"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot!"
STE SOFTWARE REVIEW: SLEEPWALKER BY OCEAN
by Michael Noyce
"Sleepwalker" was originally released about eighteen months ago
as the official Comic Relief game with a percentage of the
profits from each game going to Comic Relief (not a bad idea!).
It has now been re-released on Ocean's budget label - The Hit
Squad. As a sucker for anything that puts the STE hardware
through its paces, and at the lower price, how could I resist?
In "Sleepwalker" you play the part of Ralph the faithful pooch
whose cute master, Lee, has the rather nasty habit of
sleepwalking. Normally he just walks around the room a couple of
times and gets back into bed, no harm done, but this time Lee
escapes out of an open window into the dark city night.
The game starts with a nice title page where Lee is seen
sleepwalking and Ralph frantically chasing him back and forth
across the screen through the word sleepwalker. The animation is
smooth and beautifully executed. There's a nice bouncy
soundtrack (in stereo of course) which changes tempo as each
character walks across the screen; slow for Lee, fast and frantic
Pressing the fire button starts the game. Hitting the space bar
enters the options screen where you can set the difficulty level
to either easy or hard, the number of attempts (lives) to three
or five (guess which one I set it to?), or select to play the
training level. This a simple level with instructions in
strategic positions telling you what to do in order to complete
it successfully. Press space to exit the options menu and start
Before the actual game gets under way though, you are treated to
a short animation showing Lee fast asleep then suddenly getting
up and sleepwalking, treading on Ralph as he does so, and
escaping out of the window followed closely by the now very much
awake Ralph. The whole thing is accompanied by the voice of
Lenny Henry as Ralph relating the story to us.
Then the game begins...
As Ralph you must guide Lee, "Lemmings" style, through the city
streets, zoo, graveyard, and construction site, making sure he
avoids the numerous hazards that could disturb his deep slumber
and awaken him - which proves fatal. Ralph has obviously been on
the Pedigree Chum, because he's as hard as nails and seems to be
able to withstand being run over, torched, electrocuted,
squashed, eaten, plus numerous other things that would have
animal lovers up in arms. There are also objects ralph needs to
avoid or dispose of, such as the dog catcher and bouncer, which
slow him down.
Ralph can also give as well as he gets though. He can bash
things with a club momentarily stunning them, kick Lee over
obstacles, push or hold him, and bridge gaps in true Superman
style allowing Lee to walk across him safely, amongst other
Should Lee awake for any reason then you lose one attempt and
restart the current level from a position close to where Lee last
awoke. When all your attempts have gone, you will start from the
beginning of the current level.
There are also items that can be collected that give
invulnerability, put Lee into an even deeper sleep and extra
attempts. In each level there are five balloons, each with a
letter on them that when collected spell B-O-N-U-S. If you have
done that, at the end of the level you will enter the bonus
This takes place on a landscape similar to the level just
completed, the object being that you have to run around and
collect as many red balloons as possible within the time limit.
Every twenty balloons collected is rewarded with an extra
attempt. There are also an extra eighty-four icons featured in
the bonus levels that when collected in the correct order, spell
out something nasty that Ralph would like to see happen to Lee.
For example, collecting PIG + EO + NS = PIGEONS. Simple, eh? If
you collect the right icons in the right order a congratulations
message will be heard. When the bonus stage is completed you
will see what happens as a result.
The graphics throughout the game are excellent. Each level
features well drawn distinctive backgrounds that scroll
effortlessly in every direction without so much as a jerk or
flicker to be seen! The characters are superbly animated too,
with a great deal of attention paid to detail and humour. The
sound is also pretty good with humourous sound FX accompanying
the action. A nice touch here is that the sound FX fade in and
out as you approach and pass its source.
"Sleepwalker" is a very slick, well polished, challenging game
that really shows off the STE. It has excellent graphics and
sound, and is both frustrating and addictive.
If you missed it first time round then buy it now because the
reduced price makes it even better value for money!
Value for money: 10
Manifest: 3 double-sided disks and 10
Hardware: 0.5Mb STE, double-sided drive,
joystick or keyboard, colour
Comment: An excellent original game!
The address to contact Ocean:
2 Castle Street
Manchester M3 4LZ
Tel. ++(44)(0)61 832 6633
Fax. ++(44)(0)61 834 0650
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.