The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

it's crap! In a funky skillo sort of a way.

Category: Challenges

Plot To Go To And Run Over The Cat

I’m at the Sqij Towers Caturday party. There’s tons of cheap booze (Tesco Value Vodka – virtually indistinguishable from water in every sense), and some scantily-clad girlies I’ll be getting off with later (you wish – Ed). We invited the entire cast of Derek Jolly’s Top Shelf Challenge series, but most of them were washing their hair (<snip rude joke about pubes> – Ed). It’s not too dissimilar to the plot of Line Overdrive, which was actually written by a cat. We didn’t invite Lee, because last time he just stood there with his arms folded, tutting at the mess we’d made of the carpet.

The Sqij Towers party. This is not relevant to the game being reviewed, merely filler.

The Sqij Towers party. This is not relevant to the game being reviewed, merely filler.

Anyway, as it’s caturday I’ve snuck off for a few minutes to check out Simon Ferré‘s latest offering. His personal review butler is off reviewing MatGubbins‘ pussy-related fare, so I’m afraid the substitute review butler will be handling this one. So, yeah, if you can STOP TALKING and read Chapter 8 in your textbooks whilst I go and get myself a coffee*, that’d be grand. (I think you’ve confused “review butler” with “teacher” – Ed)

There are only two possible screenshots.  This is the first one.

There are only two possible screenshots. This is the first one.

The game is in patented Chunk-O-Vision®, which seems to be the new black or something. In it, you drive a car along a road, which a cat appears to be standing in the middle of.

There are only three controls, and one of them is useless, so there are two options really. You can either (a) run over the poor defenceless kitten or (b) beep the horn to make the fearless feline move out of the way. You only get points for the former, so realistically, if you want to “win”, you only have one option, and that is to (PLOT TO – Ed) GO TO AND RUN OVER THE CAT.

...and this is the second.  You've seen the entire game.

…and this is the second. You’ve seen the entire game.

If you want to be a pacifist, that’s fine but you won’t get much satisfaction (or points) out of saving virtual moggies. If you are an evil cat hater, like the author clearly is, then you might want to download this covertly before somebody calls the RSPCA.

I did particularly enjoy the realistic engine noises, but the horn needs looking at.

Score: One dead cat out of ∞ live cats.
Download .tzx

* For “get myself a coffee” read “load up this pile of crud”.

3 new games – Mat’s Cat Sat!(urday)

It’s Saturday, which means it’s Cat-turd-day!That’s right, MatGubbins is back (did he ever go away? Ed.) with THREE feline-based Keyword Challenge crap games, which I’m reviewing in one go while the rest of Sqij Towers is off having a good time at a party which I wasn’t invited to. I expect they’ll only mess up the carpet again anyway. I wonder if anyone’s ever actually used the CAT keyword for anything else other than printing the word “CAT” in one byte? I did use it recently when I’d forgotten the name of one of sunteam’s disk files, but that was in +3 mode, so it doesn’t count.

Cats, then. Aren’t they adorable? The way they scratch you with their cutesy little claws, the cutesy way they cruelly massacre the local wildlife, the way they leave cutesy little poos in the bath… this all sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I’m actually playing down the fact that I’m the real-life male equivalent of the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons, who would quite happily up sticks and move to this Japanese island:

Yes, I know cats are evil, sadistic bastards, and dogs – man’s best friend, loyal, faithful, intelligent – are far more deserving of my affection, but dogs smell awful, and dogs go “RO-RO-RO-RO!” instead of the far more aesthetically pleasing “purrrr-rrrowrrrr”, and dogs are always going around humping everything, so quite frankly dogs (and their owners) can fuck right off.


The first offering in this tabby trilogy is another Clint game entitled Flickin Clint – Snot On My Cat. Poor Clint has caught a rotten cold (from evil Dr. Foreskin no doubt) and there’s a cat whose meowing seems to irritate Clint. Must be a dog person. Weirdo. So you have to make use of all that lovely green snot and flick it at the cat to stop the caterwauling. It goes without saying that Mat has employed Chunk-O-Vision yet again, but the green gloop all over the title screen is a nice touch:

FlickClint1

There’s no real instructions, but after a bit of key-bashing I work out the keys are Q, P and Space. What we have here is a battle of wills – man versus moggy, each armed with a deadly weapon. Clint has his mucus, and the cat has his meow. The odds are stacked in the cat’s favour here – although Clint has a seemingly infinite amount of nose-glop to fling at the cat, it doesn’t actually kill, just maims. Whereas all the cat has to do is go “MEOW”, and Clint dies of blocked sinuses.

