As the BBC are still toying with a replacement Top Gear line-up* it’s been over two months since the original bust-up on which this game is based and nearly a month since Sqij Tower’s finest; Chris Young actually submitted it.
The game begins with an Unsatisfactory logo followed by the proud exclamation; “presented in Chunk-o-vision… a trademark of MatGubbins, used under license.” Tricia from Accounts tells me that MatG’s cheque is in the post, however, can I ask that he lets us know before he cashes it as we’ll be a bit short this month after leespoons took ‘advantage’ of completely inappropriate web-marketing opportunity.
* My money is on Coleen Nolan, Janet Street-Porter and Jamelia from Loose Women.
Back in 1985 Pete Moreland (then still at Beyond Software) bet Mike Singleton that he couldn’t get the Speccy to move around screen-sized sprites convincingly. Two years later Dark Sceptre was published, at least one Sinclair mag reviewer was rushed to hospital with palpitations and Commodore briefly considered recalling early Amiga 500 models in order to completely overhaul the graphics chip.
A few years later and Pit Fighter, followed by the even more commercially successful Mortal Kombat, popularised the use of poorly digitized sprites in arcade fighting games. In fact, when the home computer ports appeared, CU Amiga’s John Sloan nearly wet himself after seeing Sonya Blade’s pixelated bouncing bits!
So, as you can imagine, when this entry appeared in the Sqij inbox featuring poorly-digitized-full-screen sprites I went stark raving mad and had to go into therapy for several weeks – hence the delay in this review (Clever – Ed.)
The screen fills with multi-coloured Chunk-o-vision™®©(pat. pending) blocks which, it turns out, are meant to represent Wales. I’m guessing it’s South Wales specifically because I’m originally from the North and it’s pretty much shades of brown and grey up there!?
A positively monolithic Jeremy (or is it Ian ‘Lovejoy’ McShane?) introduces the scene causing a perfectly measured quantity of offence finished off with a topical quip.
As the game-proper begins we find ourselves (for we play as Clarkson) on the left about to face off against an oddly orange and pink member of the production team. Disappointingly there’s no verbal exchange between the two before the ‘fight’ breaks out.
The keys are O, P and Space**, but you’d best hold them down (or turn up your emu speed) because the price we pay for such large sprites is that things move pretty sluggishly.
** O and P do what you’d expect and Space initiates the one and only fighting move in the game – a sort of lazy prod to the opponent’s abdomen.
Much like my own UDG Fighterz effort, as long as you get the first punch in, you can pretty much get away with holding down the Space key until your opponent is KO’d – resulting in some hot FLASH action and a verbal warning!
We also get to visit Italy (featuring a vaguely recognizable Tower of Pisa, no less!) and then Canada before, inevitably, Mr C gets his marching orders from Sally in HR…
Now I don’t mean to brag, however, I completed this one-handed on my first go whilst drinking a cup of tea. (Okay, okay, form a queue and I’ll sign autographs at the end.)
Curious as to whether it was even possible to lose I tried to experiment (slowly) by walking into my opponent (and not attacking,) and edging back from him one step at a time in an effort to make him feel comfortable enough to put a jab in.
Occasionally he would land a punch, however, if I have one criticism of this game it’s that I’m not even sure the producer is up for this fight? In the end I had to stand there, motionless, for nearly 5 minutes before he finally put in enough hits to floor me. What a wuss!
I would have liked a BEEPER rendition of the Top Gear theme and a food-themed Pirate Insult-esque mini game prior to each bout to set the scene – but I’m just greedy.
I don’t think there’s any denying that Mat Gubbin’s Chunkels™ are gathered together in an altogether more attractive manner***, but for sheer ambition I think Chris has done us proud on this one.
*** Translation: He does prettier pictures
Score: More Kelly Clarkson, than Jeremy!
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