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Orpheus Ltd
1986
Adventure: Graphic
£7.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

61
Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Hi there, girly bastards - your starter for ten. What TV series featured bogies, lentils and a psychotic hamster? No, not Emmerdale Farm - though that was close - but The Young Ones, probably British TV's most wacky, alternative, offensive half hour... until the next most wacky, alternative, offensive half hour comes along. Still, it catapulted its four stars to fame and fortune and we all know what that means nowadays, don't we? Yup - a computer tie-in.

Quite how to convert the cult comedy show must've given somebody some sleepless nights, and Orpheus sensibly decided to go for the tastelessly squalid tone of the piece and the setting that we all know and love, the decrepit and decaying house. Once you've chosen which of the quartet you want to play, the idea is to leave your abominable abode. That means gathering your belongings together, and as nothing is ever straightforward, you'll probably need a whole lot of other things before you can finally say goodbye to the slum.

Let's take an example. Mike, the cool person, wants a five pound note. The roundabout way to the bluey is via Rick's piggy bank, subtly opened with an axe to obtain a 10p piece, then a quick phone call to sell Colonel Gaddafi (making his home micro debut, as far as I know) the bomb that's lying around in the kitchen and obtain a fiver deposit. Simple, see. Mike can then put his money in his suitcase, while Vyvyan prefers a bin liner, Rick a ruck sack and Neil a wheelbarrow.

But you can only be a young one once and while you're frantically running round the other three are also preparing to evacuate, moving things and possibly taking possession of all your worldly goods.

The other important aspect of the game is speech, which is via cartoon-style bubbles. The others will fill you in on what they're doing, while the Talk option from the control menu lets your character make suggestions, not all of which will be helpful as his artificial intelligence isn't infallible.

All the graphics are recognisable as are the details of the house. There are attribute problems, as you might expect, but they're not too objectionable. My main worry concerns gameplay. Though the whole thing is rather like a perverse Wally adventure it somehow lacks the charm - though why I should expect charm from The Young Ones, I don't know. If you're a fan of the series you'll probably love it, taking ever increasing joy in appearances from SPG, a chainsaw and a copy of Girlyfun magazine. But without that total devotion you may find it wears thin rather quickly. Speaking for myself, I found it all too close to real life to be funny.

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