GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part Two

Well, after that ‘moment’ from the last episode with Dave Perry’s famed ‘I’ve been set up fairly badly’ claim. It’s time to crack on with the second half of series six. Many people have said that Dave left GamesMaster and never appeared again after the previous Christmas special, including in this Eurogamer article:

“The final shot of the episode is of Ewing and Diamond waving next to some mermaids while Perry stands off to one side, arms folded and legs crossed. He never appeared on GamesMaster again.”

But that’s not true as he’s still around… For a few episodes too.

Episode Ten

It’s the New Year, 1997 and Dominik Diamond takes great pleasure in introducing the first episode of the year. It’s a special too covering DD’s favourite subject. Nope, not football but females. Dominik himself is even making the effort and getting himself spruced up for a proper girlie gaming session as he has his makeup, nails and hair done, by his mermaid helpers, while wearing a dress.


Platform Queen is the title of the first challenge and GamesMaster has a three-part challenge lined up for a young lass calling herself the ‘Platform Queen’. She has to collect thirty bananas on Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES), then she has to nab thirty DNA pick-ups on Spider: The Video Game (PlayStation), then it’s the final part and the self-proclaimed Platform Queen has to collect twenty apples on Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation). There are a couple of stipulations, there’s a 4 minute time limit to complete all three parts, if she dies even once then the whole challenge is a fail. It is certainly a tricky one and to tackle this one is Sarah. But first, it’s the news. Rather spiffing GTI Club (Arcade) is given a quick preview. The live-action/animated basketball flick, Space Jam is mentioned, along with a little butchers at the multi-format tie-in game. Creatures (PC), an artificial life game where you create and look after your very own creature is also given a little bit of attention. Then it’s back to Sarah and the start of her Platform Queen challenge. Kicking off with Donkey Kong Country 3, Sarah has herself twenty-two bananas fairly quickly, but she messes up on a jump and drops down, losing very valuable time. At the 1 minute and 18 seconds point, Sarah has the thirty bananas she needed. Now, it was suggested that Sarah needed to finish the first part in 1 minute or less, so she’s a wee bit behind already. 

Straight on to the next part and on Spider: The Video Game, Sarah needs to pick up thirty DNS strands. With 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock, Sarah finishes the second part of this multi-part challenge. The final part and Sarah needs to collect twenty apples on Crash Bandicoot and she only has 1 minute and 30 seconds to do it too. After grabbing five apples, Sarah mistimes a jump and falls to her death. The challenge is over, it’s a fail. Oh well, let’s have some reviews instead and all of the reviewers are female, in this female special. Beat ’em up Tobal No. 1 (PlayStation) is awarded a 78%. Williams Arcade’s Greatest Hits (SNES), a collection of some of the classic Williams arcade games is given an 80%. Finally, 3D shooter, Amok (Saturn) gets an 83%. 


It’s probably about time for a celebrity challenge and GamesMaster selects Manx TT Super Bike (Arcade) as the game. Very nineties broadcasting bird, Zoë Ball is the celeb who has to try and place fifth place or higher in a two lap race. Zoë soon finds herself in the middle of the pack and keeps jostling between sixth and fifth place. Plenty of double entendres are thrown about as Zoë Ball straddles the bike controller. After hitting a few too many barriers, Zoë slips down to seventh place, before getting one place back to finish in sixth, failing the challenge. Not a great performance for female gamers as no golden joysticks are won. So, we finish up with a feature. It’s (another) look at the N64 and a few of its games, including Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Yoshi’s Story, Yuke-Yuke!! Trouble Makers, GoldenEye 007 and International Superstar Soccer 64 are all previewed. 

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Eleven

After the previous female special, DD worries that viewers think he’s going soft. So this time, it’s a more ‘manly’ episode. The first challenge being called Short Sharp Shock is on Street Fighter Zero 2 (Arcade). Four challengers have to duke it out by fighting one round each, playing as Ken. Whoever takes the longest to KO the AI controlled opponent will be eliminated. The remaining players fight again until only one is left. Simple enough. The four taking this one on are Ian, John, Metro and Gary. Now, Metro is not the guy’s real name, but he refuses to tell anyone what it is. Anyway, it’s news time first and Sonic Blast (Saturn) is previewed. Then there’s a request from the British Film Institute for donations of old games for a library of classic video games. I wonder how many (now really expensive) retro games they were given? Star Trek: Borg (PC), an interactive movie is looked at too. Back to the Short Sharp Shock challenge and Ian goes first and he wins in 15 seconds. John next and he puts in a slow performance with a 31 second win. Metro wins his round in 23 seconds. Finally, Gary does it in 16 seconds, not the fastest, but he’s not the slowest either. After that very poor time of 31 seconds for his KO, John is out. On to the next round of fights and Ian goes first, he gets a 17 seconds KO. Next up is Metro, he wins his fight in 18 seconds. Then it is Gary last and he’s just too damn slow, DD cuts him off before he can even KO his opponent because he’s taking too long. With Gary out of the challenge, that leaves just Ian and Metro in the final. Ian, as the fastest of the two, goes first. It’s not a great performance and Ian gets a 43 second KO, far slower than any of his other fights. Metro can beat that time with ease… I think. He does too, with a time of 24 seconds to win the golden joystick.


Destruction Derby 2 (PlayStation) is the title that GamesMaster has picked out for this celebrity challenge. Given 2 minutes to survive a mass smash ’em up against AI controlled cars. tackling this one is popular soap opera, Eastenders actor Deepak Verma. Deepak really goes for it and instead of trying to avoid being hit, he speeds into the mass crowd of other cars. He soon gets wise and begins to avoid the other cars and at the halfway point, his car is in good condition as the AI are too busy smashing each other up to notice that Deepak is staying well away from the carnage. Soon, there are only eight cars left of the starting twenty and with just 30 seconds left, there are not only four AI opponents left and Deepak’s car is still relatively unscathed. Deepak Verma wins the golden joystick really easily, to be honest. 

Time to finish up with a few reviews now and destructive platformer, Trash It (PlayStation) gets an okay-ish 75%. Gory horror-adventure game Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh (PC) is awarded an 85%. Then the alpine racer, Cool Boarders (PlayStation) is given an 82%. And that wraps up this less feminine episode.

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Twelve

The news kicks off this episode and Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation) is previewed. What’s interesting is that this is the very early build of the game known as Resident Evil 1.5 with Elza Walker as a playable character. But when the development of the game just wasn’t working, it was completely scrapped and the now, more well known version was started. Animal (PC) a game based on the Peperami Animal mascot is looked at. Then the Net Yaroze, a PlayStation you can program games on is also explored. Tiny Car Kid is the name of the first challenge and GamesMaster has chosen the impressive full-sized version of Ridge Racer (Arcade). I’ve always been impressed by this beast of a machine and the task is simple, just finish the two lap race in the top three. But there is a slight twist in that the challenger, Ryan, is only a 9-year-old kid and can’t quite reach the full-sized pedal controls, so he gets some assistance from one of the lovely mermaids. Getting started, Ryan begins slicing his way through the pack and finds himself in ninth place. There’s a bit of trading paint and by the end of the first lap, Ryan is in fifth place. A few bumps and Ryan soon finds himself dropping back and in seventh place. There’s a lot of tussling and Ryan just can’t make any decent progress, stuck in seventh place for a while, he does squeeze his way up to fifth, but it’s very nearly the last corner and he has to place in the top three. On the very last right hand bend, he slips into third place and crosses the line to win a golden joystick. Honestly, for a 9-year-old kid who can’t actually reach the controls in the full-sized Mazda MX5, he did bloody well.


