Commodore User1st March 1986
Published in Commodore User #31
Gerry The Germ
I may as well come right out with it, Gerry The Germ is the sickest thing since space shuttle jokes. Six screens of pure revulsion. If you are in any way delicate, squeamish, or have a tendency towards hypochondria turn the page right away.
You are Gerry, with a mission in life to infect as many organs as possible until the hapless humanoid drops dead with a heart attack.
Of course, you will need to infect your way through various screens until you reach the climactic heart scene.
Actually it is not as bad as it sounds. The organs are highly stylised - so that the lungs are represented by cylinder pumping machines, the kidneys a public toilet, the Pancreas a railway station (arf, arf), a tropical ocean complete with desert island for the bladder, and a bridge for the ear (Don't ask me why, and don't ask Firebird 'cause they don't know either).
The one thing that all of the screens have in common is that they all feature some form of dodging and collecting.
In the lungs you have to dodge the red blood cells protecting the cans of oxygen which appear from time to time. It's not easy grabbing the oxygen - you need to study the patterns of movement of the cells so that you can choose your moment to dash in and grab the cans. The cans also behave like the fruit in Pac-Man - disappearing a split second before you make your grab.
The kidney is more of the same - where you are challenged to eat six kidney beans before you get to use the toilet. Don't say I didn't warn you. And so on to the stomach - a levels and ladders game with fruits and thick wedges of yummy cream cake scattered around the platforms.
The bladder is where you end up if you bump into a red blood cell in the lungs, or get caught by one of the nasties on another screen.
It has to be the most tedious challenge ever conceived. Gerry is ship-wrecked. His tiny rowing boat is leaking so he needs to grab a piece of flotsam to plug the hole - in this case a loo roll. If he can hang onto the loo roll long enough it will take him up to the level of the island - his escape. Trouble is, the sea horses keep bobbing up and nicking the loo role to plug the tap. You'll see a lot of this screen at the beginning of the game. There's no avoiding it for Gerry the Germ is one of the games that takes you right back to the beginning again if you make a blunder.
In the unlikely event of you wanting to see this through to the bitter end you will have to infect the medical boxes in the pancreas and bounce arrows off a radio towards the heart in the final screen.
The best thing you can say about Gerry The Germ is that it is difficult. It would take a long time to crack. But the question is: would you want to? It's more frustratingly difficult, than interestingly so.
The graphics are brightly coloured and amusing, though lacking in detail. Musically, it scores highly - with a highly suitable loony Rob Hubbard tune, changing to match each individual screen.
I can't help thinking Firebird have made an error of judgement with this game. Not because of the subject matter. Some people will say it's offensive, but programmer Mev Dink (yes, that is his name) thinks it's just funny. Make up your own mind about that. The real error of judgement was making it a "hot" game - it should have been a cheapie.