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Virgin Games Ltd
Martin Wheeler
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Martin Wheeler is 16 and still at a local comprehensive school. Like so many young Spectrum programmers today, he started off with the ZX81, but found himself unable to get into his school ' s computer class.

Since then he has become so involved with computing that he gave up his hobby of drawing cartoon comics, and the result of such sacrifice is this game. He hopes it will give encouragement to all the kids who are not good at maths and cannot get into computer classes.

Well it may do just that. Dr Franky & The Monster is a platform with holes and jumping game that has an original feel to it. On each of the nine screens there is a six-floor dungeon, and the object is to guide Dr Franky from the very bottom up to the top, collect a white conical flask on the way and take it to the Monster who stands lifeless against a wall at the top right. This refreshes the parts that other white conical flasks cannot do, and, incidentally, takes you to the next screen.

The problems come in the form of four ghosts who roam the dungeon and chase Dr Franky all the way. There is also a cart filled with bricks on the top floor which will run him over. The gap, too, on the top floor is a problem because it is quite wide, and Dr Franky can only jump up through the holes, not over them. The magic hammer helps in this case, as it does on other screens.

Because of the layout of floors, holes and lifts, there is the usual element of strategy involved in discovering the best route through to the top, and this goes for each screen which has its own separate layout. To make things worse there is a time limit - and it's quite a severe one.


'These are some of the meanest ghosts I've yet encountered. They won't let poor Franky take a step without anticipating him. Because he can only jump up the holes and not across, it takes some getting used to - running along a floor, for instance, often means falling down a hole to the next level and instantly leaping up again. The graphics are very good, large, smooth and well drawn; good sound too. Apart from Spectron, I think this is Virgin's best ever game.'

'This is a good game from Virgin. The graphics are very good, colourful and well animated (l think the flicker on the ghosts is deliberate) Dr Franky's movement is nice (and simple with only three keys used). The game is fun and fairly addictive. The ghosts look like they escaped from a Pacman game. I like it.'

'Dr Franky is a difficult platform game and quite challenging to play. With each screen being different it means that you get the hang of those you can master, and then instantly lose a life on a new one until you can 'see' the way through. Timing and jumping skill is of the essence. A really good game from Virgin at last - I hope they'll do more like it.'

Control keys: 1/2 = left/right, 0 = jump
Joystick: none, doesn't need it
Keyboard play: responsive, but tricky
Colour: very good and varied
Graphics: very good
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: 9
General Rating: Good, fairly addictive.


Screenshot Text

Dr Franky (in white) brings refreshment to the parts other doctors daren't reach.