips. Cool Spot (SNES), Arabian Nights (Amiga) and Jungle Strike (Mega Drive) are all helped. It’s Humberside Hawks against Essex All Stars in the final. The game is tennis game, Davis Cup World Tour (Mega Drive) and each player has 10 balls to hit set targets. Humberside Hawks are up first and they score a very decent 7 points from 10 balls. Essex All Stars only manage to get a very poor 3 points from 10 balls. So Humberside Hawks go through to the semis while Essex All Stars are sent packing. I guess it’s also worth mentioning that it was the team captain who failed so badly for Essex All Stars in that last challenge, a kid called Simon.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Sixteen

Merry Christmas! Yes, it’s the GamesMaster 1993 Christmas special. There’s a slight break from the GamesMaster Team Championship as this episode is a Christmas panto special with three teams of celebs representing their panto, going up against each other to try and win a golden joystick. Though this isn’t part of the GamesMaster Team Championship, it still plays out the same with the three teams battling it out over various gaming challenges to win points, to get to the final. The teams are Dick Wittington – Croydon (Lorraine Chase, John Altman), Dick Wittington – Bath (Robert Duncan, Wayne Morris) and Aladdin – Woking (Graham Bickley, Ray Meagher). The first challenge is on Adventures of Yogi Bear (SNES) and players have 45 seconds to collect as many clocks as possible. Robert Duncan from Dick Wittington – Bath is first and he manages 16 clocks. Lorraine Chase from Dick Wittington – Croydon is next and gets 13 clocks. Then finally we have Graham Bickley from Aladdin – Woking, who scores 14 clocks. Same scoring as the normal championships so: 

Dick Wittington – Croydon – 0
Dick Wittington – Bath – 5
Aladdin – Woking – 2

GAMESMASTER CHRISTMAS

No reviews this time around, but five previous reviewers chose their games of the year, 1993. Steve Merret choses Street Fighter II: Championship Edition (Mega Drive) as his game of the year. Julian ‘Jaz’ Rignall has FIFA International Soccer (Mega Drive) as his pick. Paul ‘Mr Biffo’ Rose selects Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) is his game of the year. Andy Nuttall picks Syndicate (Amiga) as his game of 1993. While Josse Billson has three games, Sensible Soccer (Mega Drive), Claymates (SNES) and ClayFighter (SNES). No feature, but a competition called ‘Room of the Future’ where viewers can win some newly released games consoles is introduced. Then it’s onto the second challenge of the episode and the teams have 45 seconds to collect as many diamonds as they can on Super Alfred Chicken (SNES). Up first is John Altman for team Dick Wittington – Croydon, who gets a grand total of 0 as he dies early doors. Aladdin – Woking’s Ray Meagher is next and he does nab 12 diamonds before dying. Finally there’s Wayne Morris for Dick Wittington – Bath trounces over the others with 33 diamonds… and he doesn’t die either. Taking the scores to:

Dick Wittington – Croydon – 0
Dick Wittington – Bath – 10
Aladdin – Woking – 4

SUPER ALFRED CHICKEN SNES

A very poor performance from Dick Wittington – Croydon who didn’t score any points at all. As with the normal championships, it’s only the top two who got through to the final. So Dick Wittington – Croydon go home while Dick Wittington – Bath and Aladdin – Woking face each other in the final. Then, within this celebrity special episode, there’s still a ‘normal’ celebrity challenge to get through. Frank Bruno is the celeb and goes up against his own daughter, Nicola at boxing game Greatest Heavyweights (Mega Drive). It’s only a 1 round bout and Nicola comes out fighting, punching her father in the face over and over. There are no knockouts, so it goes to points and Nicola wins the golden joystick.

