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The Edge
1988
Adventure: Graphic
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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34,35
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

There have been quite a few licences based on cartoon characters and some of the more recent ones have faithfully created the general look of the character - Yogi Bear springs to mind. Garfield goes beyond that. Garfield doesn't just look a bit like Garfield in some general sort of way - Garfield looks exactly, expression by expression, mood by mood, moment by moment, right. The plot is right too - the gameplay has been intelligently based around themes from the cartoon. The overall plot has Garfield trying to rescue his sometime girlfriend Arlene from the city pound. The game requires Garfield a) to stay awake b) to keep eating c) to kick Oddie - the most ludicrous dog in the world and d) to get around to actually figuring things out and finding his way to the city pound. Getting out the front door is going to be a good start... Bewildered owner John is here, ever the innocent he plays almost no part in the plot though, being too stupid to understand the mighty plans of cats and dogs.

Imagine the comic strip brought to life - that's the game, some visual details are sparse but all the graphics are big. Garfield the cartoon is renowned for his wide range of expressive gestures, they're all here - check out the cheesy smile, the gigantic and grotesque 'eating face' (too horrible to be described here - imagine a mouth and nothing else), check out the looks of disgust, of indifference - not Oddie's dumb surprise at being kicked across the room yet again... The game is mostly black and white of course, but there are touches of colour where that doesn't lead to yucky attribute clash.

Garfield the sprite can walk, jump, pick up likely looking objects, use or eat them and kick - this last one is (fortunately) so necessary you have to do it over and over again - watching Oddie hurtle through the air is one of computer software's best violent moments.

There are assorted useful objects around - some of them are obviously for eating (Garfield starts to look very sick if he gets hungry or if he exerts himself too much) others, like the torch, have obvious uses, try it in the cellar which contains other things besides rats... though the rats, it should be said are pretty cute.

Sound effects are goodish, though the game doesn't really require much. I figured out a few things after the first couple of tries - it's important to remember Garfield is lazy - this may be the only game in the history of software where you sometimes have to deliberately rest a bit. There are a number of areas including a street scene you'll discover when you first load it up but it's quite possible to get completely bewildered and feel as though it's not possible to get any further into the game - there is always another exit though you just need to find the right object...

It looks brilliant, it's funny, it contains scenes of gratuitous violence against stupid looking dogs, it's a challenge. It's something like a Classic don't you think? Yep. so do I.

Label: The Edge
Author: Steve
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Easily the best cartoon licence ever. Garfield looks, acts and plays right. Better than anyone could have imagined.

10/10

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HINTS AND TIPS

To see where you are going in the dungeons, take the lamp from the TV set.

When tired, climb up somewhere high and sit down.

When Oddie jumps up to you, jump over him, then when he comes back, kick him.

Kick or jump on the chests to open - you may find something useful.

If Oddie has something you want, kick him.

PROGRAMMERS

Known to the people at The Edge as the Caped Programmer Steve Cargill (aged 21 years and addicted lo pizza) was the person who put life into Garfield.

SOFTOGRAPHY: Fighting Warrior (Melbourne House, 1985), Sir Lancelot (Melbourne House, 1985). Began working as an in-House programmer at The Edge, and was responsible for the conversions of Shadow Skimmer and Shaolin's Road.