A section from a screenshot of Harvey Headbanger.

Harvey Headbanger – Amstrad CPC

A screenshot from the Amstrad CPC version of Harvey Headbanger.
It’s happy hour. twelve for one cocktails.
Two player games have a longevity that one player games often struggle to match.

The simple reason for this is that nothing matches the pure thrill of one and one competition.

Self satisfaction, excessive gloating and bragging rights await the winner, for the loser there is only despair.

New Game, New Rules

Harvey Headbanger defeats his rival Hamish Highball.
Harvey Headbanger defeats his rival Hamish Highball.
The two player field is largely dominated by sports titles with football games in particular proving popular and big business to this day.

But in 1985 Firebird released Harvey Headbanger a new game with new rules set in a fantasy world of cocktail drinking egg men swinging around a grid of high-bars.

Paint the Town (Red or Blue)

The playing area is basically an 8×6 grid around which the two egg shaped combatants can swing vertically and horizontally.

The squares of the grid are coloured according to the last player to pass over them and the aim of the game is to surround your opponent completely in squares of your colour.

Rules of engagement.
Rules of engagement.

Headbanging

Should the opposing egg men collide then both become briefly unconscious causing them to move randomly about the field of play until they recover.

The duration a player remains unconscious depends on how many cocktails they have consumed, the more liquor consumed the quicker consciousness is resumed (if only it were like that in real life).

I'll have two Slim Jims, a Tequila Sunrise and a packet of ready salted please.
I’ll have two Slim Jims, a Tequila Sunrise and a packet of ready salted please.

Headbanging is a good way to gain the advantage, get tanked up and collide with your opponent then try to surround them whilst they are dazed. Failing that you have to wait for them to make a mistake.

To generate cocktails a player needs to surround an area of the playing grid that is the opponents colour with their own colour. When this is done the enclosed squares turn into the all important cocktails.

Worth a Look?

Yes.

The graphics are excellent making the most of the Amstrad CPC to produce interesting well animated characters complete with facial expressions.

The sound is also good with some entertaining music throughout not least the Monty Python theme that plays whilst it loads off tape.

A screenshot from the Amstrad CPC version of Harvey Headbanger.
Victory.

The one player mode isn’t great with the lower difficulty levels being very easy and the highest just resulting in incredibly long games against an AI that does not make mistakes.

But, in our eyes at least, this game is all about the two player mode.

Sure, you could just play your mate at FIFA with all it’s modern day refinements and fancy key combinations, you could even play them remotely over the World Wide Web (where’s the fun in that).

But Harvey Headbanger offers something different in the form of pure, simple, uncluttered gameplay, a level playing field upon which to earn true victory and enjoy that empty look of defeat in the eyes of your rival.

A screen shot from the Amstrad CPC version of Harvey Headbanger.
Total domination. Whoever was controlling Hamish Highball is making the tea.



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