Spiky Harold

by Andrew Rogers, Simon Jay
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 29, Jun 1986   page(s) 31

Producer: Firebird
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Andrew Rogers

Harold is a spiky and fat hedgehog and his ambition is to get even fatter. Fifty two bits of grub are scattered, one per screen, throughout Harold's homeland. In twenty four hours from now winter is set to begin with a very severe frost, and it'll be time for a quick quarter of a year hibernation to put the little spikoid in shape for the coming year.

Having Harold retire into his pile of leaves without the appropriate layers of fat means the poor little creature is bound to freeze to death around Christmas time. I's up to all you joystick wagglers out there to get Harold's stomach packed with goodies from the surrounding countryside so he can survive the winter.

Ol' Spiky is a rather special hedgepig, as unlike all his relations, this young hedgehog has decided that the best mode of travel for him is waddling around on his hind legs. The player controls Harold's wobbly progress with the use of left and right, and as an extension to Harold's lurch there's also a jump key available that conveys a little boost into the air.

Harold's home territory is split into fifty two screens, and as the spikelette wanders out of view another screen flicks up. Apart from the scrummy morsel waiting to be collected, each screen contains a number of nasty hazards that remove one of Harold's nineteen lives on contact. They take the form of various foes including dripping acid, psycho snails, marauding birds and other antihedgehog personages.

Most of the action is set underneath beautiful rolling countryside. Since few hogs dare venture down here that's why all the food is still uneaten in the rush to hibernation timed Along with the food there are coins which add an extra life on collection and the odd glass of wine that'll make Harold a slight bit fiddly. Well he's only a small woodland animal and it doesn't take much to get him drunk... all the controls are temporarily reversed after he's quaffed a glass of vino.

So there it is: ignore Harold's plight and it's all too likely that you'll have the death of cute and cuddly (if you don't mind the odd prickle or two) woodland creature on your conscience. is this something you can live with?


Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: fine
Use of colour: average
Graphics: also average
Sound: nice spot effects, but no tune
Skill levels: one
Screens: 52

Alright! This guy could be a real cool dude, with his smooth walk and ZZAP! reviewer style haircut! Unfortunately, his would-be characteristics haven't been fully exploited in the game and it doesn't take long for it to become boring as you trace the same course time after time. Nineteen lives, even though they're all needed, is a bit of a silly idea as well. Other ideas that can be seen to have been attempted a re quite neat, but as is the case so often, they just haven't worked. For £1.99, Harold and his spikes may provide an hour's entertainment, but after that, it would be destined for my 'budget bin' - the disposal unit feared by all cheapies!

Spiky Harold is a playable and colourful game. The graphics are not the best I've seen in a cheapo game but they're adequate and the animation of your jolly character is very good. The screens aren't very detailed and them is never much brain ache in getting the pieces of food. After a couple of hours play I had just about lost interest as it is very infuriating when you have to go through the same screens every game to get anywhere. The sound is about average for this type of game, a whirring that vaguely resembles 'The Flight of the Bumble Bee' noise and a beep or two when you die. Not a brilliant game this, but quite good fun for a rainy afternoon.

Fat, wobbly and spiky, isn't there a magazine editor who looks like that? Spiky Harold is something of a neato budget game that for some very mysterious reason is quite compelling to play. It's not anything instantly definable: it's certainly not the graphics or sound as they barely rate above average. Despite constant deaths, I just keep having another go. Making Harold jump, wobble and scoff just like a certain reviewer - may seem a bit limited and even potentially boring but Spiky Harold is worth having a look at, and well worth buying if it grabs you the way it did me.

Use of Computer: 59%
Graphics: 62%
Playability: 66%
Getting Started: 67%
Addictive Qualities: 64%
Value for Money: 70%
Overall: 65%

Summary: General Rating: Quite a fun game, for a while at least...

