The name behind DELTA 4 is one Fergus McNeil. He brought you Robin of Sherlock and Bored of the Rings and now he's waylaying us with his latest offering - The Boggit, Bored Too (two, that is). Regulars to the column will remember how I enjoyed both of Fergus's earlier offerings but wondered how universally funny the jokes actually were. In The Boggit, the comic genius's talent has been trained, focused and profitably directed towards the one theme - taking The Hobbit computer game to the cleaners (although the thought of cleansing isn't quite the right analogy here)!
Everyone who has played The Hobbit will find something to laugh at here, and even Tolkien illiterates will realise something funny's going on as Bimbo struggles with supposed friend and foe alike to try and emulate the exploits of Bilbo in the original. This game is awarded a SMASH not just because it is amusing at the expense of a game and a theme familiar to everyone but due to its standing as an adventure - the game reads well, plays well, and the presentation is slick and polished to a tee.
A comfortable tunnel-like hall is Bimbo's home and there's the familiar round green door set in the middle of a very familiar picture not unlike the first frame of The Hobbit (remember how DELTA 4 mimicked Robin of Sherwood pictures in their last spoof)? OPEN CHEST and 'Bimbo.. couldn't quite see inside.' Any adventurer worth his salt will recognise a prompt to action here and so it is that the intrepid explorer clears the first hurdle, but only after dodging the very real threat posed by some glamorous milk choccies accompanied by a card and delivered at great risk. Typically the chocs are explosive and are delivered by none other than that conniving rascal Grandalf: 'Suddenly, there was a resounding crash, and Grandalf tarzaned in through the window, collapsing elegantly on the floor beside Bimbo. He hastily fumbled about in his robes for something, then placed a box of chocolates and a card carefully on the carpet before scrambling out through the now broken window'. Much longer passages than this pop up throughout the adventure and because they are so well-written add immensely to the fun and atmosphere of the game.
Assuming players can suss the combination lock on the green door and side-step the exploding chocolates they might like to explore the Boggit-hole with the super EXAMINE command. As an example of how full this adventure is let's take the toilet area which one might have assumed to be a bit of a backwater (no rude joke intended). Using this command we learn how the toilet looks a bit dubious, how the sink contains some ancient mouthwash stains, the medicine cabinet to be securely welded shut, and the floor tiles to be a bit wet but otherwise uninteresting. This is an aspect of adventuring I enjoy very much - the idea that there are many nooks and crannies to explore which may or may not have some direct bearing on the outcome of the adventure. Using the toilet gives rise to the following gem: 'Bimbo tries to make use of the toilet. Suddenly, a huge, bottle-shaped monster reared up out of the bowl and bit him horribly! 'See you soon' it gurgled unpleasantly and sank out of sight'. Before I leave this area of the adventure, a tip to those reading: if you are having difficulty with the combination and can't get out of this bit, type HELP and take the advice literally.
After meeting up with the dwarves, Bimbo is thrust into the middle of a TV quiz show, compered by Grandalf, which poses the question, 'Bimbo Faggins, we have here a 14th share of Thorny's dwarvish treasure. How much do you think it's worth?' The prize for getting this question right is not a breakfast tea service but an extended camping holiday which sounds remarkably like one of those nasty adventure quests with dragons and the ilk. But first Bimbo must get through his hangover from drinking too much dwarvish ale, and Grandalf and Thorny the Dwarf must settle their differences after an argument and fight over Grandalf's tricking Thorny's dad, Drain, out of a key and map leaving the old demented dwarf incarcerated in the necromancers' mental hospital. This imposing building can be found along with many other such sillies on the inside cover of the inlay.
No opportunity has been missed to poke fun at the Tolkien map. Old ford lies opposite a picture of a new Ford uncannily like a Ford Sierra, a new forest trunk road goes nowhere but almost reaches the municipal golf course, and even Ludlow gets a mention along with the likes of Weeble World and The Great River Anadin.
I'll leave you with the first verse of the dwarves' song ringing in your ears.
We're dwarfs, we're dwarfs, all doomed to die
We'll probably finish in the dragon's pie
So we'll take 'ol Bimbo Faggins, a real cement head
Hopefully 'ol Daug will eat him instead
Sing: Hog the gold! Pass the buck!
Split Bimbo's share between us.
: very playable but still some tricky bitsGraphics
: a few, very average, but pleasantPresentation
: neat redesigned character set, goodInput facility
: fast Quill responseGeneral Rating:
Good, witty stuff.