David F. Todd
1986
Arcade: Platform
£2.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

14
Chris Bourne

Squirt is the tale of a pocket sized plumber called into mend a leaking sink. Trouble is, that when you're knee high to a pixel, a leaking sink is not the easiest of problems to tackle especially when various strange, malevolent objects populate that sink. To stop the tap from leaking, a full toolkit has to be collected. A small button situated just underneath the tap causes Squirt's mate to bung down a tool to fill up the kit every time it's given a thud. The nasties flying around the sink make life difficult they're prone to hit the tool and cause it to disintegrate.

Collecting tools would be impossible if it wasn't for Squirt's Atomic Washing Liquid Bottle. Shooting from the hip, Squirt is able to blast away any of the sink sadists apart from the deadly red claw that appears if he hangs around too long. The claw homes in on Squirt mercilessly, which is bad news considering its touch is deadly.

The sink automatically fixes itself once Squirt has a full toolkit, but a fixed tap means it's time to move on to yet another job another sink with a leaky tap populated by even more brutal baddies.

Squirt's sink adventures are shown in a cross sectional view of the basin. Being a fairly unusual plumber, Squirt can fly around the sink but he can't venture into the water or fly out of the top. The baddies have the same restrictions as Squirt. Three baddies populate the sink at any given moment, and if one is vaporised by a splash of radioactive washing liquid, then a clone of the dead baddie, full of equally horrible nastiness, enters from the top of the screen.

As the drips drip from the faulty tap, the water level in the sink rises slowly. If it gets to the rim of the porcelain, Squirt dies from a lack of space the playing area simply gets too small. Death is also a consequence of hitting any of the basin baddies.

As tools are captured by Squirt, a small replica of a toolbox builds itself slowly on the bottom status screen. Once the toolkit's handle appears it's time to move on to the next sink. Also on the status bar are a number of lozenge shaped objects representing how many resurrections of Squirt remain you start with five lives. As in most arcade style games points are the prime motive: your score clocks up as denizens disintegrate and tools are taken.

Each sink is different in the naughtiness of its nasties and the form that you opponents take. The first sheet has a team of mutant thermos flasks aggravating you, other contenders for king of the sink include cassettes, monstrous faces and ups.

If Squirt's experiences are anything to go by, no wonder you can't find a plumber when you want one....

CRITICISM

'There isn't really enough in this game for it to be very playable or compelling. A one screen playing area in which you are set one task - to collect falling objects - seems to be a pretty out of date format for a game nowadays. This sort of game was around a couple of years ago. My copy of the game tended to crash half way through the first screen, but I don't think I missed much. The graphics are about average, with little flicker and not many attribute problems. The characters move around the screen quite well, but sound is poorly used, with only a few spot effects'

'This one got off to a grinding start with what I call a 'lazy' loading screen - just a screen from the game with a few overlaid titles. The game falls down elsewhere on points like the graphics. It's somewhat reminiscent of Manic Miner, although not so well animated. Squirt gets a bit monotonous after about a quarter of an hour, as the only things that progress are the 'baddies' and the speed. Even at £2.50 this didn't appeal to me. Not one I'd recommend.'

'Not bad, Squirt was Okay, although it wasn't really very professional in style. Squirt himself is a simple Dynamite Dan character who isn't animated, he simply faces the direction you point him in. The graphics are bearable but lack any real body - once you manage to escape the first screen you're faced with new aliens on the same backdrop. At £2.50 I suppose that you can't really complain, but I won't be adding this to my games collection.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/W left, right P/L up,down and M for fire.
Joystick: Kempston and Cursor
Keyboard play: fast, responsive and adequate
Use of colour: some attribute clash, but nice use of primary colours
Graphics: big, clear but sparse.
Sound: nice spot effects, but mostly silent
Skill levels: one
Screens: one screen which gets progressively harder
General Rating: A simplistic game, but not a bad one at that.

48%
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