Your Sinclair1st January 1992
Published in Your Sinclair #73
Round The Bend!
Gosh, I'm just so busy putting Your Sinclair together, month in and month out, that I never get to watch anything on TV. It's a real bummer. By the time I get in, all that's on is Newsnight or Prisoner. So you'll understand when I say that I've never seen Round The Bend on ITV.
This is a bit of a shame 'cos it seems to be the weirdest thing out. And you know me - I like a bit of weirdness. Just last week, for example, I saw a parrot disguised as a golden retriever swimming across the River Avon. (That is weird. Ed) Anyway, back to Round The Bend. Apparently Doc Croc, the editor of a comic, has blown up the printing press and all the bits have ended up in the sewer. Lou Brush (where do they get these names from?) has got to round up the guys, and get them to collect all the pieces. Yep, it's a mad race-against-time jobbie.
Using arrows, you've got to select a drain and a character, then it's time to set off into the depths of the sewers. It's a standard underground platformer (except that the platforms are covered in poo). As you'd expect, there are things to avoid, jump over and rush past. Collision detection is good and this part of the game is tough and demanding, but you'll always want to have just one more go. As you get further into the game, it naturally gets tougher. Bats, owls or something fly at you, forcing you to move pretty sharpish. Tricky stuff.After a while you'll come across bits of the printing press and smart punchline-collection sub-games to beat. These are single screenies and the general idea is to get your character from top left to bottom right along a load of levels whilst avoiding whatever happens to be bouncing around. As you move to the right of the screen on each platform level, you appear on the one below. Y'see, you sort of go down in steps. So although you're on one screen, you've got quite a bit of walking and avoiding to do. Sounds a bit boring, doesn't it Spec-chums? Well, that's 'cos it often is, what with all that walking and avoiding to do. Never mind, at least it makes a change from all those smelly sewery bits (there's no poo, for a start).
What else? Oh yes, there's something incredibly disturbing called John Potato's Newsround. Every time you complete a page, John Potato appears and gives you a few bonus points. Strangely, he doesn't look even slightly like John Craven, who I suppose it's meant to be. It just looks like a Potato. It's enough to make a grown man weep.
To be fair, Round The Bend is strange but certainly fun for the most part. It's big enough to keep you playing for ages, it's not too difficult and it looks nice, even if it is a bit monochromey. Come to think of it, I wish there was a bit more colour around. It really does make a difference you know. Are you listening. Zeppelin? Apart from that gripette the game also tacks that indefinable something that makes certain games classics and worthy of the green felt Megagame hat. But (almost) full marks for such a weird game anyway, dudes - there's some good, decent and honest silliness in there. Right, I'm off to lick the road clean outside a windmill factory. (Off you go then. Ed)
Way out wacky fun with people on telly you've never seen. Well, I've never seen them and I'm the reviewer. So there.