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First Class
ZX Spectrum 128K

Jonathan Nash
Chris Bourne

Apostrophes. They're a problem, aren't they, readers? Take the manual for The Shoe People for example. Filled with errors, it is - and most of them involving apostrophes. Education, eh? It's a marvel. (And yet the authors of the manual manage to spell correctly the fantastically obscure 'artefact'. It's a mystery.)

Five games (and a drawing program) go to make up Shoe Peeps. Cunningly designed to teach you about shape-recognition, spelling and maths without you quite realising it, the games have a very high standard of graphics. Hurrah, eh? In the first game, Trampy Visits His Friends, you play the lovable, rascally down-and-out who has a cheery word for everyone (spot the lack of social realism). It's an all-sorts sort of game (of sorts) - you have to match shapes and spell words depending on which Shoe Person you want to visit. Good fun, but it drags on a little. Sgt Major Sorts It Out has you putting various coloured boxes on to various coloured shelves as dictated by a loony baby, and lacks variety. (When you've seen one box, you seen 'em all.)

The Great Alphabet Robbery is brilliant. You have to solve anagrams to prevent Sneaker from making off with the alphabet. (It took me ages to realise 'pehse' was 'sheep' so that's the end of my junior school career.) Ha! Love it. The next game features Wellington (the chap from The Perishers) (Erm, no it isn't. Ed) who's jumping in a puddle. Lots of maths here, but fortunately no expressions in terms of 'n' which were always my problem. Finally (and best of all) there's Charlies Big Day. (Those apostrophes, eh?)You have to watch Charlie perform some feats of manual dexterity and stuff, then copy him. It's Simon, basically, and although it starts slowly, once you've got more than four tricks to keep track of things get incredibly hectic. (Far better than Triv for destroying disastrous parties anyway.)

On the flip-side of the tape (or the disk) is Margot's Colouring Book, a basic paint prog. You can draw loads of straight lines or colour in some pre-drawn pics. The latter option's the most impressive as they're all craftily designed to avoid colour clash. It's not that much of a grand finale, but more of a gentle reintroduction to reality (or something of that ilk).

The Shoe People is a staggeringly good collection of educational games, with a so-so paint prog chucked in as well. The only prob I had was that the bits when you fail are as good (if not better) than the animations when you win. For example, when Charlie completes a trick he bows but when he fails, a huge bucket of water gets emptied over him. (Come on. which one would you rather see?) Apart from that, it's just about perfect. Roll on Return of the Shoe People (or Revenge, or whatever).


Screenshot Text

Why is that sun red? Smacks of an imminent supernova, that does. Let's consult famous astronomer Galileo for a professional opinion. Oh, he's dead.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome rath outgrabe. (No no. I said jabber on for a bit to fill the box, you fool. Ed)