Mikie


by Jonathan M. Smith, Martin Galway, F. David Thorpe
Imagine Software Ltd
1985
Crash Issue 25, February 1986   (1986-01-23)   page(s) 10,11

Mikie is the third in Imagine's series of Konami arcade conversions. The game is set in a school and follows the antics of young Mikie, a teeny tearaway. This young devil has no respect for his teachers, and when he wants to do something he makes sure that he does it, no matter what stands in his way. Mikie has suddenly decided to take a message to his girlfriend, and rather than wait until dinner time he jumps up from his desk and makes a bee-line for the schoolyard, where he can find her.

The route to his beloved isn't an easy one and Mikie has to go through five different rooms: the classroom; locker room; canteen, and gymnasium before he reaches the schoolyard. Mikie has to collect all the hearts scattered around each consecutive screen before he can move on to the next one. Each time he collects a heart, a letter is added to a message at the top of the screen. Bonus points are awarded for picking up a heart white it is flashing. Understandably, the staff of the school aren't too keen on young tearaways running around the premises at will, and chase after him.

The game starts in the middle of a lesson, Mikie jumps up from his desk and has to collect all the hearts from under the seats of his classmates. They're sitting on the hearts, and he has to bump people onto another seat with a swift nudge from his hips. When a desk is vacant the heart underneath can be collected by walking over it. His chums don't seem to mind his antics, and move away without argument. One guy who does mind, however, is the teacher - he rushes after Mikie and tries to capture him. Mikie loses one of his lives if the teacher grabs him. Occasionally the teacher gets so frustrated that he hurls his false teeth at the delinquent - if they bite home, another life is lost.

If Mikie manages to collect all the hearts on a screen, the door unlocks and he can run out - or burst through the door, at least. All the rooms in the game lead into a hallway which is inhabited by a patrolling janitor, who is joined by teachers who come to his assistance in the chase. There are three landings in the hallway screen and lots of doors. The one leading to the next room is marked 'in'. Mikie has to evade the patrolling adults and make his way to the right door - if he goes into the wrong room, he'll meet with trouble....

After the classroom, comes the locker room, where Mikie is chased by a teacher, another janitor and the school cook as he tries to collect the hearts from lockers. The hearts are three to a locker, and to collect them Mikie has to face a locker and shout, once for each heart. If the chase proves to be a little too much, Mikie can collect a basketball and throw it at one of his pursuers - if it hits him, then he'll bounce the ball for a while rather than follow Mikie.

After the locker room has been emptied of hearts, it's back into the hallway and off to the canteen where hearts are littered over the floor. Mikie has to run over them to gather them up and there's a group of three hearts on the table which have to be shouted at. Three cooks give Mikie hassle this time, although he can pick up chickens and throw them to the chefs, who abandon the chase while they eat.

Through the hallway again, Mikie reaches the penultimate screen, the gymnasium where the school's cheerleaders are practising. Hearts are scattered over the floor and Mikie has to pick them up whilst making sure that he doesn't bump into one of the dancing girls. Contact with a girl stuns Mikie for a while which allows the gym master to capture him.

If Mikie survives the cheerleaders and gym teacher, he can go on to the final screen, the schoolyard. Three caretakers make the going tough as Mikie scuttles round picking up the hearts from the playground floor. If he gets them all, he can go to the top of the screen and give his girlfriend a kiss and hand her his message.

After that it's back to screen one, only this time there are more hearts to collect and the grown-ups are far more determined.

COMMENTS
Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: big, bright and bold
Sound: amazing
Skill levels: increases with play
Screens: six


'Terrific! Right from the very start. Mikie is a professional, colourful, graphically brilliant, tuneful bonanza. A great loading screen is followed by an excellent rendition of the Beatle's 'A Hard Days Night'. Mikie doesn't just look and sound good - it's addictive and playable too. What more could a games player ask for? If Imagine continue to keep up this high standard of releases they'll do very well. Buy this game - you'd have to be a pretty dull person not to like it.'

'The sound on the title screen is just mega-fantastic, surely the best heard on a Spectrum with its brilliant drum effects and synthy sound. I was a bit disappointed, though - I went round all the screens on my second go! Still, there are some very nice touches, especially the behind the 'wrong' doors in the hallway, where I found loads of things - boxing gloves, big feet and even naked women (!?!). The way you can throw chickens and balls to your pursuers to keep them off your back for a while is very original, and can be used to great effect in sticky situations. If you're spending money on games after Christmas check out Imagine's latest releases....'

'Yet another superb arcade conversion from Imagine, Mikie faithfully copies the arcade kiss em up and the result is a highly enjoyable and playable game. The big characters and bright, jolly backgrounds create an excellent atmosphere and make what is basically a very simple game something special. The sound is amazing, there's no other word for it - I could hardly believe the excellent rendition of 'A Hard Day's Night', combined with the excellent jingles during the game, it makes this the best sounding Spectrum game yet. If you like arcade games then you should have a look at this one. With its humorous gameplay and excellent touches Mikie really rises up from the mire of banal releases.'

Use of Computer: 94%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 94%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 93%
Value For Money: 93%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: Yet another first-rate Konami conversion.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 03, March 1986   page(s) 26

I love it, I love it not, I love it... well, we'll just skip the rest and come to the conclusion that I love it. Not only is Mikie a masterful conversion from the arcade original, its also an extremely addictive game.