Showing some Christmas merriment, GamesMaster helps out those less fortunate once more. Joe & Mac (Game Boy) and Superman (Master System) are the games offered a little Christmas present. Then it’s on to the final where Dick Wittington – Bath and Aladdin – Woking have to play Christmas Lemmings (Amiga) and whoever saves the most % of lemmings in 45 seconds wins. Aladdin – Woking are first and get a very beatable 45%. Dick Wittington – Bath score a decent 60%. So team Dick Wittington – Bath are the golden joystick winners of this Christmas celebrity panto special.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seventeen

After that Christmas special, it’s back to the GamesMaster Team Championship. The first challenge is on Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (SNES). The contestants have 45 seconds to score as many points as they can. Dream Team are first and get a terrible 950 points before the clock runs out. Charlton Crew are next, who get a much more impressive 5100 points. Perfection score 1800, which is below average, but still enough to secure second place. The scores look very much like this:

Dream Team – 0
Perfection – 2
Charlton Crew – 5

SUPER EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SNES

Yup, review time once again. Boxing Legends of the Ring (SNES) get a 78%. Then F-117 Night Storm (Mega Drive) is given 67%. Another plug for the ‘Room of the Future’ competition and no feature. So it’s onto the second challenge, the game is on pinball game Dragon’s Revenge (Mega Drive) and the contestants have to beat a level boss in the quickest time only using one pinball. The losing team, Dream Team go first and manage to win in 40 seconds. Perfection next, who get off to a very bad start by losing their only ball in 9 seconds and fail. Charlton Crew are the last team and only have to last more than 9 seconds to win some points, but finish in under 40 seconds to win. The bad news is they lose the ball, the good news is… not until 25 seconds into the challenge. Though Charlton Crew failed, they lasted longer than Perfection. The scoreboard is thus:

Dream Team – 5
Perfection – 2
Charlton Crew – 7

Perfection are out of the championship, while Dream Team and Charlton Crew go to the final. Celebrity challenge time once more and two members of the audience have a chance of winning a date… but with who? She has been on GamesMaster before, the Games Mistress (Dianne Youdale). The challenge is on Lethal Enforcers (Mega Drive) and Games Mistress goes first to set a score within half a minute, then the contestants, Daniel and Steven have to try and beat that score in the fastest time possible. Games Mistress puts in a very beatable performance, after shooting a cop in the first 4 seconds, she does get a score of 46 in 30 seconds. Steve goes first and knocks up a score of 48 points with 5 seconds left. Daniel’s aim is worse than a drunken stormtrooper as gets a grand total of 0 points after loosing all his health due to massacring innocent civilians. Steven has a big ‘ole smile on his face, not just because he won a golden joystick, but because he also got to spend some time with the Games Mistress… lucky bastard.

GAMES MISTRESS

Technoclash (Mega Drive), Shadowrun (SNES) and Alien 3 (SNES) all have peeps asking GamesMaster for some help. Final challenge time and we have a fight on the rather ‘wooden’ beat ’em up Elfmania (Amiga). You know the score by now, best of three rounds and the winner goes through to the semi-finals. Dream Team and Charlton Crew grab hold of their joysticks to give each other a fierce beating (sorry, but there’s a severe lack of double entendre with Dominik not being around). The first round goes to Dream Team, as does the second. Truth be told, Elfmania is a bit crap… so lets just quickly move on. Dream Team go to the semi-finals.

Golden joysticks won –  1

Episode Eighteen

This episode’s three teams are Conquerors, Nightmares and Livewires. The first challenge is on Top Gear 2 (SNES) and the contestants have to finish a single lap of the Austrian circuit in the fastest time. Conquerors put in a strong effort and despite smashing into a billboard at the side of the track, they get a time of 33.51 seconds. Nightmares spend more time bumping into the back of the opposing cars than going around them, losing seconds and finishing in 37.06. Then we have Livewires, who get a time of 33.20 to win the big points. Scoreboard time:

Conquerors – 2
Nightmares – 0
Livewires – 5

TOP GEAR 2 SNES

Review round up and ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron (Mega Drive) gets 90% and F1 Pole Position (SNES) scores 78%. The feature looks at the pre-release version of Alien vs Predator (Jaguar) while that ‘Room of the Future’ competition continues. Round two of the championship next and the game is Tinhead (Mega Drive) and GamesMaster gives 45 seconds to score as many points as possible. Team Nightmares are first and gets a very nice 6150 points. Conquerors are next and they take too many hits, die after only a few seconds with a piss-poor score of 500. Livewires are up next and they can beat 500 points with ease, they do take a few hits and it looks bleak, but they manage to hold on and score 1000 points before dying. That mixes up the scoreboard a bit:

