Bristles is not a hard game to describe exactly, but it is somewhat hard to describe in detail, as there are rather a lot of ingredients. Basically, what we have here is a 1985 'Painter' type game. It is set in a house, or series of houses, and each room must be painted before the time runs out. With each screen the set up gets more complicated.
There is a basement with ladders leading up to the ground floor and from then on there are lifts to the other floors. These zip up and down at a furious pace and timing is required to enter and exit them safely. Traversing a room will result in its being painted. The houses can have as many as five lifts.
Inevitably, these buildings are filled with awkward nasties which are described in the commendably detailed instruction booklet. Some of these chase you ferociously, effectively gives you more paint. Each screen is controlled by a timer- when it runs out your points are calculated and you may progress to the next screen if sufficient points are obtained.
There are 48 skill levels consisting of six levels with eight houses in each. The differences between the skill levels is also complicated but well detailed in the booklet. Between levels a series of letters appears on screen which will result in a message after completing eight houses. Discovering all six messages is the ultimate challenge in the game.
Control keys: Q or ENTER/Aor SPACE up/down, SYM SHIFT or CAPS/SPACE or Z left/right, or the cursor keys
Joystick: AGF, Protek, Kempston, Sinclair 1 & 2
Keyboard play: responsive and thoughtfully laid out for left or right handers and cursor freaks
Use of colour: good
Graphics: on the small side and simply drawn/animated, but fast and smooth
Sound: good between-play tune, otherwise a continuous buzzing with no on/off facility
Skill levels: 48
Screens: eight houses
'At first I was tempted to say, not another 'Painter' game, so long after the genre has had its day, but Bristles is rather a lot more than that. It turns out to be a game of furious speed, quick thinking and strategy. What gives the game its real quality is the inter-relation of the various skill levels. Each one presents a different strategy challenge, like painting a house without the lights on I Another novel - though no longer unique - feature, is the option for playing as a male or female painter, although this doesn't actually add anything to the game. Bristles is an original idea based on an old theme, and I found it addictive. But I think the £8 price tag is unfortunately too steep.'
'l thought the 'Painter' theme had died out months and months ago, but here it has been revived again by Statesoft. The idea is a considerable advancement on the original 'Painter' idea and requires much more skill. The graphics are nothing extra-special, but are adequate enough for you to enjoy the game. This must be among the most simple of games that I have ever played that yet still has highly addictive qualities. The sound tends to drive you up the wall after a while, as you frantically try to paint the house and get chased by the various creatures that roam the houses. The biggest drawback to this game is the price. It is extremely expensive for the type of game and only valid if something like seven months of programming have gone into it, and in all honesty no one can say that much has gone into it. It is a great pity as it would surely have sold really well at a lower price range, but at this price I cannot recommend it.'
'Bristles is one of those old 'Painter' type games but it's been altered in such a way that the game is very frantic and quite addictive to play. the graphics are reasonable but not out of this world, and as in most 'Painter' games, colour is used well. The sound isn't so good, however, just a continuous buzzing, although it does add to the game by making it even more frantic. I found Bristles very addictive and playable, if a bit costly. Overall, a nice, simple game which is enormous fun to play.'