FlickClint6

It’s a bit like an upside-down Space Invaders, except with a little furry boss who doesn’t seem to die. I couldn’t seem to hit Steve the cat (if it is Steve – it could be Brian, or Graham, or even Alan the cat) more than a handful of times, but being a lover of the pussy (F’nar! Ed.) perhaps I didn’t really want to.


On to crap game number two…

NextCat

Next Cat Up Or Down is another guessing game along the lines of Play Your Cards Right (higher or lower?). A Chunk-O-Vision cat appears on the left-hand side and you have to work out whether they will go up or down. Predicting the behaviour of cats in real life is almost as difficult as predicting what deKay will type next for one of his Famous Crap Games Throughout History, so at least here you get a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

NextCat1

This is a one-trick pony of a game, but once again Mat has fleshed it out with some brilliant characters, my favourite of which is Tripod, the three-legged cat – although it’s a shame the odd-eyed David Bowie cat wasn’t called “Meowie”.


The final game in this tortoiseshell triumvirate is Put The Cat Out, where Clint returns and proves that he’s actually not such a bad chap after all. The cattery is alight, the cats are on fire, and Clint has to throw buckets of water on them to put them out. Run out of water, and you have to run over to the reservoir on the other side of the screen to refill.

PuTCatOut2

It’s a pretty simple game, but quite addictive – and I genuinely shuddered when I failed to save one of the cats and was confronted with this:

PutCatOut4

That’s one hot pussy I definitely don’t want to see again!


So in summary, these three games really are the dog’s bollocks! (Shouldn’t that be the cat’s… oh, never mind. Ed.)

Score: 27 (lives) out of 100

Download here: Flickin Clint .tap, Next Cat Up Or Down .tap, Put The Cat Out .tap

And if you haven’t had enough of SpecCats yet, watch and listen to this:

BEEP

Here’s Sqij Towers’ very own deKay with his first entry of the year – BEEP – which is disqualified from being a keyword challenge entry because the filename’s too short – try BEEP BEEP BEEP next time! A veteran of the Speccy scene, deKay (real name Andy, a dodgy moniker if ever I heard one) didn’t include much in the way of instructions with his entry, so I didn’t know what I was in for until I loaded the game. However he did stick the whole thing on GitHub, wondering in the process how many other Speccy games are on there (answer – nobody cares), and thereby gaining a whole ton of geek points. I was also pleased to see a proper loading screen, which took five times as long to load as the BASIC game – rather than displaying it here I’ll let you discover how wonderful it is for yourself (this is because I couldn’t be bothered to turn off all the auto-load stuff in Fuse to save a .png of it, and Spectaculator, which I use when I want the full loading experience, only saves .bmp files, which WordPress won’t display and I couldn’t be bothered to convert)

Beep1

No spurious back-story or badly-drawn sausages on legs here, this looks like a game that does exactly what it says on the tin… erm, inlay. If there was one. From the instructions: “Each letter on your keyboard corresponds to a different BEEP. Except, they’re all the same and not different at all. Except one of them is.” This all sounds woollier than a Liberal Democrat’s Christmas jumper so far. Oh, and you have to press the “letter 5” to start. I do this, and am prompted to press a letter key. I immediately press the “letter 5” again, in case deKay’s strange idea of a letter still includes numbers, but to no avail. So, thinking logically for once, I start at the beginning with “a” and get a BEEP. Then “b” (BEEP),  “c” (slightly higher-pitched BEEP) and “d” (BEEP). So which letter is the odd BEEP out? It’s “c” of course! Yay, I win!

 Beep2

As is proving to be the case with a lot of these chance/blind luck/RANDOMIZEd games, this was a sheer fluke. On my next 76 goes I failed to identify the different-sounding BEEP, because it was hiding under one of the 22 letters I didn’t press, every single time! I got so annoyed at this that I immediately transferred the game to a C15 cassette so I could smash it to bits with a toffee hammer before throwing it out of the window onto a huge bonfire of cat shit and discarded Bros albums. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!

Beep4

As you still seem to be reading this, I can only assume you have a first class degree in Masochism and Gluttony for Punishment from the University of North-East Milton Keynes (formerly Newport Pagnell College for Duffers)… in which case this is the BEEPing game for you!

Score: I give this letter 5 out of 100 BEEPs!

Download .zip file (and don’t get excited, there’s only a .tap in there) here

Point At A Pirate

The inimitable MatGubbins returns with yet another Keyword Challenge entry in glorious Chunk-O-Vision®™©(patent pending). As with most of Mat’s games it’s yet another case of style over content, with some of the best graphics I’ve seen so far in the competition – sadly utterly wasted on the thin excuse for a game!

