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  Preview and
review by
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(The White Wizard)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Bugsy
1986 CRL (Computer Rentals Limited)
By Priscilla Langridge
 
Most text of the present article comes from the preview published in the twentieth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: November 13th, 1986) and the review published in the twenty first issue (street date: December 10th, 1986).
 

Do you have a version with the loading screen?

 

BUGSY
St Brides/CRL
 

ugsy is a big bad blue rabbit who brazens his way round Chicago trying to take over control from the mobs. He has a good line in Mickey Spillane-type prose, as in 'The kids round here are so tough that when they can't find any wood they whittle their fingers' and he is the main character in this latest Quill-ustrated effort from Priscilla Langridge and her team in Ireland.


St Brides and the Quill have together produced some rather original titles during their association. The Secret of St Brides was quite novel as you wrestled with time-distortion and mesmerism in St Brides School. The Snow Queen was a wonderfully romantic idea that, in my view, should never have been released as a commercial proposition, but was still rather 'nice' in a quaint way.

The Very Big Cave Adventure, however, showed a developing sense of what was commercially, rather than artistically, desirable and finally Bugsy makes an even better bid for mass sales, featuring guns, gangsters, and a lot of good ol' murder and mayhem.

With its Phillip Marlow/US Gangster images, the result might have been something like that excellent game Borrowed Time from Activision, were it not for the fact that (a) the hero is a rabbit and (b) the shortcomings of the Quill system. The first point injects a reasonable amount of humour into the project, the second robs it of any chance to shine technically or to compete with more state-of-the-art adventures that have powerful parsers and gi-normous vocabularies.

The fact is that St Brides now have the design ideas to produce some really good games, but the Quill isn't able to provide a powerful enough framework for those ideas. The standardised display, poor parser, small space for vocabulary and lack of true interactive character handling, all limit a good game.

There was a time when I praised the Quill for bringing out the adventurer in us all. It was indeed an excellent tool for bringing adventuring to the masses, and it will remain an excellent tool for home use. But commercially, I feel, the tide has turned and from now on I reckon that this traditional adventure style is stifling us writers, not supporting us.

Since I only got a demo of Bugsy I can't really give you a full review. The descriptions are amusing, the plot twists that I saw original, and the game idea well-worn but still quite exciting. But after playing games like Borrowed Time and Leather Goddesses, I felt that I had been thrown back two years. The pictures are pretty but they don't draw instantly, the screen format is sufficient but not excitingly different, the parser is highly competent but not stunning. The game, in other words, although brand new, is looking as old as the system that was used to write it.

St Brides should either get themselves a professional programming team to devise a system that can so justice to their originality, or be resigned to dwindling sales and popularity in the face of newer, more powerful programs. Meanwhile if Bugsy goes far, it will be on the strength of CRL's marketing and not much else.

 

BUGSY
CRL (St Brides), 7.95 cassette
 

ugsy is the latest in St Bride's long series of tongue in cheek adventure games. It puts you in the title role -- the unlikely situation of a Rabbit with a bad Bronx accent who tries to take over the Chicago mobs and become Public Enemy Number One. If that isn't unlikely enough, our hero begins the adventure by dying. Magic is real alright, but the powers of rejuvenation demonstrated by the St Brides girls leave little to be desired.


Enough of this! The game is packaged in a medium format cassette case and is reasonably presented. It's Quilled with graphics taking up the top third of the screen. However, game appeal is heightened somewhat by a modification of the system that allows conversations to be carried out between yourself and various other characters. 'Speak to . . . ' gives you access to a menu of vocal options, each obtainable by a single keypress. The options vary from sweet talking lines to outright threats. The ensuing conversations is displayed in the area below.

The process is limited of course, with no depth to the exchanges but at least you can do more than say 'Hello'. But the conversations do release the player from the all too familiar restrictions of the utility from time to time. Unfortunately, this feature -- coupled with the 'death' routine -- strives to make an otherwise average game something more. The game itself is always on the verge of becoming really good, but never quite makes it. And for the first time in quite a while, I think the faults can largely be blamed on The Quill itself.

The game begins in a small network of streets in downtown Chicago. Each street has at least one accessible location, the puzzle is to visit the right locations at the right time. That way money, hoods and other useful tools can be acquired in order to progress your career. Status is as important as anything else in a life of crime, so putting wealth and power to decadent use is also a vital part of the game. Being a rabbit does have its disadvantages though; not least of which is prejudice.

An atmospheric feature that serves the game well is the narrative. The whole of the adventure is described from Bugsy's point of view and in his accent. The result is a conversational and often funny style that clearly spells out the off-beat nature of the game. Otherwise the plot is very linear and appears to offer little to those who might want to stray from the main plotline for a while.

The game is multi-load format so there's likely to be an expanse I haven't yet seen. There don't appear to be any bugs worth mentioning either. Despite that, the game lacks something. Excitement. Funny, yes. Compelling? Not really. After a while, the laughter fades to a smile and then the smile fades . . . The price it a bit steep as well. Eight pounds is definitely the most you could ask for the game. I think it would fare far better as a budget game. A shame, but then you can't win all the time.

 
Atmosphere 62%
Interaction 57%
Lasting Interest 53%

Value for Money

54%

Overall

56%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (29 Jan 2005)

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