It’s the last game of the competition! Hurrah! Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Etc. This is the first ever CGC entry from Ben Soundhog, but he knows what he’s doing – as well as being a proper C64 coder for a while back in the early ’90s, I have it on good authority that he was also responsible for the Speccy theme tune to one of those kids’ TV tie-in games by Alternative Software. Fireman Pat And His Black And White SuperTed, I think it was. Despite these impressive credentials, he claims to have not written a game in Sinclair BASIC since 1984, and only started writing this an hour before the deadline, finally sending it in just after 5am in the morning (to paraphrase Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield). Still, I can think of far worse ways to spend New Year than writing a crap game. HOOTENANNY! Oh boogie-woogie off, Jools.
Not only do we get a loading message plastered across the screen, but also a series of ascending beeps, just like all those Ultimate games from 1983! This has got to be good, right? Right?
Wow, that’s the best loading screen I’ve seen for ages, and not at all spoilt by the obliteratory (LMLWD) message. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took Ben six whole hours to draw that!
I particularly like the way the problem of word wrap is solved by mis-spelling some words. Nice use of “scroll?”, too. Imagine if this was the first Speccy game you’d ever loaded, and you actually pressed Space at that point. Doesn’t bear thinking about. A bit like thirty-odd years ago when I, erm, a friend of a friend of a friend unwrapped his Spectrum+ for Christmas, loaded up the User Guide Companion Cassette, it asked him to press a key and in his infinite wisdom I, erm, he chose “BREAK”. Cough.
Anyway. A member of the public is trying to cross a river, but there isn’t a bridge available. That doesn’t seem to stop him though. He just keep plodding along, expecting a bridge to fall from the sky right in front of his feet. Luckily you are “one of te countries leading experts in buildng stuff”, and you can save the hapless pillock by dropping girdles from your aeroplane to make a bridge. I assume “girdles” is a regional pronunciation of girders. Or was “girdles” what Irn Bru was made in Scotland from? I can’t remember which is which now, I need to do some research on “girdles”. Back in a minute.
(some time passes)
(Advanced Lingerie Section Of The Freemans Catalogue Simulator, anyone?)
Ahem. Where was I? Yes. River, pillock, aeroplane, bridge. You fly along from left to right, and you have to drop the girder in the correct spot so that when the dozy twonk takes a step onto the bridge, there’s a bridge there to step on to. Exhibit A:
UDGs? Never heard of ’em, guv. You see that sideways Tetris block thingy? That’s you in your aeroplane, that is. You see that asterisk on the right-hand side? That’s the cranially challenged member of the public (“member” being the operative word), that is. Simply press Space to drop your girder (represented by an INV VIDEOed letter X) and it’ll miraculously float on the water, a bit like that bloke with a beard Cliff Richard’s always banging on about (Dave Lee Travis? Ed.). But here’s the catch – you have to drop it next to an existing part of the bridge, or it’ll sink! Whether these “girdles” have magnetic properties causing them to stick to each other is not explained, but that’s how it is.
It’s a good job this is written in BASIC, as machine code would be far too fast to drop the girders accurately. As it is, you’ll still need cat-like reflexes and eagle eyes more eagle-eyed than the eagle eyes of Eagle-Eye Cherry. Curiously, dropping a girder on Asterisk Man’s head has no effect at all – a shame really, as in real life it would either kill him stone dead or knock some sense into him and make him go the long way round (via Crewkerne, or the Black Cat Roundabout on the A1). My first couple of goes ended in a drowning, accompanied by a dirgey rendition of the death march that makes Gloomy Sunday sound like the Bubble Bobble theme tune.
However I soon get into my stride and, whistling Bridge To Your Heart by Wax as I go, my massive erection starts to takes shape. F’nar.
After completion of a level, the whole thing starts again, except Asterix the Twat is closer to the river, meaning you have even less time to get him across. Ben says in his email “By level 6 you can’t make a mistake or it’s curtains for you, sunshine”. There’s a level 6?!
This is a crap game in the original spirit of the CGC – a game that I can easily imagine being included on Cassette 50 or in the type-ins section of Your World of Comp.Sys.Sinclair Spectrum User magazine. I look forward to more crap games from soundhog and Corse Hair Software, but I’m equally pleased I won’t have to review them.
By the way, I have to mention soundhog’s other talent, for DJ mixes, remixes, re-edits and – no, I won’t call them m*sh*ps, as I know he hates the word, but those things where someone gets the vocal from one song and the backing from another completely different song and puts it together in a clever way. If you’re not completely tone deaf (and I’m aware that excludes at least half of the CGC entrants this year, judging by the copious quantities of atonal blooping they wrung out of their collective Speccies) then you’ll want to have a listen to this stuff. In fact, why not do it now, while you’re all waiting for the Sqij Towers team to decide on a “winner”? Click on the soundhog website to start.
Download .tap here.