GARFIELD: THE BIG, FAT HAIRY REVIEW by Piper
Now this is a game plot I can have some real sympathy with.
Forget about dashing around the universe trying to save planets
from imminent destruction, or rumaging through dark castles to
try to stop some great unpronouncable from summoning some great
unmentionable, that's much too much like hard work. And you might
not even get back in time for dinner. No, no. It seems like a
much better idea to try to eat as much as possible, sleep
whenever the opportunity presents itself, and place a well-aimed
pedal extremity in the rump of your favourite pooch whenever you
see him. Oh, and by the way, your girlfriend's been kidnapped,
and don't you think it might be a good idea to try to rescue her,
if you can find time in your busy schedule. Happy Monday.
In Big, Fat, Hairy Deal, you play the part of Garfield, Jim
Davis' famous feline creation, and your task, if you'll pardon
the use of such a harsh and unpleasant word, is to find out how
to get into the city pound where Arlene, your dearly beloved
girlfriend, has been taken for reasons best known to the
malicious god of Monday mornings.
The title screen is an excellent copy of the picture on the
package (one of those horrible if-you-dare-look-at-me-I'll-break
plastic boxes), and then you shift into the game screen proper,
the top two thirds of which gives a view of whatever place
Garfield currently finds himself as well as a very faithful
rendition of Garfield himself, if you ignore the fact that he
actually seems happy about something, not the most usual state
for him to be in. You control his movements via the joystick,
very easy to do if all you want to do is move left or right or
jump, but it gets more difficult when you want to use things
since you then have to combine joystick movements with pushing
the fire button, which tends to mean that you put down the thing
that you wanted to use, or jump around (worth doing just to see
the expression on Garfield's face) instead of entering a doorway
or turning down an alleyway.
The movement itself is excellently done, with Garfield plodding
across the screen, and Odie continually bouncing around and being
annoyingly friendly. At first, I thought that kicking Odie was
merely a pleasure (another beautifully done facial expression),
but it turns out that it's actually an essential part of the
game, as Odie tends to make you lose your grip on your food
stores, without which you are plagued by attacks of the dreaded
Munchies and you have to find something to eat quickly before the
snack attack gets too much to bear. He can also take away or mix
up any items you're carrying, shown in the bottom third of the
screen, along with messages, your food level and score. You can
carry more than one item at a time, but exactly how to do this is
not revealed in the instructions. I only found out about it
through my many collisions with Odie.
The first thing you have to do is find out what Jon's house has
to offer in the way of useful items or, preferably, food.
Checking the kitchen reveals that the fridge is locked, so no joy
there, although there is Odie's bowl lying around. Picking it up
gives you the message "Odie's bowl. Boring!!" one of the many
excellent descriptions which adds to the character of the game.
On venturing out into the wild world beyond, you'll come across
a health food shop, a butchers shop (where a string of sausages
is lying temptingly on the floor) and even a Pizza party, where
you have a chance to feed your face for a short while before
being transported down into the sewer system underground (where
the flashlight will come in pretty handy). Wandering around down
here puts you face to snout with a rather dangerous looking rat,
and you could even bump into Nermal, the world's cutest kitten.
If you already like Garfield (and if not, why not!) then you'll
probably spend the first half an hour or so just admiring the way
he's been converted to this unfamiliar format. Aside from the
problem with the joystick control, this is an excellent game and
comes highly recommended.
Review by Piper
Product: Garfield. Big, fat, hairy deal.
Price: fl. 79.90 (19.95 pounds Sterling)
Supplier: The Edge/Softek
Value for Money: 8
Available (and probably cheaper) from:
Cuddly Cactus International
1074 GN Amsterdam
Nederland Tel: 020 - 6644022
and other good retail outlets.