Conquerors – 2
Nightmares – 5
Livewires – 7

Nightmares and Livewires go through. Simone Robertson from then popular Aussie soap, Neighbours is the celeb and she takes on a Sam, a challenger from the audience at Plok (SNES). Given only a single life, whoever finishes a level in the fastest time wins. Simone breezes through the level, avoids the bad guys and finishes with a time of 21 seconds. Sam does even better and get to the end in just 17 seconds to win the golden joystick. A rather quick, ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ challenge.

3 BOUT COUNT NEO GEO

GamesMaster is back dishing out his hints & tips. Rocket Knight Adventures (Mega Drive), Magic Boy (Amiga) and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy) get some help. So it’s the final challenge, the game is wrestling game, 3 Count Bout (Neo Geo). Whoever pins their opponent first wins. Nightmares and Livewire get down to some man on man grappling action and it’s a close fight as the two exchange blows. They both have zero health left, but they have to pin to win and Nightmares just about manage to win by a whisker. 

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nineteen

Three more teams fight it out for a place in the semi-final. Warwickshire 49ers, Heavy Tactics and Mega Maniacs are the teams. It’s another round robin tournament with a single round bout on Samurai Shodown (Neo Geo), each round won earns 5 points. Warwickshire 49ers vs Heavy Tactics first and Heavy Tactics win. Then Mega Maniacs step up to take on Heavy Tactics, for Heavy Tactics to win again. The last round is Warwickshire 49ers vs Mega Maniacs, which the 49ers win. Now each team has played each other. Warwickshire 49ers won one round, Heavy Tactics won two rounds, while Mega Maniacs won nowt:

Warwickshire 49ers – 5
Heavy Tactics – 10
Mega Maniacs – 0

SAMURAI SHODOWN NEO GEO

Eternal Champions (Mega Drive) scores 81%. Total Carnage (Game Boy) gets a mediocre 58% in the reviews. there’s a bit more of that ‘Room of the Future’ comp and no feature, so straight onto the second challenge. GamesMaster gives 45 seconds and 3 lives to collect as many bells as possible on Pop’n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures (SNES). Mega Maniacs up first and takes a few hits, dying before the clock expires, but grabbing 145 bells along the way. Warwickshire 49ers go next and they spend more time avoiding he bells than collecting them, but still get a total of 110 bells. Heavy Tactics get squished under a falling block and die, but they did collect 145 bells, the same as Mega Maniacs. The scoreboard says:

Warwickshire 49ers – 5
Heavy Tactics – 15
Mega Maniacs – 5

It’s a tie-break between Warwickshire 49ers and Mega Maniacs, so GamesMaster pits them against each other on Mortal Kombat (SNES). It’s only a single round fight, Warwickshire 49ers play as Sub-Zero while Mega Maniacs use Rayden. It’s not even a close fight as Mega Maniacs romp tom victory with ease. Celebrity challenge time again and athlete with the best laugh ever, Kriss Akabusi picks a challenger form the crowd, Gia. James Pond 3 (Mega Drive) is the game and it’s a simple finfish the level in the fastest time thing. Kriss goes first and falls on some spikes as well along with struggling to get up a hill, both errors lose him time. Kriss finishes with a beatable 28 seconds. Gia next and she falls on the same spikes and struggles with the same hill as Kriss, only much worse and runs out of time, failing the challenge. Kriss Akabusi wins the golden joystick… but he gives it to Gia in a gallant act of chivalry, or maybe he just didn’t want the golden joystick? Useless bit of trivia for you. YouTuber, ‘Guru’ Larry Bundy Jr bought Gia’s golden joystick from her on eBay a few years back.