Let’s have some reviews. First up, futuristic sports title, Riot (PlayStation) gets a 79%. Destruction Derby 2 (PlayStation) is  given a smashing 85%. Finally, Peter Gabriel: Eve (PC) a rather bizarre CD-ROM adventure game from the famed musician is awarded a very mediocre 51%. Let’s have another celebrity challenge and Bear Van Beers (a TV presenter that no one remembers now… Or then) is the attractive lass for DD to drool over here. The game that GamesMaster has selected is Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island (Mega Drive) and Bear has to save five Flickies and finish the level in 2 minutes. Joining Dominik in the commentary box is Dave Perry… See, I told you had hadn’t left the show yet. Bear gets off to a terrible start and really struggles to kill the enemies, which releases the titular Flickies that need to be saved. After wasting so much time, Bear finally gets to grips with the game and does get three Flickies… But runs out of time and fails very, very badly. This really is one of the worst GamesMaster performances ever, almost painful to watch.

DD wraps things up with a feature. The University of Geneva developed new software that could recreate movie stars who are no longer with us. They aim to create a fully CGI version of Marilyn Monroe. While very early tech, it’s a very interesting look at something this is now very much possible, but being explored back in 1997. ‘Realistic’ hair and clothing, along with facial expressions were rough, but a huge step in the right direction. The final results look ‘messy’, but still, it just goes to show how even back then that fully rendered CGI humans were being explored. Even if CGI Marilyn Monroe was a little bit scary…


Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Thirteen

Dominik gets straight into the news and there’s coverage of a Japanese Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) contest where ‘Tetsujin’ (Ironmen), as they are called. This rather tough challenge has the Tetsujin battling against one hundred Virtua Fighter experts, in which they have to win at least ninety of the fights to win. Oh, and there are no breaks, no food, no drinks. Just one Tetsujin versus one-hundred other VF players. The winner of the then, most recent contest, Kyasao, was flown out from Japan to take part in a GamesMaster challenge. Simply called, Tetsujin, this challenge sees Kyasao go up against one hundred English Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) players. Now, as the show is only twenty-odd minutes long (minus ad breaks), obviously they couldn’t show a one hundred person VF fight. So, the challenge actually began at dawn of the day of the recording when Kyasao arrived. Dave Perry (still hasn’t left yet) has been overseeing the challenge since it began and highlights of this immense Tetsujin challenge are shown through the episode while Kyasao continues playing against the last remaining opponents as the show continues. The highlights show Kyasao completely destroy any and everyone that goes up against him… It’s not even close. As the show catches up with the action, Kyasao has beaten eighty-four challengers and still going strong. 

As the Tetsujin challenge continues, time for some reviews. Fox Hunt (PlayStation) an interactive movie thing… Gets interrupted to cut back to the Tetsujin challenge on the eighty-ninth fight as Kyasao seems to be struggling in a bout against a challenger called Omar. Perhaps it could put it down to tiredness, but Kyasao loses a round, the first round he has lost in almost ninety fights. The second round of the fight is close too, but Kyasao wins, just about. With one round apiece, if Omar wins, he has beaten the unbeatable Tetsujin. Of course, he doesn’t and Kyasao whoops his buttocks. Just a quick observation. The rules of the challenge are that Kyasao has to beat, at least, ninety of the one hundred fighters and this particular fight against Omar is said to be his eighty-ninth fight with no losses… But what does the winning streak say in the top left hand corner…


Twenty-nine wins, shouldn’t that say eighty-eight wins if he was currently fighting his eighty-ninth consecutive challenger? Anyway, after the ad break, Kyasao had beaten everyone up to fight number ninety-three. The challenge was to only beat ninety of the one-hundred, so he’s already won. But can he beat all one-hundred? We see Kyasao beat his ninety-third challenger… But the thing in the corner says he only has twelve wins? Time for a celeb challenge, soap actress and ‘singer’ Tracy Shaw takes on Alpine Surfer (Arcade). All Tracy has to do is finish the snowboarding course without running out of time. At around halfway down the course, Tracy has missed a few gates, but she still has enough time to finish the challenge. Tracy makes it to the bottom of the course, a few bumps aside, with 10 seconds to spare and wins a golden joystick.

Back to the Tetsujin challenge and Kyasao has beaten his ninety-ninth opponent. A few highlights are shown and Kyasao has lost a few rounds (his winning streak makes even less sense, just four wins now?) in the fights as the celeb challenge was going on. Still, with ninety-nine wins, Kyasao has just one more fight to win. Oh, and his winning streak now says thirty-six wins. If you’ve been keeping up, the last time we saw the action, before the celeb challenge, Kyasao beat his ninety-third challenger and his winning streak said twelve wins (not ninety-three). Now, just seven fighters later, his streak says thirty-six wins? My maths is not the best, but twelve plus seven does not equal thirty-six. Seriously how does this winning streak make any sense? The rules were that he had to beat ninety out of one hundred challengers in one go, no breaks, no losses. He beat ninety, so went for a clean one hundred consecutive wins. So his winning streak should say ninety-nine wins during his hundredth consecutive fight after winning the previous ninety-nine… But it says thirty-six.


Through this whole challenge, the winning streak has not been consistent at all. Shenanigans are most definitely afoot. Anyway, Kyasao wins his hundredth fight… Though I think we can assume, not entirely as ‘honestly’ as the show makes out and I’m willing to bet he lost several fights along the way, but the show was edited to make it look like he won all one hundred in a row. Regardless, Kyasao is awarded a special golden joystick for his Tetsujin challenge ‘victory’.

Golden joysticks won – 1
Special golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Fourteen

Dominik opens by saying he will marry one of his mermaid helpers by the end of the episode… Before remembering he did that gag last series when he ‘married’ Whigfield. But, the idea of marriage leads into the first challenge called, ‘Till Death Do Us Part. Die Hard Arcade (Arcade) is the game and GamesMaster sets the rules as being, the challengers have to finish the entire game, with only two continues, one each. Married couple, Tony and Madeline are the ones tackling this challenge and yes, Dave Perry is still around too as he joins the commentary with Dominik. The couple cracks on and they finish the first few areas with no issues. As the action heats up, it’s time for the news. Tekken 3 (Arcade) is given an exclusive look while still in development. Then it’s back to the Death Do Us Part challenge and the husband and wife team are doing well… Though Tony seems to be avoiding most of the actions and leaving Madeline to do most of the work. Just for some proof Dave Perry was still on the show at this point, smiling too.


