Mermaid Madness
by Soft Design: Steve Howard, Wayne Blake, Paul Smith
Electric Dreams Software
Crash Issue 32, September 1986   (1986-08-28)   page(s) 26

Myrtle the Mermaid is in love, poor girl. To make matters worse the object of her infatuation, Gormless Gordon, is terrified of her. And who wouldn't be? She's a buxom wench to say the least. Gordon, on the other hand, is a bit of a beanpole who doesn't know when he's on to a good thing. Little does he realise that he hasn't enough oxygen to stay below the surface of the water for too long. Only Myrtle can save him!

The game starts at the quayside with Myrtle in desperate pursuit. Gordon, replete with snorkel, flippers and all, plunges into the clear blue water and is immediately lost from sight. But Myrtle is determined not to let him escape and dives in after him, her two legs transmogrified into a fishy tail as soon as she hits the briny.

The water is deceptively inviting. Sticks of dynamite which have been ignited, threaten to explode at any moment. In addition, sharks, swordfish, piranhas, jellyfish and sundry other seaside nasties patrol the waters, taking great chunks out of Myrtle's flesh whenever she bumps into them. Too many encounters and her only life is lost, leaving poor old Gordon doomed to die.

Fortunately, she can continually revitalize herself by quaffing the bottles of stout that lie scattered on the rocks below the surface. These, along with other items, are part of the cargo of a shipwreck impaled on the rocks. The amount of energy she has at any particular time is indicated by a stout bottle in the top right hand corner of the screen. As her energy is spent, the velvet black liquid in the bottle gets lower and lower.

Swimming past the shipwreck, Myrtle explores an underwater maze which appears to have no exit. Along the way, she comes across various items which she may find useful such as anchors, a tyre and a lamp. If she picks up the lamp, she can see her way through the murky caverns where her lovely Gordon might be lurking.

A pulsating heart, at the top of the screen, begins to pulsate all the more when she gets closer to him. Should she fail in her mission, then the heart, not surprisingly, breaks in two and crumble into dust. But if Myrtle does get close to her beloved, this does not always mean she can rescue him. At times, the rocks can form an effective barrier.

In her search, Myrtle discovers an underwater city, a la Atlantis, with its statues of strange Gods, the awesome remnants of a lost civilisation. But she cannot tarry there too long for the pointer on the meter, also at the top of the screen, is slowly moving. If it should reach the red zone, then all is lost. Fortunately, there are a number of air bottles scattered about which Myrtle can take to her loved one.

This game is a race against time with only Cupid and stout on your side. Can you avoid the numerous nasties and get to the luckless Gordon before his air supply runs out? Let's hope you're a good swimmer'

Control keys: A left, S right, FULL STOP down, SPACE collect or drop objects, drink bottles of stout
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: fairly responsive
Use of colour: colourful but attribute clashes and flicker
Graphics: large
Sound: below average
Skill levels: one
Screens: 30

'The Instructions for Mermaid Madness are tab: very witty and jolly, and informative, too. The game isn't quite as good. The graphics are very big, and Myrtle's boobs are a good example of the animation. Colour is a bit over-extravagant, because, though it makes the game more attractive, initially, the sprites soon start clashing, and that spoils the whole effect. The storyline is good and the game is fun to play; but though it's addictive, I can't help thinking that SOFT DESIGN could have done a little better with this one'

'Crikey! What a strange game we have here. The whole of the sea bottom is beautifully covered with lots of fishy nasties. The characters are all very large and well detailed - especially Myrtle, who is extremely well-adorned. Although the presentation is very good, I found that some characters suffered from a terrible flicker. Quite often I found that the whole game crashed if I turned up in the wrong part of the scenery when changing screens. Mermaid Madness is lots of fun, but unless you can make that breakthrough in the game then I'm afraid you may be disappointed'

'The only really appealing thing about this game is Mark Bytes' intro on the cover of the game: everything else is trite. The gameplay is slow and boring and your energy goes very quickly so high scores are quite hard to get. The graphics are poor and there are many attribute problems which really start to get on your nerves. The characters are large, undetailed and garish in colour, and the backgrounds are uninteresting. The sound is also below average - there are some spot effects during the game and a trashy tune on the title screen. I can't really recommend this one as it is, on the whole, poorly finished.'

Use of Computer62%
Getting Started65%
Addictive Qualities66%
Value for Money41%
Summary: General Rating: A colourful game with a jolly story but not very polished.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 10, October 1986   page(s) 86

Ancient conundrum what sits on the sea bed and shivers? Answer Myrtle the Mermaid, wobbliest sprite in computer games.