MORTAL KOMBAT SNES 2

Hints & tips time yet again as Jurassic Park (SNES) and Brutal Sports Football (Amiga) get some GamesMaster help. Heavy Tactics take on Mega Maniacs at NBA Jam (SNES), whoever scores the most points in a single quarter wins. Mega Maniacs break the ice with a slam dunk to score first, they follow that up with another basket… and another. Heavy Tactics finally score, only for Mega Maniacs to score again, making it 8 -2 to the Mega Maniacs, it’s all a bit one-sided. Then Mega Maniacs foul and give 3 points to Heavy Tactics, it’s now 8 -5. Heavy Tactics do get another basket making the score 8 -7 and if they had a bit more time, they could’ve made an amazing comeback to win… IF they had more time. The clock runs down leaving the score 8 – 7 to Mega Maniacs who go to the semi-finals.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty

GamesMaster selects Eternal Champions (Mega Drive) for the first challenge and it’s another round robin beat ’em up thing. You know the score by now, one round bouts and each team plays against each other team with 5 points awarded for each round won. The three teams battling it out this episode are The Delilahs, Take This and Wanstead Magic. Up first it’s The Delilahs vs Take This and Take This wins. The Delilahs do battle with Wanstead Magic with the win going to The Delilahs. So the final round is between Wanstead Magic and Take This and ends with Take This as the victors. Setting up the scores like this:

The Delilahs – 5
Take This – 10
Wanstead Magic – 0

TEAM PICS

There are no reviews this time, but instead we get a a selection of previews seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Stunt Race FX (SNES) and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive) get looked at. More ‘Room of the Future’ competition stuff before the second challenge. Bubba ‘n’ Stix (Mega Drive) is the game and the contestants are given 45 seconds to score as many points as possible. Wanstead Magic are first and scores 6,000, a good but certainly beatable attempt. The Delilahs are next and despite getting stuck in an easily escapable pit, losing seconds, they do manage a score of 6,300. Finally it’s Take This who lead with a 6,800 score:

The Delilahs – 12
Take This – 15
Wanstead Magic – 0

Wanstead Magic go home while The Delilahs will battle it out against Take This in the final. Celebrity challenge time now and Andrew Paul and Lisa Geoghan from popular police drama, The Bill are up. GamesMaster has them playing T2: The Arcade Game (SNES) and it’s whoever scores the most points in 45 seconds wins. Andrew goes first and manages a 11,500 score. Lisa tired her best, but only gets 10,900, meaning Andrew Paul wins the golden joystick… though to be fair, both were handicapped having to use that awful SNES Super Scope bazooka thing.

T2 SNES CHALLENGE

GamesMaster opens his ‘soup kitchen for the gaming undernourished’ (his words, not mine) as Puggsy (Mega Drive) and Zool (Mega Drive) get dished up with some help. Then it’s the final team challenge to secure a place in the semis. The Delilahs and Take This play a classic game of footie on Super Goal! 2 (SNES) is the game. The Delilahs playing as Brazil while Take This chose Germany. It’s a scoreless first half, but both teams had a few attempts on goal. The second half is a bit more spicy as Germany tuck one away. Despite fighting back, the score remains 1 – 0 to Germany as Take This go through.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-One

Megabites, Elite 3 and RCC (Reading Console Crew) are the three teams this episode. The first challenge is on Adventures of Yogi Bear (SNES), with 45 seconds to collect as many clocks as possible. Megabites score an pretty good 34 clocks. Elite 3 just nudge ahead with 36 clocks collected. So RCC go last and mess up a little along the way, only managing to grab 26 clocks. Leaving the scoreboard looking like:

Megabites – 2
Elite 3 – 5
RCC – 0

DAVE AND DEXTER 2

Review time again and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) is given a very worthy, but not good enough 81%. Alone in the Dark 2 (PC) gets 90%. Then we get a sneak peek at Sega’s Virtua Fighter (Arcade). Yup, more of that ‘Room of the Future’ comp. Second challenge time and Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 (Mega Drive) is the game. Whoever scores the most points in 45 seconds wins, simple. RCC go first and get a score of 221,990. Megabites are next and they get a relatively poor and very beatable score of 91,710. So it’s current leaders, Elite 3 next and they land a better score of 106,720:

Megabites – 2
Elite 3 – 7
RCC – 5

Elite 3 and RCC go to the final challenge. Snooker ace, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the celeb this episode and he has to picks an audience member, Carla to play pool game, Side Pocket (SNES). GamesMaster gives them just five shots each to score the most points. Carla goes first and gets off to a good start, sinking a couple of balls. She also sinks a rather lucky re-bound shot and scores 400 points. Ronnie is up next and puts in a rather rushed and dismal attempt to score 200 points. Carla wins the golden joystick.

