Stifflip & Co.
By Palace
Commodore 64

Published in Computer & Video Games #69

Stifflip & Co.

Trust Binary Vision to come up with something different. Well, they had to go some to follow Zoids, didn't they?

Well, Stifflip & Co. isn't Zoids II, but it does use some of the neat 'windowmation' that you came to know and love after playing that first classic game. Stifflip & Co. is very clever and very playable.

If you read our preview a couple of issues back you'll know that the Binary programmers delved back into the Boy's Own adventure style stories to bring you an icon-driven graphic adventure featuring dastardly deeds in a banana republic.

Stifflip And Co

The screen is set up like a comic book page - the pictures are drawn cartoon-style and you get two panels of action per "page". As you move through the game, the "pages" flip. A really nice effect.

You can control any one of four main characters, but you'll encounter other helpful or unhelpful people as you travel through the adventure. Like Zoids, your actions are controlled for a series of icons and menus.

The first of these icons is as Chinwag, the second is the Fisticuffs icon, the third is Beetle-off, the fourth is Do One's Stuff, the fifth is Stage of Play and the sixth is Change Batter. All pretty easy to understand.

Stifflip And Co

On the right hand side of the screenshot you will see these icons showing three different characters. The top character who has the eyepatch is Colonel R.G. Bargie, the second is Professor Braindeath and the third is Miss Palymra Primbottom.

The first character you get to control is Viscount Stifflip himself. Look at our screen shot.

The fact that he is next to the character in the immediate past means one of two things. Either he moved away very quickly by selecting the Beetle-off area, or Stifflip beat him in a fight. If Stifflip were to talk to this character the sort of thing he would say would be, "Now look here, my good man", whereupon Stifflip would be attacked.

Stifflip And Co

In the other illustration Stifflip is seen with a barman. If Stifflip was to talk to this character he would be likely to say something on the lines of "Nice bar you have here".

The four characters each have a role to play in the adventure - so you won't be able to compelte it unless you keep them all fit and well. Each carries things which come in useful - but you might have to swap them around in certain circumstances to achieve the desired effect.

Read the speech bubbles and examine each "page" carefully for clues to the riddles which open up areas of the adventure to further perusal.

There's plenty of humour - you may not laugh out loud but you'll definitely snigger to yourself.

And if you manage to defeat the evil Count Chameleon you're a better player than me! The only real "arcade" sequence in the game is Fisticuffs - which is a bit like the attack sequence in Zoids. You have to line up an icon on a revolving target and hit the fire button to biff your opponent. You can hit "below the belt" but this will affect the final outcome.

Stifflip & Co. might not get the audience it deserves because it's a sort of in-between game. In between an adventure, an arcade adventure, a bit like Redhawk in fact.

But if you're a games player desperate for something different then take a look at Stifflip & Co. If you're already a Binary Vision fan, you won't want to miss this. Like me, you'll enjoy it a lot. Oh yes, there are some great tunes too!

It's up to you to work out when and on whom to use physical force. It doesn't always work to your advantage.