REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Round the Bend!
by John Carlyle, David Sanders, David Sowerby, Gareth J. Briggs
Impulze
1991
Crash Issue 95, January 1992   (1991-12-27)   page(s) 62

HANDS UP WHO WATCHES KIDS' TV? IF YOU DO YOU'LL KNOW DOC CROC AND HIS PALS, THOSE CRAZY CHARACTERS OF THE SEWERS. WE SENT NICK ROBERTS DOWN A MANHOLE FOR THE DAY TO DISCOVER IF HE REALLY IS ROUND THE BEND. (WE CERTAINLY DIDN'T NEED TO SEND HIM AWAY FOR THAT! - ED.)

'Doc, Doc, what are you doin' back here?' 'Marty, you've got to come back to the future with me! It's your kids, Marty…!' Whoops, sorry, that's the wrong Doc isn't it? (Oh God! He's gone off his head already! - Ed).

Let me see… Oh yes. Doc Croc's the healer in this story, acrazy crocodile who runs a comic company and accidentally blows up the new video printing press invented by artist Lou Brush. Retrieve the press fragments and comic pages with the help of Jemima Wellington-Green and Vaudeville Vince Vermin (isn't this bizarre?).

They begin in Doc Croc's office, all the team assembled and raring to go. They venture into the sewers to rescue the pieces of comic, avoiding deadly bats, cans and ninja teddies - y'know, the usual things you find down sewers! Collision with any nasties sends the weirdo heroes straight back to the office in disgrace.

COMIC CAPERS
If they find a comic page, enter it and search for the punchline (we could do with a few of those in the CRASH office - Ed). Each character has unique comic pages - some of them well weird - which can trigger of their specialist skills. The include 'Jon Potato's Newsround', 'Kenny McTickle and his Magic Kily' and 'The False Teeth Versus Atomic Banana'. Wacky of what! Fans of the TV series will recognise the characters festering in these pages.

The team's worst enemy is time. If they can't find the comic pages before the deadlone it's Game Over. Flippin' deadlines, they're a right killer aren't they? (When have you ever stuck to 'em, Nicko - Ed.)

MORE NUTS THAN A TOPIC!
Round the Bend shouldn't be a full price game. It looks and plays like a budget release, making you wonder whether there was a mix up at Zeppelin. The TV characters are well drawn and animated but the colour's a bit drab, most of the game in monochrome. Jumping through the sewers dodging the enemies soon gets boring, too.

But you won't complete Round The Bend in a hurry. There are lots of pieces of the press to collect and the comic pages break up the monotony of the sewer sections. The strict time limit ensures you can't sit back to admire the scenery, though.

Not bad, bit I expect much more in a full price game.

NICK … 68%


'I've watched the TV programme a couple of times, although I'd no idea what was going on. Round The Bend is very aptly named, it's totally potty race through sewers filled with creatures from the worst anchovy pizza-induced nightmare imaginable. The graphics are monochrome but Doc Croc and Co are readily identifiable. The main reason the game drove me 'round the bend' is the dratted meanies who take pixel-perfect timing and great patience to pass. I never managed to get more than seven or eight screens into the game because the darn opponents take their job so seriously. This is a great shame because on first play Round The Bend shows potential, but nothing turns me off a game faster than tough gameplay (girl's blouse - Ed).'
MARK … 72%

Presentation77%
Graphics73%
Sound72%
Playability67%
Addictivity67%
Overall70%
Summary: Nice graphics, shame about the gameplay.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 73, January 1992   page(s) 21

Gosh, I'm just so busy putting Your Sinclair together, month in and month out, that I never get to watch anything on TV. It's a real bummer. By the time I get in, all that's on is Newsnight or Prisoner. So you'll understand when I say that I've never seen Round The Bend on ITV.

This is a bit of a shame 'cos it seems to be the weirdest thing out. And you know me - I like a bit of weirdness. Just last week, for example, I saw a parrot disguised as a golden retriever swimming across the River Avon. (That is weird. Ed) Anyway, back to Round The Bend. Apparently Doc Croc, the editor of a comic, has blown up the printing press and all the bits have ended up in the sewer. Lou Brush (where do they get these names from?) has got to round up the guys, and get them to collect all the pieces. Yep, it's a mad race-against-time jobbie.

Using arrows, you've got to select a drain and a character, then it's time to set off into the depths of the sewers. It's a standard underground platformer (except that the platforms are covered in poo). As you'd expect, there are things to avoid, jump over and rush past. Collision detection is good and this part of the game is tough and demanding, but you'll always want to have just one more go. As you get further into the game, it naturally gets tougher. Bats, owls or something fly at you, forcing you to move pretty sharpish. Tricky stuff.

