Andrew Green opened last year’s competition with a bit of a programming gaff that meant only the most dedicated of csscgc-ers would see his game’s (literally) blinding opening sequence.
He’s not making that mistake again and has cleverly left the snapshot file provided at a RUN prompt – all you need to do is tap [Enter] and the show can begin!
Andrew’s title screen is rendered predominantly in Chunk-o-vision™ and augmented with a number of strategically placed diagonal lines and some painfully slow-to-draw concentric circles.
You get to see this display every time you restart the game and, to me at least, was reminiscent of the boss’ Christmas jokes – mildly entertaining the first time around and increasingly grating with each subsequent experience.
Archer Maclean, in case you’re wondering, is responsible for some pretty great games; Dropzone, IK+, the ‘Jimmy White’ series and, of course, his self-titled; “Pool” simulation.
All that time hunched over a keyboard on an 80s office chair, however, has taken it’s toll and he is now suffering from a painful case of the old Chalfonts*.
A quick introductory text (to that effect) and it’s onto the game proper; you ‘control’ the red brick – here representing the titular poo – and, if I interpret the rest correctly, those ‘crystal blue waters’ are actually a reservoir of stomach acid caused by the falling yellow blobs? Nice.
I’m no doctor, however, I’ve an inkling that Archer should be even more concerned about faecal matter passing up though his stomach (rather than down through his intestines) than the throbbing pain between his buttocks?
Medical questions aside, however, your job is to judge the optimal time to propel Archer’s stool across the screen by way of the Space Bar.
* Ask your Dad and watch him wince.
As it makes its way across the screen the acid drops fall in a largely unpredictable manner which show complete disregard for the laws of gravity.
If you collide with one it’s a prompt Game Over, however, make it to the other side (by pure luck, natch – Ed) then congratulations are in order. Huzzah!
Subsequent level brings more and more acid drops, and an inversely proportional drop in ‘framerate,’ as you mash the Space Bar in the vain hope of a response.
Andrew believes that this game has a “hypnotic quality” that makes you “want to see how far you can go” and, as I sat playing it on the bog, I certainly felt relaxed so I guess that counts as an endorsement?
The High Score Challenge is set at level 9 and, looking at the BASIC, there are 25 of them to get through** before Archer can finally sit down comfortably to a happy New Year.
** Although, at this point, your Spectrum will be screaming in agony on the floor as its Z80 processor melts.
Score: Crap on so many levels!
Download .z80 file