The Power House
John George Jones
1987
Arcade: Platform
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

31
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Oh, very bloody pleasant, I must say. What a remarkably good way to start a Monday morning - being thrust a copy of a game that involves sewing pieces of your dismembered mother back together and being told: "This looks like your kind of thing."

Soft and Cuddly is the latest game from the poison pen of John George Jones, the person behind the cult hit Go to Hell.

Being a kind of Manic Miner derivative. Soft and Cuddly can hardly boast the most original gameplay and has to rely on the novelty points it can score by its sheer gruesomeness. The plot, while largely unnecessary during play, ought to be explained. Your father has been locked in a fridge by your mother and is shortly to come to a fate worse than death at the hands of a group of evil spirits. Your mother has had an accident and is now scattered in numerous pieces throughout the game-map.

Your objective in this highly Freudian episode is to collect pieces of your mother's body and take them to the fridge. Once you've got all the vital bits together, you can take on the jolly little task of mending her. Since the game is fairly big (256 screens) you certainly won't be able to get all the bits before losing all your lives unless you have some sort of idea where to.

Graphically, it is certainly unusual, and occasionally brilliant. As your little man descends on his jet-pack into an apparently empty screen, an enormous multi-coloured monster will lurch up from a brick walkway and flail around, blocking your path.

The actual playing of the game is, unfortunately, a rather tiresome business. The 'silly walk' option does little to disguise the fact that all you really get to do is move left and right, fly up, fall down, Fire and pick up the occasional item.

On your travels you will undoubtedly be harassed by lots of bog standard cannon- fodder aliens which are about as interesting as watching a golf tournament in the rain. They drift around being annoying and sapping your energy. A quick beam from your laser though, and they're history.

If you fire at the static scenery (trees, bricks, etc) they will gradually become worn away. Should you find the patience to do this for long enough, you will create a gap through which you can walk. While this is quite handy for moving around, it takes a colossal amount of time, and actually looks a smidgen like a bug.

Soft and Cuddly is a decidedly odd game.

It's a bit like a cross between a splatter movie and one of those strange Belgian art movies done with stop-frame photography with people in stupid poses gliding around the room, pushing chairs etc.

There's a lot to look at - plenty of opportunities to go "ooh, urgh, yuk" - but not particularly interesting to take part in.

If you're the sort of person who likes drawing maps and watching very large unpleasant graphics jigging up and down like a box of offal, all well and good.

Otherwise, Soft and Cuddly could become remarkably tiresome after a very short time.

Label: Power House
Author: John George Jones
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Oddball low-budget schlock-horror outing. Could get tedious but there's a large map and lots of things to shoot.

6/10

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PROGRAMMERS

JOHN GEORGE JONES is the man responsible! And pretty strange he is too...

SOFTOGRAPHY: Go To Hell (Triple Six, 1986)