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Longman Software
Not Known
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Leigh Loveday
Chris Bourne

Hmmm. I'm in rather an annoying mood at the moment so I'm going to have to open this review with the not-at-all predictable device of singing the theme tune to the TV show. Ready? Ah-one, ah-two and ah-three... er... oh, I don't seem to know any of the words.

Well then, Superted the game (sigh). What's it like? Eeerrmm... it's okay, I s'pose The plotline is pretty painful though - Spotty's been kidnapped and you've got to rescue him. Ack. It's got plenty of irritating little faults too, which I'll look at later, it being the obvious thing to do and all. Essentially Superted is a horizontal shoot-'em-up with, er, no shooting - well, not on your part anyway. You are Superted, after all. However, you do get to punch the baddies, which made me go all faint and sit in the corner sucking a blanket for several minutes.

Level One sees you character-square jerking your merry way along through a landscape of bats, helicopters, bombs, missiles etc etc to reach Spotty's rocket at the end, which is guarded by the fearsomely non-difficult Skeleton. Then you wibble off into space for more of the same (sigh). Level Two's a bit easier on the eyes though, being somewhat black as space frequently is, whereas Level One was bursting forth with retina-bludgeoning squirts of colour, cheerily disregarding colour clash in a way that brought back memories of the Codies' Super Dragon Slayer.

That's basically what the game is really - bit of SDS, bit of Superkid, bit of Silkworm even. Just thought I'd drop in that blatant generalisation mid-description to make up for not being able to annoy you all with the theme tune (cackle). It plays well enough, good simple fun, but - but! - here come those niggling faults in force, trooping grimly over the twilit horizon like soldier ants who've just discovered the comer shop's tragic lack of frozen chips. Probably.

Firstly, the scrolling. It's crap. Jerkier even than the infamous Vibrating Koalas of Juddering Jim Frippleston's Big Top of Wildly Oscillating Marsupials (Est 1634), it not only makes seeing where the hell you are even harder but also affects the enemies' flight patterns, so that you fly into them whatever you do. Well, I did. (Sniff.) Then there's the equally crap inertia on your sprite, which leads to much the same thing. Then there's the cover boast of Easy and Hard difficulty levels, which I suspect to be a lie of sorts, as Blackadder once said, rather festively as I remember. There wasn't a single difference between the two that I could see. Tsk. And, of course, we have Spotty himself, who gives you such invaluable gems of advice in the onscreen speech balloon as 'Watch out, Superted' just after Supes has decided to play beergut tennis with a passing nuclear warhead. Cheers, Spotty, mate. Much obliged, now shut yer trap.

Righty-o, it's that much respected and ancient Summing-up Bit again. Bow down, bow down and chant 'flan' in quavering tones, all ye believers. (Slap.) Oh. Er, er, er. Sorry. Well, it's not a bad game, even mildly addictive, but too hard for the kiddies it's presumably aimed at. There's one unfair bit as well - when you get hit, you pause for a few seconds to recover, giving the next baddy ample time to strike you amidships as well.

But Superted is just about worth the dosh if you've got no street-cred anyway and don't mind being seen with such a title. Arf.

Uppers: Loads of colour, competent programming and quite good fun. Downers: DBut plenty of niggles too. And a bit hard. So um, 'ner'. For such an embarrassing licence, the game's not too bad (curses).


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The legend

Superted is supposed to have been an ordinary teddy bear who was endowed with powers far beyond those of modal bears by the kindly Mother Nature. Now, by saying a magic word he can unzip his skin to reveal the red lycra jumpsuit of Superted! Oh, and he can fly, knock down buildings, survive in space unaided and so on as well.

The truth

One must first question Mother Nature's wisdom in bestowing her bounteous gifts on a stuffed toy - hardly the best choice for a people's champion. He's unlikely to strike terror into the heads of evildoers everywhere, although, admittedly, the teddy is a strong image should old Ma Nature be thinking of diversifying into merchandising.

Secondly, where does Superted's skin go when he transforms? You always see him unzip it and let it fall to the ground. But at the end of the story he's somehow regained it. Neither Supes nor Spotty seem to have any pockets in their suits, so the mystery remains. It's statistically likely that a passer-by would come across the skin if it were to be left on the ground, so obviously it's stored somewhere while the episode unfolds.

Thirdly, why does nobody recognise Superted? He looks exactly the same in his teddy bear disguise, except he's nude. Clark Kent had a pair of National Health spectacles, at least.

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It's no good relying on others, Spotty. You've got to go out and take the world by the scruff of the neck and shout in its ear 'I'm Spotty! I'm somebody!' Then knock it down roughly and run away.

Even with thousands of pounds' worth of purple legs and blue bits, the skeleton's mode of transport still bears an alarming resemblance to a space hopper.

Hello, Steve here. I've got a horrible cold, and I hope you catch it from the pages so I'm not the only person suffering. (Evil cackling and quite a lot of sweaty hand rubbing.) Oh, hello Jonathan. (Lummocks.)

And then, to the surprise of almst everyone present, the water goddess did appear exactly as young Flossie had described, resplendent in garb of purest seaweed and winking all the while. It was a tale retold for years afterwards.