A bit of a celebrity challenge next and GamesMaster picks out VR Home Run Derby (Arcade), a VR game where you have to hit home runs in a baseball derby… I guess the title already tells you that. Each of the contestants will play six pitches each, two from a rookie pitcher, two from a minor league pitcher and two from a major leaguer. Whoever hits the ball the furthest total distance wins. The celebs are cricket players, Adam Hollioake and Phil Tufnell. Adam goes first and takes his two rookie pitches, totalling 957 feet. Phil next and he hits 531 feet, he did really mess up the second pitch after this first was a rocket of a home run. Adam to take his next two and slightly harder pitches next. His first is a bit of a wet tap, but his second goes out of the stadium and hits an airplane, Adam’s total is now 1,622 feet. Phil has some catching up to do and he whacks a huge home run on his first pitch… But completely messes up his second to get a total of 1,070 feet. Phil Tufnell is way behind Adam Hollioake now as they take on the hardest pitchers for the last round. Adam first and he messes up both, only hitting 12 and 15 feet pitches, taking his grand total to 1,649 feet. Phil can win here if he hits two decent pitches. Phil misses the first and now has it all to do, his second is a home run… But is it enough to win? Nope, Adam Hollioake wins the challenge by a mere 46 feet and takes home a golden joystick.

Time to catch up with what’s been going on with the Death Do Us Part challenge as Dave Perry goes over the highlights. Madeline has lost a life and used one of the two continues…. Well, she is doing most of the work. Then back to where the couple are now, and they’re on level four of five and both have now used their one and only continue. So if either of them dies now, it’s all over. The action heats up as Tony and Madeline get closer to finishing the game… So time for some reviews. Skynet (PC), a FPS set in the Terminator universe is given an 83%. More FPS action as Star Wars: Dark Forces (PlayStation) gets an 85%. Then finally, more shooty action when Contra: Legacy of War (PlayStation) is awarded a 72%.


The reviews end just as Tony and Madeline face off against the final boss… Both with very little heath and no more continues. They do it, they take out the bad guys and save the president’s daughter… Only the game has a bit of a twist ending. Tony and Madeline have to fight each other, with the winner being picked as the personal bodyguard to the president’s daughter… In the game, not real-lie It’s a bit of a close fight, but Tony claims victory in the end by beating his own wife up and to win a golden joystick. 

And just for the record, this was the last GamesMaster episode that Dave Perry was in Eurogamer.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Fifteen

Straight into the first challenge, which DD calls, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. GamesMaster chooses the one on one beat ’em up Sonic Championship (Arcade) as the game and two teams of three brothers will battle each other, each brother will be playing one round (win or lose) before passing over to the next in their team, whichever team wins three rounds first will be the winner. The teams are the McCormack and the Gordon and the brothers. But first, news. Scud Race (Arcade) is given a look at before its release. The vastly overlooked Tim Burton flick, Mars Attacks is recommended by Dominik. Then, the Sega Net Link, an add-on for their Saturn console that allowed the machine to access the internet is also looked at. Then it’s back to the Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em challenge and Louis McCormack and Daniel Gordon go first. It’s a pretty close fight, but Louis is the winner. Swapping over to Craig McCormack and Darryl Gordon next, this round goes to Craig. The McCormack brothers have two rounds in the bag and it is the first to three rounds too, so they could win with the next fight. The third round sees Dean McCormack and Kyle Gordon, which Kyle wins to keep his brothers in the fight. Then it’s back to Louis and Daniel for round four, and Daniel decimates his opponent. With both sets of brothers winning two rounds apiece and this being a first to win three rounds-type of a scenario, whoever wins the next round is the victor. For this fifth and final round, Craig and Darryl battle it out. Craig wins to take him and his brothers to golden joystick victory. The McCormack brothers get just the one golden joystick between all three. Seriously, the production budget couldn’t stretch to three spray-painted £3.99 joysticks then?

Anyway, reviews up next and Jet Moto (PlayStation) is given an 84%. Then, Twisted Metal 2 (PlayStation) gets an always funny 69%. Hypnotist, Paul McKenna is the celeb taking on the next challenge and GamesMaster has picked out the awesome Blast Corps (N64) as the game… Though GM calls it Blast Dozer. All Paul has to do is clear the buildings so the missile can reach its destination, simple enough. Paul gets off to a bit of a slow start, but is soon in the midst of the action, knocking down structures. There’s a ‘collision imminent’ warning as the missile gets closer and closer to hitting a building and exploding. Paul does manage to clear the path though… But he misses an all too important pylon. Quickly reversing to take it out, Paul McKenna goes a little too fast and slams into the missile himself, failing the challenge. Still, he kind of deserved to lose, what with him holding the N64 pad like this…


As Dominik Diamond berates Paul McKenna for his very poor performance, Paul ‘hypnotises’ Dominik into praising him for his gameplaying and even into giving him the golden joystick… And £20 too. Paul McKenna ‘wins’ a golden joystick by losing. Just enough time to wrap up this episode with a feature. DD is at Universal Studios in Los Angeles to try out the new, $110 million Jurassic Park ride. Dominik gets to talk to the producer of the ride and a few behind the scenes secrets are revealed. Then, he gets to experience the ride for himself, as the ride splashes after its big, final drop, Dominick gets a bit of moisture on him. 


Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Sixteen

Hot 4-way Action is the title of the first challenge and using the previously mentioned Wireplay online gaming system is put to the test. GamesMaster picks the flight sim EF2000 (PC) for this one and a player in the GamesMaster studio has to go up against three other players from around the country in a little bit of dogfighting action. In the studio is Robert, and the other three are Jason, Ian and Martin. Whoever is the last man standing (or flying) after this dogfight wins. As always, news first and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) is previewed. The disaster flick, Dante’s Peak is also given a look ahead of its release. Then, racing game POD (PC) also given a quick peek at. Back to the Hot 4-way Action challenge and this online dogfight gets underway. After take-off, Robert goes on the attack instantly by hunting down Jason and taking him out with ease. Ian is next in Robert’s sights and he dies faster than Goose in Top Gun (too soon?). With only Martin left to stop Robert, can he stop the little Maverick from winning? No, no he can’t. Robert blows him out of the sky to win the golden joystick.


Review round-up once more and Soul Edge (Playstation) is given an 88%. Then Melt (PC), a game inspired by Eddie the Head, the mascot of Iron Maiden is given a 55%. Now, as far as I can tell, this game was never actually released, it was just too terrible. But it was apparently reworked and released as Ed Hunter (PC) in 1999 instead… it was also utter shit. Anyway, British hip-hop group, The Brotherhood tackle Wave Race 64 (N64). The two members of the band, Spyce and  battle it out to score the most points over two rounds. Spyce goes first and he misses a few of the rings and jumps for a big score, ending with 1,790. Next up is Shylok, and he finishes with a far better 2,698, leading after the first round. Spyce takes on round two and needs some serious point to catch up… he messes up and runs out of time but gets a final score of 4,696. This should be an easy win for Shylok, no need to take any big risks, just get a half-decent score, but he really goes for it, pulling off stunt after stunt. DD can’t be bothered to work out the final scores, but he knows that Shylok has won by a huge margin of around 3,500 points.

Feature time and Dominik is in California visiting Digital Domain. A special effects studio famed for providing the effect work on some of the biggest films ever. But that’s not why DD is there, he wants to look at a new video game they are famed for, Barbie Fashion Designer (PC). Dominik takes great pleasure looking at how the game was made and its many different modes to ‘enjoy’. After which, DD then gets to play with some Barbie toys.


Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seventeen

GamesMaster sets up the first challenge and it’s a three-parter on Pilotwings (N64). A team of three will each have a go at one of the many events in the game. Given just 3 minutes and 30 seconds total, the team have to finish their given events, collectively before the time runs out to win. Things With Wings is the title of this one and the trio attempting it are Millsy, Jezz and Chapps (nicknames), who are real-life pilots. But of course, it’s a bit of news first. Manx TT Super Bike (Saturn) is previewed before its release. There’s some exclusive footage of Unreal (PC) while it is still in development. Finally, Street Fighter EX (Arcade), the game that took the much-loved franchise into the realm of 3D graphics is also previewed. Back to the Things With Wings challenge and going first is Millsy and he’s tasked with ten rings in a gyrocopter and he clears the first five rings with 2 minutes and 27 seconds still on the clock. Managing to get the tenth ring in 1 minute and thirty-eight seconds, but he did nab a couple of time bonuses equalling 10 seconds. So that’s just 1 minute and twenty-eight seconds of their collective 3 minutes and 30 seconds used up. Next is Jezz and he has to score a bullseye on the human cannonball event, he needs to hit that bullseye in around 40 seconds or less, to give his teammate enough time to finish his event. Jezz hits the bullseye first time in just 14 seconds, leaving plenty of time to finish the third and final part. With 1 minute and 48 seconds on the clock, Chapps has to shoot down ten balloons in the gyrocopter. With five balloons down, Chapps has 1 minute to get the last five and he does it with just 15 seconds left. Millsy, Jezz and Chapps the real pilots get to share a golden joystick. Again, only one cheap and painted golden joystick between three people?


Time for a celeb challenge and GamesMaster picks Sega Touring Car Championship (Arcade). This four lap race sees Martin Rossiter and Steve Mason from rock band Gene go against each other. There’s quite a lot of rubbing against the barriers as both Martin and Steve seem to struggle to keep the cars on the track, at the back of the pack. Not that it matters who comes first against the AI as this is just a race between the two rockers. As they end the second lap, Martin is winning. When the fourth and final lap begins, Steve has taken the lead. Then, with just one comer left to go, Martin regains the lead and goes on to win. 

Feature time and Dominik is (once more) in Tokyo, Japan at Sega’s arcade division HQ. DD gets a look around the famed AM divisions and gets with chat to some of their arcade game development teams. It’s a bit of a wasted opportunity to get a look at some of Sega’s biggest arcade games, as Dominik just walks past all the machines without actually playing them. 

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Eighteen

It’s the final episode and Dominik Diamond gets a (fake) letter of complaint about offensive content. So he introduces an offense-o-meter to keep track of how naughty the show is. Said offense-o-meter pops up through the whole show and measures just how offensive DD is being.


In the meantime, for the final GamesMaster event, Time Crisis (Arcade) is chosen. The challenger is Tony and he claims to be one of the best arcade players in the country, a man who goes around various arcades just to get his name on the high-score table. Tony confesses that there is always one person on the high-scores he can never beat, someone who uses the initials XXX. So of course, Dominik has tracked down this mysterious XXX and invited him on the show to take on Tony. XXX is revealed as to being some guy called Philip. Anyway, this final event, titled Triple XXX Action (makes no sense shouldn’t it be ‘triple X’ and not ‘triple XXX’, as that is nine Xs) sees both Tony and Philip take it in turns to finish two stages on the hardest level on Time Crisis in the fastest time. A slice of news first though and the N64 is looked at (for the third time) ahead of its UK launch. All the same games are looked at (again) too. But, Doom 64 is seen for the first time at least. 

Back to the Triple XXX Action challenge and Tony goes first and he finishes the first stage in 00:54:35. Very impressive indeed. Stage two next and Tony gets a total time of 01:43:70. Philip has a lot of work to do, but he finishes the first stage in 00:53:02, just very slightly ahead of Tony. This is a very close challenge for sure. On to the second stage and Philip gets a total time of 01:41:13, just over 2 seconds faster. Philip (XXX) wins the golden joystick.


A couple of reviews now and Mario Kart 64 (N64) given an 80%. Then Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) is awarded a 90%. So Turok was 10% better than Mario Kart? I’m saying nothing. A quick offense-o-meter recap and the show is in the ‘rude’ area of offence. It’s the final celebrity challenge and perhaps, the biggest celeb ever on GamesMaster. The legendary weatherman Michael Fish. GamesMaster is chosen Prop Cycle (Arcade), a  game where the player has to peddle a real bike to fly in the air and pop balloons to get 2,000 points. Michael gets himself comfortable on the game and begins. getting off to a very wobbly start, he only has 50 points and misses plenty of balloons. At the halfway point, Michael only has 650 and with him needing 2,000 total, it’s not looking good. Despite popping a few time bonus balloons and even racking up a few more points, Michael Fish fails with a total score of 1,350.


To finish, there’s another feature and yes, Dominik gets to go on holiday again. DD is in Florida to take a look at the making of Riana Rouge (PC) a CD-based adventure game starring and produced by glamour porn model and ‘actress’ Gillian Bonner. Basically, it’s an excuse to see some digital softcore porn, no idea why Dominik wanted to be flown out to Florida to check it out. Anyway, DD gets to flirt with Gillian about her career as well as get to look through her minimal clothing collection used in the game. If your curious, Riana Rouge, when released, got amazing high scores from reviewers, like 19% high. A final look at the offense-o-meter reveals that GamesMaster as a show is ‘unacceptable’. As a result, GamesMaster is pulled off the air for good as DD makes a ‘heartfelt’ apology. This ends GamesMaster series six.


Golden joysticks won – 1


Well, this was most definitely a step up from the previous, rather dull series five. Some of the challenges were actually really interesting and often quite exciting too. No trying to build a PC or find ‘interesting’ websites on the internet challenges. No getting comedians to make shit short films, etc. Just actual gaming challenges, and some really great ones too. Some very obviously edited ones to make the winner look better than they actually were (see the Tetsujin challenge from episode thirteen). But overall, this was a far better series than the previous one. It’s just a shame there was no budget for more golden joysticks after continually sending DD on holiday through the series.

Yeah, Dominic Diamond is still very much being a prick here, as he was previously and the show has very clearly now become The Dominik and Friends Show. Of course, series six had the most well known GamesMaster moment ever with the Dave Perry strop. For people of a certain age, this was such an epic moment of TV. Our parents may have seen the moon landing in 1969, but we got to see Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry spit his dummy out over a losing a game. At the time, we all thought it was hilarious. But now? The whole affair has a bit of a bitter backstory to it, something I aim at exploring when I’ve covered series seven. Speaking of which, this was originally supposed to be the end of the show, no seventh series was even thought of at the time. This was meant to be the end of GamesMaster… But that’s not what happened. See you in the next one…

Total golden joysticks won – 13
Special golden joysticks won – 1

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Six, Part One

Well, this is it, the penultimate series of GamesMaster. Another eighteen episodes to cover, so I’m doing this in two parts again. What delights does GamesMaster have for us now, are there any format changes and is this one better than the rather bland series five?

