There was a time when Serge Danot's 'Magic Roundabout' was almost compulsory viewing on BBC in the late afternoon. The simple stories told in that quiet, matter of fact voice just worked. With computer game versions of telly series all the rage at the moment, it comes as no surprise to see Magic Roundabout appearing The title screen contains all the well known figures from the series like Brian the snail, Mr. McHenry, Basil, Florence, and scrolls to keep Dougal in the middle. Apart from sugar lumps, there are the familiar red trees, and of course Dougal's other friends from the enchanted garden. If he bumps into any of his friends, however, he loses a life, and after three, it's time for bed.
Control keys: A/Z up/down, N/M left/right, SPACE bark/eat sugar
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: responsive, well laid out, but positioning Dougal can be fussy
Use of colour: reasonable
Graphics: average, but characteristic of the original
Sound: very little, poor attempt at tune
Skill levels: 1
'This is a simple collect and avoid the nasties game (yes, Florence, Brian and even old Zebedee and of course the hero of the piece, Dougal. The object is to guide Dougal in his task of building a house of sugar cubes before it's time for bed. The sugar cubes dot the landscape, but the house must be built by pushing the cubes to the magic toadstool. Sugar also forms his diet (dentists take note!), and to keep his energy from falling too low, he must continually top it up with a lump. The screen only shows a small part of the total playing area, Zebedee are in the category of nasties)! The game is simple in layout, the graphics are nothiry fans but will young Roundabout them. Magic Roundabout should be in the 11's and under category.'
'How long was it since I'd last seen these characters I asked myself? It's nice to hear about them again. The task is fairly simple in this game -just build a house from sugar lumps at the toadstool. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Well I searched and searched and could I find the toadstool before (and very quickly) all three lives had gone? All graphics are large and colourful, with the characteristic red trees planted around, and all the great names like Brian, Dylan, Ermintrude, Zebedee and Florence, who float effortlessly around the screen. Sound - well the Magic Roundabout theme is there, although a little broken up. Quite a child's game. I enjoyed it, but still only an average game.'
'The graphics are nice enough, but the game fails to recall the real atmosphere of the TV series. Magic Roundabout is obviously intended to appeal to children, and no doubt it will, although I think there isn't enough playability in the game. Children who use computers are remarkably sophisticated in their needs when it comes to interactive games. I also found the inlay instructions misleading, because I failed to find a toadstool or a train anywhere - a child might give up more quickly.'
|Use of Computer||58%|
|Value For Money||45%|
In The Magic Roundabout, from CRL, Dougal and the gang are still playing om the Magic Garden where Dougal's aim is to build a house of sugar before bedtime. He has to collect lumps of sugar dotted around the garden and dump them at the Magic Mushroom - resembling a deformed flower - where a train will appear to transport them to his house.
Sprite characters make up the graphics and although they are a faithful copy of the original characters the movements are slow and jerky.
Not a game to start the adrenalin flowing - in fact it will continue to course sluggishly through your veins - it is great nevertheless to see that Dougal and friends are still around, even if they have been incarcerated in RAM for posterity.
Joystick: Protek, Kempston, AGF
MACHINE: Spectrum 48k
Dougal was in the Enchanted Garden of The Magic Roundabout. As always, he was trying to find some sugar lumps to eat, which someone had scattered over the ground.
"Look", said Dougal. "Someone's left all this sugar around. It's just what I need to keep my strength up while I'm trying to build my house."
Brian arrived. "Hello Dougal", he said. 'Hello Brian", said Dougal. "Don't touch me", said Brian, "or you'll lose a life. That's what happens in these computer games," "Pardon'?", said Dougal. "Do you mean that I can't touch anything that moves?" "Got it in one", said Brian.
Mr McHenry shot past on his trike. "Can't touch me either", he panted. Ermintrude appeared, "Well, hello dears", she said "I hope you're all enjoying the game. Whoever drew me is pretty good with computer graphics."
Dylan arrived, "Hey man, what's all this excitement?", he said. "Can't I get back to sleep?" Dougal appeared. "I don't know why you're so happy", he said to Ermintrude "you may have been drawn well but I look like a loo brush. And the screen scrolling is awful. Now, if you'll excuse me I've got a house build. And I'm almost out of sugar."
Florence appeared. "Hello everyone", said Florence. "Hello Florence", said Dougal. "Are you in this game as well?" "Yes", said Florence. "Seems we all are."
"I told CRL that I could have done some better sound effects for this game", said Dylan, "but they wouldn't listen. Now hear what they've done to it. It's awful."
"Bother! ", said Dougal, rushing past, "I'm out of sugar and I've used up all my lives. I bet the game will end now."
He heard a springing sound, and looked up. "Time for bed", said Zebedee.
Dougal's dreams have come true. Sugar has been scattered over the Magic Garden. So much sugar, in fact, that Dougal has decided to build himself a little sugar house.
He collects the sugar together before others in the garden can eat it, avoids touching the others, and then moves on to the next level. As the game becomes harder, the other characters begin to eat the sugar faster, and the only way to keep enough of it is to load it onto the train.
A non-violent game, this, for Dougal never dies, although he will be sent to bed if he bumps into other characters or does not eat enough sugar to keep him awake.
Problems with the games, are the graphics, which blur into each other as two characters meet, the erratic movement of all characters except Dougal, and the sound, which produces an excruciatingly slow rendition of the Magic Roundabout theme tune.
Produced for the 48K Spectrum by CRL, 9 Kings Yard, Carpenters Road, London E15.
Twee little game in which Dougal must build a house before it is time for bed. He does this by pushing sugar lumps around and occasionally eating them to keep his strength up. Dylan the Rabbit and the other magic garden types hurt Dougal's nose if he bumps into them. Good idea, but could have been implemented much better.
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