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.

DOMINIK GIRL

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%. 

ZOE BALL

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.

STREET FIGHTER CHALLENGE

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.

RIDGE RACER

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…

CGI MARALYIN

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…

VIRTUA FIGHTER 3

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.

VIRTUA FIGHTER 3 FIGHT

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.

DOM AND DAVE

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%.

DIE HARD ARCADE

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…

N64 PAD

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. 

JURASSIC PARK RIDE

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.

DOGFIGHT

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.

DOM AND BARBIE

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?

PILOT WIN

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.

OFFENCE METER

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.

TIME CRISIS TIMES

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.

MICHAEL FISH

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.

OFFENCE METER 2

Golden joysticks won – 1


Overall

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.

DOM AND MERMAIDS

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.

SAM FOX WINS

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.

KILLER INSTICNT

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.

PETER M TOILET

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.

MANDELA CONTROLLER

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.

QUAKE

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.

NAUGHTS AND CROSSES

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.

VIRTUA COP 2

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.

SEGA SOCCER

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.

THE BOSS

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.

VIRTUA FIGHTER KIDS

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.

FOOTIE CHALLENGE WIN

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.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1

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

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2

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.

PANTS ON HEAD

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.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 3

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.

DOM AND BIFF

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Eleven

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

DOM AND RONNIE

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twelve

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

DOOM WIN

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Thirteen

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

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

DOM AND WHIGFEILD

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Fourteen

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

PC CHALLENGE

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Fifteen

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

DOM CARROT

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

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Sixteen

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

DOM BIKER

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Seventeen

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

DOM MOVIE CHALLNGE

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Eighteen

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

GUITAR CHALLENGE

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

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

DOM ROLLER COASTER

Golden joysticks won – 2


Overall

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

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

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

GAMESMASTER

Total golden joysticks won – 12

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Four, Part One

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

Series Four 

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

DOMINIK DIAMOND

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

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

Episode One

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

BARAKA

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Two

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

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

GAMESMASTER TIPS

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

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Three

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

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

JIMMY WHITE

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

Golden joysticks won – 3

Episode Four

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

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

STREET RACER

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Five

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

GOLDEN JOYSTICK WIN

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Six

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

DONKEY KONG

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seven

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

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

FIFA CDI

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

Golden joysticks won – 2 

Episode Eight

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

POWER DRIVE

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nine

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

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

KING OF FIGHTERS

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

Golden joysticks won – 3


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

Total golden joysticks won – 21

GamesMaster: A Retrospective – Series Three, Part Two

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

DAVE AND DEXTER

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

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

Episode Thirteen

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

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

SCOREBOARD

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

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

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

VINNE JONES

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

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Fourteen

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

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

SKYBLAZER SNES

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

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

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

TMNT TOURNEY

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

Golden joysticks won – 0

Episode Fifteen

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

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

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

BIFFO

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

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

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

VINNIE AND DEXTER

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Sixteen

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

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

GAMESMASTER CHRISTMAS

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

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

SUPER ALFRED CHICKEN SNES

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 2

Episode Seventeen

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

Dream Team – 0
Perfection – 2
Charlton Crew – 5

SUPER EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SNES

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

Dream Team – 5
Perfection – 2
Charlton Crew – 7

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

GAMES MISTRESS

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

Golden joysticks won –  1

Episode Eighteen

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

Conquerors – 2
Nightmares – 0
Livewires – 5

TOP GEAR 2 SNES

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

Conquerors – 2
Nightmares – 5
Livewires – 7

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

3 BOUT COUNT NEO GEO

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Nineteen

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

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

SAMURAI SHODOWN NEO GEO

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

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

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

MORTAL KOMBAT SNES 2

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty

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

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

TEAM PICS

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

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

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

T2 SNES CHALLENGE

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-One

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

Megabites – 2
Elite 3 – 5
RCC – 0

DAVE AND DEXTER 2

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

Megabites – 2
Elite 3 – 7
RCC – 5

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

JAMMIT MEGA DRIVE

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Two

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

Fowley Force – 2
Laser Force – 2
Questers – 5

SKITCHIN MEGA DRIVE

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

Fowley Force – 4
Laser Force – 7
Questers – 5

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

RANDY SAVAGE

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty- Three

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

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

STARWING SNES

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

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

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

2 UNLIMTED

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Four

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

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

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

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

SUPER MARIO BROS. 3

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Five

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

Nightmares –  5
Elite 3 –  5
Questors – 0

ALADDIN MEGA DRIVE

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

Nightmares – 7
Elite 3 – 10
Questors – 0

PILOTWINGS SNES

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

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

Golden joysticks won – 1

Episode Twenty-Six

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

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

CYBERMORPH (JAGUAR)

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

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

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

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

STREET FIGHTER II TURBO SNES

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

MEGSA MANIACS WIN

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

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


Overall

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

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

DEXTER 2

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

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

“OI GAMESMARSTA!!!”

– Dexter Fletcher