Have you've ever been watching Potsworth and Company on the TV and have thought "Yes, I believe I would like to step into the Dream Zone", like it says in that song at the end of the program? Well, now's your chance to do so, and without having to get completely hyperactive on six gallons of Lucozade either!
The cheeky teenagers and their inseparable talking dog, Potsworth are in a bit of a fix. The guardian of the Dream Zone, the Grand Dozer, is having a rather bad attack of insomnia. Now normally, staying awake would be a fine trait in a king but sadly the longer the Grand Dozer stays awake, the less substantial the Dream Zone becomes, until it eventually dissipates, leaving people with nothing but nightmares for the rest of their lives! Aggh!
Luckily, there is some hope. Certain mystical sleep-inducing objects (such as the Holy Les Dennis Laughter Show tape) are dotted around the landscape of the Dream Zone, and should the kids bring these back to old Dozer he'll more than likely drift off into a peaceful slumber and all will be well again.
Sadly, the Nightmare Prince (Mr. bad guy) is quite happy about this miserable downturn in affairs, after all. It means increased responsibility for him. and so he has dispatched truck loads of his minions to stop the gang.
This is where you come in. The Dream Team has split up and are each searching for one object. You must guide each of them around their selected zone, avoiding (or blasting) nasties, solving all the puzzles you may chance across and getting back to the Grand Dozer before the Dream Zone breaks up.
Each zone is a basic platform environment, filled with the usual sort of hazards such as collapsing walkways, spikey pits and tricky ledge-jumps all of which must be negotiated, as well as a number of other heinous hindrances specific to each level. For example, on level one, lifts and conveyor belts must be activated by dropping blocks onto the right switches. Unfortunately, this can mean pushing a crate halfway around the level before you reach the right pad!
Each character has their own powers and modes of attack which must be mastered to combat each level, giving the game plenty of variety. Controls are simple enough; Up to jump, left and right for directions and fire to activate your special power. Each character is pretty maneuverable too, which is just as well as some of the situations they get into can get rather sticky. A lot of Olympic gymnasts would surely love to be able to run whilst crouching, but it's all in a days work for the Dream Team.
Potsworth and Co is a playable platform/puzzle hybrid with decent graphics and sound, quick responsiveness and spot-on collision detection. But at the end of the day, the Spectrum has already got plenty of playable platform games, so what's in this that makes it stand out? Well, for starters, the puzzle element is more evident than in most games of this ilk, and the levels are laid out in such complex patterns that completing even level one is no easy task! It certainly helps to make a map... If you've got the patience for that kind of thing.
The one real problem with Potsworth (and Company) is that there is very little challenge to your reflexes, so once you've completed a level, next time you play you've simply got to repeat what you've done before. This can lead to the early levels getting very repetitive, and thus you'll need a great deal of patience to reach the end. Still, Potsworth and Co is a playable, funny title, and certainly one which brain-use-fans would do well to try out.
Price: £6.99 Tape
Reviewer: Ed Lawrence
ALAN: Potsworth and Co. will probably last a while as it's quite challenging and good fun to play. Still, there are a lot more action games out there which provide that extra bit of excitement. If you're looking for something a little more cranially-inclined though this is one to look out for.
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