Series Six

Originally airing between October 1996 and February 1997, series six was filmed back in St Paul’s Church, the same place used for series one and four. As for the setting this time? Well, I need to fill in a bit of the ongoing story. Carrying on from where the previous series set in Heaven ended. Dominik Diamond is kicked out of God’s loving bosom and he plummets back down to Earth. Dominik screams his way down and splashes down in the sea. Definitely dead (again), DD is saved by two mermaids and given the kiss of life. Now back in action, Dominik finds himself in the fabled city of Atlantis, with GamesMaster being Poseidon, God of the sea. Now assisted by two lovely looking mermaids, Dominik Diamond get back to work with his double entendre jokes and putting numerous celebs and non-celebs through various gaming challenges. Oh, and there’s the most (in)famous GamesMaster moment ever too.


Episode One

Getting this series off to a cracking start is the news of the launch of the Nintendo 64 in Japan and America. A few of the console’s title are looked at too. Killer Instinct Gold, Blast Corps, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Star Fox 64, Kirby Air Ride (later cancelled and reborn on the GameCube), Mario Kart 64 and the mighty Super Mario 64 are all given some airtime. Speaking of which, it’s time for the first challenge. GamesMaster selects the previously mentioned Super Mario 64 (N64) as the game for the inaugural contest to win a golden joystick. Giving the contestant a very tight 3 minutes to finish the last level of the game, including defeating Bowser. Nathan is the fella for the job and he’s pretty confident of wining having bought an import N64. Nathan does some tricky platform jumping to take a shortcut that works out well right at the start. At 1 minute and thirty seconds, Nathan is doing well and almost at the end of the level, finishing the first part and making it to Bowser in 1 minute and fifty-three seconds. A bit of a break before the fight against Bowser though.

It’s the first reviews of this new series and Wave Race 64 (N64) gets a splashing 85%. Then Pilotwings 64 (N64) is given a rounded 80%. Dominik introduces the celebrity challenge and yes, it’s an attractive lass. GamesMaster chooses the game Aqua Jet (Arcade) a jet ski based racer that used a full-size jet ski as its controller. The challenger just has to finish the race before time runs out and the attractive celeb lass to take this on is former glamour model turned actress/singer Samantha Fox. Of course, Double D (no pun… Slight pun) gets down to his trademark double entendres and mercilessly flirts with Sam. Just a quick side-note, Sam Fox came out as gay after appearing on this show. I’m casting no aspersions towards Dominik Diamond’s chat-up technique or luck with the ladies at all. Anyway, Sam takes position on the jet ski of the game and starts the race. It’s around halfway through the race and Sam is doing well, a few light rubs against the barriers but nothing too worrying. Coming up to the end of the race and Sam messes up on a couple of jumps, losing a few seconds. With just one more corner to go, there are only 5 seconds left on the clock which runs down to 0… But the momentum of the jet ski pushes Sam over the finish line and she wins a golden joystick.


There’s a feature and Dominik is in Japan at the Phoenix Seagaia Resort. The world’s biggest man-made beach where Dominik tires out a motion simulator that takes riders on a white-water rafting experience and a space-themed ride created by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic team. After which, DD gets to go behind the scenes and sees just how the whole thing works… As well as flirt with some Japanese women. Then it’s back to Nathan and his fight with Bowser on Super Mario 64 and after the first part, he only has 1 minute and 7 seconds to take Bowser out. Nathan slaps Bowser into two of the bombs around the edge of the level, needing just one more hit to win and only 30 seconds on the clock. Nathan gets the final hit in with just 4 seconds left to win a golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Two

Calling back to a challenge from the last series, Dominik introduces King Of Combos ’96. Just like the last series, GamesMaster picks Killer Instinct Gold (N64) to try and get the biggest combo between three expert players. The three challengers are Roy, Mark and Philip. But it’s news time first and impressive looking Rev Limit (N64) is given an exclusive preview, shame it was never released really. The opening of the mega arcade, SegaWorld in London is covered. Then the melding of Hollywood and gaming with 9: The Last Resort (PC). A massive budgeted adventure game featuring genuine Hollywood talent. It was even produced by Robert ‘You talkin’ to me?’ De Niro. Anyway, it’s back to the King Of Combos ’96 challenge and Roy goes first. Playing as Sabrewulf, Roy get a beatable forty-five hit combo. Next up is Mark who plays as Combo pulls off a less great forty-one hit combo. Last, it is Philip and he also selects Combo as his character, landing an impressive forty-nine hit combo to win the golden joystick.


A couple of reviews next as Soviet Strike (PlayStation) gets a cracking 85%. Then Fighting Vipers (Saturn) is given a huge 88%. Quite simply the coolest cat-character actor in a sci-fi sitcom ever is the celebrity taking on the next challenge as Danny John-Jules has to play wipEout 2097 (PlayStation). GamesMaster gives Danny just 2 laps to win the race. Making use of the start line boost, Danny speeds off from the back of the grid and starts catching the pack and soon finds himself in ninth (out of twelve) place, before making it to sixth place. At the end of the first lap, Danny mistakenly goes into the pits, losing time and track position, going down to seventh place. With just one lap left, Danny has a lot of ground to make up. Grabbing a few power-ups, Danny finds himself in second place on the final straight, with first place inches ahead of him. Struggling to pass, Danny ends the race in second failing the challenge in this very exciting race. Just as a quick aside, Danny chose to use the PlayStation steering wheel instead of the standard pad, which is much harder to use. I think he most probably would’ve won if he had used the pad.

Time for a feature and Dominik introduces a special on retro gaming at a retro expo. Showing off some retro machines including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64. While classic games like Jetpac, Knight Lore and Manic Miner (ZX Spectrum) are shown. Then DD interviews the legendary Peter Molyneux in the toilets (seriously). All of which ends this episode.


Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Three

This one is an athletics themed special and getting things underway is the episode length challenge, We’re Athletic We Like Lycra. GamesMaster picks out Athlete Kings (Saturn) as the game and two British athletes, John Regis and Tony Jarrett, to tackle four different events. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the four events wins. The first event is the hundred meters dash. The starter pistol signals the start of the button mashing antics and John gets a time of 9.95 seconds, with Tony slightly lagging behind with a 10.10 second time. In terms of points, Tony has 1,071 with John slightly ahead with 1,108 points. Before the next event, it’s news time. Virtua Fighter 3 (Arcade) is given a sneak peek. There’s a bit on a CD-ROM covering the making of the flick Independence Day. A new motion control system called Mandala, that can put the players in the game as they use their bodies and not a controller to play games is looked at. Including a game where you can play volleyball against a brightly coloured ostrich. Remember the now discontinued Xbox Kinect? Well, Mandala was just like that, it failed too.


It’s back to the We’re Athletic We Like Lycra challenge and the second event is the long jump. John Regis jumps first, taking the best of three attempts as the best jump. John’s first attempt is a 6.43 meter effort. Tony responds with a 5.97 meter jump. John’s second is an impressive 7.31 meters, with Tony landing a pitiful 4.88 meters. Last jump now and John goes over the line and the jump is a foul. Tony needs a good jump to earn some points, he lands a 7.34 meters, just pipping John to the longest jump. With that, the points stand as John with 1,996 and Tony with 1,964. The next event is the hundred and ten meter hurdles. After they both smash through the first hurdle, John gets to grips with the event and sprints ahead to finish in 13.32 seconds. While Tony has a dog of a race, running through more hurdles than he jumps over, to finish with a terrible time of 16.29 seconds. John Regis is well ahead on 3,062 points, with Tony Jarrett now lagging way behind with 2,664 points. With only one more event left, unless John messes up massively, it’s very doubtful that Tony can win now.

