Spiky Harold

Reviewed by Jim Short

 

Issue 27

May/Jun 87

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Firebird

1.99
48K cassette only
1 player

1 joystick

 

 

 

 


A hedgehog is not the most exotic creature to base a computer game on. The Welsh turn them into crisps and lorry drivers turn them into 'hedgehog sandwiches', but Firebird have decided to turn them - or one of them at least - into a computer hero. Surprisingly enough Harold turns out to be quite a cute little dude.


You must help our spiky friend to prepare for hibernation by guiding him through the 57 chambers beneath the hedgerow in search of food. Various creepie-crawlies must be avoided, as well as conkers, sulphur clouds, bouncing balls and peeping periscopes (eh?).


The graphics are fresh and lively with an uncommonly sensible use of colour - all lethal objects are coloured brilliant white to distinguish them from the background scenery, food, and other 'safe' objects. The screens are re-drawn quickly and neatly as Harold moves from one location to the next and the animation is tidy and flicker-free as it always should be on the Atari. The realistic movement of the flying wasps warrants a mention as it is particularly impressive. In fact, the overall quality of the program is astounding and I can't understand how they do it at these prices. I'm not complaining though!


Progressing through each location requires perfect timing and a great deal of patience (keep a swear-box handy). Definitely for the connoisseurs this one and the degree of difficulty is such that a hefty 30 lives are allotted at the start of every game and further lives are gained by collecting coins which can be found in random locations. Harold can also collect wine glasses which make him drunk. This has the effect of reversing the joystick control for a short while. Even so, progress is painfully slow at the best of times.


Firebird have gone back to their roots with an enjoyable game in the style of their early efforts which pioneered their 'budget' label. WARHAWK put them on top of the Atari budget league. SPIKY HAROLD will ensure that they stay there.

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