Now I've always been the sort of girl for a thing - especially one that bounces back. So, with a spring in my step, I thrust the thing into my Spectrum.
Memories of Thing are a trifle vague but I seem to remember that the original was a platform game. Is that what I really needed to put some bounce back into my day?
The answer is, amazingly... yes! This is a return to those good ol' gaming values of a comic character let loose in a hostile universe... and it only uses five keys, which won't overtax anybody's grey matter. Mapping the areas should keep you occupied for days though.
Don't panic about the plot, which concerns collecting bits of computer program to clear the evil goblin's factory. All you need to know is that this is scrolling-screen jumping and leaping of the most athletic kind. It's so good that you'll forget you swore you'd never load another platform game until your Jet Set Willy withered.
There's a big difference between the Manic Miner and the spring-driven one though. While Willy was only tiny, Thing is much more satisfying - a really big, meaty sprite to get your teeth into. This means that he's got some character as he jumps up and down, waiting for you to grasp the joystick and steer him into a nice, cozy tunnel.
The tunnels are all-Important in Thing, as they link the various levels, each of which is 12 screens in size. Your hero bounces and bounds through this maze and only quick reactions will change his direction when he reaches a turning. Eventually, though, he'll catapult out into the wild, black yonder and that's where the danger really begins!
What is it that makes Thing so fulfilling? Perhaps it's that the instructions tell you almost zilch about what the various platforms and devices do. For example, there's the Blower. Now would you like to risk having your Thing blown? I avoided these columns of bubbles for ages until I discovered that they act as lifts and don't sap your strength, as I'd feared.
There are bits of floor that crumble under Things's spring, while others may give him a bonus boost or sap his strength with a well-placed weight - you'll never know until Thing head butts them. It's important to keep him well-oiled, though, because rust never sleeps; try to locate cans of the slippy stuff for a long life.
There are slides for when Things are looking down; conveyor belts for when he gets carried away; deadly pipes that can suck him in and shoot him all over the level; and doors to cut off his route of escape. Is it any wonder that, as well as the official exit from the screen, back into the tube system, there's also a Quit key for the easy way out.
Thing performs with all the boinginess that you could hope for. Right and left cause him to slink sideways, while pressing down contracts his coils so that on release he shoots higher than ever. Fire combined with a direction key causes a leap to the left or right. This all adds to the cheeky little chap's character.
I've fallen in love with Thing - must be because Spring is in the air.
Puts new life in an old genre by being jam-packed with devious features. Whatever the thing is - this has got it!
Poor Thing must be broken hearted over losing his life. But search around the mystery paving stones because some contain extra hearts all ready for a swift transplant.
Conveyor belts carry Thing sideways, and these bounce pads are just as deadly in the vertical axis. Fine if he wants to go North, but be careful about banging his head!Watch out for the laser beams. As with all platform games you can dodge these if you time your runs and jumps carefully.I'm forever blowing bubbles. Walk into one of these columns and it'll send Thing higher. Just jump off when you want him to take to the platforms again.What in Thing's name is our hero doing in this undignified position? He's in the midst of jet propelled flight between sections of tube - unless he's head over heels in love with me!