Ranger Percy Nutting has lost a marble or two, and you're called in to sort out the mess his nervous breakdown has caused at Papatoetoe Park, an environmental paradise now full of litter, wilful wildlife and incompetent swimmers.
The park is shown on a horizontally-split screen, with its blue lake lull of swimmers, snakes, litter and logs, and the red landscape that forms the northern bank inhabited by crusty-backed turtles.
Since the Park Keepers' Union isn't too strong, your equipment is limited to a small canoe. You can paddle this across the lake in any direction you choose, leaping out whenever anything needs to be collected from the bank.
Every time you gather a piece of litter, a tin can or a bottle, you are awarded points, and one litter icon is removed from the display at the bottom of the screen. When all the rubbish in one level has been collected, you can move on to the next.
But this isn't as easy, or as safe, as school litter patrol. Your three lives are seriously threatened by obstacles in the water and by the local fauna; the world's first family of homing snakes presents a particular danger. So you carry a supply of Boots' snake repellent: just one capsule flicked into the water clears the area.
Swimmers also cut swaths through the wobbly wetness of the water, but some destroy your canoe if it hits them and others get in trouble and have to be rescued.
Because you missed breakfast, your energy supply is limited and falling. You can replenish your calorie count by rescuing discarded morsels of cheese-and-pickle sandwiches from food-stealing ants (with a well-aimed kick).
And if you keep up all this good work, Percy could be out of a job.
Opponents of sexism in software may be pleased to learn that in Park Patrol the player can be male or female - he just has to make up his mind, doesn't he?
'This is simply a Frogger-type game with sweet little overtones. The monochromatic graphics are nothing to shout about - badly-defined sprites on a cluttered background. The basic idea is to collect every piece of lifter on one level in order to progress to the next ultra-exciting level and start all over again! The best part is changing from a man to a woman, going around with skirts waving in the park breeze (a bit pervy, that...). Otherwise, there's not much reason to recommend Park Patrol, with its beepy sound FX and boring gameplay.'
NICK … 27%
'The old Firebird trick of lengthening the loading time so that the game itself seems superzappy and wonderful certainly works for the first two lives of Park Patrol. And it's not too boring because you can go on from the first few pointless screens to more difficult ones with more nasties. The simulation of movement on water works well, and the speed of the swimmers is just right to let the boat change direction. The control of direction in midjump adds humour, but the idea of playing as either a boy ranger or a girlie ranger only has the value of being cute.'
BYM … 62%
'I can't understand what all the fuss is about - I can't see anything in Park Patrol to explain the praise its Commodore version got. The concept is very simple - and it's very, very easy. Even with as many people and obstacles as possible on each level, it's a doddle to finish. The graphics are nothing to write home about, and the only enjoyable things in Park Patrol are the lovable characters - but even k P Pat lack variety.'
PAUL … 55%
: Cursor, Kempston, SinclairGraphics
: unnecessarily block with little use of colourSound
: rambling tune at the beginning; spot FXOptions
: definable genderGeneral Rating:
A dull collecting game with a humourous touch.
Firebird scoops Branson's Virgin with the first litter-collecting sim...