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 7, Jul 1986   page(s) 35


Don't you just love hedgehogs? Cute little snouty creatures with spiky backs and big dark eyes and likkle wet noses... Well, it you like our little fellows on the forest floor, you'll really burrow into Spiky Harold Goes Hibernating. (Not a ZTT band, although it easily could be.) The winter is fast approaching, and you must eat your way through 57 underground larders before crashing out in your hedgehog pad in the home cavern. You've only got 24 hours to do it, and a host of hazards in your way.

Like most platform games this is really a game of skill, judging the timing of your jumps and learning the best route through the caverns. Considering the price of the game it's not bad, and I guess you could say it narrows the gap between budget games and the full price stuff. But not that much. The graphics are nice and big, and the sound effects are funny. I like Harold, he's so cute and... (Oh, this is where we came In!)

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 52, Jul 1986   page(s) 44

Label: Firebird
Author: A Rogers
Price: £1.99
Joystick: Kempston
Memory :48K
Reviewer: Jerry Muir

Who'd be a hedgehog? When you're not being squashed by speeding cars you're appearing in budget computer games!

Spiky Harold is subtitled, 'Goes Hibernating', which sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.

It transpires that the game isn't so much about sleeping as preparing for that long winter lie-in. Harold has to gather a store of food in case he should feel peckish around mid-January. This can mean but one thing - it's a collecting game.

In its favour, Spiky Harold is well designed with nice big sprites, a colourful system of caves and one or two cleverly designed screens, such as the one where you'll slide straight back into the path of an on-coming nasty unless you leap forward again immediately on reaching the ledge. There are also some nice touches, such as the ferocious munch as Harold bites into a tasty morsel.

There's also a time limit. In 24 hours the first frost of winter will set in and you have to guide Harold back to base before the big freeze.

There are 57 objects in all to collect, including the coins which give extra lives and the wine glasses that make Harold drunk. Being in charge of an inebriated hedgehog is no joke and for a while you'll find he does exactly the opposite of what you command him to.

It's another timely release from Firebird - hibernating just as the summer is coming on. Remember, it was Firebird that launched The Comet Game after the comet had gone!

Spiky isn't brilliant, but it is cheap.

Overall: 1/5

Summary: OK, so it isn't earth- shatteringly original. But there are worse programs at the price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 6, Jun 1986   page(s) 48


Spiky Harold has had enough of the English weather and has decided to go into hibernation. Your task is to guide Spiky through the 57 chambers which contain food, coins and wine, all of which he will need to survive the winter in his home cavern.

On the journey through the caves, Harold must battle with various obstacles, all of which will cost him one of his 20 lives should he bump into them.

A budget-priced platform game which offers excellent value.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 27, Jul 1986   page(s) 11


Spikey Harold, a superbly animated hedgehog, has to prepare for hibernation, and as is usual for hedgehogs, he must fill up by eating as much as he can. In this game there are 57 items, one from each of the cave locations to be negotiated.

Yep, this is another Manic Miner clone and the usual plethora of creatures plus conkers, sulphur clouds, bouncing balls and periscopes float, bounce and zoom around to defeat you by removing one of your lives.

On the positive side there are coins which will give you extra lives if collected (you start with 19 and you'll need them!), and wine glasses which makes Spikey drunk for that screen.

The final problem in Spikey's way is the time limit of 24 hours in which to eat the grub and get back to his home cavern before the frost gets him. The standard is as high as in any game of this type, with large, well animated characters, bright colours with minimal colour clashes, fair sound and challenging screens that are negotiable with perseverence.

Options for using Kempston joystick or the keyboard are provided and because the latter has a redefinable key option, the AGF/PROTEK protocol will also function for joystick control.

Playing the game proved that time and a multitude of variations do not lessen the addictiveness of this style of program. I found it quite difficult to actually get started but once the initial problems were solved then the desire to go further was rather strong. In fact I rather suspect that the only reason this is priced in the budget bracket is because of the unoriginality of the theme.

Worth every penny for newcomers and old hands alike.

Award: ZX Computing Globella

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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