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Martin Sherlock
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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34
Chris Bourne

The Happiest Days of your Life is a sort of academic Who Dunnit? with you playing the role of chief suspect schoolboy. The Headmaster has had his wallet stolen and is understandably rather miffed about the whole affair. Because you're known as a bit of a tearaway the blame falls naturally on you. A severe caning, a very sore rump and expulsion are all on the cards unless you can clear your name.

The only way to prevent this chain of events from taking place is by roaming around the school and town, collecting items and taking them to the right place to help prove your innocence.

There is something very strange about this school. Instead of meeting fellow students, all the hero encounters are weird objects which suddenly spring to life when he walks into a room and do their best to keep him away from essential objects. Contact with the nasties results in the loss of energy, displayed on a bar in the status area. Grub can be collected here and there for a boost, but once the bar reaches zero one of the three lives is lost.

As in the MIKROGEN classic, Everyone's A Wally, the hero can only carry two objects at a time, and walking over a collectable item swaps it for one of the objects shown in the status area. This particular schoolboy can walk left and right or jump into the air useful if you want to avoid swapping objects in a location. A wide variety of items can be found in the game, including chalks, a mortar board, a pound note and a betting slip! Each location has a name which sometimes helps to identify the task that needs to be undertaken there ... Some of the locations in town are not exactly the sort of place a schoolboy should find himself in including a pub, betting shop and dingy nightclub.

The aim of the game is to find the headmaster's wallet and maybe collect a little bit of photographic evidence to prove your innocence while you're at it. Making a map would be a good starting point...

CRITICISM

'This is the first disappointing release out of many from FIREBIRD since the PCW show. It's a great pity as I was beginning to have high hopes for FlREBIRD'S Silver Range. Graphically, The Happiest Days of Your Life resembles the MIKROGEN classic Everyone's a Wally in that all the scenes are similar and they are also laid out in a similar way. The characters are fairly well detailed but animated badly and the sound Is dire - there are no tunes and very few effects. I didn't really enjoy playing this one as It Is unoriginal and badly presented.'

'When you get a character in the games market that has been as successful as Wally has, you are bound to find some clones popping up. Happiest Days is a superb copy of Everyone's A Wally but without all the other characters. I hope the programmers won't be angry with me for saying that it's a copy - they should be proud of this game. I'm sure it will be very successful at £1.99. The game features all the quirks of the old Wally games, even down to the colour clash. I'm sure that there's still a market for this type of game, but only in the budget market - Happiest Days may have got it all sewn up before anyone else has a chance, though ... l'

'If you are a Wally Week fan, currently sulking because MIKROGEN have abandoned your hero, fret no more. Here's a game in the same mould, only the price is much more interesting! This is a very neat clone of the game style made famous by Everyone's A Wally, and should appeal to anyone who isn't yet tired of the format. There's nothing original here, but lovers of puzzle and mapping games should find this a worthwhile purchase.'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour pretty locations but lots of clash
Graphics: in the Wally Week style
Sound: tune at the beginning of the game
Skill levels: one
Screens: 64
General Rating: A reasonable clone of a popluar game format.

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Screenshot Text

Carrying a UB 40 and an empty cassette deck the schoolboy hero of THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE finds himself in Dolesville.