PointPirate

It’s a gambling game. Now, I’ve been addicted to many things over the years – beer, cigarettes, spicy Nik Naks, sex (You should be so lucky! Ed.) but one thing I’ve never understood is gambling. My dad did the football pools for years back in the Eighties – my Saturday afternoons were dominated by “Queen of the South nil, Stenhousemuir nil” – yet he didn’t win so much as a brass farthing. I was in a lottery syndicate for a year back in the Nineties, and we never won so much as a thruppenny bit. And every year at work we do a sweepstake on the Grand Horse Racing Race (or whatever it’s called), and every year the boss wins, much to everyone else’s annoyance. However, the beauty of a Speccy game about gambling is you don’t have to spend your hard-earned cash at all!

PointPirate2

I’ll keep this review fairly quick, as I know there haven’t been any updates for ages (for my part, a combination of school holidays and crap internet at home was to blame). You have 100 coins and have to gamble it up to 2000 so you can pay your fare to the New World by seeing if your random arrow lands on a pirate. Sounds easy, right? Wrong… if your arrow lands on a pirate, you win some more coins, but if it lands on a non-pirate, you lose. A bit like my dad with the bloody football pools.

PointPirate5

I have to say, Mat’s really excelled himself here with the Chunk-O-Vision graphics and characters. I’m not quite sure how he did it or how long it took, but it looks brilliant! However the game is just a bog standard BASIC guessing game, and once again suffers from the RANDOMIZE curse – I’ll give you a tip, don’t gamble too much for the first 10 or so goes, as you won’t land on a pirate. However Mat more than makes up for this with a pixellated version of Emilia Fox without any clothes – hubba hubba!

PointPirate8

As the game itself is so crap, Mat’s kindly included a demo mode showing all the characters, which can be accessed by GOTO 6800. And if you do eventually win the game, there’s a nicely-rendered screen at the end (no spoilers, but unfortunately it’s not a properly-pixellated Emilia Fox) If not for the characters I would’ve lost interest after about three seconds, but I’ll give this 99 dubloons out of 100, provided Mat goes away and makes a proper game out of those graphics!

Download tap hearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Lazy Clint

Another Chunk-O-Vision™® effort from MatGubbins. I can’t be arsed to review it, so here’s a screenshot.

LazyClint1

You can probably guess the rest, but if not, here’s another screenshot.

LazyClint2

If you want to know what happens next, download the .tap here. If you can be arsed.

Score: 23 hours and 59 minutes’ sleep out of 24.

Lentils for Satan

There is no stopping MatGubbins at the moment with his latest entry for the 10 char challenge.  This little venture, thus named Lentils for Satan clearly speaks of a desperation for putting two completely unrelated words together in order to meet the 10 character/token objective – and as it happens, it does so in style!lentils-loader

After carefully checking the loader to ensure all rules are correctly adhered to (we wouldn’t want any cheating now would we?!), the now-familiar loading scheme used by Mat can be seen whereby the title graphic is loaded into the top third of the screen about 90% of the way through.  This time we have a rather picturesque, pleasant and colourful looking representation of the anthropomorphic personification of Beelzebub, (ruler of demons, Law Breaker, Evil Degenerate).  And he even sports a rather fetching two pronged trident (shouldn’t that be a bident? – ed.), cute pink mitts and matching booties.

In MatGubbins fashion, the title screen provides all you need to know about the game background.  Satan is hosting a party and needs lentils but needs to soak them overnight for heath and safety reasons.  Righto!lentils-title

The game has a familiar feel to previous releases by the author, particularly Clint And Da Crabs and the Rosco the Cat series.  Another familiarity is the choice of keys: { W, A, D, X } which I find very difficult to use – the standard “holy four” would make things easier.

lentils-game

You can’t help thinking this is money for old rope.  In this edition, there appears to be no score or means of progress, nor anything to avoid (not that anyone will be foolish enough to take on Satan for God’s sake!)  After I collected my 16384th sack of lentils and chucked them in the soaker, I started to wonder how many people are expected.  I can only assume that there are a LOT of naughty people out there!!!

Colourful and well written but very almost no gameplay.

Overall Score: 666

Download the .tap from the Gates of Hell here.

