Program: Bizarre Developments
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Huxley Pig, dum de dun, he the piggieist, wiggiest, sniggliest pig there is - lah-dedah... at least I think that's how the theme tune goes. But whether you're a Magic Roundabout freak, a Paddington fan or a Postman Pat addict, you have to admit that Cartoon hero Huxley Pig is the cutest joint of pork ever to have his own TV series. And the game's great.
"What!' you say, shock horror! Jenkins LIKES a cutesy arcade adventure! Usually they have him reaching for his Uzi and complaining that there isn't enough violence. But no, even though Huxley pig doesn't go mad with a chainsaw in an infants' school, I rather like this budget bacon sandwich.
The first thing you notice is that the graphics are great: really stylish, with good use of colour and nice details in the furniture of Huxley's pig around the pen pad. The second thing is that Huxley himself is dead cute, piggly-wigglying his way around the house in search of the toys and costumes he needs to take off on another of his dreamland adventures. The screen display flips from room to room very neatly, and the graphic design keeps colour clash down to a minimum.
The third thing you realise is that even on 'Easy' level, the game's a bit of a challenge. Although it's not too difficult to find the missing objects, the spiders which scuttle along the floor move at great speed, draining Huxley's energy. This con be restored by finding toys, but he must also keep his strength up by finding the kitchen and pigging out on sandwiches. To avoid the spiders Huxley has to jump on chairs and tables and wait until they have crossed the floor; he can try to jump straight over them, but since he only does tiny piggy hops, this is a matter of split-second timing.
To make a piggy's life more difficult, Vincent the Vampire Pig, Horace the Rotten Rodent and Sidney the Snake keep moving Huxley's toys and costumes around. On the Easy version, the objects are found in the some place every time, but in the Hard version they're placed randomly, and the spiders move faster. A bite from Sidney will cause dizziness, reversing your joystick controls, and this can only be cured by finding the First Aid box.
A thought bubble at the bottom of the screen tells you what object Huxley should look for next as he explores the many rooms of the house.
When Huxley finds all three toys and costumes, you get a code number which allows you to access the second part of the game, on the other side of the tape. There are another three mini-games here; in Huxley Airways he pilots his plane, avoiding other planes and collecting hearts; in Pizza Pizza, Huxley proves that it's not just Turtles who like Italian food, as he collects pizza ingredients, and in Speedboat, he avoids speed boats, turtles and logs while collecting tuna fish.
A terrific game, well executed and by no means easy. Superb graphics and good gameplay make Huxley Pig a corker of a porker!
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