JAMMIT MEGA DRIVE

GamesMaster hands out more hints & tips, Adventures of Dr. Franken (SNES), Desert Strike (Master System) and Linus Spacehead’s Cosmic Crusade (Mega Drive) get helped. Then it’s final challenge time as Elite 3 and RCC face each other on street basketball game, Jammit (Mega Drive), with the first player to score 5 baskets being declared the winner. They waste no time in dunking their balls on each other as they both score 1 basket a piece. It’s very evenly matched as neither team pulls ahead, until Elite 3 block an attack and sink a basket to make the score 4 – 2 in their favour. RCC do get another point, but Elite 3 just come right back and score their last and wining basket. 5 – 3 to Elite 3, and they send RCC home.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Two

So this is the last of the heats before the semi-finals start next episode. The teams are Fowley Force, Laser Force and Questers. Challenge number one is on Skitchin’ (Mega Drive) and contestants are given 45 seconds to overtake as many opponents as possible from starting in 7th. Fowley Force manage to do really, really badly and gain zero positions, remaining in 7th. Laser Force do just as badly and stay in 7th, can anyone gain a position? Questers show them how it’s done and finish in 3rd place. The scoreboard says this: 

Fowley Force – 2
Laser Force – 2
Questers – 5

SKITCHIN MEGA DRIVE

Time to look at some reviews again next and it’s basketball games under the spotlight. HyperDunk (Mega Drive) gets a 58%. NBA Showdown (Mega Drive) is given another 58%. Then NBA Jam (SNES & Mega Drive) is on fire with 92%. The winners of that ‘Room of the Future’ competition is announced and Sarah Tongue from Redditch won an Amiga CD-32, John Henry from Lancashire won a Philips CD-i, S Ahmed from Liverpool won an Atari Jaguar and Jonathan Rangel from Wolverhampton won a 3DO. Yup, crap prizes all round really and no eBay in 1994 to sell them on either. So with that out of the way, it’s onto the next challenge. Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3-D (SNES) is the game for some platforming action, contestants are given 45 seconds to get the highest score possible. Laser Force are first and get a very good but beatable 5,030 points. Fowley Force are up next and 4,420 is the very dismal score they manage. Which leaves current leaders, Questers a pretty easy target to beat… but they right mess it up, die and only get 2,500 points.

Fowley Force – 4
Laser Force – 7
Questers – 5

So the final will be between Laser Force and Questers. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage is the celebrity next and he plucks an audience member, Bertha.  WWF Rage in the Cage (Sega CD) is the game and it’s ‘yer basic last person standing wins. I’d like to say how this is a close fight, I’d like to say that, but Bertha destroys Randy to win the golden joystick.

RANDY SAVAGE

Lamborghini American Challenge (SNES) and Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (Mega Drive) get some GamesMaster help. Laser Force and Questers fight it out for the last spot in the semi-finals on Boxing Legends of the Ring (SNES). It’s a single round fight to be won by knockout or points. It really is a close one as both teams give as good as they get. No KOs, so it goes to points, which the judges score 10 – 9 to Questers. So that’s all of the heats done and dusted, it’s now onto the semi-finals as the GamesMaster Team Championship approaches its climax.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty- Three