Clint & Foreskin

Introducing one of the fastest sequels to hit the Speccy, MatGubbins brings us the next instalment of our hero Clint in this 10-char keyword challenge.  Horace had his Spiders, Clint had his Crabs.  Sabreman had his Wulf, now Clint has his Foreskin to contend with.  In this particular case, the nemesis Dr. Foreskin (pronounced Foh-ress-kiyne – obviously! Doh!).clint-foreskin-loader

The title page explains all, but basically our budding protagonist was rescued by a Doctor who suffered a severe upbringing as result of his much mocked surname that he’s decided to take it out on any random shipwrecked blighter that he might happen to stumble upon!clint-foreskin-title

And so it is, Clint finds himself on your stereotypical moving platform which randomly moves side to side.  In the top left is Dr. Foreskin taunting and generally throwing rude remarks at you a la Monty Python Holy Grail (French Scene).  Unfortunately, no vaches are to be seen though.  Clint however needs his wits about him if he is to stay on the platform (using A and D keys by the way) and not fall to his demise on a row of deadly spikes below.  If you can manage this long enough, the platform reaches the other side and raises up a level just to repeat the process.clint-foreskin-ingame

If you can hold on for long enough, you will be able to jump on a conveniently located boat and escape.

So, unlike the first game in the series, this one is written in BASIC with a few UDGs thrown in.  A very pretty title banner on the title makes good use of colours and the game itself looks half reasonable.

Game physics however have a little more to be desired.  The platform on which you stand appears to move completely at random and so you can be waiting a long time doing your little back-and-forth dance while you wait for the platform to reach the opposite side, just to have to repeat the process a few more times.

In summary, a reasonably crap game although a little too polished to take the crap-pot.  We are looking forward to see what capers Clint appears in next.  Let the saga continue!

Grab hold of your foreskin here!

Score: 1 skin… 2 skins… 3 skins out of 4 skins. F’nar!

And It Continued To Rain

In the words of Edwin Starr: “Rain. Hurgh! What is it good for?” Absolutely bloody nothing, that’s what. All it ever does is make you wet (in a non-f’narr f’narr sort of a way), and it always turns up at the exact point when you’ve got the washing out/barbecue going/whole way to the nearest beach. Yes, I know it’s probably pretty useful for making things grow and stuff, but most of the time I wish it would just sod off and leave us all alone.

However, a recent study by Professor Bertie Ollocks from Merda-Taurorum University suggests that 90% of the planet will be uninhabitable desert by the year 2016. So the one thing that defines Britain and the British – incessant bloody rain, every second or third day from the first of January to the last of December – could very soon become a thing of the past. In which case, as we sit there dying of thirst and stinking of B.O. we’ll start moaning (for the other thing that defines Britain and the British is incessant bloody moaning) that we’d quite like it to rain now, please, just a little bit, from midnight to 6am every week-night, if it’s not too much trouble, but not this Thursday because we’re going to the cinema and it doesn’t finish until five past twelve and we don’t want to get soaked on the way back to the car.

 Rain1

I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing this thing from MatGubbins. Here we have the longest keyword challenge name yet, apart from RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAN(Oh Gawd, don’t start all that again. Ed.), as well as a nice bit of word un-wrapping. Crap points ahoy!

There follows one of Mat’s trademark Chunk-o-vision™ screens, and a charmingly titled block of machine code:

Rain2

And then… well, I won’t completely spoil the surprise, but let’s just say that this program does exactly what you’d expect a program called “And It Continued To Rain” to do. The joke wore off quicker than I could google “Supertramp – It’s Raining Again”, but I was vaguely impressed by the use of a machine code routine which meant I couldn’t break out of the thing at all. And if you’ve got no idea what “rain” is because you’ve spent your whole life somewhere nice and sunny, like Spain, Australia or the surface of the sun, or if Professor Ollocks’s predictions for next year turn out to be true, then this is the advanced crappy British weather simulator for you!

I’ve just this second looked out of the window. It’s raining again. Curses! *shakes fist at sky*

Score: 972 millibars out of an occluded front. Whatever that means.

Download .tap here.

Piss in a Pint

Note: This review, like the game, is recycled from last year’s Touch the Ring by R Tape, which in turn was recycled from 2013’s Kick the Ballboy by Rebelstar without a Cause.

To be honest I can’t believe I’m getting away with this twice!

 

Well, you can’t accuse the Spectrum community of not having its finger on the pulse – barely a day has passed since the last big Boozed-up Britain story and a satirical game has appeared. You don’t have to know much about bar work to enjoy this game, if you can recognise Al Murray doing his famous “White wine for the ladies” routine you will know this game refers to the ongoing challenge of owning a bar and having to deal with inebriated and obnoxious customers.

