Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £7.99
Language: Machine code
This is the story of Rupert, an international star of stage, screen and newspaper page. Now in his sixty fifth year, when most other folk are thinking of retiring, Rupert appears in a computer game courtesy of Quicksilva. One of the world's most distinguished bears is brought to your Spectrum's screen, in Rupert and the Toymaker's Party.
Rupert, ever the helpful soul, has been assisting his father with some chores and as a result is now late for the big party being held by the Toymaker in his castle. Rupert's pals have left behind a trail of invites pinned to the castle walls for Rupert to follow, and he must collect them all up on his way.
Eager for his ice cream, jelly and lashings of ginger beer, Rupert must follow the trail through eight different areas of the castle on his way to the party room. Each part of the castle is represented by four linked screens, with invitations on different levels and Rupert must clear all four screens before he can goon with his journey.
All manner of toys are wandering loose in the castle - trains, soldiers and aeroplanes to name a few and while most of them give Rupert a tough time on contact, causing him to take a tumble, others are helpful. Rupert can jump over toys to avoid them, but there is only so much a bear can take: Rupert's pain threshold is reached once he's had five tumbles. When Rupert's surpassed his pain barrier he trots back to the cottage in a bit of a sulk and the game's over.
The menu screen at the start of the game allows you to choose between three entry points to the game, so Rupert can take a different route to the castle for variety. Once the choice of start location has been made, the screen displays the first sheet with a helpful little rhyme at the top. Pressing the pause key starts the game proper, and the poetry disappears to be replaced with a status line, indicating the player' s score and the number of tumbles left before Rupert will walk off, stage left, in a huff.
If you manage to jump Rupert round the platforms and collect up all the invites, he gets to join his friends at the party and you will be treated to a reward screen showing the chums having fun.
Control keys: O/P left/right, bottom row to jump
Joystick: Kempston or Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: not wonderfully done, lots of attribute problems
Graphics: adequate, rather than inspired
Sound: spot effects
Skill levels: one
On the Commodore, Rupert is a very pretty game which is amusing if not exactly nerve-wracking or exciting to play. Sadly, in translating it to the Spectrum, most of the graphical charm has been lost. This leaves a very ordinary platform game behind - which might be fun for younger game players and avid Rupert fans, but it had no real appeal for me. The game format is nothing new or exciting - another tie-in to a character that's more front than game.
There's not much of a game to play here - Rupert is little more than a simple platform variant. This isn't a graphically appealing game, sound is sparse and unimaginative and the gameplay is just as weak, making it very monotonous to play. It's very difficult to jump up steps at times, since Rupert can't move small enough distances - for each keypress he takes quite a considerable stride, making life tough for pixel perfect jumps and the game incredibly frustrating to play. My conclusions? Rupert and the Toymaker's Party is nothing more than an average platform game and there are far better of the genre available.
The graphics which are rather plain and dull, with lots of attribute problems. Playability-wise Rupert is a fun game to play at first, but within a couple of goes I had lost interest. Overall it is an average game that may appeal to ardent fans of Rupert paraphernalia, but is nothing stunning in its own right. Not one of 'The most powerful games in the universe' whatever Quicksilva might have you believe.
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