What meaneth Rachael? Well, pin back yer lug oles, me old mariner maties, and with a cry of "Where's me bucaneers?" (Under yer buccan 'at Ed). (Sorry, but that wasn't a real Ed's comment. Real Ed ). I'll tell you a sailor's saga of fishy females - a true mermaid s tale.

Arr-har. Myrtie babie is fullalove for a sailor by the name of Gormless Gordon, an incredible moron who's taken one look at the abundant charms of Myrtle's ample water wings, and done a runner. Well, you know what sailors are!

Into the briny dives Gordon. followed by the amorous aquatic sex symbol, who's calling. "Come on over to my plaice'" Then it's down to Davey Jones in what Electric Dreams calls an 'arcade comedy'. The inspiration is more seaside postcard than Oscar Wilde though, and it's forty fathoms from Jacques Cousteau's wettest dreams.

Down on the sand bar there are bottles of stout and Gordon's gone and gotten himself wrecked, or at least trapped in a Titanic tin tomb unless Guinness guzzling girlie Myrt, can find and free him and

Oh. enough of this nautical tosh. If the sprites were Death Ray Cruisers instead of Manta Rays, this zero gravity environment could just as well be outer space, because this is just another drippy arcade adventure all over again and apart from the fact that bits of the central character bounce in a way that Jet Set Willy never did, you've seen it a thousand times before.

There are attribute problems that make it look like the screen colour has run and every so often you get stuck on a screen edge as you try to cross into a solid chunk of rock causing a frighteningly last stroboscope display. Sudden death has seldom come more suddenly than when you collide with the denizens of the deep.

Electric Dreams has turned out a couple of reasonable offerings but this is as exciting as an electric eel with dud batteries. Apart from the buxotic pulchritude of Myrtle, a Dolly Parton of the deep, there's nothing to even make you get your toes wet.

Value For Money6/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 53, August 1986   page(s) 62

Mermaid Madness is an arcade comedy apparently. That probably means the same as 'hilarious' in PR blurb-speak. Mermaid Madness is awful.

For a start the plot is sexist. That, you may say, is taking a political line not suitable for a software review, but the idea of a mermaid called Myrtle chasing divers looking for love is in itself, moderately stupid.

Making her a fat ugly mermaid 'with the face that sank a thousands ships' who chases after a diver called Gormless Gorden is simply pathetic. Alliterations like Gormless Gorden should be strangled at birth.

To details. Myrtle is a largish yellow sprite with breasts that wobble (yes, think of that, a character on your very own Spectrum that has real naked breasts, gasp) as she swims. Aside from that her light yellow colour ensures that at times she is very difficult to see. Perhaps guessing where Myrtle is is part of the game.

Mostly it's collect the objects, find out what they are used for and don't bash into the obstacles (in this case avoid the sea creatures).

Some of the background graphics are rather clever, I quite liked the shipwreck. Others are just naff - your standard all-purpose jelly monsters. Since the sprites are large there are some psychedelic colour attribute problems and this being the sea a vast amount of the screen is blue making some of the sprites extremely difficult to see.

If this were £1.99 I could try to muster some sort of charitable remark along the lines of it being not bad except for the plot presentation and colour problems, but Electric Dreams are trying to ship it out at £9.99.

They cannot possibly be serious. The game also has, incidentally, some of the most moronic promotional copy on the blurb I've ever read.

Label: Electric Dreams
Author: Soft Design
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Summary: A failed joke. This aquatic mess should have been drowned the second after somebody thought of it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 59, September 1986   page(s) 26

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Electric Dreams
PRICE: £9.99

As an "arcade comedy" I must admit I found Mermaid Madness as amusing as a smack in the kisser with a cold kipper. Okay, I did bare my teeth at one stage a to grit them to keep on playing.

Myrte the Mermaid is looking for love in her ocean world. Gormless Gordon, a diver, has become the love of her life, but the passion is not returned.

The game starts with Gordon leaping into the sea. He swims off under a wreck to hide and goes to sleep. Myrtle has to rescue him from his potential underwater tomb and so embarks on a fairly straightforward, maze-style arcade adventure.

The graphics are colourful, the characters are cartoon-style - Myrtle herself is big, yellow and wobbles a lot. So if fat ladies - or in this case mermaids - make you smile, then Mermaid Madness could be just what your waiting for.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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