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Magic Bytes
1988
Arcade: Adventure
£8.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

34
Tony Worrall
Chris Bourne

I consider myself a bit useful when it comes to solving the average arcade adventure, but I'm afraid to say Clever And Smart completely flummoxed me. It's not so much that the game is hard, it's just very complicated. The instructions, which border on the non-existent, are about as clear as mud.

Getting down to the important stuff, I can tell you that the game is based on a popular German cartoon detective duo. Hitherto unknown in this country, Clever And Smart are continuously involved in wacky slapstick adventures, the kind in which the baddies always use those stereotype round black bombs with fizzing fuses.

Their first computer incarnation revolves around a frantic (and in my case pretty futile) search for a missing mad doctor. He's hidden somewhere in the flip-screen playing area, and the dynamic duo have to use every means at their disposal to track him down.

Clever can disguise himself as anything, and he needs some pretty convincing disguises to get into some of the buildings. Once inside a building he can buy, or take any of the objects found there. This is where one of the major problems of the game comes to light - how to get that extra dosh for expensive items?

Luckily there are several sub-games within Clever And Smart which allow you to up your stake. These mini-games include snail racing, coin tossing, and a very cute, but pointless rodent hopping-over-bottles section! Interesting, but silly!

A phantom bomber needs to be stopped, and a sewer maze has to be negotiated, but don't ask me how! This is as far as I can get in the game.

Clever And Smart is set firmly in Wally Week land (seen from overhead). Though it us inventive, it falls rather flat without proper instructions. The graphics are 'blocky' but passable and the pop-up menus work well. Some of the humour doesn't translate from its native German, although the overall effect is quite comical.

As I said before, the main problem is that it's very difficult. I quickly became bored when I realised I couldn't get any further - a big blow to the addictiveness score! There's a good game hidden in there somewhere, but you have to dig deep. If you like tricky arcade adventures, this could be for you, but you may find it harder than expected. Clever And Smart is just too smart for its own good.

A wacky arcade adventure based on a cartoon strip. Interesting, but let down by feeble instructions. Shame really.

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