DK'Tronics Ltd
1985
Arcade: Action
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

38
Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

LECHEROUS, unsavoury and as usual vaguely pathetic, Benny Hill tries to beat Bruce Forsyth in seeing who can star in the worst computer game.

Luckily for Benny, Brucy wins; it would take something totally awful to beat Play Your Cards Right, and Benny Hill's Madcap Chase! isn't that bad.

The game is simple in the extreme, and play more or less consists of running from left to right and back again. Start off from Hill Street and the laundry basket, dash across a number of screens to a washing line, grab an article of clothing, head back to the start point and dump it in the laundry basket. You've now got 20 points.

It's one of the most pathetic excuses for a storyline I've yet to come across.

As you whip the unmentionables - an off-white bra and yellow Y-fronts - from the line you may well hear the pounding feet of a 16-ton Tessie in hot pursuit. This is one helpful neighbour who thinks you're nicking the knickers.

With her massive chest wobbling, she catches up and bounces into Benny. Splat! He hits the dirt, squirming, as she jumps up and down on his back. Eventually he staggers to his feet, a shaken man. But I could swear he winks.

If you are caught and jumped on while carrying some washing then it goes straight back to the line and you'll have to try again.

There are another two levels played in the same way with different objects to collect. You can only move to the next level when you have transferred all the articles.

The second level involves scrumping. This time it's the farmer chasing Benny as he relieves the apple trees of their fruit for Mr Bramley. Picking up jumble for Mrs Bargin is the third and final task.

Benny can jump three paces into the background allowing him to dodge irate members of the public and bits of 'street furniture', as the cassette inlay so charmingly puts it.

Street furniture consists of lampposts, telephone boxes, road works on the first level, barbed wire fences, a chicken coop, barn and trees on the second level - and I didn't manage to reach the third.

Each time Benny makes a turn from one end of the game to the other, he finds that lampposts have moved, one-way signs have jumped behind walls, trees are uprooted and wire fences have been rearranged. Crash into any of these bits of furniture and you'll bite the dust and lose two points. However, two points is a better deal than the five you'll lose if big Bertha stomps on you.

When you've got used to the perspective, you'll find it an easy matter to judge the distance Benny should travel into the screen to dodge the objects, and he can switch from the foreground to the background while on the run.

It is easy to detect the hand of programmer Don Priestley, author of Popeye, in the graphics. As in Popeye, they are large and colourful, but unlike its predecessor, the animation is fast and smooth, and the masking extremely effective.

Benny trots around with an amusing high-stepping gait - and manages to look like a right ninny. To give Don credit, he is instantly recognisable as Benny's alter ego, Fred Scuttle.

It's typical of the seaside postcard humour of Benny Hill that when he's jumped on by the woman her skirt flies up to reveal knickerbockers, her wig almost leaves her head and her face is contorted in a grimace.

Each level increases in difficulty, not in gameplay which remains the same, but in judging the positions of the furniture. Most tricky are the barbed wire fences, which tend to be a little fuzzy.

It's a pity that the story line is so simple and the game so limited. Benny Hill's Madcap Chase! has a very small playing area and to be honest, not a lot happens. If it weren't for the graphics, this game would receive less than the three stars it is awarded.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: DK Tronics
Programmer: Don Priestley
Price: £6.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair

***

3/5