1987
Arcade: Adventure
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

105
Ben Stone, Gareth Adams, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

After years of research, Dr Jackie perfects the everlasting youth potion which he has long sought. However, on downing the mysterious brew he's transformed into his evil after ego, Mr Wide. Foolishly Jackie produced no antidote before this metamorphosis. So, the secret laboratory of Dr Piqued (a rival scientist who may have formulated a remedy) must be found and entered if Jackie is ever to feel himself again.

In this arcade adventure, Wide cycles through Hyde Park before entering the sewer maze which hides Piqued's lab. A bird's-eye view is given of the park with the screen scrolling vertically to reveal pathways in the four usual directions.

In the park, our hero discovers useful objects, such as a double-headed axe, a sea-sickness pill, some vanishing herbs and sparkling gems - four of which can be carried at any one time. They assist Wide in solving riddles which take him further towards Piqued's hideaway. An on-screen message gives hints (can you swim?, go left) and identifies any acquired item, with an inventory of carried objects available when required.

Once below, Wide abandons his bike and tip-toes through a labyrinth of sewer rooms. Some rooms quickly diminish Wide's energy, whilst others are full of gas which increases the time countdown against which the game is played, yet more fill with rising water. Hasty exits can be made through doorways.

Creatures fatal to the touch lurk in some sewers, while others merely reduce Wide's energy level which must never reach zero. The rate of energy loss is diminished if Wide carries appropriate objects (for instance, the sea-sickness pill counteracts rising water). Energy reserves are topped up by firing at the 'intelligent spike'.

The park can be revisited from certain sections of the sewer. However, once left, the scientific scoundrel cannot return through the same entrance. On re-entry, Wide receives a full complement of energy.

CRITICISM

'I was beginning to think that Bulldog would be one of the most notable budget software houses around, Feud was an excellent start and Colony had quite a few good points. However, Jackie and Wide is disappointing in comparison. The basic plot of 'find an object so you can complete a sub-game' has been used to its limit by now and should really be forgotten. The underground sequence looks good but plays badly and the Hyde Park section is very primitive Indeed. Uninteresting and at times tedious so lasting appeal is very limited.' BEN

'I spent most of the time with Jackie and Wide wandering about, trying to work out exactly what 1 was supposed to be doing. However, during this ramble I did notice that the screens were nearly all the same - in fact all aspects of the graphics are appalling. Also, a little sound would have gone a long way towards making play more enjoyable. I will give some credit though, the game is original, but perhaps you can't expect a great deal for a budget price.' GARETH

'The instructions are vague and unhelpful. However, I found the gameplay to be very simple, and spent my time wishing that there was more to it. Graphically, the program ranges from colourful and distinct characters to plain and unimaginative backgrounds. Despite the strong story line, Jackie and Wide involves little more than trudging around and getting very bored.' PAUL

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, Symbol Shift to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: rather varied; often excellent, sometimes dull
Graphics: busy scrolling backgrounds and reasonable sized sprites
Sound: poor
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling park area, nine sewers and the final chamber
General Rating: A good, and often original idea falles into a sadly cliched game lacking content.

51%
50%
38%
38%
47%
41%

Screenshot Text

Seen from above on his Penny-Farthing, Wide prowls the pathways of Hyde Park looking for an underground entrance.

Underground at last! The corpulently evil Wide seeks his kinder alter ego in the sewers.