John F. Cain
1986
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

37,38
Chris Bourne

Another game from the author of mega-selling Booty! The story is set in a strange house owned by a mad professor who invents weird and wonderful gadgets. His home is full of them, and some are very sinister indeed as our hero finds out when he unsuspectingly pays a visit during Bob a Job week.

The hapless Boy Scout trots up the garden path full of good intentions and rings the rusty bell. An old man wearing huge horn-rimmed spectacles answers the door. Just as the lad is explaining that he's come to do some good turns, the old man suddenly slumps to the ground whispering. "My pills, my pills...

It's a race against time to find the pills which are locked away in a sale. First, sixteen keys have to be found... and there's a time limit: if you take too long then the Prof might not pull through.

Secret inventions hidden in the house are possessively guarded by bits of machinery, and the servants who help with the upkeep of the house don't limit themselves to doing the housework and a bit of gardening. The old man's minions are highly trained individuals who have been instructed to attack anyone who enters the house. With all this to contend with, the little Scout is going to have quite a hard time locating the keys and combination...

Each room in the house is filled with strange creatures and gadgets which are set on removing the young infiltrator from the premises. Three lives are supplied. Contact with the odd-ball staff is generally fatal, and jumping too far down onto lower platforms also spells death. To get around this irritating problem, the Scout must master the use of mobile platforms controlled by bellpushes. By pressing the appropriate button, a platform can be moved into place to bridge an all important gap or summon a moving platform to your rescue.

Secret passages link screens, but where they lead is a surprise in itself. Predictably, the keys and important items in the game are all carefully guarded by the scientist's minions who have no idea that you are actually trying to help their master.

CRITICISM

'I was expecting Moonlight Madness to be a fast all-action arcade adventure/come shoot 'em up, but on loading it turned out to be a slightly disappointing Booty sequel. After the usual initial struggle to master the controls and learn the 'physics' of the game, It became quite fun to play and even addictive to a certain extent. The graphics are large and colourful but there is a lot of character clash which does get on your nerves after a while. The sound is fairly well done: there are some nice effects and a tune plays continuously. Not a bad game, overall, but nothing remarkable.'

'Booty was a real classic in its day, being easily the best cheapie of its time. Hasn't John Cain come down in the world! Moonlight Madness isn't anything like as good. The title screen plays a nice tune, and has got some pretty animation, but there were some pretty bad bits in the game. The main character moves at an amazingly varied pace, as if there's a force ten gale blowing to the left. When any attempt is made to move right, all the moving characters on the screen slow right down, and the man really has to slog it out against this powerful 'wind'. As far as drab, boring, unattractive, uninteresting, overpriced platform games go. Moonlight Madness is pretty good. By normal standards, though, it's dire.'

'BUBBLE BUS have been reknowned for their great arcade/ adventures, so when I saw that they had teamed up with the author of Booty, I was really looking forward to seeing what they had come up with - the end result is extremely disappointing. The presentation of Moonlight Madness is well up to scratch; great inlay story and picture, and a good loading and title screen - but the game leaves a bit to be desired. BUBBLE BUS seem to have put this game in the wrong range. Moonlight Madness should be in the Minibus range - it has all the makings of an average budget game. The graphics are none too exciting, consisting of colourful but flickery characters. The games drawing point is the sound, and there are a few good tunes - one continuous throughout the game - and neat spot effects. To my mind, Moonlight Madness is an over-priced little game that could be beaten by many a budget title.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: slow and unresponsive
Use of colour: lots of colour resulting in lots of colour clash
Graphics: small and uninteresting
Sound: little tunette plays throughout, good spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 43
General Rating: A sequel to Booty which doesn't seem to have progressed from the first game by John Cain.

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