1987
Arcade: Adventure
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

16,17
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

The world has known many great detectives. Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Closeau, Hercule Poirot, Columbo, Basil.

What? Who's this Basil then? Basil the Great Mouse Detective? Who's he when he's at home? Lives under Sherlock's gaffe. Per-leease. What rot.

Any road up, Basil is one of Walt Disney's characters, and following on from the successful (so they tell me) film, comes the successful (we hope) game. Now Gremlin are anxious to point out that this is a licences from a kiddies film, and that therefore, please bear in mind, perhaps the content may prove to be a little em... young for some players.

Well, I don't know if it's just that I'm excessively infantile in my outlook (googoogah) but I rather liked Basil the Great Mouse Detective, and I don't care who knows it.

The idea is simple. Evil, nasty old Ratigan has kidnapped (mousenapped?) good old Dr Dawson, and Basil have to find him for the sake of mousekind - something like that - the game's basically an arcade adventure, set in three locations, London's waterfront, backstreet sewers (plenty to rummage around in there I should think) and Ratigan's dastardly den.

Along the way, there are various objects to pick up, put down and generally twiddle with. Rummaging about in jam jars, old tin cans and carpet bags will offer certain clues. Stuff likely looking clues in one of your five pockets and carry on. Once you have the five correct clues (and beware! there are an extra eight completely useless clues scattered across each location) you'll be told how to get out of your present location and into the next one.

Examination of objects and clues is done by looking through your magnifying glass. (What else?) Hit the question mark icon, and the mini screen on the right hand side of the screen will display your object. A panel across the bottom will show which objects you are carrying, and a symbol will flash on and off, according to whether you can drop or pick up an object.

All good, solid arcade adventuring stuff. And if you like arcade adventures you'll go a bundle on Basil. The game play is strong, and the graphics are rather smart. As I've said before, Basil was based on a kiddies' film, so the characters are rather cutesey, but that can't be helped. I liked them - they looked like cut out figures. Curiously the mask around each character makes it look as if someone's cut them off the back of a cornflakes packet. Sounds naff? Well, it doesn't look it - it fits in very nicely within the context of the game.

It's quite a hard game to get into to begin with, your energy is drained whenever you walk past one of Ratigan's henchmen, and very soon it's mouseburger time for you. Once you discover the secret of getting past them without touching them, you can wander off and play up and down the levels to your heart's content. Excuse me. I'm just going off to lay a couple of mousetrap.

Label: Gremlin
Author: Gary Priest
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Nice conversion with good gameplay. Don't be put off by the subject, the older you are, the more you'll enjoy it.

7/10

Screenshot Text

PROGRAMMER

Basil the Great Mouse Detective was programmed by Gary Priest, who is a relatively new addition to Gremlin's in-House team of programmers.

His only previous work for the Spectrum was Frank Bruno's Boxing for Elite.