Fancy getting plastered all over a garden hedge, drowned in a river or completely lost within a vast and hostile maze? Alan Green’s a bit of a closet masochist so he ‘volunteered’ to enter the labyrinth and check it all out...
Cripes, the very thought of negotiating any sort of maze makes me go all weak at the knees (not to mention the head, but that’s nothing new — Ed). I have enough trouble finding my way back from the toilet to my CRASH desk let alone navigating some immense version of Hampton Court gardens (that explains the soggy chair —Ed)!
In Splat!, the aim’s to explore, survive and eat grass. Sounds like a Sixties’ hippy in search of true liberation to me, but that’s what you, as Zippy, have to do.
You trundle around the maze, dodging all sorts of trouble and grazing on the patches of lunch, green grass. No, you’re not a cow, but Zippy sure ain’t gonna win on the beauty stakes — he’s just a cross! Not a lot out of ten for inspiration, methinks.
DIFFERENT MACHINE, SAME GAME
The maze isn’t exactly ordinary — hedges and walls automatically scroll as you play. And they’re nasty, too, ’cos if Zippy touches one, it’s SPLAT! — one dead cross (crucifying stuff, eh?). There are also spikes, running rivers and all kinds of other obstacles to avoid.
Grass keeps the little chap going but for nutritional variety there’s the odd plum scattered here and there (I reckon he gets a better diet than our Pot Noodle-chomping CRASH crew).
Seasoned Speccy owners will remember Zippy’s exploits from the original. It’s so old CRASH wasn’t around when it was released (we’re talking prehistoric!) but was considered a right royal corker for its time. This version, many years later and on a vastly superior machine (don’t gloat, SAM owners!), is unfortunately pretty much the same.
Aside from Zippy’s lack of charisma, the rest of Splat! is also fairly dull. All the ‘action’ is depicted in a regressively crude blocky manner, and I’ve seen a more exciting choice of colours on an ancient Binatone console!
TERRIBLE LOOKS, GOOD GAMEPLAY
The randomly scrolling maze moves about as smoothly as a grasshopper, jumping from one position to the next in a frenzy of unpredictable movement. It’s so hard to keep your attention on this migraine of a screen you’ll probably get splatted in no time at all.
The SAM version has a wistful little ditty that plays away to all this graphic mess, plus there’s a snipped of digitised speech, but it’s only Zippy going ‘Yippee!’ at the end of each level.
That said, it can be quite addictive. You’ve really got to think fast if you want to survive all seven levels and escape from this vicious place.
At the end of the day, I’d try and get hold of the old Speccy one — it’s just as good and plenty cheaper.
ALAN — 60%