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Gary Capewell
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

The first thing you notice about Gotcha! is the attractive loading title page, a near exact replica of the inlay cover. Garry Capewell has written a number of successful Blaby games and this is another feather in his cap.

You're Ernie, an old lag who has just broken out of the nick. First obstacle to freedom is the searching guards outside the jail. There are five of them, their torch beams sweeping the various jail yards. Ernie must get safely past them and then through two jail gates that rise and fall very quickly. On this first screen you learn the cruel nature of Gotcha! - timing. It's crucial. The second screen shows you just how much too. A nightmare platform screen reminiscent of Manic Miner Willy's worst nightmare greets you. Seven levels with six green gates riding up and down the screen at a frightening pace, and all out of time with each other. On the platforms and other screens are all sorts of stashed goodies such as swag bags, safes, Hitachi stereos, cameras and the like.

A mean programming trick here is that once committed to crossing the screen Ernie keeps on moving until he reaches the other side. Getting the right moment to move is the skill. Once on the move, however, reversing his direction can save you from instant crushing by a falling gate. But there's a copper about as well. If he nicks Ernie, it's back to the bottom of the screen.


'One drawback in this game might have been the instant start between lives, which made Barmy Burgers slightly irritating, but here it matters less as all the start positions are in 'safe' areas and you're not against the clock. The graphics are reasonably large and if not fully animated then certainly very lively. Ernie himself is quite good, and it hurts when he gets beaten up by the copper. Not a game for arcade beginners!'

In the shortish time I had to get this game reviewed I found it difficult to get very far through the second screen and ended up bathed in sweat! So I've still to discover what lies beyond. In its own way as difficult to play as Manic Miner. Frrrrustrating!'

'Every screen is alive and very busy, so it's an instant appeal game. Ernie could well become a hero - anyone who finds it easy to put up with his life would certainly be one. Not in any sense an easy game to play. Very addictive for the usual reasons - it looks as though it should be easy so you keep trying. Very good. '

Keyboard positions: sensible Z/X left/right, K/M up/down
Joystick options: Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: reasonably smooth, compiled
Sound: continuous, good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 6

General Rating: Expert addicts only!


Screenshot Text

Screen two of GOTCHA! Ernie is in th emiddle on the 2nd floor. Mind the gate!

Ernie in screen one, about to be caught in the glare of publicity.