Dented Designs
1986
Adventure: Text
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

105
Gary Rook
Chris Bourne

Don't Panic - Panic Now! (which from now on I'm going to call DPPN) is an example of a genre of adventure game made famous by the sainted Fergus McNeil of Delta 4: that of the spoof or parody.

Indeed, one Fungus MacNaill makes an appearance in DPPN, rabbitting on about Delta 4.

Unfortunately, Dented Designs aren't half as good at it as Delta 4. In DPPN, as any fan of the four books in the Hitch-Hiker trilogy may have guessed by now, the words being parodied are those of Douglas Adams (and presumably the Infocom adventure game based on the books as well).

The whole thing has been put together with The e Quill and Illustrator, and the graphics are typically angular, although pretty good nonetheless. The game is divided into three parts, and you have to solve each preceding part to get into the next one. Why designers think this is a good idea I don't know - I think it's far more likely to put people off buying the games. Why shouldn't you solve Part 2 before Part 1 anyway?

You are Arfur Bent, your house is about to be demolished by the big yellow bulldozers, your friend Ford Popular (or is it Consul?) keeps wittering on about the end of the world... yes, you've heard it all before.

But wait! That means that the answers to the problems are the same, right? Well, no, actually. Try lying down in front of these bulldozers, and you get run over.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough originality to grab your interest.

That may seem like a strange thing to say of a parody adventure, but actually it's not enough just to twist a few ideas and make a few bad jokes. You have to work very hard at pastiches to make them funny, otherwise they get very dull, very quickly.

I think that Dented Designs would have been far better advised if it had written an entirely new plot around the same basic problems There's nothing wrong with the actual puzzles themselves. They work fine.

I can't really recommend Don't Panic - Panic Now, unless you have a long wet Saturday to fill. There's plenty of quantity, but no real meat.

Label: Dented Designs
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Gary Rook

**

Huge spoof - three full Loads - based loosely on the Hitch-Hiker's Guide. The snag is it's not all that funny.

2/5