After a while you'll come across bits of the printing press and smart punchline-collection sub-games to beat. These are single screenies and the general idea is to get your character from top left to bottom right along a load of levels whilst avoiding whatever happens to be bouncing around. As you move to the right of the screen on each platform level, you appear on the one below. Y'see, you sort of go down in steps. So although you're on one screen, you've got quite a bit of walking and avoiding to do. Sounds a bit boring, doesn't it Spec-chums? Well, that's 'cos it often is, what with all that walking and avoiding to do. Never mind, at least it makes a change from all those smelly sewery bits (there's no poo, for a start).

What else? Oh yes, there's something incredibly disturbing called John Potato's Newsround. Every time you complete a page, John Potato appears and gives you a few bonus points. Strangely, he doesn't look even slightly like John Craven, who I suppose it's meant to be. It just looks like a Potato. It's enough to make a grown man weep.

To be fair, Round The Bend is strange but certainly fun for the most part. It's big enough to keep you playing for ages, it's not too difficult and it looks nice, even if it is a bit monochromey. Come to think of it, I wish there was a bit more colour around. It really does make a difference you know. Are you listening. Zeppelin? Apart from that gripette the game also tacks that indefinable something that makes certain games classics and worthy of the green felt Megagame hat. But (almost) full marks for such a weird game anyway, dudes - there's some good, decent and honest silliness in there. Right, I'm off to lick the road clean outside a windmill factory. (Off you go then. Ed)


Life Expectancy76%
Instant Appeal73%
Graphics74%
Addictiveness72%
Overall74%
Summary: Way out wacky fun with people on telly you've never seen. Well, I've never seen them and I'm the reviewer. So there.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 85, January 1993   page(s) 44

Originally released under the moniker Round the Bend, this was a tie-in with the children's television series of the same name. Quite why Zeppelin have decided to change the name is beyond me. The only reason I can think of is that it sounds more trendy, but then again the word outrageous isn't really that amazing. Maybe it's not on telly anymore. (That's it! Jon)

Doc Croc is the editor of a comic and his video printing press has blown up, scattering the pieces and the pages of the comic all around the sewer. Oh yes, all this takes place in the sewers. Lou Brush sets off to look for the pieces of machinery whilst Doc Croc, Jemima Wellington-Green and Vaudeville Vince Vermin (ahem!) search out their pages and punchlines. The idea is to get each character to collect his or her own pages, enter them, find the punchline and return them to the office. All this has to be done within a certain time limit so, with four characters to control, there's no time to lose. In practice, this is all a lot more difficult than it sounds. All the characters and tunnels make it very confusing, but the main flaw of the game is that it doesn't really pull you in at all. You make a character tumble into the sewer, shrug your shoulders and go and see about another character.

This isn't right! When you lose your croc you should despair and wring your hands. But in Doc Croc's Outrageous Adventure, you simply don't care. It's not a bad game at all, it just doesn't have that something that really draws you into a game. The graphics are clear enough and the gameplay's pretty standard jump-onto-the platforms-and-avoid-the-nasties stuff but quite enjoyable. It's not that there's anything really wrong with the game, Doc Croc's Outrageous Adventures is just, like, okay.


Overall69%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 119, January 1992   page(s) 28

Round the Bend as a children's TV series is certainly entertaining and more than a little wacky. Unfortunately the only wacky thing about this computer game is when you whacky the joystick offy the wall in sheer frustration!

Round the bend's characters are Doc Croc, publisher and editor of the RTB comic, Lou Brush, the artist, Jemima Wellington-Green and Vince Vermin, fluffy teenage terrors. As the sprites are either rodents or a crocodile the game, rather aptly, lakes place in a sewer (watch out for gutter humour).

Lou has invented a new printing press which has inexplicably been blown up by Doc Croc along with an entire issue of their comic (eek!). Our furry heroes must recover the parts of the printing press and the missing comic pages before the printing deadline elapses. Strikes me that the game should have been called SU Crew as we seem to go through this problem every month, the only difference being that our 'old croc' is known as Doc Sumpter.

Round the bend is difficult to play mainly because the control is slow and the background screens are too cluttered to allow accurate judgement of your character's movements. Unfortunately the plot isn't too inspiring either and I can't understand why each sprite makes an unfunny farting sound as he or she jumps. Not what I call riveting entertainment.

Label: Impulze
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £10.99 Tape, £15.99 Disk
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes


GARTH: A pile of old croc's droppings. I've had more fun racing slippery kippers along a tight rope. What are you doing Zeppelin?

Graphics57%
Sound53%
Playability51%
Lastability61%
Overall48%
Summary: Not Turtles, not Gremlins, not even Noddy goes to Toytown, in the Garthmobile. This game had potential but none of it was realised. Only get it if you like being frustrated.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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