Gargoyle Games
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
None

60,61
Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

GARGOYLE'S contribution to the great 128 bandwagon/beanfeast is a new version of Sweevo's World, reviewed in the February issue.

Retitled Sweevo's Whirled, which just about sums up programmers Greg Follis and Royston Carter's idea of verbal humour, the game now contains 250 different rooms in a Knight Lore lookalike of great wit and style.

All the energy has gone into creating new rooms and the differences which that makes to the gameplay. There's no added music, alas, just the same old beeps, now amplified through the TV speaker. Whether you reckon that makes it sound twice as good or twice as bad is a matter of personal opinion.

For those who don't know the original, you must travel around the interconnected levels of Knutz Folly, an artificial planetoid full of rubbish and weird genetic experiments. These must be cleared up in order to win.

Sweevo himself is a delightfully animated creature of extraordinary clumsiness. He parachutes into rooms, curls up in a ball when rocketed up lift shafts, and see stars when he hits objects. Recurrent themes include deadly fruit, horrible fingers which stick up through the floor at a moment's notice, little Hitlers, nasty girls, the Goose which lays the golden egg and other strange creatures and traps.

Additions to the 128 game include sets of upturned nostrils, which seem to be just waiting to suck you in to snotty oblivion, and strange Victorian style streetlamps.

Although you can't push objects around as in the 3D Ultimate games, Sweevo's Whirled contains much more intricate routing problems as there may well be hidden exits and entrances to rooms via unseen transporters. Greg and Roy have a nasty habit of leaving important objects or places hidden behind towers of blocks so you only find them when you're on top of them.

The other side of the game is its insistent mockery of the rather serious Ultimate classics, Knight Lore and Alien 8. This lifts the game from lookalike status to a class of its own, as its quite clear what Gargoyle are up to from the start. The old boot from Knight Lore lurks around, and the continual picking up of tins upon which to stand to reach other objects is a sort of high energy version of all that ferrying around of objects in the Ultimate games. Full marks for fun on that score.

Other additions to the game include an extra two start positions which you can choose in addition to the original four. Many of the new rooms have been distributed around the maze fairly evenly, so that players of the original will find it's not just a question of solving the old game and then moving to a new section.

The original version won five stars for its original humour and sheer scale and chutzpah. While Sweevo's Whirled is clearly better, by virtue of being much more complex and vastly larger in size, the lack of good sound and anything really new and noteworthy leads up to knock a point off for not trying as hard as possible. It's also £2.00 more.

I'm sure Gargoyle's programmers - possibly the best in the business - can do better with their next 128 release.

Chris Bourne

Publisher: Gargoyle
Price: £9.95
Memory: 128K
Joystick: Kempston, cursor, Sinclair

****

4/5