The Rocky Horror Show (CRL) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


The Rocky Horror Show
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #4

The Rocky Horror Show

Having been a cult Chelsea stage show, 'The Rocky Horror Show' was filmed and became an even bigger cult as a movie. All the late 60s decadence overlaid with the early 70s cynicism appealed enormously. Recently, the film has made something of a comeback, its rock music still very much in vogue, and now you can play the game.

If you are one of the last people on earth who knows nothing of the 'Rocky Horror Show', film or stage play, then you might be forgiven for not knowing what is going on. Good, middle class American youngsters, Janet and Brad, through some mechanical defect in their car, end up in this weird house for the night owned by Dr Frank'n'Furter, and one of them gets turned to stone - well, it's a long story - perhaps you should see the film after all.

The player may choose to be either Brad or Janet and, depending on which you choose, it will be the other that gets stoned by the wicked Frank'n'Furter and his dreary Medusa machine, but clearly the most sober of the pair must do the rescuing. The task is simple; guide the rescuer around the house and find the pieces of the De-Medusa and put it back together, then you can wipe that rather stoney smile from your partner's face and run like blazes. Of course finding the pieces isn't a piece of rock cake, you need to look for them, and that means opening doors and that means finding keys - the right keys. And while you are lurching around this rather attractive period dwelling, you are going to be chased by quite a few people who would rather you didn't, and they have some pretty mean ways of expressing their preferences, like killing you.

Some of the film's obscure scenario enters into the game's flavour in the way that these extraordinary characters will come up and say things like, 'I didn't like my Teddy!' or 'it's just a jump to the left ... ' These remarks are capable of moving Brad or Janet into a state of total confusion and after a few more from the right sort of person, that confusion moves up a grade, to total death.

The De-Medusa is made up of fifteen separate bits which must be collected piece by piece and deposited in the chamber next to your stiff friend. At the start of each game you find that the characters and the vital pieces have all been left in random locations around the house. While there are fewer than fifteen rooms within the house, some rooms have more than a mere lock to get past, the worst being a strange electric beam. The beam removes your one and only life if you get too close - fortunately it can be turned off, but 'how' is the trick. Your other problems move around on their own, they are the characters of the play, and each one of them will have a lasting effect on you. The Butler (Riff Raff) for example, is nuts, he wanders round all day long complaining that nobody loves him while at the same time he is trying to zap you. One of the girls, Columbia, simply strips you naked when you bump into her. Eddie is a chap/thing who is particularly unpleasant. He was one of Frank's failed experiments. Fortunately he spends most of his time in the freezer, unfortunately the freezer doesn't work that well, the thermometer at the base of the screen lets you know when he's on the thaw.

Oh, one last point, the whole house is a space ship, yes it is difficult to believe, but there you are. From your arrival you have 99 time periods (that's not as long as it sounds) to rescue your mate and a run for it, otherwise by then, you see, Frank will have grown tired of your feeble efforts and left for home. Apparently Frank is the guy from outer space and he wears the wrong clothes, well, that seems to explain it all.


I liked the film and I thought the Spectrum version of the game was pretty good, following the film closely, effectively and enjoyably. Unfortunately on the C64 it doesn't quite have the same appeal and isn't quite so hot. The characters move slower than the on the Spectrum and the game doesn't feel as good. It's also a shame that most of the touches that featured in the 'original' (such as the humourous title screen or the 'Time Warp' dance and the excellent lightning effect) aren't present. The sprites are rather crude in definition and would have been better in single colour. The music was the best thing about the game which doesn't stretch to more than a simple pick-em-up.


The idea of the game is quite simple really, although a little long-winded as you seem to have to move through the same locations several times. This gives the effect of its being bigger than it actually is. Some puzzles are a little tricky to solve at first, but become apparent enough as you progress through the game. The graphics are surprisingly disappointing - first impression is quite good, but closer examination reveals little animation, although the drawing is detailed enough. Overall quite a playable game, but it's lasting appeal is short because I don't think it will take too long to solve once you've got going


I loved the film, which I have on video and have seen many times, so I therefore looked forward to trying the game. Unfortunately CRL haven't exploited the film's computer game potential and have instead come up with a simple collect and place game. The characters aren't very well animated and move rather slowly. The game also tends to kill you suddenly, especially when you're doing rather well. The music was okay (it's a great tune so they couldn't really mess it up!), the graphics rather poor, and the Spectrum version knocks spots off it so take a good look before buying.


Presentation 76%
Very well packaged (includes poster, sticker and T-shirt offer), with good instructions.

Graphics 58%
Pretty awful sprites but above average backdrops.

Sound 67%
Good tune (Time Warp and bits).

Hookability 54%
Collecting de-Medusa bits isn't difficult and makes it easy to get into.

Lastability 40%
Once done, you probably won't come back to it.

Value For Money 37%
Seems expensive considering low lastability and it costs more than the Spectrum version which is better.

Overall 43%
Sadly doesn't match up to the Spectrum version.