Soft & Cuddly

by John George Jones, Tim White
The Power House
Crash Issue 44, Sep 1987   page(s) 108

Producer: The Power House
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: John George Jones

It just hasn't been a good day for your family.

Having been convinced that the little light does stay on, your father has been imprisoned by the wickedness of evil spirits in a fridge. To release him, you must find eight spirit keys. Then you can help Dad search for your mother.

She's been mutilated and dismembered, her bodily parts scattered hither and thither. Still, where there's hope and an awful lot of Elastoplast, who knows what can be done.... But first her organs and limbs must be gathered and carried back to the fridge.

You undertake these simple tasks in a subterranean multilevel world of vertical passages, horizontal corridors, tunnels and rooms. But your progress through this land of menace and depravity is hampered by myriad bizarre, destructive and menacing devices.

Heavy anvils keep falling on your head, sets of spikes pummel downwards onto the unsuspecting, babies are caught in stretching devices and men pulled apart on racks, and flying blades swirl through the air.

For protection you carry a laser that can destroy some of the ghoulies and creatures of evil. But this weapon can become too hot and jam, if continually used; an indicator shows how close it is to this critical point.

As in all self-respecting evil domains, the things of darkness can seriously affect your heart, as in stopping it - and you have only three lives.

For further protection against this multifarious malignancy, try the invisibility function. It makes transparent and indestructible to find out where you are, just fire your laser).

And just think, if you get through all this, Mum and Dad are going to be SO pleased!


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: big and colourful - the game's best point
Sound: spot FX
Options: silly-walk option (which doesn't work)

Soft & Cuddly's greatest asset is its graphics, big and colourful and a touch gruesome. The animation is sometimes hickory, though, and there's little else to make this standard platform game stand out. It's very easy to get into, but boring. Exploring the playing area is the most enjoyable part, but even that becomes repetitive.
ROBIN [68%]

It's a pity that such a technically sound and innovative game should be dragged down by distasteful graphics and a horribly grim inlay. Like CRL's adventure Dracula, Soft & Cuddly should have a 15 certificate. There are some cleverly-animated and attractively-coloured graphics - indeed, all there is to Soft & Cuddly is graphics. The gameplay is repetitive.
PAUL [40%]

Sick, sick, sick! The programmer of Soft & Cuddly needs intensive psychiatric help. The smooth, slick graphics show heads getting pierced by forks and four babies Joined at the waist. Though these graphics are a mite sketchy, colour is used very well. Still, I only recommend Soft & Cuddly to those of you who cut your toenails with a carving knife!
NICK [57%]

Presentation: 59%
Graphics: 77%
Playability: 53%
Addictive Qualities: 53%
Overall: 55%

Summary: General Rating: An everyday platform game with good graphics and a bizarrely morbid scenario.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 23, Nov 1987   page(s) 44

The Power House

This is a very sick game indeed, but fortunately I have a very sick sense of humour. It's written by the creator of Go To Hell (a game out a couple of years ago which I moved heaven and earth to get), and like that it's great fun. Although my reviews of Power House game in the past have never been very complimentary (You mean downright hostile. Ed), I love this one. Not even the howling of Wayne Allen's HEX 'music' can dampen my enthusiasm.

It's an everyday sort of scenario. Your mum, the android queen, has been damaged (well, pulled to bits, actually), and your dad is locked in a fridge, so you travel around the screens looking for keys, which you give to dad in exchange for info on where mummy dearest is.

You fly around thanks to a jet pack, and can even turn invisible. Realistic, huh?

There are eight keys to collect, and eight bits of dear ol' mom, which you must then sew together. There are also loads of massive grotesque creations waiting to gobble you up, and John Jones is clearly infatuated with a skull wearing a beret (weird). What's more it's the first game I've played where you're asked if you want a silly walk or not!

It plays smoothly too, so if you're the sort of person who laughs when others cringe, buy it. It's your kind of game!

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 6/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: Platformy chaseabout with a difference - warped minds have been at work! Pass the sick bag, Alice!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 67, Oct 1987   page(s) 31


Dare you look at some of the horrors currently on sale?

Label: Power House
Author: John George Jones
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Oh, very bloody pleasant, I must say. What a remarkably good way to start a Monday morning - being thrust a copy of a game that involves sewing pieces of your dismembered mother back together and being told: "This looks like your kind of thing."

Soft and Cuddly is the latest game from the poison pen of John George Jones, the person behind the cult hit Go to Hell.

Being a kind of Manic Miner derivative. Soft and Cuddly can hardly boast the most original gameplay and has to rely on the novelty points it can score by its sheer gruesomeness. The plot, while largely unnecessary during play, ought to be explained. Your father has been locked in a fridge by your mother and is shortly to come to a fate worse than death at the hands of a group of evil spirits. Your mother has had an accident and is now scattered in numerous pieces throughout the game-map.

Your objective in this highly Freudian episode is to collect pieces of your mother's body and take them to the fridge. Once you've got all the vital bits together, you can take on the jolly little task of mending her. Since the game is fairly big (256 screens) you certainly won't be able to get all the bits before losing all your lives unless you have some sort of idea where to.

Graphically, it is certainly unusual, and occasionally brilliant. As your little man descends on his jet-pack into an apparently empty screen, an enormous multi-coloured monster will lurch up from a brick walkway and flail around, blocking your path.

The actual playing of the game is, unfortunately, a rather tiresome business. The 'silly walk' option does little to disguise the fact that all you really get to do is move left and right, fly up, fall down, Fire and pick up the occasional item.

On your travels you will undoubtedly be harassed by lots of bog standard cannon- fodder aliens which are about as interesting as watching a golf tournament in the rain. They drift around being annoying and sapping your energy. A quick beam from your laser though, and they're history.

If you fire at the static scenery (trees, bricks, etc) they will gradually become worn away. Should you find the patience to do this for long enough, you will create a gap through which you can walk. While this is quite handy for moving around, it takes a colossal amount of time, and actually looks a smidgen like a bug.

Soft and Cuddly is a decidedly odd game.

It's a bit like a cross between a splatter movie and one of those strange Belgian art movies done with stop-frame photography with people in stupid poses gliding around the room, pushing chairs etc.

There's a lot to look at - plenty of opportunities to go "ooh, urgh, yuk" - but not particularly interesting to take part in.

If you're the sort of person who likes drawing maps and watching very large unpleasant graphics jigging up and down like a box of offal, all well and good.

Otherwise, Soft and Cuddly could become remarkably tiresome after a very short time.

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Overall: 6/10

Summary: Oddball low-budget schlock-horror outing. Could get tedious but there's a large map and lots of things to shoot.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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