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Automata UK Ltd
Adventure: Graphic
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

'The game you are about to play is our salute to Hollywood, that dream factory where everything was possible and where Groucho worked to make the world laugh,' says the blurb on the excellent cassette inlay. To make your dreams come true the certified lunatics at Automata have produced another mystery adventure game with a worthy prize for the winner. Judging by the difficulty in giving away the prize for uncovering the secret of Pimania, the secret in Groucho must be easier to find since you have to complete a slogan in not more than ten words that is dafter than 'We put some ling in computing!' This implies they expect more correct answers by the 1 June when the competition closes.

Somewhere in the depths of My name is Uncle Groucho you win a fat cigar, the name of a Hollywood star is hidden. Should you be lucky enough to guess it correctly and be dafter than anyone at Automata then your prize will be a trip for two to meet the Hollywood star in person, flying Concorde to JFK, and then on to Los Angeles staying at the famous Waldorf Astoria aboard the QE II, and £500 spending money.

This is all you do. Risk your sanity in Groucho and the PiMan's America, where the currency is fat cigars, travel is by space shuttle and covered wagon and conversation is by way of Groucho Marxist jokes made worse by interruptions from the PiMan. Needless to say, in the time allowed none of our reviewers got very far. Fortunately none of them was silly enough to fall for the opening question, Pimaniancs one and all ...

The program is slow to respond to input commands but Automata seem to have become a law unto themselves in this respect, and no doubt addicts will suffer very little from this drawback. As usual the program offers little in the way of help to get into the game and no hints on playing - Groucho, after all, was not noted for his kindness towards idiots.


'I find it impossible to rate accurately a game which is designed to be a cult, and one which takes so long to probe that you can't see enough of it to be fair. As far as I got, which wasn't very far, it appeared to be as satisfyingly obscure as PiMania and pretty weird too.'

'The graphics are, if anything, better than in PiMania. The opening street scene with an animated Groucho lurching up and down is very good. The refusal of an input is also fun, as the program has obviously been stocked with typical responses. I wonder, though, how much you need to know about the Marx Brothers and their films to get anywhere.'

'I don't know who Groucho is, and I've never seen any of these films mentioned on the inlay card. I'm afraid I didn't enjoy PiMania either. I suppose Automata will say I' m just an alien-zapping arcade moron, but then I think they're a bunch of left over hippies. But my dad enjoyed the cigar that was stuck to the review cassette - thanks.'

Keyboard play: slowish
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: very good
Sound: generally good.
General Rating: Hard to define, everyone seemed unsure of an exact definition beyond 'if you liked Pimania, you'll like this.'


Screenshot Text

Light your fat cigar and stalk the streets of America with Uncle Groucho.