Bob's Bad Day (Second Review)



Title           Bob's Bad Day (Second Review)
Game Type	General Action
Company		The Dome/Psygnosis (1993)
Players		1
Compatibility	1 Mb
HD Installable  Yes (With Patch)
Submission	Martin Smith Profiled Reviewer

Review
The reason why Bob's having a bad day is that his head has become detached
from his body, and they've been hurtled off into different places. To
retrieve his body, he must progress through 50 levels, then a further 50
to escape before he can be put back together.

The gameplay involves your character being on a rotating landscape with a
set number of coins placed all over it. By rotating the joystick you move
the landscape so that Bob moves over all the coins and finds the exit.
(Contrary to the other review, the character rotating clockwise when you
move the joystick to the right is accurate - when you spin something to
the right, objects inside it will spin to the left, as physics dictate).

The levels include many spikes, contact with which causes the loss of
coins; if you have no coins when you make contact, it's game over. Some
level designs are fiendish, with lots of corridors and alleyways,
teleports, and bricks to break through (by building up enough momentum).

There are a host of special 'power-ups' across the level as well. The
simplest ones (and the first ones you will meet) change the direction of
gravity, causing your character to automatically 'fall' to the left when
not in motion. Others include a sticky mode where Bob stops bouncing
(unless you press the fire button), a heavier-bounce mode, and a very
useful one allowing you to 'thrust' Bob around, ideal for reaching
precariously placed coins (the less said about his facial expression while
this is active the better; let’s just say he's missing his body, but isn't
dead from the waist down).

Once you reach level 51 a further twist is added - Bob's body starts in a
separate part of the level, and this must also be coaxed to the exit. The
view always centres on Bob's head, even once this is in the exit, so you
have to use the scanner alone to guide the body across - knowing that a
move which benefits one can drag the other off course.

I'm sorry to take advantage of poor Bob, but his bad day has led to
several good ones for Martin. The game's concept is so brilliantly
original, the level designs mostly astute and surprising (although there
are one or two ‘pea-roller’levels that are far too easy for their
position in the game, that it draws you in straight away and doesn’t let
go.

Adding enemies (which can pick up coins and destroy spikes themselves,
which can be useful in preventing you from having to access awkward
sections of the level, but reduces the amount of coins available to
collect as a safeguard in case you do make contact) as well as the head
later on, ensures that the game retains variety as you go on, as does the
use of different backgrounds and music, ranging from bright and jolly to
aggressive and edgy. There are passwords for each level, although for
scoring purposes you only get one life, so the score is assessed on how
many consecutive levels you complete without any failures.

The structure sees you drawn in gradually, with the various power-ups
introduced by way of a text box describing them (some of which are rather
neat, in particular "no bouncing just rolling"’ would make a great album
title, and "springy mode Boiiiing" has a great childlike charm), and the
early sets of levels often having similar but subtly-different layouts.
Visually its up to the task, with the rotating and spinning effects
unusual for the A500, and the design being suitably friendly. A forgotten
classic.

Overall 90%



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