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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Ah got de blues baby, yeh I got dam blues, yeh, yeh, ah got de dekorating blues...

Decorating is the most tedious of chores. First the paste is too thin and the paper won't stick to the wall and then the paint drips all over the carpet. And have you ever tried wall-papering a ceiling? Still if you fancy yourself as a painter and decorator, then here's an opportunity you can't refuse. What about using your talents to bring a bit of colour to an otherwise drab hotel? Start at the bottom and work your way up.

Each of the screens displays a bird's-eye-view of the hotel's network of rooms and corridors. These networks assume a variety of shapes. Some take the shape of inanimate objects - a joystick, for example. Other networks take the form of animals (the Mutant Ram, for example) or humans (the French Teacher), whilst others are merely abstract. The background to each of the floor networks is sumptuously ornate, indicating that this particular hotel is something of a classy joint.

The idea to work through each floor, roller in hand, as quickly as possible. As you move through each corridor, blue dots indicate the decorated areas, so it's easy to see where you've been. Nasties are determined to undo all the work you've done, and, if possible, put you out of action once and for all. Should you bump into any of them then you find yourself decorating that heavenly mansion in the sky in shades of subtle off-white.

The flashing red nasty and the caterpillar nasty both move very quickly and are simply out to knobble you. One of the other nasties wants to gobble up all your blue dots, so you may find yourself having to do the work twice over. Luckily, you have a steady supply of paste which can be dropped at convenient moments. Pretty strong stuff, the paste can be used to get you out of some rather sticky situations. For one thing, when dropped in the path of an approaching nasty it slows the little blighter down. It also enables you to walk all over them should you want to change direction.

The screen number is given in the bottom left corner, and directly beneath that, your score. Bottom centre indicates how many of your ten lives are left and above that, a clock ticks away the seconds. In the bottom right corner, the amount of paint, or number of dots you have to use is indicated and just below that, how many dollops of paste you have left.

There are plenty of screens to get through, so you'd better be a swift and nimble worker or you'll find yourself out of a job with a lot of time on your hands.


'Mega fantastico! Or at least that's what I thought until I played the game. Argh! One character block graphics, terrible colour and appalling sound. The game is far too easy. With ten lives, it just isn't addictive and it takes you too long to get to the place where you finished the last game. At its price, it might be worth buying for the 'scratching' speech effects, and the other nice bits it has, but I wouldn't fork out for the game itself.'

'Dekorating Blues is a superbly presented game but is very basic and boring to play. The area in which the paint brush moves is very restricted and I felt that I didn't know what had to be filled in and what could be left. The screen gives you all the information you're likely to need during the game: score, level, time, paste left and so on, but this doesn't enhance the thing at all. The screens are all made up in pretty animal and castle patterns, but as a person who got quite far through the game I can safely say that nothing changes. A nicely presented program, but the game itself is very disappointing.'

'You may have guessed what sort of game this is by the title. I did find it strangely compelling and playable but these qualities faded out after a few goes. The programmers have obviously tried to tart this one up as there are lots of lovely effects on the title screen and at the end of each level. The game, however, isn't half as good as these, which is a shame. The graphics are generally poor, the characters are small and undetailed and the backgrounds are boring. The sound, on the other hand, is quite good - there are some nice effects during play and a couple of tunes on the title screens. On the whole, I wouldn't recommend Dekorating Blues as the game itself is very primitive.'

Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: fair
Graphics: pretty, but, in the end, pretty boring
Sound: some nice effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: over 40
General Rating: Nice gloss, but becomes very monotonous after a while.


Screenshot Text

A detail from the dining room - watch out for the nasty, he moves pretty fast.

You've almost completed the middle section but there's still a long way to go and even more nasties to avoid.

Enter the dining room, suitably shaped like a fork. Decorate it before the descending bars crush you and you might earn a free dinner.