I was jolly pleased when I received this compilation as I'm a big fan of the original Hanna-Barbera television cartoons, even though they did give todays companies an excuse to have shows consisting of people standing around blinking. In fact, I'm really looking forward to the review! They do say there's a first time for everything. (You're fired. Ed)
Did you know that the BBC still insists on calling this show Boss Cat even though the makers of Top Cat cat food have gone bust, or changed their name to Garfield Munchies, or something? Fascinating, eh? Ah well, onto the game itself. The plot is actually rather interesting, with wily old TC offering Benny the Ball to a millionaire as his missing heir, unaware that the scheming butler and his smirking dog have their eyes on the legacy as well. Seizing both their chance and Benny, the two spirit him away to a place of ingenious concealment in an effort to thwart TC's plan. Rightly indignant, and pausing only to round up the rest of his gang (Choo Choo, Spook, Fancy, Brain, Spam, Sleepy, Doc, Rik, Vyvyan and Spam), this Bilko of the back-alley dustbins sets out to save the day. Graphics throughout are spot on, the characters are instantly recognisable, the backgrounds smartly coloured, and TC himself doesn't walk, he strolls. Nonchalantly.
The game though is something else. It's a flip-screen collect-'em-up affair, with keys to grab and nasties to dodge, and it has all the playability and addictive qualities of the embarassingly similar Yogi Bear And Friends in The Greed Monster. In short, the kind of game you could forget to load and not even notice.
HONG KONG PHOOEY
The pooch who does for kung fu what Jacques Clousseau did for Karate, Hong Kong Phooey battles crime with a steely heart and a stony head. In the game, a particularly ridiculous baddy has escaped from prison, and our hero has been called in to fetch him back. No doubt you'll be delighted to learn this isn't a maze game; it's a scrolling beat-'em-up with overtones of Robocop, as well-drawn sprites knock knock each other off walkways. The trouble is, there's no variety to the gameplay, and while the playing area is commendably large, the difficulty level is much too high. Henchmen and spike traps are everywhere, with each mistake costing you whopping chunks of energy. A pity, as it means the initial playability is quickly beaten down by frustration. Aw, Phooey.
YOGI'S GREAT ESCAPE
From the cartoon co-starring Boo Boo and Donald Pleasance, this game charts the adventures of the brainy bruin after he discovers Jellystone Park is to close. Deciding to have it away on his toes rather than be banged up in a zoo, Yogi stuffs his faithful compatriot into a pic-er-nic basket and dashes off through six levels of magnificent countryside. Dogging his heels are dogs (natch). hunters, Ranger Smith and Richard Gibson as the hilarious German officer. (Now you're just being silly. Ed). A dandy little scrolling platform game, Yogi's Great Escape is full of moving ledges, optimistic leaps into thin air and hidden bonuses. It's a Brucie! (You know, "good game, good game"... oh, never mind.)
RUFF AND REDDY
Famous as both Hanna-Barbera's first foray into TV animation and as one of the few cartoon double-acts who were pals, Ruff and Reddy have now all but vanished from memory. What a shame. In the game, with a plot taken from their very first show (I think), you play Ruff (an orange kitten with a bow-tie) who's managed to crash-land the space rocket both you and Reddy (a big white dog) have stowed away upon. A group of aliens are holding onto Reddy until you save some of their number who have been kidnapped by another bunch of extraterrestrials. (Crikey, no wonder people don't remember these cartoons.) What it all boils down to is a platform game suspiciously like Yogi's Great Escape in style, with more than a hint of Top Cat in the graphics (Ruff ambles along in exactly the same way as TC). Unlike Yogi however, this is decidedly average, not terribly exciting and with confusing flip-screen presentation. Rough and weedy.
None of the game have any of the cartoons' atmosphere, Yogi's Great Escape is good fun but has virtually nothing to do with the character himself. They fail miserably in recognising the potential of the licences; the 1960s HannaBarbera cartoons may have had limited animation, but they were hammed with gags and ideas. This compilation is just the opposite; the graphics are uniformly excellent, but there's no attempt to be innovative and, for the most part, no content to the games. Insultingly poor.
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