Benny Hill's Madcap Chase!

by Don Priestley, Steve Jerrard
DK'Tronics Ltd
Crash Issue 26, March 1986   (1986-02-27)   page(s) 134

Producer: DK'Tronics
Retail Price: £6.95
Author: Don Priestley

In the game inspired by the TV series, Benny Hill has decided to volunteer to help his neighbours do some chores. Benny's friends aren't there to explain what he's up to and passers-by tend to assume he's a thief trying to make away with other people's property. Well meaning folks noticing Mr Hill dashing around with chattels do their best to catch him. You control Benny and it up to you to finish the three different chores he has to complete, each within a time limit.

The display format is similar to that used in Don Priestley's earlier game for Dk'tronics, Popeye. The characters on the screen are large and most of the shapes for the background and foreground are squareish and conveniently placed on character boundaries to avoid colour clash. Benny can move left and right across flip screens which are presented in a pseudo 3D: the player sees a side-on view of Benny and his surroundings. Each screen has three horizontal 'levels', one behind the other, and Benny can hop between these levels, 'into' or 'out of' the screen.

The objects in Benny's world are rather like flats on a stage - each one sits on one of the three levels to the screen. If Benny is travelling along the screen in line with an obstacle, he must hop to another screen level to avoid bumping into the obstruction. Collisions cause Benny to fall to the floor and he loses time. Just to make life more tricky, the street signs and lampposts on certain screens have a habit of shifting between screen levels while Benny is somewhere else. His pursuers can also be encouraged to bump into things, with a bit of nifty footwork, in which case they stagger around for a while seeing stars while birds twitter!

To complete each of his three chores, Benny has to collect objects from the fifth screen and take them to the first screen, running a gauntlet of ever-shifting hazards on the way. People also chase him, and if he is caught the object he has in his possession is returned to its start point and he gets a stomping from the irate member of the public.

Twenty points are added to the score displayed at the bottom right hand side of the screen for each item safely deposited on the first screen. Points are lost for each stomping Benny endures and for collisions with the scenery. Gathering up all the objects and delivering them within the time limit, shown by a counter which ticks down relentlessly, earns bonus points: the time remaining is added to the score and Benny moves on to the next job.

Benny's first chore is to gather in the washing for Mrs Harras, taking it from the clothesline to the laundry basket. A woman, looking remarkably like Bob Todd in a skirt, chases Benny as soon as he's collected a piece of clothing. When she's on the warpath an arrow in the status screen flashes a warning message: 'Watch Out!". The second part of the game sees Benny gathering apples for Mr Bramley while being hassled by a farmhand and a tractor, and the third task involves collecting jumble for Mrs Bargin and avoiding a couple of over zealous Bobbies.


Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2, Dk'tronics(!)
Keyboard play: reasonably responsive
Use of colour: cleverly thought out
Graphics: large, and different
Sound: blips and thumps
Skill levels: one
Screens: fifteen

This is a strange little game, but it is very playable and addictive. Graphically, Madcap Chase is excellent, each character is large, well animated and has many facial expressions. As with its 'parent', Popeye there are very few attribute problems. Sound is well used although I did notice the lack of a tune on the title screen. There's a little more to this game than just running back and forth from one end of the playing area to the other, as the scenery - telephone boxes, trees, lamp posts and the like- changes position when you pick up or drop an object. At first I really enjoyed playing this one but it gets very monotonous after a short time.

Quite a good game, with neatly drawn big, bulky sprites which are very easy to identify. More sound would have helped. The game is set in a street, with lots of objects lying around. l loved it when Benny hit something or the lady chasing him had a fit. Once you get into the game it becomes more and more interesting and fun to play. It is so playable that it's easy to get hooked. A good game, well worth getting.

Benny Hill's Madcap Chase uses the same colour masking routines as Popeye, but the effect produced is not nearly so good. The screen contains a lot of colour, but also a lot of clashes and blocky characters. Dk'Tronics seem to have got a faster game in Benny Hill, but not as much thought has gone into presenting the whole screen, and the gameplay is a bit unresponsive. When I first played this game I was quite pleased with some nice touches - like the woman jumping onto Benny, and the way he leaps about, but after playing the screens right through (very easy) there was no lasting effect on me and I didn't want to have another go. The first two levels were easy, but the last one was much too hard. Joystick play was impossible, as I kept hitting the fire button which resets the game. Good first impressions, but no lasting appeal for me!

