Number 221B Baker Street is home to TWO great detectives. Upstairs with pipe, violin and Doctor Watson is Sherlock Holmes. Down in the basement is Basil, Mouse Detective. His mission is to find his friend, Doctor Dawson, kidnapped by the evil Professor Ratigan in this licence from the Walt Disney film.
Basil starts in one of London's seedy waterfront districts. By clambering through letter boxes, he can enter houses, to scuttle beneath, around and over furniture, climb short flights of stairs, clamber on top of crates and leap from shelf to shelf, earning points by completing a screen.
Jars, crates, sacks and carpetbags often conceal clues, such as a gun, a letter, locks and keys, which can be examined by our rodent hero. If a hidden object is revealed it appears in the great mouse's magnifying glass at the side of the screen, and if Basil considers the clue helpful enough he can pick it up and carry it. But not even a master mouse's pockets are bottomless.
And the cunning Ratigan has left eight false clues; Basil can't discover which are real and which aren't till he's filled five icon clue boxes.
Ratigan's henchmen are out to do the smart mouse down, too, though Basil can restore his vital get-up-and-go by nibbling at the pieces of cheese some friend of law and order has left lying around.
And he can collect mousetraps, dropping them in the pathway of his foes to pin them out of mischief.
Once Basil has gathered all he needs from the river area, he moves on to the sewers of Old London town. If the tiny 'tec manages to battle his way through these subterranean darknesses he can at last confront Ratigan himself and rescue the rodent Dawson.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: attractive, cartoony
Sound: poor title tune
'I doubt Basil The Great Mouse Detective will be very addictive, even if you can identify all the Walt Disney characters. And perhaps there are too many screens for very young players to manage - so who's it aimed at?'
BYM ... 68%
'With all those Walt Disney films on Christmas TV this'll make the ideal present for any little child's stocking. The characters are very Walt Disneyesque, though the wiry graphics aren't as attractive as they could have been. It's also sad to hear such a bad title tune. Still, the concept of the game is appropriately simple for its young market - though that doesn't mean anyone will find it easy to complete.'
PAUL ... 78%
Oh sorry, I forgot the ™. Basil's another of those 'properties' that starts as something humble like a film and soon turns into a t-shirt, video, ice cream flavour and eventually computer game. Remember we're talking Disney here, so Gremlin assures me that the game has been designed with the younger gamer in mind. Does that mean I've got to be nice to it? No? Oh goody.
So, from the basement of 221b Baker Street, Basil must rescue his loyal friend Dr Dawson, who's been kidnapped by the evil criminal masterrodent Professor Ratigan. The trail leads him through London's sewers and dockland, looking for clues (ooh-wah) which are usually hidden in pots, jars and the like. There are three 'scenarios', and you must collect five clues to progress to the next one. Trouble is, Prof Ratigan has hidden eight false clues in each 'scenario', and you can only deduce which clues are kosher when you've collected five. In the meantime there are nasties to be avoided, or nabbed with mousetraps, and there's occasionally cheese to eat.
Which is fine in theory, but to be frank, or indeed marcus, this is not up to Gremlin's usual standards. After the splendours of Nipper II, Basil's a mere mouse by comparison. Graphics are rather less colourful and well drawn, too many screens look too similar, and gameplay is monotonous. Does this mean that younger players will enjoy it? I'm not sure, but I doubt it. It's not that easy to play, in fact, but that doesn't make it any more addictive. Basil isn't abysmal, by any means - it's just bog standard, and that's disappointing from Gremlin. File under 'Not quite.'
|Value For Money||7/10|
The world has known many great detectives. Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Closeau, Hercule Poirot, Columbo, Basil.
What? Who's this Basil then? Basil the Great Mouse Detective? Who's he when he's at home? Lives under Sherlock's gaffe. Per-leease. What rot.
Any road up, Basil is one of Walt Disney's characters, and following on from the successful (so they tell me) film, comes the successful (we hope) game. Now Gremlin are anxious to point out that this is a licences from a kiddies film, and that therefore, please bear in mind, perhaps the content may prove to be a little em... young for some players.
Well, I don't know if it's just that I'm excessively infantile in my outlook (googoogah) but I rather liked Basil the Great Mouse Detective, and I don't care who knows it.
The idea is simple. Evil, nasty old Ratigan has kidnapped (mousenapped?) good old Dr Dawson, and Basil have to find him for the sake of mousekind - something like that - the game's basically an arcade adventure, set in three locations, London's waterfront, backstreet sewers (plenty to rummage around in there I should think) and Ratigan's dastardly den.
Along the way, there are various objects to pick up, put down and generally twiddle with. Rummaging about in jam jars, old tin cans and carpet bags will offer certain clues. Stuff likely looking clues in one of your five pockets and carry on. Once you have the five correct clues (and beware! there are an extra eight completely useless clues scattered across each location) you'll be told how to get out of your present location and into the next one.
Examination of objects and clues is done by looking through your magnifying glass. (What else?) Hit the question mark icon, and the mini screen on the right hand side of the screen will display your object. A panel across the bottom will show which objects you are carrying, and a symbol will flash on and off, according to whether you can drop or pick up an object.
All good, solid arcade adventuring stuff. And if you like arcade adventures you'll go a bundle on Basil. The game play is strong, and the graphics are rather smart. As I've said before, Basil was based on a kiddies' film, so the characters are rather cutesey, but that can't be helped. I liked them - they looked like cut out figures. Curiously the mask around each character makes it look as if someone's cut them off the back of a cornflakes packet. Sounds naff? Well, it doesn't look it - it fits in very nicely within the context of the game.
It's quite a hard game to get into to begin with, your energy is drained whenever you walk past one of Ratigan's henchmen, and very soon it's mouseburger time for you. Once you discover the secret of getting past them without touching them, you can wander off and play up and down the levels to your heart's content. Excuse me. I'm just going off to lay a couple of mousetrap.
Author: Gary Priest
Reviewer: Tamara Howard
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