But before the grand finale, there’s a feature. Interactive movie game-thing, Privateer 2: The Darkening (PC) is explored. Stars of the game, John Hurt and Clive Owen get to spill the beans on some of the behind the scenes secrets. Then it’s back to the final of the We’re Athletic We Like Lycra challenge and the event is the javelin throw, with the best of three throws being the one picked. John throws first and chucks a very impressive 70.32 meters. Tony next and he throws as not as impressive 30.94 meters. John throws his second javelin and goes just slightly over the line to a foul. Tony needs a whopper of a throw to gain some much needed points, he gets an okay 63.27 meters. It’s the final throw and highly unlikely that Tony Jarrett will win. John chucks his last pointy stick and gets a 71.96 meters. Tony really needs a gargantuan throw to win now, he gets a very poor 41.93 meters. With the final points being… I don’t know as Dominick doesn’t show them as John Regis is the clear winner of the golden joystick.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Four

It’s the news that kicks off this episode and Sonic Championship (Arcade), a one on one beat ’em up based on the famed Sonic characters is previewed. Then there’s a look at the T2 3-D:Battle Across Time attraction at Universal Studios. Finally, Pac-Man VR (Arcade) was a… Well, a VR version of Pac-Man in the arcade, which gets a bit of a looking into. I Have Violence I Am Happy is the title of the first challenge and Quake (PC) is the game that GamesMaster picks out. The challenger, David (he was in a feature last series covering the Doom championships), has to take on a specially designed level by a Quake fan called Michael. If David finishes the level, he wins the golden joystick, but if he fails, then Michael is declared the winner. David makes short work of the first section and onto the second area, which he also passes with ease. Passing through to the next section, David is almost crushed by a falling roof trap… Almost. Next up is an underwater area, which David swims through without breaking a sweat. Michael was pretty confident at the start of this that David would fail his specially created map, but so far, it’s been a breeze. It’s onto the final area where Davis gets pummeled by the various bad guy and his health soon drops to just 35, only a few more hits and David has failed. But he does it, he battles his way through the rest of the level and wins a golden joystick.


The reviews this time get started with a classic as Tomb Raider (PlayStation) gets an 85%. While karting game Street Racer (Saturn) is given 78%. Paul Leyshon (who?) an actor from the soap Hollyoaks is the celebrity taking on the next challenge. GamesMaster picks out Die Hard Trilogy (PlayStation) and in particular the Die Hard with a Vengeance driving game segment for this one. Paul has to race around the in-game New York and stop various bombs from exploding. Paul gets off to a cracking start and defuses the first bomb in seconds… Well, it was right in front of him. When it comes to cornering, things do not go so well. Paul spends too much time slamming into buildings and other cars, wasting time. He does manage to make it to the second bomb… While continuing to smash into any and everything. Paul’s penchant for crashing continues as he makes his way to the final bomb, and he makes it too, with seconds to spare. Paul Leyshon wins a golden joystick.

There’s a feature to end this episode with and Dominik is in Tokyo, Japan, DD enrols in the Human Creative School (owned by Human Entertainment) where students are trained in game development. DD learns about creating polygon models and animations. After which, he takes part in a gameplay theory lesson that looks at what makes games playable. Dominik also gets to learn a bit about music and sound composing in gaming. Then Dominik comes up with a new game idea where people take it in turns to put Os and Xs on a 3×3 grid, with the first to get three in a row the winner. I think the idea could, perhaps work out.


Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

You Only Live Twice is the title of the first challenge and is probably one of the most well remembered of the show. GamesMaster has Virtua Cop 2 (Arcade) as the game and the challenge is to not just finish a level on the game… But to play two games at the same time and without losing a single life. There’s really only one person up for the job, Martin Mathers. Back for his now third appearance on the show and trying to impress as he did last series with his previous Virtua Cop challenge. Can the cocky Martin really play through two games of Virtua Cop 2 simultaneously? We’ll have to wait and find out as it’s the news first. Sega Touring Car Championship (Arcade) is previewed. Then there’s a look at a 3D TV that can display 3D images without the need for glasses, this was in 1996 too before 3D TVs became an actual thing. Even then, you still need glasses. Finally, DD takes a look at his ‘favourite’ game, Barbie Fashion Designer (PC). A game where Dominik takes a bit too much enjoyment creating new clothes for Barbie. So, it’s back to the You Only Live Twice challenge and Martin begins this very, very tough double game contest. There’s about a 1 second gap difference between the two arcade machines as Martin wields a gun in each of his hands. Quite honesty, this is pretty damn impressive to watch as Martin takes down the bad guys one after another, flitting from one arcade machine to the other. He’s looking unstoppable too, then it gets to the very hectic jewellery store bit on the first stage and while he mowing down enemies, a momentarily slip of concentration makes Martin shoot a hostage, failing the challenge. A gallant effort though.


A review or two now as Killer Instinct Gold (N64) gets a more than decent 89%. Star Gladiator (PlayStation) is given an 85%. Then Virtua Cop 2 (Saturn) is awarded a solid 85%. Fraudulent spoon-bender and general bullshit psychic, the paranormally powered Uri Geller is the celeb taking on the next challenge. Uri has to play a special ski game on the PC using the, mentioned in the last series, Mind Drive controller. A device where the player uses their thoughts to control the action on the screen. All Uri has to do is make it from the top of the piste to the bottom going through at least fifteen of the twenty gates, using his mind… and the Mind Drive controller. He does it only missing two of the gates to win a golden joystick. Just to finish up, there’s another feature. Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair (PC), a CD-ROM where you get to direct and edit your own movie is looked at. Featuring Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Aniston and Penn & Teller. You get to create a movie with help from Steven Spielberg and award-winning editor Michael Kahn. A few behind the scenes titbits are shown and Jennifer Aniston tells you how amazing the game is… she lied.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Six

GamesMaster selects Gunblade NY (Arcade) as the game for the first challenge and the contestant has to finish the entire game with only five lives. Paul is the guy taking on, what is called the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge, which runs the length of the episode. Paul gets cracking by mowing down bad guys in Times Square, which he finishes easily enough. While that carries on, it’s time for the news. There’s an exclusive look at the golf sim St. Andrews Old Course Golf (N64) which, as far as I can tell, was never released outside of Japan. The documentary film, Special Effects: Anything Can Happen, a film that explores the making of some of cinema’s most famed effects work is looked at. Pyst (PC) a CD-ROM adventure game released as a parody of the classic Myst is also given a looking at. Then it’s back to the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge and Paul is going great guns as he’s just finished area two of eight (split over two levels) and without losing any of his five and only lives.

