Reviewer: James Leach
Gosh, I'm just so busy putting Your Sinclair together, month in and month out, that I never get to watch anything on TV. It's a real bummer. By the time I get in, all that's on is Newsnight or Prisoner. So you'll understand when I say that I've never seen Round The Bend on ITV.
This is a bit of a shame 'cos it seems to be the weirdest thing out. And you know me - I like a bit of weirdness. Just last week, for example, I saw a parrot disguised as a golden retriever swimming across the River Avon. (That is weird. Ed) Anyway, back to Round The Bend. Apparently Doc Croc, the editor of a comic, has blown up the printing press and all the bits have ended up in the sewer. Lou Brush (where do they get these names from?) has got to round up the guys, and get them to collect all the pieces. Yep, it's a mad race-against-time jobbie.
Using arrows, you've got to select a drain and a character, then it's time to set off into the depths of the sewers. It's a standard underground platformer (except that the platforms are covered in poo). As you'd expect, there are things to avoid, jump over and rush past. Collision detection is good and this part of the game is tough and demanding, but you'll always want to have just one more go. As you get further into the game, it naturally gets tougher. Bats, owls or something fly at you, forcing you to move pretty sharpish. Tricky stuff.
After a while you'll come across bits of the printing press and smart punchline-collection sub-games to beat. These are single screenies and the general idea is to get your character from top left to bottom right along a load of levels whilst avoiding whatever happens to be bouncing around. As you move to the right of the screen on each platform level, you appear on the one below. Y'see, you sort of go down in steps. So although you're on one screen, you've got quite a bit of walking and avoiding to do. Sounds a bit boring, doesn't it Spec-chums? Well, that's 'cos it often is, what with all that walking and avoiding to do. Never mind, at least it makes a change from all those smelly sewery bits (there's no poo, for a start).
What else? Oh yes, there's something incredibly disturbing called John Potato's Newsround. Every time you complete a page, John Potato appears and gives you a few bonus points. Strangely, he doesn't look even slightly like John Craven, who I suppose it's meant to be. It just looks like a Potato. It's enough to make a grown man weep.
To be fair, Round The Bend is strange but certainly fun for the most part. It's big enough to keep you playing for ages, it's not too difficult and it looks nice, even if it is a bit monochromey. Come to think of it, I wish there was a bit more colour around. It really does make a difference you know. Are you listening. Zeppelin? Apart from that gripette the game also tacks that indefinable something that makes certain games classics and worthy of the green felt Megagame hat. But (almost) full marks for such a weird game anyway, dudes - there's some good, decent and honest silliness in there. Right, I'm off to lick the road clean outside a windmill factory. (Off you go then. Ed)
It's a hard life stuck here on the top right of the page. No one appreciates me. They just want to read Replay. (Sigh.)
DOC CROC'S OUTRAGEOUS ADVENTURES
091 385 7755
Reviewer: Linda Barker
Originally released under the moniker Round the Bend, this was a tie-in with the children's television series of the same name. Quite why Zeppelin have decided to change the name is beyond me. The only reason I can think of is that it sounds more trendy, but then again the word outrageous isn't really that amazing. Maybe it's not on telly anymore. (That's it! Jon)
Doc Croc is the editor of a comic and his video printing press has blown up, scattering the pieces and the pages of the comic all around the sewer. Oh yes, all this takes place in the sewers. Lou Brush sets off to look for the pieces of machinery whilst Doc Croc, Jemima Wellington-Green and Vaudeville Vince Vermin (ahem!) search out their pages and punchlines. The idea is to get each character to collect his or her own pages, enter them, find the punchline and return them to the office. All this has to be done within a certain time limit so, with four characters to control, there's no time to lose. In practice, this is all a lot more difficult than it sounds. All the characters and tunnels make it very confusing, but the main flaw of the game is that it doesn't really pull you in at all. You make a character tumble into the sewer, shrug your shoulders and go and see about another character.
This isn't right! When you lose your croc you should despair and wring your hands. But in Doc Croc's Outrageous Adventure, you simply don't care. It's not a bad game at all, it just doesn't have that something that really draws you into a game. The graphics are clear enough and the gameplay's pretty standard jump-onto-the platforms-and-avoid-the-nasties stuff but quite enjoyable. It's not that there's anything really wrong with the game, Doc Croc's Outrageous Adventures is just, like, okay.
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