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

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