Dominik introduces the obligatory GamesMaster mini football tournament for this series. Richard Rufus and Michael Duberry are the pro ball kickers who are going head to head to secure a chance to win a golden joystick. GamesMaster picks out Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn) as the game. Richard playing as Holland, with Michael choosing Italy as his team. The action kicks off and Michael is immediately on the attack and puts one away early doors. Richard comes back fighting and has some very decent shot son target too, but nothing seems to get through… Until he does a rather cheeky chip and lobs the keeper, taking it to 1 – 1. The game ends a draw, so onto penalties. Michael Duberry’s Italy first and the shot is saved, while Richard Rufus’ Holland puts their first shot away. Italy tuck their next shot away and Holland’s is saved, making it one penalty apiece. Italy’s third goes in, as does Holland’s. The fourth penalty and Italy score, putting the pressure on Holland to score… And they do. With the score being even, there’s only one more penalty each before it goes to sudden death. Italy step up to the spot and the shot is saved. All Holland have to do now is put this one away to win, and they do. Richard Rufus goes through to the final and the chance to win a golden joystick.


Back to Paul and his Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge. Hels doing rather well-ish, he’s lost two of his five lives, but he has finished the first level, with only one level (four areas) left. While Paul is busy shooting polygons, it’s time for the reviews. Victory Boxing ’97 (PlayStation) is up first and gets itself an 81%. While Pandemonium! (PlayStation) is given an understandable 70%. Finishing up with the Shoot Down The Shops And Get Us A Paper challenge and Paul has lost another life, leaving him with just two now to finish the rest of the game. Then while finishing up the penultimate area, he loses another life. It’s getting very tense, one life left and one final area to finish the game. The last stage is particularly tough too, it takes place at night and the action is fast and frantic. Paul gets off to a great start and takes out the bad guys, there are a few near misses and one direct hit. Paul loses his last life on the last area of the game and fails. It was a very hard challenge to be fair and Paul put up a great fight… just not great enough.

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Seven

GamesMaster receives a rather strongly worded letter from someone calling themselves The Boss. Said Boss claims they can beat any boss in any game ever. Of course, GamesMaster has to see just how true that boast is and sets up a challenge simply called The Boss. The special challenge has The Boss trying to beat three randomly selected bosses from randomly selected games. Beat ’em up Star Gladiator (PlayStation), flying about the screen game Nights into Dreams (Saturn) and horror game Resident Evil (PlayStation) are the three ‘totally random’ games picked, it put ‘totally random’ in single quotation marks because even Dominik Diamond makes a none too subtle suggestion that the games selected were perhaps not quite so ‘random’. But before we get to see The Boss take on The Boss challenge where he has to beat three game bosses, it’s time for the news. Alpine Racer 2 (Arcade) is given a little preview ahead of its release. The X-Files Game (PC) and a peek at new, untitled motion capture themed a beat ’em up (that was never released) from Acclaim Games are also looked at. Then it’s back to the action and The Boss begins his first of three boss fights. Bilstein, the final boss on Star Gladiator is first and The Boss gets off to a rough start, taking more than a few hits. Making a slight comeback, but to no avail, The Boss loses the first round. The second round is also a close one, but The Boss does win it. One round apiece and The Boss has to win this, or the whole challenge is a fail. The third and final round goes The Boss’ way as he lands a pretty impressive combo and special move thing that decimates his opponent’s health. The Boss clears the first boss fight. So, Nights into Dreams is next and The Boss has just 100 seconds to defeat the game’s final boss, who has to be thrown through six walls to be defeated. Making short work of the first four walls, The Boss still has 45 seconds left, with two more walls to throw the game’s boss through. The next wall causes all sorts of issues and by the time The Boss gets to the final area, he only has 18 seconds left, on top of which, he takes a few hits and loses very valuable time. With only 5 seconds left, The Boss beats the final boss of the game… Have you noticed I have to use the word ‘boss’ a lot? Anyway, The Boss makes it to the third and final boss of this special The Boss challenge.


It’s the next round of the GamesMaster mini football tournament and footie player, Chris Armstrong is the man battling it out for the chance to win a golden joystick in the final. Now, GamesMaster usually has two pro footballers playing against each other in these games. Dominik rather sheepishly points out that Stan Collymore was supposed to turn up to play against Chris Armstrong… But he didn’t bother. He was probably too busy beating up women… Allegedly. So as only one player turned to for the challenge GamesMaster reviewer and co-commentator Rik Henderson steps up to play. So Chris plays as Brazil and Rik on Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn). The game is pretty even with both Chris and Rik taking some decent shots. After a lot of tussling, Chris’ Brazil put away a brilliant lob from outside of the area to go 1 – 0 up. Rik’s England begin to fight back and, but a cracking shot is saved, which Brazil turn into a counter-attack. Then when in the box, England foul Brazil and give away a penalty. The ref gives a red card to England and a penalty to Brazil… Which goes way over the bar. The final whistle blows and Chris Armstrong goes through to take on Richard Rufus to try and win a golden joystick.

A little feature next and Star Trek: First Contact is looked at before its UK release. Then to finish, it’s back to the special The Boss challenge and The Boss has to take on the spider boss from Resident Evil… And The Boss can only use the basic Beretta pistol too. The Boss gets three shots off, hitting the spider, but he also takes a hit himself. The Boss gets seven shots on the spider, leaving only one more to finish it off… But he takes another hit himself, leaving only one hit too. It’s actually quite close as the next hit wins. Running around the spider, doing his best to avoid being hit, The Boss does it. Getting the final shot in, the spider boss dies and The Boss wins a golden joystick. Oh, and I used the word ‘boss’ and its derivatives thirty-eight times covering this episode, thirty-nine if you want to count that last use where I explained how many times I used the word ‘boss’… A nice, round forty now.

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Eight

Four Ninja Kids is the name of the first challenge and GamesMaster selects the game, Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn). For this one, four kids (as the title suggests and aged around 10-years-old) have to fight each other in some classic one on one beat ’em up action. Jim-Bob, Christopher, Alex and Micheal are the four little tykes tackling this challenge. But first… News. Fighters Megamix (Saturn) is given a sneak peek. A CD-ROM called Making Magic (PC) that looks at the making of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions is mentioned. Then new motion simulator experience, Ice Ride is also looked at. Then it’s back to the Four Ninja Kids challenge, Jim-Bob and Christopher go first with Jim-Bob playing as Akira while Christopher favours Lau. The first round isn’t even close as Christopher wins with ease. The second round is a bit closer, but Christopher still wins and goes through to the final. Next up, it’s Alex using Shun and Micheal is playing as Kage. Michael wins the first round with an almost perfect, a very one-sided scrap. The second round is a lot closer and Alex very nearly wins it, nearly but not quite, as Michael wins by a whisker to go through to the final against Christoper.


FIFA 97 (PlayStation) scores a high 86%. Then NBA Jam Extreme (PlayStation) also gets an 86%. Finally, Virtual On (Saturn) is awarded an 83% in the reviews. Back to the Four Ninja Kids challenge (though now, there’s only two) and it’s the final punch-up. Standard best of three rounds bout with both Christopher and Micheal sticking with their favoured characters, Lau and Kage respectively. The first round is a close one, until Christopher spams a stomping move to cause a ring out win. Round two is very tit for tat, Christopher tries for another ring out, but Michael manages to avoid the trap and fights back. Time runs out, but seeing as Michael had more health, he wins the round. Both kids have a round each going, whoever wins the next one takes home the golden joystick. Michael starts the final round very strong, throws, combos, he’s looking like he’ll win this one with ease. Christopher fights back and lands a few slaps, but it’s just not enough and Michael wins the third and final round, as well as a golden joystick.

