Chimps are peculiar creatures. They spend all day eating bananas, scratching their bums and picking - fleas out of each other's heads. Ian Osborne's completely bananas and partial to a bit of flea pie, so he got to do the review...
Forget what you've been told in lesser publications, Biffs not a frog, he's an APE - and a rather cheeky one at that. He never tidies his room, is rude to his mother and wouldn't even join his family in a tea commercial!
Unsurprisingly, Mum's had enough - Biff's been booted out of his treehouse and left to fend for himself in the cold, cruel jungle (all together now-aaahhh!). Your task's to get Biff back into his mum's good books by performing a series of tasks in a Dizzy-style arcade adventure.
Those who've played the aforementioned Codies classics will instantly recognise Biff's gameplay -guide the main sprite through umpteen rooms of platforms and ladders, solving problems to progress (or smashing your Speccy with a large lump-hammer if you can't).
Like any jungle, Biff's backyard's a dark and dangerous place - there's all manner of flora and fauna conspiring to keep him from appeasing Mumsie. Flowers uproot themselves and attack, birds do far more than crap on your head, and those baby dragons aren't as cute as they look!
Most baddies move aimlessly, just trundling back and forth (rather like Ian after a night on the town - Ed), but the puzzles and scenery are varied enough to prevent monotony.
You get one life and your apparently huge energy rating depletes at an alarming rate on contact with baddies - don't be tempted to ignore them for speed's sake!
SUPERB! SPIFFING! SPECTACULAR!
Biffs technically superb! The cheeky chimp features an amazing sixteen frames of animation, and the other sprites move well, too.
Clever use of shading makes brilliant use of the Speccy's limited palette. With far too many programmers taking the easy monochrome option, it's great to see a budget house stretching the Speccy to its limits. The presentation's pretty spiffing, with spectacular pre-game effects and a neat, efficiently laid out control panel.
Although the problems aren't as involved as those in the Dizzy games, they're far from boring - the game's off-beat sense of humour and huge dollops of character win through in the end!
After each problem's solved you're presented with an onscreen hint and the required object flashes, so you won't be left scratching your head too often.
On the minus side, Biff depends too heavily on energy-depleting baddies, and I could've done without the comments culled from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Everywhere you go these days some pillock's saying 'Bodacious', or 'Most excellent' - it's getting on my nerves! Not that this stops Biff from being an excellent game!
It's great to see an arcade adventure that isn't a piddle-poor imitation of Dizzy - Biff has character and atmosphere all its own and is easily the best Beyond Belief release to date. Hopefully ol' monkey features will appear in more of their games and become a hero in the Dizzy/Blinky mould.
I must admit the first few words while playing Biff aren't suitable for publication. Most either rhymed with duck or hinted at dubious parentage. But after kicking Ian around the room a few times, the puzzles made sense and progress was rapidly forthcoming. What the programmer was on when he drew the character sprite I dread to think - it's supposed to be an ape but looks more like a large toad! The sprites and scenery are very colourful and this leads to a small amount of colour clash. On the minus side, the evil creatures take their jobs a bit too seriously. Biff's attacked with great enthusiasm and for many games he's brown-breaded within a few seconds, but practice soon sees you collecting the correct items and gaining Brownie points for a job well done. Biff will appeal to puzzle fans rather than 'blast anything whether it moves or not' freaks, but it's worth a look in either case.
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