Personal Compuer Games1st November 1984
Published in Personal Computer Games #12
The Perils Of Bear George
When I first heard the name of this game, I did a double-take. I thought it was maybe going to be a game about the troubles of a pop star but it turns out to be far more run-of-the-mill.
You take the title role as a cute-looking red bear. It is autumn and you find yourself in a garishly coloured forest. Apples are falling steadily from the trees and you must catch them to fatten George up, ready for hibernation.
It takes some degree of skill to do this as a squirrel is forever bombarding the poor bear with apples that stun him and reduce his energy level. While this is going on a jaunty version of 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' plays.
After a while (there is no actual time display) you move on to a superb drawing of some mountain slopes. Here George must avoid the occasional skier on the path to his caves.
The setting for the third screen is a cave in which spiders are bouncing from floor to ceiling - a nasty hazard. In the fourth you finally arrive at Home Sweet Home where George settles down to sleep. The calendar months tick by in a display in the right-hand corner and the energy he has collected is used up.
If at any time the energy metre falls to zero George loses one of his three lives. After a long sleep it's back to the woods and the sequence starts again...
Except in the second screen, where two diagonal directions are added, it is only possible to move George left and right. The fire button is used to accelerate.
In general, the graphics are good and colour used well. Considering the poor sound facilities on the Spectrum, the tunes are quite impressive. But the game requires very little effort to complete and does not increase in difficulty.
I don't think many players will be able to bear George for long...
The idea is fine but it's let down by poor control and a general lack of user-friendliness. For example, the squirrel just stuns you, and the skier just stuns you, but the spiders kill you instantly. Cheetahsoft seem to look on this as a 'feature' but as far as I'm concerned it's just plain annoying.
Well, Bear George does have some quite pretty graphics. Yes, the sound is reasonable and there are some nice touches. But the game is unplayable!
It took my many hours of mind-numbing boredom to discover that the apples can be eaten after all. But it is so difficult that starvation is a certainty, and the surprise for those who eat too much (!) seems reserved for supermen or people who enjoy playing monotonous games for hours on end.
This game has all the right ingredients to make it a winner: great graphics, great sound, great movement and an original idea. But there is one fault which spoils all this... It's too hard!!
On the first screen I found it impossible to eat enough apples. They kept hitting me on the head. Not one I would buy but still a very original game.