You may have guessed by now that I'm a bit of a sucker for these 3D Ultimate-style arcade adventures, so you can hardly expect me to be anything other than pathetically excited about this latest entrant from FTL. Hydrofool, of course, is the sequel to Sweevo's World, and like its predecessor it's seriously weird. Poor old Sweevo - all that battling around the abandoned world of Knutz Folly, and just as he gets back home and settles down with a bacon sarnie and a video of Moonlighting, the Robo-Master sends him off to clean out the Deathbowl. Doesn't exactly sound a barrel of chortles, does it? But then Sweevo's hardly Brain The Size Of A Planet material - a pebble would be more more accurate - and it's that or the dole on Monday morning.
Off he goes to this gigantic planetary aquarium and sure enough, Sweevo finds all manner of aquatic nasties swimming around. Deathbowl is so polluted that the only way to scrub it out is to empty the whole place of water - which means pulling out four large plugs. You can do this (once you've found them in the labyrinth) by dropping nearby certain objects, which may just be lying around (and usually guarded) or could be part of something alive - which therefore needs killing! It's tough down there on Deathbowl - eat or be eaten.
Like Sweevo, there are loads of different levels (six, to be sure) and four choices of starting screen. You can rise levels by jumping on a passing bubble, and descend by glooping down a whirlpool. The bubbles are especially well animated with a process called Hydromation - very Gerry Anderson - which, well, animates bubbles. Sweevo picks up oilcans to stop him rusting, and as in his first adventure, falls over and looks sorry for himself when hit rather than dying.
All great fun. The graphics and sprites are all wonderfully clear and well thought out, and as usual with Gargoyle/FTL, the design's immaculate. If it's not a megagame, it's only because in gameplay terms it's just a little too similar to Sweevo. But I love it, and if you went a bundle over the original, I'm sure you will too.
Another Gargoyle re-release and the sequel to everybody's fave Knightlore clone Sweevo's World. As always with Greg and Roy, the idea was bizarre: an undersea world full of fish, clams, bubbles and Sweevo in an aqualung. It was one of those games that was never quite as gripping as it first looked. Full marks for graphics, playability and value for money, but addictiveness was somehow lacking.
It's good to see it again, though, and at £1.99 it does seem something of a steal. Nowadays of course, all cheapie 3D isometrics are ripped off from Head Over Heels, but Hydrofool is a return to more original days. Glub glub glub...
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