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St. Bride's School
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Well, what d'you know, the ladies from St Brides have conned CRL into... sorry, have come up with a spiffing new adventure that CRL is no doubt delighted to release. Hot on the heels of The Very Big Cave Adventure, Trixie Trinian and her chums have been busy with their Quills - but you'd be hard pushed to tell this was written using The Quill. Have the Irish colleens been taking lessons from Fergus McNeill and Delta 4?

Bugsy is obviously a send-up of Melbourne House's Mugsy, but we're not getting into the trading game stakes here, it's still mainly your predictably unpredictable adventure, set in and around Chicago in 1922. There are elements of trading and strategy in it, though, which shows how versatile The Quill can be. You take the role of the rabbit, Bugsy, who's as mouthy as his cartoon counterpart Mr Bunny. He'd better be quick on the hop, though, if he's going to go round calling Al Capone a wimp. Your aim in life is to become Public Enemy Number One by working your way up from the gutter, or wherever it is rabbits live in Chicago.

There's a lovely jokey opening to the game - you have to die before you begin, though it becomes a bit of a nuisance when you have to sit through several screenfuls of it every time you die, which you do with great regularity. You begin outside Deviney's Bar, where you're always assured of a warm welcome - provided you're not a rabbit, that is. You've nothing but a pocket full of small change, and can't even raise the cash for a rail ticket out of the place to head for downtown Chicago, where the action is. There's some nice hardware for sale inside the gunsmiths, and I don't mean a Spectrum+2, but you'll need $24 at least just to get your paws on a pistol. Costumes are for hire at S20, which might help protect you from the mob in Deviney's, but how to get $20? You can try leaning on the newsboys as a start to your career in crime, and then provide a few bucks for our bucktooth hero, but within four moves you'll be arrested when the newsboy picks you out because of your goofy looks. In fact the only character who'll seemingly give you something for nothing is the barber, but how many free haircuts can one rabbit take? And you get booted out of the shop before being allowed a single input, so no chance to ask him to disguise the old whiskers and floppy ears.

Back to Deviney's Bar - no, still greeted with a hail of lead. Out to the real rough area - and a knife in the back. Try stealing a costume from the costumier, though you'll get arrested thanks to the sophisticated alarm system, just one of the many anachronisms in this game. I tried to find myself some breathing space by loading up the second part of Bugsy, which goes by the intriguing file name of Bugshity, but unfortunately it wouldn't load. Apart from that annoyance, the whole thing was the usual mix of baffle and hoot from St Brides. Try revisiting the barber, that's a good laugh, as is the description of the rough part of town where the kids are so tough that when they can't find any wood they whittle their fingers. But any advice on how to buy the ticket to board the train (nice sound effects) to downtown Chicago or New Jersey?