Our romantic hero, Mikie has fallen under the spell of the age-old ague, love. His girlfriend waits by the schoolyard gates, cheerleading away while he rushes round the school collecting letters to for a love-letter to send her.

There are five sections to the game each set in a different room in the school. We start in the classroom where Mikie has to push his classmates off their chairs to collect the hearts on the back. Then whizz off to the locker room, the canteen, the gym, where they bring on the dancing girls, and finally to the schoolyard where Mikie's girl's waiting. In between there's the short dash between rooms but fortunately, you wont need to do any homework on that bit.

If you love the mad whirl of a good arcade game and aren't put off by the sloppy theme of this one, then Mikie should set your heart all a flutter.


Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Hot Shot

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, September 1990   page(s) 77

I wasn't expecting to see this one again. It's absolutely ancient. (I'm not sure I was even born in 1985.) But despite this, and the fact that the plot is worryingly bizarre, Mikie is actually rather good. You're a bit of a 'lad', you see, your school's equivalent of our Rich, and the object of the game is to 'plant one' on your girlfriend who's waiting for you at the end of five levels of classroom frolics. To get from screen to screen you've got to collect hearts while trying to avoid various members of staff who naturally want to put a stop to all this. It plays even more weirdly than it sounds, although once you get the hang of it it's actually very easy, and you'll find yourself completing all the levels loads of times each time you play. That is, assuming you buy it. And you've got every reason to do so, as it's tidily put together and really quite enjoyable.


Overall: 77%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 47, February 1986   page(s) 92

JONATHAN SMITH, who has adapted Mikie from an original arcade version by Konami, has inscribed his name not only misspelt but backwards, as if to disclaim full responsibility. An ominous sign, but the game is not quite as bad as you might fear.

Mikie is set in an American high school - it helps to know this as some of the graphics are not instantly recognisable to those of us unfamiliar with things like locker rooms and cheerleaders. The thoroughly un-British plot involves Mikie's attempts to get a message to his girlfriend - and here any resemblance with reality as we know it ends.

To achieve his aim, Mikie has to rush around collecting the hearts scattered around the school building. The game starts in the classroom where, each time a heart is gathered, one letter of a message is displayed at the top of the screen.

When all the hearts have been picked up, and the message completed - including exclamation mark - the classroom door miraculously unlocks, and Mikie is able to proceed to the hallway, which in turn leads to the locker room with more hearts and another message to be completed. The locker room is followed by canteen, and then the gym, and finally the schoolyard where, if all goes well, Mikie can convey his meaning to the young lady.

The scenario may seem novel, but this is a classic platform and ladders game, with the rows between desks, lockers or canteen tables replacing the traditional levels and stairways. As in earlier examples of the genre, the hero has to accomplish certain tricky tasks on each level, while keeping out of the way of those out to thwart him.

On the first screen, representing the classroom, the task is to pick up the hearts lying under the desks of the other pupils - who by some strange quirk of the American educational system all seem to be girls. To get at the hearts, Mikie must first dislodge the desk's occupant by 'hip-zapping' her three times and then walking over the heart.

Hip-zapping, which uses a direction key and fire key simultaneously, and picking up the heart both require very accurate positioning, and meanwhile the class teacher, who is unusually persistent and hard to shake off, is in hot pursuit. Caught by the teacher, or zapped by the false teeth (?) which he hurls when in a rage, Mikie loses a life.

In the hallway, a janitor, aided and abetted by a dustbin, is determined to stop Mikie from reaching the door of the locker room. Inside the locker room, things get even more difficult, as there are three people in authority out to get Mikie, and three hearts to be retrieved from each locker before the message is completed.

The next screen is slightly easier, as Mikie is able to stun his pursuers with the chickens which have conveniently been left lying around on the canteen tables. But things hot up again in the gym where what looks like the sultan's dancing girls, but are apparently cheerleaders, can paralyse Mikie with a kiss. Wow.

Mikie e may well prove to be as much a test of your patience as of your skill. Every time you lose a life, you keep your score, but you have to start collecting the hearts and building up the message on that particular screen all over again.

After you have lost five lives, which doesn't take very long at first, you go right back to the title screen and a Beatles medley which becomes more infuriating every time you hear it. However, if you persist beyond the extreme frustration of the early stages of the game, you will inevitably get better at it, and find your progress more satisfying.

Patience is also the key to completing each screen. Mikie has only a limited amount of time before his persecutors catch up with him, but he can also collect the hearts in stages - for instance, he can hip-zap once, then make himself scarce and come back to finish the job later. So the secret is to concentrate on losing the attackers, rather than being in a hurry to pick up hearts.

Don't be misled by the screen shots of the arcade version featured on the inlay. The graphics are competent but hardly distinguished. Mikie's manic Charlie Chaplin walk is amusing, and there are nice touches like the pupils forever putting their hands up, but mostly the graphics consist of various square shapes denoting desks, tables stairs and the like, and a lot of bustling figures and flying objects. The humour, as represented by false teeth, dustbins, and chickens is not to everyone's taste and certainly didn't have me rolling in the aisles.

Having said all that, Mikie is a worthy game, with enough suspense and difficulty to keep you interested in plugging on from screen to screen. Provided you are the sort that doesn't give up easily, it should keep you entertained for a while.

Nicole Segre

Publisher: Imagine
Programmer: Jonathan Smith
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K

***


Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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