Melbourne House
Beam Software
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

62
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Some companies licence major films like Top Gun. Some licence well known characters like Garfield. Some convert popular coin-op machines.

And then there's Melbourne House which has got Inspector Gadget.

Now you may think that Inspector Gadget sounds like a big deal, but Inspector Gadget is big in France, just like the Oric was.

The inspector is a detective with Clouseau-style hat and mac and go-go gadget legs. Sometimes he has a go-go gadget helicopter or go-go gadget skates - I can only assume this stuff is an exact translation from the French.

In fact the whole game seems to have got confused in the translation. I can't believe it can be right that I could easily bounce my way through the first three of the game 'worlds' on the second time of playing. Anyway, on with the game.

Gadget bounces or walks (to begin with) left to right across the screen. Whilst there's a twisting grey pathway to follow it appears to be quite OK for Gadget to bounce on the grass so I couldn't see much point in it. But anyway... Gadget can also move across this screen.

The main problem is the wide variety of objects in Gadget's path - these include peculiar smiley faces which Gadget mustn't stand on and assorted cartoon animals.

Whenever the inspector lands on a smiley face thing or is attacked by an animal he says 'Wowsers' and falls over. Bizarre. Especially when he also says 'Wowsers' when completing a level.

The art of the game, if it has one, is just to work out what pathway to take so that you either completely avoid or can jump over the obstacles, or so that you can pick up helicopter or skates. At various points there are holes - these are not necessarily bad things to fall down, in fact another aspect of planning the game is trying to work out which hole it is best to fall down. Down each hole is just another section of landscape.

The game is divided into worlds. Each world is much the same as the last one. though, and the end of each one is only marked by a sort of slab which Gadget has to land on.

I did like the men that popped out of a hole in World 2 and made a grab for Gadget's legs. Good also to see that Horace (of Hungry Horace fame) has not been totally forgotten. Teams of Horaces roam around several of the worlds getting in the way.

The graphics are actually pretty bad.

There is some detail in the Gadget sprite, though. It's drawn line appears almost transparent and changes colour continuously. The backgrounds are not up to much either. And this sound is even worse - odd blips when Gadget falls down or bumps into something.

And that's it. Inspector Gadget definitely doesn't get a 'Wowser' from me.

Label: Melbourne House
Author: In-house
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

**

Largely poor graphics combined with uninspired gameplay make this one of Melbourne's worst in a while.

2/5