So this is the start of the semi-finals and the winners from all the previous heats are back to take part in gaming challenges once more, this time battling for a spot in the final. Nine teams left and the first three are The G.I.T.S, Humberside Hawks and Dream Team, their first challenge is on Starwing (SNES). The teams have to score as many points as possible in 45 seconds. The G.I.T.S go first and make good use of the bonuses for extra points to score 8,004. Humberside Hawks go next and it looks like they are struggling for a while, but a well timed smart bomb with only 1 second left kills some enemies and they score 8,017 points. Dream Team go last and have some tough scores to beat, they miss out some early and easy points and end up with a total of 7,764. Scoreboard time:

The G.I.T.S – 2
Humberside Hawks – 5
Dream Team – 0

STARWING SNES

Reviews again and they focus on football games. Virtual Soccer (SNES) gets a 78%. The more cartoony Empire Soccer 94 (SNES) scores 81%. Then platformer Soccer Kid (SNES) is awarded 86%. No feature here, so straight to the second challenge on Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive). The teams just have to finish a level in the fastest time. Dream Team are up first and get a time of 30 seconds, very good but still beatable. The G.I.T.S go next and get the exact same time of 30 seconds. 30 seconds is beatable, as both the previous teams did loose a second or two slowing down. Humberside Hawks go last and early doors, a mistimed jump slows them down and they end with a time of 33 seconds.

The G.I.T.S – 7
Humberside Hawks – 5
Dream Team – 5

It’s tie-break time again and GamesMaster picks beat ’em up World Heroes 2 (Neo Geo). It’s a single round fight and it’s Humberside Hawks vs Dream Team. Humberside Hawks absolutely pummel Dream Team and almost get a prefect. The ‘techno, techno, techno, techno!” duo band, 2 Unlimited are the celebrities taking on Fatal Fury 2 (Neo Geo). Bandmates Ray Slijngaard and Anita Doth have to punch and kick each other until only one remains in this best of three fight. The first round is actually a close one with both giving as good as they get, but it goes to Ray. Second round is even closer as both players get down to a one hit wind situation, Ray just about takes it via a jumping punch to win the golden joystick.

2 UNLIMTED

GamesMaster pops up again to hand out some gaming help. Kevin Keegan’s Player Manager, (SNES) is asked for some help from Kevin Keegan himself! James Bond 007: The Duel (Master System) and then, Kevin Keegan comes back asking for more help on his own game again. Final time and it’s Super Mario Kart (SNES) and the players have a 5 lap race, first to pass the line wins. The G.I.T.S really get to grips with the power-sliding to get into 1st place, but when Humberside Hawks nab a star power-up, they shoot into the lead on lap 3. The G.I.T.S catch up, but get hit by a shell and lose valuable time when they get stuck on a boundary wall. Just before the final lap, The G.I.T.S pick up a star which helps them gain some of the lost ground, but it’s just no enough and Humberside Hawks win a place in the grand final.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Four

Round two of the semis and it’s Turbo Destructors, Mega Maniacs and Take This as the teams trying to secure a place in the final. GamesMaster selects Mortal Kombat (Mega Drive) as the game and yes, it’s another round robin. Mega Maniacs beat Turbo Destructors in round one and Take This in round two. The final round goes to Turbo Destructors. The scoreboard looks like:

Turbo Destructors – 5
Mega Maniacs – 10
Take This – 0

Another review round-up as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive) gets 90%. Choplifter III (SNES) scores 78%. Then there’s a preview of some of the games for the soon to be released 3DO console. Super Mario Bros. 3 (SNES) is the game for challenge number two and all they have to do is finish a level in the fastest time. Take This up first and they last a terrible 16 seconds before they die. Turbo Destructors and all they really have to do is stand still for longer than 16 seconds to secure some points, but they try to finish the level and get a time of 23 seconds. Mega Maniacs and again, all they have to do is survive longer then 16 seconds, which is easy… but they try to finish the level and die in just 6 seconds. 6 SECONDS! I can manage sex longer than that.

