The Rocky Horror Show

by Clever Music, Ian Ellery, Jay Derrett, Jeff Lee, Paul Andrew Stoddart
Crash Issue 18, Jul 1985   page(s) 12

Producer: CRL
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £8.95
Language: Machine code

'The Rocky Horror Show' was a cult stage play and an even bigger cult film in the States. where night after night for years, the same audience would sit in the theatre repeating the lines in unison with the actors, dressed in the same type of clothing - crazy. It was a crazy film, and the game actually does go a long way in recreating the atmosphere and sense of madness, which is to its credit.

If you are one of the last people left on earth who knows nothing of the 'Rocky Horror Show', film or stage play, then you might be forgiven for not knowing what is going on. Good, middle class American youngsters, Janet and Brad, through some mechanical defect in their car, end up in this weird house for the night and one of them gets turned to stone - well, it'll do for a start.

It's entirely up to you whether it's Brad or Janet who gets stoned by the wicked Dr Frank'n'Furter and his dreaded Medusa machine, but clearly the least solid of the pair must do the rescuing. The task ahead is simple; guide the rescuer around the house and find the pieces of the De-Medusa and put it back together, then you can wipe that rather stoney smile from your partner's face and run like blazes. Of course finding the pieces isn't a piece of rock cake, you need to look for them and that means opening doors and that means finding keys the right keys. And while you are lurching around this rather attractive period dwelling you are going to be chased by quite a few people who would rather you didn't, and they have some pretty mean ways of expressing their preferences, like killing you. If you are lucky something might just walk up to you and say something silly like 'I didn't like my Teddy!' or 'it's just a jump to the left....'These remarks seem move Brad and Janet into a state of total confusion (know how they feel) and after a few more from the right sort of person that confusion moves up a grade, to total death.

The De-Medusa is made up of fifteen separate bits which must be collected piece by piece and deposited in the chamber next to your stiff friend. At the start of each game you find that the characters and the vital pieces have all been left in random locations around the house. While there are fewer than fifteen rooms within the house, some rooms have more than a mere lock to get past, the worst being a strange electric beam. The beam removes your one and only life if you get too close it can be turned off but it's a bit tricky. Your other problems move around on their own, they are the characters of the play and each one of them will have a lasting effect on you. The Butler (Riff Raff), for example, is nuts, he wanders round all day long complaining that nobody loves him while at the same time he is trying to zap you. One of the girls, Columbia, simply strips you naked when you bump into her. Eddie is a chap/thing who is particularly unpleasant. He was one of Frank's failed experiments. Fortunately he spends most of his time in the freezer, unfortunately the freezer doesn't work that well, the thermometer at the base of the screen lets you know when he is thawing out.

Oh one last point, the whole house is a space ship, yes it is difficult to believe but there you are. From your arrival you have 99 time periods (that's not as long as it sounds) to rescue your mate and a run for it otherwise by then, you see, Frank will have grown tired of your feeble efforts and left for home. Apparently Frank is this guy from outer space and he wears the wrong clothes, well that seems to explain it all.


Control keys: A/Z up/down, N/M left/right, Space to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair and Protek
Keyboard play: fine
Use of colour: a bit one tone but avoids clashes
Graphics: very effective, despite some oddities
Sound: pleasant effects
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: about 14

On the whole this is a very appealing game to play, the backdrop of the house is great, the animation is superb, I particularly admired the manner in which the characters moved around of their own free will, and around objects. The way the screen changes from one room to the next is very smart. But something has come out of all of this cleverness, bugs, I'm sure of it. On two occasions when I died and sent Janet back she appeared at the starting position, the hall, but in the hall was the lift from the other end of the house and one of the electric beams from the floor above. Well being the adventurous sort I got in the lift, guess what? it went DOWN to the floor on which I got in it. Other annoying things tended to happen. The motorcyclist could be seen momentarily as part of the front door, he would appear again, just for a flash, in the dining room. This business about the clothes I thought one of the characters was meant to steal them yet you can be quite happily wandering across a room and woomph - you're stark staring naked. The electric beams are tricky yes, but more often than not you can get killed when they are not on and that makes it a lot more than just tricky. Very nice game shame about the bugs.

Unfortunately due to my not being able to receive Channel 4 I missed the 'Rocky Horror Show'. I assume that the game follows the same theme but in any case it's a good game. CRL have used some nice graphics. I found the collecting of bits a little repetitive after a while. The hero sprites went into some weird dance routines on occasions. I regret not being able to understand the point of the whacky conversations but even so a playable game but not that addictive.

It's about time CRL produced some decent software, especially now they've gone public, well maybe The Rocky Horror Show is a new leaf. The idea of the game (getting the De-Medusa machine parts and putting them all together) is quite simple really, although a little long-winded. Some puzzles are a little tricky to solve at first but become apparent enough as you progress through the game. The graphics are of high quality, detailed and there are no attribute clashes between the moving characters and the backgrounds. It looks as though lots of people are starting to copy Gargoyle's Tir Na Nog style. After playing the first few games, I noticed that there is no score - a little bit off-putting because you don't know how far you have got through the game. Overall quite a playable game and definitely the best CRL have produced, and hopefully not the last. I don't think it will take too long to solve once you've got going.

Use of Computer: 77%
Graphics: 85%
Playability: 78%
Getting Started: 78%
Addictive Qualities: 70%
Value for Money: 70%
Overall: 79%

Summary: General Rating: An exciting and different game with adventure elements.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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