1985
Adventure: Text
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

50
Chris Bourne

Just about everyone except perhaps those trappist monks in the Welsh heartlands who have locked themselves away in solitary confinement never to see the light of day again has surely heard of Adrian Mole. There are his two diaries, he's just had a telly program based around his exploits, he's also been on numerous chat shows and now he's on a computer game. What next?

Although the writers of this program are Level 9, Adrian Mole cannot really be classed as a traditional adventure it's more of a decision game. At regular intervals during play you are asked to step into Adrian's (sanitised) shoes and make the decisions for him. For example, Adrian gets a spot. Do you squeeze it, bung on some cream or just ignore it? Each decision either awards or takes away points from your total percentage depending on how successful the move was. Each percentage has a rating starting from average schoolboy to goodness knows what we haven't completed it yet.

There are graphics constantly on screen which regularly update during the course of the game. Most of the pictures are based on the illustrative themes found in the original book. The text also, is based very much on the original work by Sue Townsend. Most of the time, the text scrolls through in the form of a computerised book, before options are presented to the player.

The game at least matches the traditional Level 9 format in terms of appearance. The screen is split into a graphics window in the top half and text window in the bottom half. Because of the lack of text input and the rather channelled nature of the game, it isn't possible to skip through certain areas of the plot, the way you could in standard Level 9 fare. Finding a route through this game is likely to cause some real headaches.

CRITICISM

'It seems that Level 9 have come up with the solution to the problem of making multiple choice questions interesting. Some of the options and their conclusions are very funny indeed. Making a game out of the idea is, however, not so much of a good thing. Most of the time you are reading the same stuff that appears in the book (and that's a lot cheaper). Level 9 have come out with some excellent games - and I'm not criticising the quality of the programming - but I don't feel that this really works as a game, too well.'

'I had my doubts when asked to play Adrian Mole, but I can assure you they have gone now. Level 9 have got to have a hit with this one. There are millions of Mole fans who will be very pleased to see that they have done justice to the guy. Its full of funny situations with witty solutions and the enjoyment of taking part in Adrian's decision making is something that just does not pall. I can see the lack of real action putting some people off, but otherwise this is a game you should get - right now.'

'The main problem with this game is the relatively large amount of reading necessary between 'moves.' This means that if the humour doesn't make you laugh, you'll soon be fed up with it. But the strength of the game lies in its humour as well. You should give your joystick muscles a rest, once in a while anyway. This will probably be the funniest way to compromise. The humour is poignant and clever. I can't imagine this being an easy game for Level 9, or anyone else. It loads in segments as it is quite large. It's quite out of the ordinary as well. It ' ll probably sell on the name alone, but it deserves to anyway. If you're open minded about games and are bored with the norm, get this one - yesterday.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 1-3 decisions, CAPS to continue
Joystick: N/A
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: fair
Graphics: average
Sound: N/A
Skill levels: N/A.
Screens: N/A
General Rating: Very good, and different.

84%
65%
78%
80%
89%
85%
86%

Screenshot Text

ADRIAN MOLE - a lad in a permanent quandry in the game written by LEVEL 9 and published by MOSAIC. You get to help the tormented teenager make his mind up.