Turbo Destructors – 10 
Mega Maniacs – 10
Take This – 2

SUPER MARIO BROS. 3

Though it is a tie at the top of the scoreboard, it’s the loosing team who go home. Turbo Destructors and Mega Maniacs go through to the final. But before that, it’s celebrity challenge time again. Crash Test Dummies… not the band, but actual crash test dummies, Slick and Spin take on The Incredible Crash Dummies (Mega Drive). Fastest to finish the level wins the golden joystick. Slick goes first and gets a tie of 41 seconds. Spin goes next and just wins with a time of 40 seconds to take the golden joystick.

More hints & tips from GamesMaster and Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 (Mega Drive), Rock n’ Roll Racing (SNES) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Game Boy) are all given a leg up. So it’s the final between Turbo Destructors and Mega Maniacs. GamesMaster picks Striker (SNES) for some footie action. Mega Maniacs win and secure a place in the grand final. 

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Five

Nightmares, Elite 3 and Questors are the three teams vying for the last place in the grand final. Aladdin (Mega Drive) is the game picked by GamesMaster, who gives the teams 45 seconds to collect as many apples as possible. Team Nightmares storm though the level and pick up a very good 46 apples. Elite 3 pick up the pad next and also score 46 apples. Now, both previous teams did miss a couple of easy to grab apples along the way, so 46 is beatable. Questors are last on this challenge and are in good stead to win… but they miss a few very easy to get apples in the last few seconds and only grab 42 apples. The scoreboard says:

Nightmares –  5
Elite 3 –  5
Questors – 0

ALADDIN MEGA DRIVE

No reviews to speak of this time, instead it’s a preview/opinion as four FMV games for the Sega CD get looked at. Prize Fighter, Ground Zero: Texas, Double Switch and MegaRace get shown with a few comments (not really reviews and no scores) from some gaming industry peeps. No feature either, so let’s crack on with the second challenge. Pilotwings (SNES) is the game and it’s the parachuting level. Freefall trough rings, land close or on to the target to score points. Questors go first and they miss several rings and splashdown in the water, missing the landing target to score a very, very poor 9 out of a possible 100 points. Being at the bottom of the scoreboard… this does not look good for Questors at all. Elite 3 next and with a score of 9 to beat, this should be a doddle… and it is, going through all the rings already beats the previous score and even land a bullseye, scoring the maximum 100 points. Nightmares go next and again, all they have to do is beat 9 points, but they miss several rings and do a very sloppy landing outside of the target… but at least it wasn’t in the water, 11 points. 

Nightmares – 7
Elite 3 – 10
Questors – 0

PILOTWINGS SNES

After that very embarrassing performance, Questors go home. Long forgotten about, British boyband, Bad Boys Inc are the celebrities up next, well two of the four are, Tony Dowding and Ally Begg. The duo take on Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC) and have to navigate Beggar’s Canyon in their training ship. Ally goes first and he pinballs around the canyon and blows up, only lasting 20 seconds. Tony next and he smashes into the canyon wall a few times too, but manages to last 37 seconds to win the golden joystick.

Once more, GamesMaster offers up some help. Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (SNES) and Premier Manager 2 (Amiga) are both given a leg up. So this is it, the last chance to secure a place in the grand final of the GamesMaster Team Championship. It’s Nightmares vs Elite 3 and they are fighting it out on Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) in a classic best of three scrap. Elite 3 win the first two rounds to win.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Six

So this is it, all the previous heats and semi-finals have led to this point, the GamesMaster Team Championship grand final. There’s some really cheesy, toe-curling nineties trash-talk as the teams are introduced. Cybermorph (Atari Jaguar) is the game and contestants have just 45 seconds (again) to collect 18 diamond pods on the level. Mega Maniacs only grab 8, leaving 10 pods. Elite 3 just about get 9 pods. Then Humberside Hawks also nab 8 pods. With both Humberside Hawks and Mega Maniacs grabbing the same amount, the scores look like:

Humberside Hawks  – 2
Mega Maniacs – 2
Elite 3 – 5

CYBERMORPH (JAGUAR)

No reviews or feature, straight into the second challenge and GamesMaster selects one of the most infamously bad games ever made, Rise of the Robots (PC). As this is a beat ’em up, it’s another round robin scrap. Humberside Hawks win round one, Mega Maniacs win round two, then Humberside Hawks take the final round. After which:

Humberside Hawks  – 12
Mega Maniacs – 7
Elite 3 – 5

Elite 3 are out of the grand final, leaving Humberside Hawks and Mega Maniacs to duke it out. No celebrity challenge or GamesMaster hints & tips this time, straight back into the action. Things get shaken up a bit for this grand final. There are three separate challenges on three different games, so it’s the best of three challenges. Sonic CD (Sega CD) is the first game and it’s a simple finish the level in the quickest time thing. Humberside Hawks are up first and set a time of 34.68 seconds. Mega Maniacs mess up badly and fail, unable to beat the time set.

The next challenge is on Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES) in a best of three round fight. Mega Maniacs win the first round and the second round… quite easily too. So it’s one challenge a piece, whichever team wins the next challenge will become GamesMaster Team Champions.

STREET FIGHTER II TURBO SNES

So, this is it, Striker (SNES) is the game for two halves of (possible) goal scoring action. Humberside Hawks play as England and Mega Maniacs chose Germany… a bitter rivalry to be settled on the football pitch. Germany waste no time and score the opener in seconds, 1 – 0 to Germany and Mega Maniacs. England come back fighting and quickly respond with an attack with two shots.. both hit the crossbar. Germany are not too happy about that, so just as quickly pop another one in the net, 2 – 0 to Germany. The halftime whistle blows, England, Humberside Hawks are 2 goals down and need to come out fighting… and they do, putting the round leather thing between the posts 2 – 1 to Germany. With just a few seconds left on the clock, German make it 3 – 1. Then England put another away 3 – 2 with only 10 seconds left! It’s a close one, but England just couldn’t do it. Germany, team Mega Maniacs are GamesMaster Team Champions.

MEGSA MANIACS WIN

Mega Maniacs win an Amiga CD-32, Philips CD-i Atari Jaguar and a PC. The PC they (have) to donate to charity. Runners up, Humberside Hawks win a golden joystick each. Then, on top of their gaming console prizes, Mega Maniacs win a special jewel encrusted golden joystick each, as well as the title of GamesMaster Team Champions.

Golden joysticks won – 3
Jewel encrusted golden joysticks won – 3


Overall

You ask any GamesMaster fan about series three and you’ll get nothing but anger in return. That anger mainly comes from Dexter Fletcher’s presenting, his penchant for shouting and screaming ‘OI GAMESMARSTA!!!’ is a very notable point of anger, then there’s the infuriating whistling that he keeps doing. Myself, I always remember hating this series more than any of the others, but that was twenty-seven years ago. Re-watching it for this retrospective, I really didn’t think Dexter was all that bad to be honest. He doesn’t have the cheeky charm of Dominik Diamond and the writing of some of the ‘jokes’ for this series was pretty flat. But overall, Dexter was not as bad as I remember, yes he is a bit overbearing a times, but I still found him enjoyable… mostly. Looking at the series as an adult, I’m pretty sure it was the writing that was the biggest issue and not so much Dexter himself. Still, it’s not as if Dexter Fletcher would ever go on to do anythingmajor after this is it?

Some of the format changes felt out of place, I understand they wanted to do something different, but I honestly got bored of the whole GamesMaster Team Championship thing in the second half, it just dragged on and on. You can probably tell as some my commentary here got less detailed and a bit more lax as it went on (I honestly lost interest at points). Plus, to cram in more challenges and more players for the teams, the challenges had to become shorter overall, which didn’t add much to the excitement really. Look at previous series and challenges lasted several minutes, here in the second half, most lasted seconds. I think if they had a smaller team count for the championship and made them fight it out over two episodes instead of cramming it all into one, it could’ve been better. Possibly the weakest series of the whole show? I’ll pass judgement after I’ve been through all seven series at the end.

DEXTER 2

Total golden joysticks won – 13
Total jewel encrusted golden joysticks won – 3

Well, now series three is out of the way, things begin to get really interesting both in front and behind the cameras at GamesMaster. Series four begins soon. 

“OI GAMESMARSTA!!!”

– Dexter Fletcher