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Virgin Games Ltd
1991
Arcade: Adventure
£9.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

14,15
James Leach
Chris Bourne

No! Definitely not! I absolutely refuse to review something as rude as this. As if How To Be A Complete Bastard wasn't bad enough! I've got my reputation to think of. Nope, I'm not going to do it.

(Pause.)

Well, maybe if I close my eyes when I get to the rudest bits. Hmm. Okay. Here goes...

Of course, if you've never heard of Viz before then you probably don't speak a word of English and you're not even reading this review, But here's a little explanation to help anyway - it's a 'comic' for 'adults', and its packed and absolutely throbbing (oo-er!) with violence, a fair bit of sex and a great deal of bad language. There. And it's officially 'not funny anymore' (according to its writers). So why make it into a computer game? Well, I haven't the foggiest actually. And after seeing it I'm still none the wiser.

It stars 3 of Viz's most popular characters - Johnny Fartpants, Biffa Bacon and Buster Gonad - who, for some very odd reason, decided to hold a charity race through Fulchester (where they all live). You pick who you want to play and then, erm, try to win.

But wait! Before you trot off, you've got to knock your player into shape and store up a whole wodge of lives to prepare for the marathon ahead. This means that if you're Biffa you've got to headbutt, kick and punch flying bricks (or drink as much beer as possible), and if you're Johnny you've got to inflate party balloons (or honk yourself very, very high up into the air). Buster doesn't have quite the same catalogue of choice since he's only able to churn out loads of pastry bases, using his unfeasibly large 'you-know-whats' as a makeshift rolling pin. (Blimey!) Anyway, what it all comes down to is a pretty straightforward waggler - you're up against the clock, and the faster you go, the more lives you get. Simple.

ESCORT!

Gosh, it's all getting so exciting! Now it's time to line up and get ready. Roger Mellie swears you in (as it were), Roger Irrelevant (he's completely fish-tank!) wanders on for no reason at all, and then whoosh! the race is suddenly underway. Obstacles and traps litter your path of course, and the others soon start to punch, 'guff' or 'testicle' you out of the way. What a bunch of basts, eh? And, as if that weren't enough. everytime you fall over you lose a life. It's a complete nightie!

As far as the scenery goes there's a sort of field to run across, then a park, and then the funky old town of Fulchester itself.

Actually, the racing is pretty nicely handled - the characters all speed up and slow down at their own pace so the leader keeps changing. But what a pity is that all you've got to do with the joystick is push it to the right and steer up and down. Viz certainly isn't the most interactive game you've ever seen, that's for sure.

But not that you don't have some fun. Making your way through Fulchester you get to meet all those characters who you've sniggered at 6 times a year in the comic - most of whom are jostling in on the action to cause even mere mayhem! And of course they behave just as stupidly as you'd expect (Or not, as the case may be. If you've no idea who anyone is then the jokes'll probably fly way above your head!)

CORTINA MK III!

So what's the verdict? Well, first off there's the bad language - it pops up at the top of the screen in the guise of Roger Mellie commentating on the action. Now this kind of stuff might work in the comic (because of the strength of the stories and the whole anarchic feel of it all), but here it's just been slapped in for a few cheap giggles and it looks plain stupid and dumb.

There's also the way it reminds me of Virgin's Monty Python from last year. The mere you play it the less you laugh! (Ahem.) But no - to be fair to Python, at least that had oodles of playability. Here it's all a bit thin on the ground. Not that it's easy. In fact you'd be hard pressed to finish it for quite a while. It's just that its all rather threadbare - it doesn't have that 'big, involved game' feel to it that you'd expect.

If you're a devout Viz follower then you'll have some fun. The graphics are clear enough for you to recognise all the characters, a jolly tune bumbles along nicely and there are lots of nice little surprises (like the Top Tips which pop up out of the blue), But don't expect it to be as engrossing as the comic. It's all too samey and the idea of running in a race is hardly that exciting. Virgin have obviously used this approach as a means of getting as much out of their licenced characters as possible, but there must have been a better game idea to hang them on than this.

So there we are. The chap who didn't speak English and wasn't reading any of this in the first place didn't miss that much, and I got through a whole review without typing a single rude word. Not even a 'crap'. (Damn!)

A lot of fun the first time you play it, but it goes downhill fast. It's not that big and it's not that good.

70%
84%
79%
74%
76%

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WHO ARE THESE UNPLEASANT PEOPLE?

Hardly the kind of company you'd invite to a hearty summer picnic at Glyndebourne, we should co-co! Simply choose your player, step into his Nikes and then hot-foot round the course...

BIFFA BACON

Biffa is Fulchester's answer to Mike Tyson. He's had a hard life (his parents, known as Fatha and Mutha, keep punching his face in) and he generally takes it out on everyone else (by, erm, punching their faces in). He's not too bright and usually takes more punishment than he deals out. He's a complete head-case of course, so it's best to avoid spilling his pint. He can use a lager-frenzy to get ahead of his rivals in the race.

JOHNNY FARTPANTS

Johnny has a gift - he's capable of the most outrageously phenomenal bottom-burps. He often uses his quacking bot to help out his friends, but more often than not it leads him into the most enormous pile (ho) of trouble. And that smell is none too pleasant either. A mega-guff will usually propel him into first place.

BUSTER GONAD

When he was young, Buster was hit by some rays from space. Consequently his 'testes' have become unfeasibly large. It's not too much of a problem for him, as he can carry them around in a wheelbarrow. He's also landed a plum job (Groan. Ed) in a pastry factory, flattening the dough with his, er, appendages. He uses this ball-bounce to beat his opponents.

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Johnny's unique way of inflating balloons. You'd better hold your nose though - it doesn't half pong when they pop!

Roger Mellie (the Man on the Telly) lines up the contestants with a few well-chosen (for their offensiveness) swearwords. Tsk tsk.

Mrs Brady (Old Lady) gets in the way on Fulchester High St. And what's this? Roger Mellie isn't swearing on the telly - it's a miracle!

Biffa, eh? What a fine model example of the youth in Britain today. Here he's looking for a brick to headbutt.

Oh no! The Parkie (that well-known user of very rude words) is after the competitors!