Oink launched a weird and wonderful bunch of anti-heroes on the comic buying public last year.
Most of them were pigs with names like Psycho Gran, Super Ham and Lashie the Wonder Pig. Porkers are everywhere in the comic but there are also some humanoids occupying the panels. Stars they are, too, like Tom Thug, Rubbish Man, Harry the Head and, Horace (Ugly Face) Watkins and Pete and His Pimple.
The titles alone will bring a smile to your face. Buy the comic and you are guaranteed a good few belly laughs.
CRL took the incredibly brave step of attempting to turn three of Oink's favourite stars into a computer game. In terms of recreating the feel and fun of Oink! on screen this attempt has to be judged a failure.
You can't criticise the programmers too much for this. It is, after all, tough enough to convert one comic strip effectively - so to try and do a whole comic with several different strips verges on the impossible. I can't think that CRL spent too much time chewing over this thorny problem however.
My guess is that the solution came to them in a flash - something along the lines of "let's just rip off three well-known arcade ideas and call it Oink!".
In fairness, there is a little bit more to it than this. You get to colour in ten blank pages of a cartoon strip. Just colours though - no funnies.
The sub games - where you earn the points to colour in the squares are an Arkanoid-type game, a Zaxxon-type game and a scrolling shoot-'em-up along the lines of Paradroid. I'll deal with them separately.
Arkanoink: This was my favourite of the three games. The 'Breakout' revival was too short lived in my opinion after the launch of Ocean's Arkanoid and Gremlin's Krakout. Arkanoink offers twelve incredibly tough screens of brick wall computer squash. Your ship is armed with gun fire from the outset - so you don't need to grab capsules like in Arkanoid. The nasties look fantastic - like tropical fish. There are also question marks to be gunned down - you find these in all three games. They increase your energy level.
Your bat is very near to the bricks on most screens of Arkanoink which makes life very difficult. Bat control is slow - meaning that returning certain balls is virtually impossible, without a large degree of luck.
All in all, a useful rip off. Difficult and addictive. Arknoink is supposed to be based on Pete and His Pimple. The connection defies me.
Zaxoink: can make the strongest claim to resemble a character in Oink. At least the character does look like Rubbishman with his cape flapping in the breeze as he flies above and below the obstacles on a futuristic landscape.
Six zones to crack to earn the bonus panels. Rubbishman can only move up, down and forward - so careful flight is imperative. Occasionally he has to blast his way through the bricks and also shoot the question marks to earn extra energy. Flying underneath certain obstacles is a tricky manoeuvre. You have to make sure Rubbishman's altitude is correct by looking at his shadow on the ground. There is an impressive 'whoooshing' noise as he rises and descends and the explosions of crumbling bricks is nice and loud. Zaxoink is then, highly addictive. A fairly tough challenge of fly, manoeuvre and blast.
Paradroink: Is based on Oink's favourite bully - the 'orrible, the objectionable, the nasty, the one and only - Tom Thug. Shame the game looks nothing like him. The objective is to move Tom's 'Thugmobile' around the scrolling screen, destroying the bonus blocks. There are two types of nasties - the 'zombies' that can be destroyed for once and for all and the 'homing drones' which are much tougher. These can only be temporarily stunned. To make things even more difficult, the Thugmobile cannot shoot and move at the same time - which means that the route you take has to be thought out very carefully. It would be wise to map as you go so that you can remember where you have been. As Tom travels, he has to destroy the blocks that cover the exits to other screens. To obtain his coveted bonus panels he must destroy the bonus blocks.
Paradroink is slow and laborious. A real chore to play. The main game - the business of assembling a comic strip with the bonus panels you have earned in the three sub games is incredibly tedious. The method of transferring the bonuses to the appropriate screens is overcomplicated and should have been carried out automatically.
The main game could have been tremendously improved if it actually gave you a real cartoon strip especially written for the game - something like Rubbishman, Tom Thug and Pete's Pimple run riot inside a C64 for example. All you get are the coloured panels - that are coded with certain jokes. In my view this makes playing the sub games hardly worth the effort.
Fortunately, the three sub games are good enough in their own right to make the whole package worth the dosh. Three enjoyable games on one load is what you get in Oink! If you want jokes too, buy the comic.