It’s the GamesMaster mini football tournament final with Chris Armstrong taking on Richard Rufus at Sega Worldwide Soccer (Saturn). Chris playing as Brazil and Richard as Holland. Chris instantly goes on the attack and fires a shot at goal, it is saved and the following gaol kick lands right at Richard’s feet. Going for a shot on goal, it goes inches wide. Both teams starting strong, but neither of them scoring… Yet. After a bit of swapping possession of the ball, Richard scores, 1 – 0 to Holland. Chris’ Brazil have a couple of attempts, but nothing goes in. Then Richard tucks another away, 2 – 0 to Holland with only 49 seconds of play left. Chris Armstrong playing as Brazil have it all to do, but can they a couple of goals and force a draw? No, Richard Rufus scores again to make it 3 – 0. To save the embarrassment of a whitewash, Chris does eventually put a goal away. 3 – 1 to Holland with 4 seconds left. Unless Chris can score another two goals in 4 seconds… He can’t. Richard Rufus takes Holland to GamesMaster golden joystick victory.


There’s still a few minutes left of the episode, so feature time. Dominik gets to look at some new PlayStation games coming from Namco. Rage Racer, part of the much loved Ridge Racer franchise is shown. Then beat ’em up, Soul Edge and the on-rails shooter, Time Crisis are shown in all their lovely PlayStation glory. Looking back, Namco were pretty awesome in the nineties and had a fantastic relationship with Sony. It’s a shame they (technically) no longer exist.

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Nine

Well, this is it, the GamesMaster Christmas special of 1996 and the most well known GamesMaster moment ever. I do hope you’re ready…

So, this special is very special indeed. Instead of the usual GamesMaster format of challenges and whatnot, we have a Christmas quiz. With Dominic Diamond as quizmaster and several GamesMaster reviewers/commentators as the contestants. The quiz is played in four rounds and at the end of the four rounds, the two contestants with the highest score will go on to a playoff. Whoever wins that playoff will be the winner of the golden joystick. And answering questions for a chance to win that golden joystick are, Kirk Ewing, Derrick Lynch, Rik Henderson and of course, Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry.


Round one is called Hey Hey, It’s The Picture Board. Contestants have to pick a concealed numbered picture and DD asks a question related to that picture once it is revealed with two points for a correct answer. Dave goes first and picks number one, he answers the question correctly and identifies Mario. He’s then asked a bonus question of what colour are Mario’s overalls… Normally? Dave gets the answer right. Next up is Rik and he picks number three, he answers incorrectly so no bonus question. Derrick goes next and he chooses number four, he passes. Finally, it is Kurt’s turn and he is left with number two, he also fails to answer. GamesMaster reveals the exciting scores as being:

Rik – 0
Derrick – 0
Kirk – 0
Dave – 4

Tell Us, Quite Literally, What Happens After The Wee Bit Of Clip That You Have Seen is the wonderful title of round two. A clip from a well known game is shown and the contestants have to (quite literally) guess what happens next after the clip is paused. First up is Rik Henderson and he gets Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive). Rik answers correctly. Derrick Lynch gets a classic clip of Resident Evil (PlayStation) and he half answers it correctly. Kirk Ewing buzzes in to try and give the full and proper answer… He’s wrong. So Dominik Diamond gives Derrick half the points for being half right. Then it’s Kirk’s clip and he gets Primal Rage (Arcade), Kirk (like Derrick) half answers the question, so Rik buzzes in and gives the full answer… He’s wrong. The final clip is for Dave Perry and it’s Sonic The Hedgehog (Mega Drive) and he gets it wrong. So Derrick tries his luck and also gets it wrong. After which GamesMaster tots up the scores as thus:

Rik – 2
Derrick – 1
Kirk – 1
Dave – 4


Round three kicks off and it is called, Ohh I feel Like Magnus Magnusson. Borrowing from the classic quiz show, Mastermind, DD gives each of the contestants 45 seconds to answer questions based on their specialist subject. First up is Derrick Lynch and his specialist subject is: Namco arcade beat ’em ups, 1992 to 1996. He does well scoring six points. Next, it is Kirk Ewing and his subject is: video game subjects related to the letter P. Kirk does a very questionable okay and gets four points with his questions. Then it is the turn of Dave Perry and his specialist subject is: the life and times of the Street Fighter arcade game. Dave gets himself four points too. Rik Henderson goes last and his subject is: football management simulations from 1986 to 1996. Rik scores a decent five points. Then, of course, GamesMaster does his thing and reveals the scores:

Rik – 7
Derrick – 7
Kirk – 5
Dave – 8

With Dave Perry still in the lead, it is on to the final round to decide which two will go through to the playoff. But before the final round begins, there’s a feature. Dominik is in Tokyo, Japan as he explores the phenomenon knows as otaku. Basically, the Japanese version of nerds/geeks. DD goes to a costume party where game fans dress up as their favourite game characters, I guess we call it ‘cosplay’ now, a portmanteau of ‘costume’ and ‘play’. Of course, Dominik perves over all the scantly clad females, he also points out a fella wearing a pair of pants on his head as a costume.


DD is even asked to be a judge and pick out his favourite costume. No prizes for guessing he picked out a lass wearing nothing more than a very small, tight, furry bikini. No idea what game character she was supposed to be though?

Anyway, it’s back to the final round of the Christmas quiz and this round is called, Don’t Shoot Too Soon. This is a 90 seconds, quick-fire, first to buzz in-type situation. The questions do indeed come fast with Kirk and Dave answering most of them (Kirk mainly). After that fast-paced round, GamesMaster reveals the final scores and the two top scorers going through to the playoff:

Rik – 7
Derrick – 8
Kirk – 9
Dave – 10

Meaning that it is Kirk Ewing and Dave Perry who go through to battle it out in the playoff to win the golden joystick. GamesMaster selects Super Mario 64 (N64) for the challenge, Kirk and Dave have to play the Cool, Cool Mountain level, in particular, the Big Penguin Race. Whoever gets the fastest time in the race wins, simple stuff indeed. Kirk goes first and at the 20 seconds point, he comes off the track and fails. So, the time is irrelevant now and all Dave has to do is last longer than 20 seconds to win, he doesn’t even have to finish the race, just last longer than 20 seconds. Dave takes the N64 controller next and coming around the first corner, Dave falls off the track. Lasting just 13 seconds. Dave fails, leaving Kirk to claim victory. Dave Perry rather (in)famously claims he was set up and becomes very stroppy and bitter. DD questions Dave on his ‘sour grapes’. Not that it matters as Kirk Ewing wins the golden joystick. Everyone smiles, celebrates and congratulates Kirk on his win… Everyone except Dave Perry who stands off at the side, arms folded and looking very glum indeed.


I’ll actually have quite a lot more to say about this particular episode in a separate article, coming pretty soon (when I’ve finally finished this huge retrospective). But until then…

Golden joysticks won – 1

And with part one now done, that inevitability leaves the conclusion that is part two remaining. As I creep ever closer to the end of this massive retrospective, I’m kind of sad to think that it is almost all over with only one more series left after part two of this one.

Total golden joysticks won – 11

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Golden joysticks won – 2


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!


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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?


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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’.


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.


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.


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?…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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


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.