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Capt’n Havoc Review

Capt’n Havoc (or High Seas Havoc if you own an American copy and Captain Lang if you own a Japanese copy) is a platform game by Data East which puts you in control of a seafaring, pirate seal called Havoc who must save his friends Bridget and Tide after they’re kidnapped by an evil pirate named Barnado. There’s some other guff about finding a secret gem that grants special powers but this is a plot that is pretty irrelevant to the actual gameplay.

Capt’n Havoc is rather obviously taking a lot of cues from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. While the game lacks the speed of the Sonic series, the character clearly has a air of the famous blue hedgehog about him and dispatching enemies is done by jumping on them or using a mid-air kick which works similarly to the Sonic 3 insta-shield. Stages are also scattered with treasure which grants an extra life when you hit 100 pieces. Sound familiar?

So Capt’n Havoc isn’t winning any awards for originality, but how does it play? Thankfully the game is a rather well designed, little platformer. Havoc is a joy to control and the accuracy of his movements allows for precision platforming that doesn’t feel unfair. Collision detection is good and stages are scattered with numerous enemies and obstacles that keep the gameplay interesting. There’s cannons to avoid, ship masts to climb, fires to douse and mice to jump on. Also the mice have one giant foot. Okay then. There’s also a particularly original selection of stages to traverse given the game’s pirate theme. A real highlight comes with the Burning Hamlet stage which also incorporates a rather lovely heat-wave effect.

Speaking of presentation, Capt’n Havoc is a very lovely looking game. The graphics are detailed and shaded in a style that will bring to mind some of Capcom’s finest. Stage backgrounds also feature many parallax scrolling layers and there’s also some beautiful spot effects like the aforementioned heat-wave as well as ocean ripples in the underwater stage. The soundtrack is also stuffed full of catchy melodies that will stick with you long after the game has finished.

Unfortunately the game’s biggest down-side is that it just lacks originality. This is very much a platform game that sticks closely to the rules of the genre and never tries anything unique. Capt’n Havoc feels hugely familiar from the get-go and it has a really hard time trying to shake off the Sonic the Hedgehog comparisons.

Regardless of its lack of ideas, Capt’n Havoc is a solid, well-built platform game that will keep fans of the genre immensely satisfied. You may feel like you’ve played it all before but it can’t be denied that what’s on offer is thoroughly enjoyable.

7/10

Written by Sonic Yoda on 26/03/2014

Cover and Cartridge Scans
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Screenshots
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