Licensed arcade conversions were popular as always and Konami is the original creator of this game. The C64 conversion was distributed under the Imagine label (which is a brand name by Ocean at this time). I remember seeing it at the arcades but I never played it until it came for the C64. And to be frank I dont think I ever completed the first stage back in the 80s. But With a little help from Vice snapshots I was finally able to play through all 4 stages.
And what a ridiculously difficult game this is! Its almost absurd. Although I have never really liked the fast-reflex games of the 80s, this stands out to me as one of the hardest of them all. I even had problems completing it with snapshots along the way! The aim of the game is the good old "free the hostages" mission. Armed only with a knife (what a silly choice of weapon) you have to run through 4 areas and survive. The game is a sideways scroller and your hero can run left and right, climb up and down stairs and duck down flat on the ground. Enemies are coming from both sides and it soon becomes very crowded on the screen. The simple practice is to lay flat and just hammer that fire button to get them with your knives, but eventually you will meet some green melee fighers which does flying kicks and always land on you unless you got down at the right moment. Sometimes the enemies actually use their guns (wow), but that is quite rare and they only have run and touch you for you to loose a life. Some wear white suits and drop additional weapons that you can use to take out a slew of enemies with one whack of the spacebar. But you only have some 4 shots with the special weapon. At the end of each stage the alarm sounds and you will face some difficult encounters, before climbing the fence to the next area.
The game got more credit than it should perhaps because of Martin Galways excellent music which had that Rambo movie feeling, a popular movie theme in the 80s. The graphics are nice and well animated with lots of large enemies on the screen at the same time. It was a good conversion from what I recon. But all in all, the game is just too difficult to be enjoyable in my opinion. An interesting sidenote is that your hero is wearing a grey outfit and not a green one! :) The game seems to use two sprites per moving character, and with the C64s 8 sprite limit, that means some nice trickery in reusing sprites since there are many enemies at the same time (I think at least 6 + your hero). This is a nice feat considering that the enemies are running up and down stairs as well crossing the boundaries of where the sprites are reused over the screen. David Collier has proved that he knew his stuff with this game. :)
David Collier who coded this is no strager to the theme as he also did Rambo the same year for Ocean. He also did Gilligans Gold, Daley Thompsons "Joystick killer" Decathlon, Yie Ar Kung Fu and another conversion from Konami, Hyper Sports.