Gosh, I'm just so busy putting Your Sinclair together, month in and month out, that I never get to watch anything on TV. It's a real bummer. By the time I get in, all that's on is Newsnight or Prisoner. So you'll understand when I say that I've never seen Round The Bend on ITV.
This is a bit of a shame 'cos it seems to be the weirdest thing out. And you know me - I like a bit of weirdness. Just last week, for example, I saw a parrot disguised as a golden retriever swimming across the River Avon. (That is weird. Ed) Anyway, back to Round The Bend. Apparently Doc Croc, the editor of a comic, has blown up the printing press and all the bits have ended up in the sewer. Lou Brush (where do they get these names from?) has got to round up the guys, and get them to collect all the pieces. Yep, it's a mad race-against-time jobbie.
Using arrows, you've got to select a drain and a character, then it's time to set off into the depths of the sewers. It's a standard underground platformer (except that the platforms are covered in poo). As you'd expect, there are things to avoid, jump over and rush past. Collision detection is good and this part of the game is tough and demanding, but you'll always want to have just one more go. As you get further into the game, it naturally gets tougher. Bats, owls or something fly at you, forcing you to move pretty sharpish. Tricky stuff.
After a while you'll come across bits of the printing press and smart punchline-collection sub-games to beat. These are single screenies and the general idea is to get your character from top left to bottom right along a load of levels whilst avoiding whatever happens to be bouncing around. As you move to the right of the screen on each platform level, you appear on the one below. Y'see, you sort of go down in steps. So although you're on one screen, you've got quite a bit of walking and avoiding to do. Sounds a bit boring, doesn't it Spec-chums? Well, that's 'cos it often is, what with all that walking and avoiding to do. Never mind, at least it makes a change from all those smelly sewery bits (there's no poo, for a start).
What else? Oh yes, there's something incredibly disturbing called John Potato's Newsround. Every time you complete a page, John Potato appears and gives you a few bonus points. Strangely, he doesn't look even slightly like John Craven, who I suppose it's meant to be. It just looks like a Potato. It's enough to make a grown man weep.
To be fair, Round The Bend is strange but certainly fun for the most part. It's big enough to keep you playing for ages, it's not too difficult and it looks nice, even if it is a bit monochromey. Come to think of it, I wish there was a bit more colour around. It really does make a difference you know. Are you listening. Zeppelin? Apart from that gripette the game also tacks that indefinable something that makes certain games classics and worthy of the green felt Megagame hat. But (almost) full marks for such a weird game anyway, dudes - there's some good, decent and honest silliness in there. Right, I'm off to lick the road clean outside a windmill factory. (Off you go then. Ed)
Way out wacky fun with people on telly you've never seen. Well, I've never seen them and I'm the reviewer. So there.
SUBTERRANEAN SUB-GAME BLUES
There are eight punchline screens, so don't bother counting 'em. Lets have a peek, shall we? (Oh yes please. Reader's voice)1. True RomanceYou play someone called Stuart, who's in love with someone called Karen. Avoid Cupid and his arrows.2. Nursery CrimesNow you're Miss Muffet with a tuffet in twow. Watch out for the spiders.3. Bouncing BennyOoh, it's one of the Oddbod family. This bloke, er, bounces around a lot. Nuff said.4. FatmanThis guy is so amazingly fat that he'll certainly flatten you. And I don't mean flatten you a bit, but squash you completely. Ugh.5. The False Teeth Versus The Atomic BananaNo. I absollutely refuse to try and describe this immense stupidity. I just won't do it!6. Pzycho The MagnificentHe chases you around using specials secret mind-power. What a load of crap, eh readers?7. The VegetablesZeppelin inform us that "the ever popular Australian soap, The Vegetables, are holding a skateboard race. As usual, calamity is only around the corner, so watch out for crashes and mixed salad." Quite.8. Kenny McTickle And His Magic KiltWild bagpipes leap out from under Kenny's kilt and chase you all over the Cairngorns.It is the considered YS conclusion that Zeppelin have gone as mad as a Hungarian railway cutting. Round The Bend is exactly the right name for a game which will reduce your sanity to an origami fish with flapping carrots.
This is one of the sub-games. Make sure you avoid the bouncing chap. And we're not talking about our old chum, Femto Pico, here!
Ooh look, it's Doc Croc! He's an editor you know, but he's obviously not as great as our Ed. (Oi, Andy! How about that fiver you owe me?)
That round hoe is a sewerage pipe. They make very good homes, as long as you can put up with the smell!