Virgin Games £9.99/£14.99

Long before the Turtles hit the scene the cult thing was a nutty TV show called Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Some people thought it was brilliant and some thought It was unmitigated tosh. But nobody who watched it could ever forget the six nutters who created such classic sketches as The Spanish Inquisition (which is always unexpected), The Lumberjack Song, How To Identify Trees from Quite A Long Way Away and a personal favourite, The Spam Song. But John Cleese and the team are nowhere to be seen in Virgin’s game — the star is Mr DP Gumby, the dim witted cartoon character who has literally lost his mind!

Y’see his brain has split into four parts and each has done a runner, which dashes Gumby’s hopes of becoming a chartered accountant. Until the rogue grey matter can be recaptured, that is.

The comedy starts the minute the game has loaded — the protection system is called a Cheeselock (referring to an awful protection system of years ago called Lensiock). You have to identify two types of cheese before Gumby can start his four level quest.

Armed with an unlimited supply of explosive fish, the aim on each level is to collect 16 tins of Spam before progressing onto the next level.

Creatures and oddities from the show, like the dead parrots, Eric the half bee, the minister for silly walks and the Spanish Inquistion, are in Gumby’s path and touching one drains his energy.

Gameplay is varied throughout the four levels — all offering something different. On the first level Gumby is a fish swimming around in the sewers shooting cheese to reveal Spam, and there’s a bit of puzzling involved too: shooting fish down pipes occasionally makes Spam pop out another pipe.

Level two and Gumby hops into a surreal landscape and gets on with a lot of platform action, while avoiding exploding fingernails and the like. It’s all very silly really, and it just gets worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). The last two levels involve Gumby being a bird in the sky and then being normal Gumby in a factory of sorts.

I found Monty Python’s Flying Circus to be a disappointment. I’ve been a big fan of the TV series and the spin-off films for years, but the simplistic search and collect content of the game is ultimately tiresome. On the plus side the game is graphically very pretty, the Terry Gilliam-esque backdrops fit in nicely with the weird and whacky characters. Playable in the short term Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a game that will eventually find its way to the back of the software shelf.

MARK — 74%

It’s the long awaited Monty Python’s Flying Circus, complete with dead parrots, Spam and a variety of mad characters. I was expecting much more from the game of one of the best comedy shows ever. What the programmers have done is take the cartoon style from the Monty shows and make a shoot ’em up game out of it. You walk and swim around the levels shooting characters from Monty Python sketches and collecting tins of Spam.

The characters are just what you’d expect from Monty Python, mad parking signs(!) and a host of weird creatures From Terry Gilliam’s animations. If all this isn’t weird enough for you then try getting through the Cheeselock protection system at the beginning of the game and adapting to having your score going down from 99999999 instead of up! While graphically very good the constant shooting gameplay is not enough to keep you interested for long. Sad.

NICK — 76%



An admirable job on a difficult theme: comedy on computer