Ocean Software Ltd
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

28,29
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Head Over Heels is either - depending on your mood - yet another 3D arcade-adventure featuring Ultimate-style graphics with impossible problems and lots of rooms, or another improvement on a tried and tested game-style involving a complex map and many genuinely interesting puzzles.

Finding myself in moderately good spirits on the day of writing, I can safely assure your that Head Over Heels is definitely of the latter type.

Reason to be cheerful No 1: HoH (previously titled Foot & Mouth) is the latest creation from Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond - previously responsible for the vastly popular Batman. Reason to be cheerful No 2: Ritman has excelled himself with this one.

It's space again. A planet called Balcktooth has been making a bit of a nuisance of itself lately. What with invading other planets and ruling over people in a fashion regarded as not entirely free and easy, the rulers of Blacktooth are beginning to put the wind up many an intergalactic leader.

Freedom - a planet as yet not controlled by the bad guys - decided to take the matter by the horns and do something about it. It is decided that a secret agent should be sent to undermine the Empire of Blacktooth and free the oppressed beings.

Things go sadly awry, however, and the agent is captured, adding another level to the problem. Before you can free the innocents, you must free yourself. Fortunately the secret agent which you portray has the ability to split into two parts - a head and your heels. Each part has it's own useful features just as each has negative attributes. The crux of the game is learning which part of you is best at coping with the situations in which you find yourself.

For a large part of the game, it seems almost impossible to get Head and Heels in the same room together without something preventing contact. Once you manage this, though, the results can be most rewarding - providing you with a single unit that can jump, run fast and fire doughnuts. Certainly a force to be reckoned with.

On your travels, you'll encounter an extremely wide variety of creatures and objects. The Reincarnation Fish is probably the strangest. By touching it, you can cause a sort of Saved game to be stored in memory which means that when you lose a life later in the game, you can make yourself re-appear at the point at which you ate the fish. All pretty crazy stuff.

Cuddly Stuffed White Rabbits are very silly indeed. Each one does different things, so until you get the hang of which does what, it's all guesswork.

There are lots of other things to be impressed with too. All follow the same sort of screwball logic.

Room-wise obstacles such as big walls, spiky pits and Blacktoothian guards stand in your way.

The graphics in Head Over Heels are really very special. The characters are both amusing to look at and easy to use. By paying close attention to exactly how far their feet are off the edge of pinnacles/ platforms, it's possible to judge tricky jumps with far more precision than in previous games of this ilk.

Head Over Heels is quite brilliant. The action remains fast and it's extremely rare that you run into a complete block. There are lots of puzzles to keep you very confused indeed for a long time. Doughnut miss out - get it.

Label: Ocean
Author: Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

*****

A very wonderful ticket to runny-jumpy-avoidy city. Choc-full of puzzles and humour. Buy it.

5/5