Use of Computer: 71%
Graphics: 84%
Playability: 83%
Getting Started: 83%
Addictive Qualities: 69%
Value for Money: 75%
Overall: 78%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 04, April 1986   page(s) 27

Dk'Tronics certainly do things big! Following their success with mega-huge graphics on Popeye they've used the same format for this slice of the seaside postcode buffoonery of Benny As Hill.

As Hill's subtle Scuttle persona (and scuttle is what you'll do plenty of), bereted and bespectacled, you have to negotiate a crowded street to help Mrs. Harras get her washing in. Walk into any hazards - walls, lamp-posts and so on and you'll lose points. It's never explained why Mrs Harras' washing line is in the middle of the road. Nor can you explain to the street busybody that you're not nicking the knickers but helping. So this enraged and, of course, enormously busted woman will chase and trample you revealing here Norah Barry bloomers to the world - and what's worse, pinch back the clothing.

Should you succeed in your longjohn larceny (20 points a garment, whether bra or trousers) within the allotted time, you'll pass on to stages 2 and 3. And once again, much as in life, your innocence will be misconstrued and farmers and policemen will give chase.

True Hill fans will lament the absence of Hill's Angels and the risky jokes but if you prefer being chased to chaste, this is the one for you, poor soul.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 4/10
Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 49, April 1986   page(s) 38

LECHEROUS, unsavoury and as usual vaguely pathetic, Benny Hill tries to beat Bruce Forsyth in seeing who can star in the worst computer game.

Luckily for Benny, Brucy wins; it would take something totally awful to beat Play Your Cards Right, and Benny Hill's Madcap Chase! isn't that bad.

The game is simple in the extreme, and play more or less consists of running from left to right and back again. Start off from Hill Street and the laundry basket, dash across a number of screens to a washing line, grab an article of clothing, head back to the start point and dump it in the laundry basket. You've now got 20 points.

It's one of the most pathetic excuses for a storyline I've yet to come across.

As you whip the unmentionables - an off-white bra and yellow Y-fronts - from the line you may well hear the pounding feet of a 16-ton Tessie in hot pursuit. This is one helpful neighbour who thinks you're nicking the knickers.

With her massive chest wobbling, she catches up and bounces into Benny. Splat! He hits the dirt, squirming, as she jumps up and down on his back. Eventually he staggers to his feet, a shaken man. But I could swear he winks.

If you are caught and jumped on while carrying some washing then it goes straight back to the line and you'll have to try again.

There are another two levels played in the same way with different objects to collect. You can only move to the next level when you have transferred all the articles.

The second level involves scrumping. This time it's the farmer chasing Benny as he relieves the apple trees of their fruit for Mr Bramley. Picking up jumble for Mrs Bargin is the third and final task.

Benny can jump three paces into the background allowing him to dodge irate members of the public and bits of 'street furniture', as the cassette inlay so charmingly puts it.

Street furniture consists of lampposts, telephone boxes, road works on the first level, barbed wire fences, a chicken coop, barn and trees on the second level - and I didn't manage to reach the third.

Each time Benny makes a turn from one end of the game to the other, he finds that lampposts have moved, one-way signs have jumped behind walls, trees are uprooted and wire fences have been rearranged. Crash into any of these bits of furniture and you'll bite the dust and lose two points. However, two points is a better deal than the five you'll lose if big Bertha stomps on you.

When you've got used to the perspective, you'll find it an easy matter to judge the distance Benny should travel into the screen to dodge the objects, and he can switch from the foreground to the background while on the run.

It is easy to detect the hand of programmer Don Priestley, author of Popeye, in the graphics. As in Popeye, they are large and colourful, but unlike its predecessor, the animation is fast and smooth, and the masking extremely effective.

Benny trots around with an amusing high-stepping gait - and manages to look like a right ninny. To give Don credit, he is instantly recognisable as Benny's alter ego, Fred Scuttle.

It's typical of the seaside postcard humour of Benny Hill that when he's jumped on by the woman her skirt flies up to reveal knickerbockers, her wig almost leaves her head and her face is contorted in a grimace.

Each level increases in difficulty, not in gameplay which remains the same, but in judging the positions of the furniture. Most tricky are the barbed wire fences, which tend to be a little fuzzy.

It's a pity that the story line is so simple and the game so limited. Benny Hill's Madcap Chase! has a very small playing area and to be honest, not a lot happens. If it weren't for the graphics, this game would receive less than the three stars it is awarded.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: DK Tronics
Programmer: Don Priestley
Price: £6.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair


Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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