Crystal Computing
Martin Bullar
1984
Arcade: Action
£6.50
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

20
Chris Bourne

Some time back Virgin Games released a game called Sheepwalk in which you had to guide Rex the sheepdog around and herd the sheep into a pen, avoiding various hazards and farm crops which the sheep ate. It wasn't a very good game with slow BASIC programming and unconvincing animals. It's the Wooluf! is a very similar idea, and somewhat better looking.

The screen is dissected by a river towards the bottom with a bridge crossing to the top two- thirds. At the start of each game the 10 sheep are 'floating' about on the bottom right-hand corner. First they must be herded along to the left and over the bridge. Being sheep and somewhat brainless, they will tall into the river and drown if you're not careful. Once over the bridge, your dog must get them safely into the pen at the top right. The landscape in the top section is heavily wooded and the sheep wandering into the trees tend to get stuck or lost. The other problem is that the woods are prowled by a red wolf who eats sheep.

Each sheep safely herded into the pen is returned to the game for the next 'life'. After four goes, all the sheep are returned for the next stage, but trees appear below the river and attract the wolf, and everything starts moving faster too. Although the sheep drown, your sheep dog is a better swimmer, and he can be moved around the screen very fast as well. Unfortunately there's nothing he can do to frighten off the wolf, so it 's as well to keep the sheep out of the trees where they are most vulnerable. When a sheep falls into water a big SPLASH flashes across the screen, and between games the Wooluf winks salaciously at you.

CRITICISM

'This sheepherding game is a lot better than the Virgin one of last year in several ways. The graphics look better and the game moves much faster. The sheep resemble summer clouds on legs and your dog at least looks like a dog, although the speed at which he can zoom about the screen seems a little unrealistic! Unfortunately, I was convinced at first that the wooLuf was really a brown cow - until it ate a sheep. The woolly jumpers in this game are reasonable in their movements and prove easier to herd than in Sheepwalk. But at the end of the day this isn't a really exciting game, and to be honest, I was surprised that Crystal should have brought it out. I've come to think of them as rather more sophisticated than this game.'

'After the sophistication of games and programming that Crystal have become known for, it seems very odd to me that they should have released a game like this, nevertheless, it is a change from the usual shoot 'em up, and it is quite 'friendly' . The sheep react very sheepishly, as you would expect, the dog (probably a collie) is obviously extremely fit and looks as though he's being supercharged. The wooluf is twice the size of the dog, which is unrealistic, and looks more like a Hereford cow. It's easier to try and get one sheep at a time over the bridge and up to the pen, but if you get it stuck in the trees, you may just as well say Baa Baa to it! The colours tend to overwrite each other, for example, if you take the dog into the river he turns green and the surrounding river turns black. I think this is likely to appeal more to the younger player, although it is quite hard and is reasonably playable.'

'The graphics are all rather small, but quite detailed, overall it looks a bit primitive. The game will get boring very quickly, despite the increases in playing speed, because there isn't really much to do. I thought this was a poor offering from Crystal.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: N/M up/down, Z/X left/right
Joystick: mpme
Keyboard play: responsive, but oddly laid out keys in a straight line
Use of colour: average
Sound: average
Skill levels: progressive difficulty (speed and extra trees)
Lives: 10 sheep
General Rating: May appeal to younger players, a bit lacking in content and not very addictive.

48%
55%
54%
60%
48%
45%
44%

Screenshot Text

Summer clouds on legs - and brainless with it.