Spitting Image would have been an excellent licence on its first run. But when Domark originally tried to produce a game linked to it, Splitting Images, they didn't stop to buy the licence and had to change the name to Split Personalities.
The Completely Brilliant Spitting Image Computer Game, to give it its full title, is a beat-'em-up. Nothing more, nothing less. The idea is to take over the world. To do this, you must first pick a world leader and then find an adversary. These range from Groovy Gorby, to Ronald MacReagan, to His Coolness the Pope, to Mr and Mrs Ayatollah. Even the Queen herself makes an appearance as a commentator.
Each of the characters is represented as a photograph along the sides of the screen, around a map of the globe. By moving a pointer around the screen, you can make different things happen. When you move the pointer over one of the faces, you activate a joke. The Ayatollah raises a glove puppet of Sooty and squirts himself in the face with it. Thatcher's wig flies off, His Coolness smiles and his shades twinkle. As you move the pointer over the map, a message at the top of the screen tells you which country you are over, which is generally faithful to the map in the Spitting Image book. Most of Europe is called Britain, the rest being Pinkoland, whilst Mexico is now known as Sansosodallmoney. Har har.
When you've selected your host and your adversary, you go into a one-on-one battle in true beat-'em-up style. This is where the game falls flat. The graphics are great and it is fun for a short while, but it's very restricted. The problem is, you only have three basic attacking moves, normal, high and low punch and a kick.
On top of your three moves, you've got your dirty moves. The first is achieved by pushing in the opposite direction and pressing Fire. Each of the characters pulls a different stunt at this point, Ronald MacReagan pulls out a tomato Ketchup dispenser and squirts it, P. W. Botha drops his trousers and, well, does what he normally does really (Oh, little bit of politics there, this is a computer mag so stamp it out now!).
The second dirty move is the calling of the sidekick. By pressing Space or 'O' on the keyboard, you call on a little henchmen to do the dirty work for you. The Ayatollah calls on a cannon, which fires a ball at you, Ronald calls on a flying hamburger which savages the neck of your adversary.
Sadly the restriction of moves is the game's only poor point. It may not be brimming with originality, but it is very well converted. Domark have quite successfully managed to capture the feel of the TV programme, fun, well put together, but short lived.