Tom & Jerry
Jerry is the cutest mouse you ever did see, but that nasty Tom Cat wants to get him... hold on a minute are we talking about the same vicious, sadistic little rodent we all know and love? The mouse who drops irons on Tom's head and plugs his tail into the mains? Surely not! From Magic Bytes' badly translated manual, you'd never know, or perhaps this is just their strange Germanic sense of humour.
There are two possibilities either Tom & Jerry is so radically brilliant, it will have been worth an eighteen month wait, or it's so dismal they couldn't put it off any longer. See if you can guess which from this short description; it's a platform game. You drop 'bombs' on Tom's head, you have to eat a lot of cheese.
Tom & Jerry's gameplay is so mind-numbingly boring it even makes an evening in the pub with Mike Pattenden seem like a seven goal Wembley Cup final. [You're funny! - Ed] Jerry has to leap from piece to piece of furniture and shelving avoiding Tom's leaping attacks. Items like the sofa can be used, with repeated bouncing, to gain the height necessary to make the jumps onto the top shelves. Only on the highest shelves are you safe from attack, which makes it a particularly difficult game to play because getting up there is nigh impossible without getting stomped by the cat and when you're up there, unless there happens to be a bomb to drop, there's nothing to do. Fortunately, there are a couple of distractions thrown in. Jerry can adjust the telly which has the effect of keeping Tom glued to the goggle-box for a couple of minutes and he can adjust the radio, which rather unhelpfully makes both of them dance about with glee.
I'm afraid the rest of the game isn't even up to that standard of inspiration. The sound is a poor imitation of the Tom & Jerry theme, but the graphics are of a reasonable quality, the sprites are large and well defined, although movement is slow and bulky, Tom being especially bad. However good they were, they couldn't relieve gameplay which combines being very dull with being very difficult. Not a winning combination.
Tom & Jerry is a licence which had great potential for a game, plenty of gratuitous violence and lightning pace, all Magic Bytes have put into this is the barest minimum to get it into the shops with a nice piccy on the back with the hope that some hapless soul hasn't read a review like this. Less of a Merrie Melodie and more of a dismal dirge, Magic Bytes should stick to songwriting, here's a gem from their instruction manual: "Dutch cheese is red/Danish is blue/German cheese smells like an old jogger's shoe."
Without the decent sound and graphics of the Amiga, the C64 version has very little to recommend it. They don't even do a dance when you put the radio on. What a swizz.