Creative Sparks
Martin Harris
1985
Arcade: Adventure
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

50
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

The Snodger family of Mystery Mansion don't talk much. When they do it's something succinct like, "Pamela Snodger would like the Gold Fish" or "Roger Snodger wants the flowers." The family themselves are a curious mixture of sloaney daughters, tweedy sons and deranged uncles just like many of those really appearing in Burke's Peerage.

The game is, well it's sort of, how can I put this? Imagine a sort of Cluedo played in a 3D house with large sprites for the central characters. You spend most of the game hunting the house for objects which are requested by the various members of the family. The requisite objects and people are indicated by a green square on the floor plan of the house and you must get to the object or person without bumping into too many walls or other members of the household.

Matching requested object to person means you change screen and try your luck at the clue table, which is a simple visual logic text in disguise. Basically, it involves spotting elements common to a number of different groups of people and objects. Solve three such problems and you move on to the harder, ie, bigger house.

Snodgits is a bizarre mish-mash of several different sorts of game, an uneasy alliance between arcade 3D visuals and logic tests. It works better than you might suppose, somehow the various elements partly gell into an inwardly consistent program and it becomes reasonably addictive. Though not really all that challenging.

Visually, the main section of the game where you wander around the mansion looking for people or objects is a sort of poor man's Knight Lore, same angled viewpoint - but the simple line and block backgrounds lack detail. The sprites are not bad, big and comic-style, looking like a slightly upmarket version of the Wally family.

A curious game then, flawed but quite different from most budget games. It will certainly entertain you for a good few hours which is all that a budget game can be expected to do.

Label: Creative Sparks
Author: Martin Harris
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

***

An oddity - part Cluedo, part 'collect' game, part logic test. It doesn't really add up but fails nobly.

3/5