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I haven't seen a game as unplayable as this for some time now, and I'm really surprised that US Gold have lowered their standards and have released such a bad game as this. The graphics and sound are extremely poor, with little animation and awful poops, booms and jingles, but as for the gameplay!?! Playing it is incredibly difficult because of the fiddly control, the pixel-perfect manoeuvres required and the horrendous odds stacked against you. Two-player mode is a joke -- one-player takes control of the doughboy and the other the rockets and tanks. When player two fires a rocket, or even presses the fire button, player one can't move his man; consequently every rocket launched by player two finds its target, giving player one no chance. Getting through the six screens and rescuing the president is incredibly difficult, even with two players acting as a team! And to think,
Summer Games II is the same price . . . !

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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!
Doughboy
1984 Synapse Software
Programmed by Ken Coates
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the seventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (November 1985).
 

DOUGHBOY
US Gold/Synapse, 9.95 cass, 14.95 disk, joystick only


Doughboy from Synapse via US Gold hands you the responsibility of rescuing the President who is being held prisoner behind enemy lines. But first you must travel through five screens of war-ravaged landscape.

The way to clear each screen is to collect a key. The key is on the right hand side and you start on the left. In between (surprise, surprise) are various obstacles, getting harder and harder to pass as the game progress. To help get you past the various foes, the standard piece of equipment is a gun that may be fired in the direction of travel. The enemy is also armed with similar weapons and they have an unpleasant tendency to fire at you as soon as they get you in their gunsights. However, there are rocks, trees and trenches to use as shelter.

Killing the enemy is quite easy since they perish if you touch them and the pistol is just as effective. Also trying to get you is a guided missile on the far right hand side of the screen. It innocently moves up and down until it has matched up with you horizontally, at which point the program gives a short warning sound and launches it. If there are no trenches to hide in then you have to blast it with your gun. It would be wise not to leave it too late, as you can perish in the resulting explosion.

Whilst travelling through the game towards the final screen, it is necessary to pick up certain objects so that you can get past obstacles that appear later on in the game. On the first screen you can collect ladders, TNT an dynamite. To collect them pass Doughboy over the object you want to pick up.

As you progress through the screens, the routes to collect the keys become more and more awkward. On the second screen there is a network of canals which prove deadly if you are unfortunate enough to fall into one. Positioned around these waterways are radar emplacements which may be used in an unusual manner; if you wait in front of one until a guided missile is launched at you and then blow it up just as it is about to fly past a radar emplacement, the resulting blast causes the radar tower to fall over and make a handy little bridge!

On the final screen night has fallen and the only illumination is from the prison searchlights. Given this meagre view of the scene, you must blow up various emplacements and succeed in freeing the President. Once you have, he needs to be guided back to home territory past mines and mortars.

Included in the game is a two-player mode where player two has control over the guided missile. The program only lets one person move at once, so it becomes a real battle over joystick control.

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Synapse, sorry Synsoft, haven't produced anything worthy of mention for some time now.
Doughboy falls into this category and quite possibly qualifies as one of the worst games yet released by US Gold. As a one-player game it is incredibly difficult and frustrating to play, but as a two-player game . . . I think Gary Liddon and Julian have commented enough on the matter already! The graphics are small, rather crude, poorly animated and got me reminiscing about the good old days with my VIC 20. The sound wasn't much better, with a couple of short tunes and few, unimaginative FX. Doughboy doesn't stand up too well as a budget release, let alone a standard one, and it makes me wonder why US Gold bothered in the first place.
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Doughboy seems to be very dated and must have been available in the States for quite a while. Even the title credits its appearance as being 1984. The graphics are dated and the animation is awkward -- the hero being a small figure with a maximum of three animation frames. Even though the box depicts

a first World War

     

scene, I found myself bombing radar emplacements and avoiding guided missiles -- seems out of place? In two-player mode the game became quite unplayable. Even though both players compete at once through two joysticks, if one player is moving the program can't cope when the other person tries to move, and then you're stuck. The only real way of using two-player mode is to play as team so you can see the final screen. I'd honestly place this as one of the worst US Gold games to date. Software of a far superior quality in both gameplay and graphics is available through various other companies' budget ranges.
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Presentation 72%

A couple of options and a bearable intro screen.

Graphics 36%
Small, virtually inanimate figures and poor backdrops.

Sound 39%
Weak sound effects and tunes
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Hookability 33%
Incredibly unplayable and frustrating . . .

Lastability 17%
. . . and frustrating . . . and frustrating . . .

Value For Money 15%
Ridiculously over-priced and over here.

Overall 18%
US Gold's worst Atlantic crossing yet -- should have sunk on the way over.
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Can anyone rip the SID-tune out of this one?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (16 Aug 2003)

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