Quicksilva‘s second attempt at a Strontium Dog video game in 1984 – released the same year as the awful Death Gauntlet on the C64 – is only marginally better than their first attempt.
The Killing, on the ZX Spectrum, was written by Paul Hargreaves and once again sees you playing mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha, trying to survive a gauntlet of hostility on an alien planet. This time, though, he’s voluntarily participating in a contest where vicious murderers fight to the death for cash, in a tournament called “The Killing“.
The Killing is based on an actual story called “The Killing” that appeared in 2000AD comic (progs 350 to 359; ten parts), although I don’t remember it. The instructions for the game say that reading the story in the comic will help with the game. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, although The Killing – the game – is little more than an extremely simple maze game with very basic gameplay. The only thing I can really praise it for is at least trying to make the main character sprite look a bit like Johnny Alpha.
The aim of the game is to kill all 93 opponents in the maze and ultimately the people running the contest. Most opponents can be shot using Johnny’s blaster, although some require a different approach at certain points in the game.
The Killing wasn’t particularly well received back in the day and playing it now doesn’t elicit much of anything, other than the faintest whiff of nostalgia for those who might have played it back in 1984. Sadly, it’s another failed license from the galaxy’s greatest comic.
See also: 2000AD Special.