Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole (Virgin Games) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole
By Virgin Games
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #66

Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole

Here is Adrian, grown up a bit since his famous secret diary. Now fifteen, and with O levels looming, he's string to cope with parents who keep parting and having reconciliations.

His father's girlfriend has a baby, and moves in with Adrian's gran. His mother also has a baby, and creates havoc at the social security officers when her giro-cheque fails to arrive. Meanwhile, Pandora continues to dominate Adrian's thoughts, but the unexpected arrival of an American friend threatens their relationship.

Like Secret Diary (the game - reviewed December 1985), Growing Pains comes in the form of diary entries. It is interactive fiction of the 'multiple choice' variety, rather than a proper adventure. Every so often you get the opportunity to select what to do next, by number. For example, Adrian realises that he's never seen either a dead body or a female nipple. Should he (1) Ask Pandora to show him one of hers; (2) Resign himself to ignorance; or (3) Ask Nigel for advice?

It's really like reading the book, with variations every time you make a decision. Random elements in the program, together with your choice of action, ensure that the game isn't the same every time around. Nor does it follow the Sue Townsend version entirely.

The format of the play demonstrates Level 9's excellent adventure system, adapted and used to good advantage in a way never originally intended. There are graphics, which don't add much to the proceedings, but at least this time the pictures are more relevant to the current subject. There's 'type-ahead', or should I say 'read ahead'? And there's plenty of text to read, decompressed from a state of virtual dehydration. Even so, the game comes in four parts, each of which must be loaded sequentially when prompted.

But did I detect a glitch, or just a silly mistake in the narrative? The entry for December 31st refers to what is going on at school, and the sending of Christmas cards. And the bonfire party is held on Thursday November 4th.

The object is to become the most popular boy in the neighbourhood, and every so often your percentage score is displayed, together with a suitable description such as "namby pamby schoolboy". But don't expect to solve puzzles to achieve a 100% rating - this must be played by intuition! It should please Mole fans everywhere - it is excellently produced and full of humour!