The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

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

Tag: Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge

MykeP joins the CSSCGC Remake Challenge with this re-imagining of Derek Jolly‘s cult hit, Top Shelf Challenge.

Top Gear Challenge!

Top Gear Challenge!

For those of you living under a rock for the past fifteen years, the original TSC had you playing as a spotty teenager in your local branch of John Menzies, trying to get a shufty of the jazz mags without the built-like-a-brick-shithouse of a newsagent catching you and throwing you out of the shop by your ear. Should you succeed you were rewarded with some gratuitous 8-bit nudity which we can only assume Derek didn’t enjoy searching for on Altavista.

The game was such an unexpected success that Derek released a number of cash-in sequels, the last of which had you searching for porn stashes in the bushes. The other sequels nobody remembers anything about. One of them may have been in colour.

Menu screen

Menu screen

Needless to say, Myke has upped the stakes with this remake and tried to make it into the game it should have been. Rather than the original text-adventure style, we now have the entire shop layout graphically presented, with the shopkeeper reading the Racing Post between checking for shoplifters and spotty oiks. Other customers come and go through inter-dimensional time portals. The layout of magazines on the shelves are randomly generated, although alas it’s not possible to walk around – I assume you’ve already figured out where the magazines of interest are and if you wander off you’re likely to only end up flicking through Gardener’s World or Your Sinclair or something. (I normally hide Sinclair User in the pages of Playboy to avoid embarrassment – Ed)

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

You also play as Jeremy Clarkson. Yes, this is called Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear – erm, I mean Shelf – Challenge for precisely that reason. Instead of browsing through Razzle you’re checking out the hotties standing next to a highly-polished supercar. Quite why the newsie frowns upon this is not explained, as it’s not 18-rated stuff. Perhaps the young Jeremy gets his cock out or something.

Anyway, once the coast is clear merely pressing a key is enough to whip What Car? Magazine off the shelf, and get an eyeful of the glamorous scantily-clad leggy blonde draped over the bonnet of a Ferrari, in glorious Chunk-o-vision.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

Yes, it may be a bit of a shock, but Myke has gone for high colour chunky pixels comprising non-naked ladies, as opposed to the excessive higher definition albeit monochromatic everything-on-show visual feast of the original. As a result, even if everything was on show you wouldn’t be able to tell what it was that was being shown – it’s like Myke has employed Mary Whitehouse to pixellate the naughty bits and, of course, she’s determined the entire picture is objectionable.

This is what you see if you activate "safe mode".  Filth!

This is what you see if you activate “safe mode”. Filth!

Despite this, there’s even a “safer for work” mode. As an employee in a modern office, I can assure you that every desk these days is equipped with a ZX Spectrum. You wouldn’t want to get caught playing MykeP’s UDG Strip Snap, but this – oh, yes – it’s as office-friendly as you can get.

I’m not entirely convinced about the historical accuracy of this game. Jezza’s getting on a bit now, and it seems likely that he was well into his twenties by the time these cars were released. Also there’s a National Lottery logo on the door of the shop, which sets it in the 1990s at the earliest.

Get out of my shop!

Get out of my shop!

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge is everything the original should have been, and less. The original worked, because it was a game that promised risqué content without the tedium of playing poker against Sam Fox. This improves the core game, but manages to remove the main reason why you’d want to play it.

Score: 1 nipple out of two (if you squint a bit)
Download: .tzx

Fracas

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.

Offensive? Oo-eck!

Title screen

 

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.)

Croeso i Gymru

Welcome to Wales

 

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.

Punch Out!

Jeremy gets one in

 

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…

Victory in Wales!

Victory in Wales!

 

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!

Oinsin's Revenge

Lost in Italy!?

 

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!

Download .tap here.

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