Benny Hill's Madcap Chase
In the game inspired by the TV series, Benny Hill has decided to volunteer to help his neighbours do some chores. Benny's friends aren't there to explain what he's up to and passers-by tend to assume he's a thief trying to make away with other people's property. Well meaning folks noticing Mr Hill dashing around with chattels do their best to catch him. You control Benny and it up to you to finish the three different chores he has to complete, each within a time limit.
The display format is similar to that used in Don Priestley's earlier game for Dk'tronics, Popeye. The characters on the screen are large and most of the shapes for the background and foreground are squareish and conveniently placed on character boundaries to avoid colour clash. Benny can move left and right across flip screens which are presented in a pseudo 3D: the player sees a side-on view of Benny and his surroundings. Each screen has three horizontal 'levels', one behind the other, and Benny can hop between these levels, 'into' or 'out of' the screen.
The objects in Benny's world are rather like flats on a stage each one sits on one of the three levels to the screen. If Benny is travelling along the screen in line with an obstacle, he must hop to another screen level to avoid bumping into the obstruction. Collisions cause Benny to fall to the floor and he loses time. Just to make life more tricky, the street signs and lampposts on certain screens have a habit of shifting between screen levels while Benny is somewhere else. His pursuers can also be encouraged to bump into things, with a bit of nifty footwork, in which case they stagger around for a while seeing stars while birds twitter!
To complete each of his three chores, Benny has to collect objects from the fifth screen and take them to the first screen, running a gauntlet of ever-shifting hazards on the way. People also chase him, and if he is caught the object he has in his possession is returned to its start point and he gets a stomping from the irate member of the public.
Twenty points are added to the score displayed at the bottom right hand side of the screen for each item safely deposited on the first screen. Points are lost for each stomping Benny endures and for collisions with the scenery. Gathering up all the objects and delivering them within the time limit, shown by a counter which ticks down relentlessly, earns bonus points: the time remaining is added to the score and Benny moves on to the next job.
Benny s first chore is to gather in the washing for Mrs Harras, taking it from the clothesline to the laundry basket. A woman, looking remarkably like Bob Todd in a skirt, chases Benny as soon as he's collected a piece of clothing. When she's on the warpath an arrow in the status screen flashes a warning message: 'Watch Out!". The second part of the game sees Benny gathering apples for Mr Bramley while being hassled by a farmhand and a tractor, and the third task involves collecting jumble for Mrs Bargin and avoiding a couple of over zealous Bobbies.
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2, Dk'tronics (I)
Keyboard play: reasonably responsive
Use of colour: cleverly thought out
Graphics: large, and different
Sound: blips and thumps
Skill levels: one
'This is a strange little game, but it is very playable and addictive. Graphically, Madcap Chase is excellent, each character is large, well animated and has many facial expressions. As with its 'parent' , Popeye there are very few attribute problems. Sound is well used although I did notice the lack of a tune on the title screen. There's a little more to this game than just running back and forth from one end of the playing area to the other, as the scenery - telephone boxes, trees, lamp posts and the like- changes position when you pick up or drop an object. At first I really enjoyed playing this one but it gets very monotonous after a short time.'
'Quite a good game, with neatly drawn big, bulky sprites which are very easy to identify. More sound would have helped. The game is set in a street, with lots of objects lying around. l loved it when Benny hit something or the lady chasing him had a fit. Once you get into the game it becomes more and more interesting and fun to play. It is so playable that it's easy to get hooked. A good game, well worth getting.'
'Benny Hill's Madcap Chase uses the same colour masking routines as Popeye, but the effect produced is not nearly so good. The screen contains a lot of colour, but also a lot of clashes and blocky characters. Dk'Tronics seem to have got a faster game in Benny Hill, but not as much thought has gone into presenting the whole screen, and the gameplay is a bit unresponsive. When I first played this game I was quite pleased with some nice touches - like the woman jumping onto Benny, and the way he leaps about, but after playing the screens right through (very easy) there was no lasting effect on me and I didn't want to have another go. The first two levels were easy, but the last one was much too hard. Joystick play was impossible, as I kept hitting the fire button which resets the game. Good first impressions, but no lasting appeal for me!'