Personal Computer News


Magic Meanies

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: CDS
Machine: Spectrum 16K

 
Published in Personal Computer News #063

Keep On Running

Keep On Running

Magic Meanies is one of those games that comes along once in a while and shows that a simple idea, if tackled with flair and a touch of humour, can be a winner.

Objectives

You are the inevitable little man and, when the game begins, you're on a screen in which a path has been partly cut out. You can move anywhere, but you automatically create a new path as you go, down which you are pursued by a number of meanies while you try to reach a number of goodies scattered about the screen. Your aim is simply to survive, collect the goodies and progress upwards through ever-harder screens.

In Play

A lovely additional touch is the music, which is a jaunty plink-along version of the extract from Orpheus In The Underworld, better known for accompanying the Can-Can. If this gets too much for you then you can switch it off at the start. The opening menu also gives you the chance to elect for keyboard control and to choose from the nine skill levels available. Of these, even the easiest is hard while the hardest is so fast it had me falling about laughing at its manic music and Formula One meanies.

Magic Meanies

As protection against these deadly creatures you are equipped with five crystal balls per screen which you can fire at them. The only other way of dealing with the deadlies is to drop something on their heads. In addition to the diamonds you're collecting there are also several bags of gold. If you clear a path underneath these, they drop to the bottom of the screen, taking any meanies with them. The pleasure of a squashed meanie is short-lived as another one soon materialises to take its place.

The other use for the bags is to have them fall and block a path. If you're on one side and the meanies are on the other then you can gather up a few diamonds in peace, but the layout of the maze has been carefully designed so that this is only easy to do on the left-hand side of the screen, the right-hand side being a loop where you can only escape the meanies by using your two legs and your five balls.

My one complaint is that the man doesn't respond quite perfectly to the joystick, and there's sometimes a delay: you're pushing frantically upwards while he's still beating his head against a brick wall on the right. Other than that the game is excellent.

Verdict

Another winner from CDS, which recently did well with its version of Pool.

Mike Gerrard

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