1986
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

38
Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

You're polite, well mannered and you never push and shove. And you're a wimp!

Not to worry, this condition isn't terminal - with a little application you can become a thugette. This is all about the art of being naughty and points are scored for the depths of depravity into which you sink. Arm your pea shooter and pelt Mrs B in the backside. Act like a bull in a china shop. Or put the suds into the laundrette.

But dare you rampage through the local nick? The boys in blue are just waiting for you. And just how far do you have to go to get the accolade of 'bothersome' or 'little horror'?

Jack the Nipper is played in a Wallyish style reminiscent of Pyjamarama, running wild through the village, searching houses, shops and gardens for objects you can use to create havoc elsewhere.

It's all under joystick control and the character you control - Jack the Nipper of the title - is very effectively animated, with wonderful Beano-type characters - old ladies wielding handbags, monkey-faced policemen and mad scientists. And somehow ghosts and the odd Space Invader have crept in to the act as further hazards.

The streets and rooms are beautifully detailed with a marvellous 3D effect and the masking is spot on. That's because each screen is one colour thus avoiding attribute clash and other related problems.

Get off the street and into the first room. just press Enter and you'll be transported into a shop cluttered with characters to avoid, shelves and boxes to jump on and possibly even an object to pick up. By roaming around you'll soon get an idea of what can be used where to the greatest effect. Sometimes destruction is instantaneous. Wander into The China Shoppe and drop a couple of plates - just watch your naughtiness rating shoot up!

The pea shooter should be your first goal - armed with that you can sting other characters into action. It can work against you though. If a character is driven to a frenzy by your pranks it'll shadow your every footstep and you'll almost certainly lose a life. Each time you come into contact with a character and certain objects the scale depicting 'rash' - your tanned backside - increases. When it reaches red you've lost a life and when you're being shadowed it races up the scale at an alarming rate.

Pretty soon you'll be whizzing around avoiding the characters in the streets by moving to the foreground and background - it's easy when you get the hang of it. And it's so tempting when you come across a well tended garden and you just happen to have a bottle of weed killer. Dead flower bed equals irate gardener equals more points on the naughty scale. And then there's the tin of glue and the false teeth factory. Or what about the key and the shifting radiator? That leads to an arcade-style platforms game with a packet of Omo at the top as a prize. When you exit you find yourself on top of a wardrobe with a credit card just waiting to be picked up. Only being able to carry two objects a time means a lot of toing and froing but luckily there are one-way secret passages too, to cut corners.

What's more the game's really playable. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Label: Gremlin Graphics
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley

*****

Cartoon graphics and masses of brain teasers, all very nicely done. This'll sort out who are the wimps.

5/5

Screenshot Text

The start screen. Note the pea shooter on the shelf. Climb on chest and cot to get to it.

You'll lose points if you bump into any characters on the street. When collected, objects are placed in Pocket ready for mischief-making.

In the garden. You're carrying a dummy. And you've been caught out three times, judging from the nippers at the foot of the screen.