48K cassette only
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
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.