Backstory

Setting the scene

 

The opening screen creates a dramatic atmosphere, and tells you what you need to do: PISS IN A PINT! The game boasts some animated sprites of Massivepubian proportions, and as the customer’s eyes scan the pub left and right, you need to press P to piss while he’s looking the other way. The customer is a creature of habit, and his eyes follow a somewhat hypnotic (and very predictable!) rhythm.

Title Screen

Lovely pint of Chunk-o-vision™ Piss

 

My best score is 102, and it’s harder than you might imagine as you become impatient and attempt to squeeze another one in before the customer sees. In this way PIAP is a very clever, if open ended game. However, it is silent and cries out for some grating BEEP effects.

Rumbled!

High Score Challenge!

 

I may not have said many negative things about this game yet, but rest assured, it is most definitely CRAP! An excellent third Keyword Challenge entry from MatGubbins.

 

Tipshack: When the customer’s eyes have just moved away from the right, you can squeeze out 6 or 7 good drips.

HACK PACK: Zoned-out customer: 2040 LET count=0

 

Score: Piss poor

Download: .tap

Clint And Da Crabs

MatGubbins is back with his second Keyword Challenge entry; CLINT AND DA CRABS, and once again, sneaks in a second (LOAD CLINT & CRABS CODE) to load in a large block of data.

[Looks at program listing…] Hang on… what’s this… machine code? MACHINE CODE!?

MatG clearly has ideas above his station – give him a month or so and he’ll be doing Alcatraz loading screen$ and 128K AY music! Let’s hope the game itself was at least programmed with the assistance of Andrew Green’s UZXSGD?

Loader

Keyword Challenge – double strike!

 

More Chunk-o-vision™ graphics, starting with that PRINT-based ‘loader,’ are included but this time they’re in glorious Color-o-matic™.

After a good 2½ minutes of screeching the instructions appear and, well, it doesn’t look good for our Clint – he’s stranded on a beach and about to be attacked by a giant crab*!

* Anyone who’s been to the Blackpool Sealife museum knows how scary that can be!

Not much more to see here (except some scores and keyboard controls) so it’s on to the game.

Title screen

Look at those keys!? My fingers hurt already

 

It’s good to see MatG’s use of machine code hasn’t descended into complete madness – he’s stuck with solid UDGs, rather than sprites, moving in comfortable 8×8 block jumps and PRINT statements throughout.

Clint, who also appeared (uncredited) in Return Ink to Move Cat In To A Bin, begins at the top of the screen. Scattered around him are what – I think – are rocks (although they could be turds – Ed.) Coupled with a yellow background and blue border I’d say that passes for a beach. Nicely done.

 

A red UDG, representing the titular crab(s) (You’ll want to see a doctor about that – Ed,) appears at the bottom of the screen and… SH*T!… it’s heading right for me… FAST!

There’s not much to the AI in this game, the crab just heads towards you in the straightest line possible, and if you move it blindly follows you… FAST!

Luckily you can use this to your advantage as, if you skillfully place yourself behind a rock, you can cause the crab to crash and disappear in a puff of magenta smoke.

Unluckily, however, he’s got friends and very quickly you find yourself being chased by loads of the terrifying little blighters!

Avoid-em-up

Run for your life or you’ll get crabs, or something…

 

Unfortunately, in his machine code experiments, Mat hasn’t got to the stage where he can muster a decent control system.

Instead we’re left with a cramp-inducing 8 (eight!) directional keys, for which I couldn’t find a comfortable or logical way to position my fingers over simultaneously, meaning I was at an immediate disadvantage against my creepy little pursuers and got to see this screen – a lot!

They got me!

What a chirpy looking Crustacean!

 

I found this to be a genuinely heart-pounding and traumatic ‘gameplay’ experience as I tried in vain to avoid the crabs while my intertwined barman’s hands ached more with every passing second.

Perhaps you’ll do better and, to be fair, I managed a high score of 10 (Challenge set – Ed) by pure luck in one sitting but, overall, I can’t recommend this game.

 

Scores:

  • Graphics: 5
  • Sound: 1
  • Music: 0
  • Gameplay: 2
  • Overall: Decapod out of a possible Centipede!

 

Download: .tap

MatG’s choice of filename interested me; “clint48only” – suggesting that this only runs on a 48K Speccy? I fired up Fuse in 128K mode and used the Tape Loader and, sure enough, it crashed spectacularly with a B Integer out of range error. Thanks for the warning Mr Gubbins!

 

©2015 Sinclair Research Ltd sqij.co.uk