1985
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

26
Chris Bourne

Grumpy Gumphrey Super Sleuth isn't the first arcade adventure to be set in a department store, but the central character Gumphrey must be the first geriatric hero to star in a computer game' Poor old Grumpy Gumphrey is definitely the department store's dogsbody. Apart from the fact that he is supposed to be guarding the shop's stock from marauding thieves (he is the Store Detective after all) Grumpy is also set a whole variety of tasks by the mean and moody manager. In between shooting mad, rampant ducks on the ground floor, Grumps has to make tea for his ungrateful boss and cope with a whole host of minor and major emergencies in the store.

Each task has to be completed within a time limit game-time is relentlessly ticked off by a digital display at the foot of the screen. Failure to complete a task in time results in a summons from the manager. Once summoned, Grumpy has to make his way to the Manager 's Office within half an hour to receive a warning letter. If he fails to arrive in time, it's instant dismissal and time for a new game.

The store is crowded with shoppers (and the odd toy soldier), who mill around manically getting in Grumpy's way as he tries to complete his tasks. If any of the characters other than the harmless hippy bump into him, Grumpy is pushed about and may be knocked off his feet in which case he sits down. While he is sitting down, Grumpy gets closer to his next warning letter sifting down on the job is frowned on at Mole Bros Stores! A bar at the bottom of the screen indicates how close Grumpy is to his next warning letter as it gets shorter another missive gets closer. Four letters and he's out of a job.

A horizontal message area at the bottom of the screen displays the latest order from on high and is used to remind Grumpy of the next task he needs to complete in order to survive the day. Whenever the Manager calls, he must be obeyed immediately, and the current task put on ice.

There's a variety of objects scattered throughout the store which can be used to help Grumpy in his chores. To pick up an object, Grumpy has to be moved up to it and the pick up key pressed whereupon the object is transferred to his pocket an area at the bottom right of the screen. Once an object has been picked up it can be dropped, used or knocked out of Grumpy's hands by jostling shoppers.

The Mole Bros. store has four floors, each containing a number of departments selling a wide range of goodies to the shoppers. Grumpy can travel between floors in the lift, pressing the appropriate button to select a level. Watch out for the light switch though! There's also an escalator which travels up and down alternately and needs to be hopped onto at the right moment. Try to go up when the stairs are coming down and Grumpy takes a tumble. Points are awarded for completing tasks and picking up objects, but the real score is collected by completing a day worth 10,000 points no less. A whole variety of useful items can be found scattered around the weird and wacky store in which the action takes place. It's up to you to work out how they can best be used to assist Gumphrey in his campaign to avoid the sack.

If you don't succeed in completing all the tasks in one working day from 9.00 in the morning till 5.30 in the evening then there's always another day ... providing Grumps hasn't had his cards!

CRITICISM

'Graphically, this game is very good. The characters are well drawn and animated, although there are a lot of attribute problems. The sound is not very exciting. I didn't get very far in the game, and didn't find it very playable, but I can see potential in R for people who want to persist and get to grips with the game. On the whole I think there are too many games of this type on the market already - and this is not the best of them.'

'Another long overdue game - well worth the wait, though. The graphics reminded me of Thors Jack and the Beanstalk type games, but much improved. The animation of Gumphrey is smooth and flicker free and the whole presentation of the game is very professional - a credit to Sean Hollingworth. This is an enjoyable game which l found easy to get into. While this game will mainly appeal to arcade adventurers, it's very good and well worth getting if you like the type.'

'After spending a bit of time guiding Gumphrey round the store, I realised that the idea behind the game had something in common with Technician Ted, with the different tasks to be completed in set time limits. Graphically the game's impressive, especially the way Gumphrey walks convincingly in front of and behind certain objects, creating a realistic 3D effect. Considering the amount of colours on screen the lack of attribute clash was quite impressive. There's a lot of nice little touches - lots of thought and attention to detail behind this one. I loved the way all the clocks in the store kept game-time for instance. Overall a nice little game and though it may not appeal to everyone, l really liked it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: O Left, W right, P up, L down, Space fire, D drop/pick up, T re-read message, S scroll objects
Joystick: Interface 2 and Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive, well placed keys
Use of colour: bright and cheerful
Graphics: interesting 3D effect owing to masking of characters
Sound: walking and 'resting' noises, spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 39
General Rating: A game with lots of attention to detail and plenty of humour that should please arcade adventurers.

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86%

Screenshot Text

GRUMPY GUMPHREY has a tough time in his department store - rampant ducks, escaped gorillas and a demanding manager to cope with in a 9 to 5 day.

Taking a rest, GUMPHREY in the confectionery department - for once not being jostled by manic customers. Sitting down on the job brings a writeen warning and the sack closer, however...