Cute little monsters, platforms and bouncing balls: what do you think this is a recipe for? Total and utter mayhem is the answer - great fun too! Helter Skelter is a kind of cross between two classic game types: Pacman and Breakout. You take control of a ball and have to bounce it on the monster with an arrow above his head. If you get the wrong little devil it divides into two smaller ones - double trouble!
On the more helpful side are icons which pop up from time to time. These include warps to take you to the next level, time freeze, monster freeze and extra time. For an extra life you can collect all the letters to make up the word EXTRA.
Does all this sound hard to you? Well, it is. The ball is terrible to control when you first start and it'll take a lot of practice to master the controls. There are enough screens to keep you playing for a long while, some of which are only accessible in a two player game, but if you do get fed up you can always load op the screen editor. This utility allows you to make the game more challenging or much easier by designing your own screen. Monsters, platforms, backgrounds and colours are dust some of the aspects you can play with, all selected using a simple menu system.
Helter Skelter is great to play, but some screens are graphically badly planned. The colours and patterns used on backgrounds make the monsters and balls very difficult to see and the time limits are a bit tight for my liking. The only real way to play it is as a two player team: this way you can each take half the monsters and get each screen completed in a fraction of the time. Luckily a password system has been included to save everyone tearing their hair out. And the first one is... Haw! Haw! You're not getting them that easily! You'll have to wait, I might print them in the Playing Tips if you're lucky.
'Helter Skelter's gameplay was designed three years ago, but it's still one of the most original games around. It's tricky to get to grips with the controls and make the ball go where you want at first, but perseverance is the name of the game. You'll be addicted in no time at allm and trying to complete just one more level could have you glued to the screen for ages! The action's fast and furious and your brain needs to be in top gear to complete some of the devilish screens, though most are easier than they look. Graphics are jolly, there's a lot of imagination gone into designing the monsters, but the occasional backdrop is overworked, too detailed, making it tricky to clearly see what's going on. Apart from that, and the pretty hefty price tag, Helter Skelter is a hell of a lot of fun!'
RICHARD … 85%
Fast and furious, addictive - but pricey.