Bob's Garden



Title           Bob's Garden
Game Type	General Action
Players		1 or 2
Compatibility	All
HD Installable  With Patch
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Review
Bob's Garden is a conversion of the classic arcade game Mr Do!. It is not
a perfect copy, for one thing the original coin-op used a vertical screen,
and, short of leaning our monitors on their side, this approach would not
have been practical. Bob's Garden actually does very well with levels that
have been adjusted to suit a horizontal format.

Now the tricky process of attempting to describe the game. The levels are
basically like very simple one-screen mazes, much like the Pac-man format.
Characters are viewed from the side, but the level itself is apparently
viewed from above, assuming that cherries don't grow deep underground,
that is - and as daft as that might sound, it all makes perfect sense once
you start playing the game. The levels are actually gardens, each with a
fair crop of cherries for you to collect, thus earning points. In the
centre of each level is an outline of a Dino (the rather cute looking
characters that will pursue you), and as play progresses a set number of
Dinos will appear from this door. While each level starts with some paths
for you to run along, the bulk of the area is solid 'garden'. Unlike the
Dinos, you can dig through the solid area, creating paths in the process
and collecting the cherries. Of course, the Dinos will happilly use these
paths too, once you've made them, so don't relax, because their touch is
death.

You are far from defenceless however, and are able to despatch the Dinos
by throwing a bouncing ball at them. Because the ball bounces along the
paths, some care is needed to ensure that it doesn't go off on a detour
missing your enemies altogether. Once the ball strikes a Dino, it is
killed and a few (often crucial) seconds later your ball is magically
returned to you. As well as cherries, suspended in the garden, are apples,
and while you can't collect them for points, they actually make an
additional weapon. Should your path go underneath an apple, after a moment
it will drop downwards, killing pretty much anything it lands on.
Additionally, if the apple doesn't drop far it will survive the fall and
block the path, providing a potentially useful barrier. You can also push
an apple along, and heave it over the edge of a vertical path, sometimes
killing multiple assailants.

Now while I said the Dinos can't dig themsleves, they can mutate into
Diggers; guess what they can do? This mutation usually takes place when a
Dino's attempts to get at you are frustrated by an obstruction of some
sort. They stop looking cute at this point and become very dangerous.

Across the top of the screen are the letters, EXTRA. One of these letters
will always be highlighted, and from time to time a kind of Super Dino,
known as an Extra, appears and chases after you, sporting the letter that
was highlighted at the moment it appeared. The Extra creature is not
phased by an apple, it just chews them up. The important thing is that if
you kill an Extra, that letter stays highlighted, and if you succed in
highlighting all the letters you gain, yes, you guessed it, an extra life.

When the last Dino appears on a level the door they emerged from
disappears, and is replaced by some form of food. If you collect this you
will force an Extra creature to appear, and this enables you to carefully
select your moment and work your way through the EXTRA letters, thus
gaining a life. The drawback to this is that after eating the food, the
Extra creature doesn't simply appear on his own he brings three friends
with him, these are know as Mr Crocs and also have no problem eating
apples. If you kill the Extra creature though, you also destroy the Mr
Crocs, and, happily, during this skirmish the Dinos are frozen.

Bobs Garden is a masterpiece. It is just about the perfect 'cute' arcade
game. It is a very simple game to play, and yet there is a surprising
amount of trickery and tactical skill that can be brought into play. It
effectively recreates the Mr Do! arcade game and while it doesn't look
identical, for my money, all the fun of the original is here. There are
little feature to enjoy in the game like the occasional appearance of the
crystal, as well as what I took for a dancing clown, but I've only seen it
once. You can carefully throw your ball through walls without actually
breaking the wall, and the arcade tunes and sound effects all seem to be
here and enhance the atmosphere perfectly. All this in a program that is
just 37K in size! Fantastic.








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