Xeroxmorphs in Dittoland: for God and Country

If you bought Amiga Format’s February 1992 issue you may well remember this minimalist little gem from the cover disk. It’s one of those bygone, bedroom-coded PD games assembled solely by two people (two Andys in fact), that will leave you – dewy-eyed with nostalgia – yearning for simpler times.

While George W. Bush was forever harping on about “doing your doody“, somehow I don’t think he intended to retrospectively endorse this game. He’d have been too busy running daddy’s presidential re-election campaign for a start. With hindsight, I’m sure he would have dug all the pipes!

If it’s past its sell-by date, biting political satire you’re hankering after, you’ve come to the right place.

Doody looks astoundingly like an official Nintendo arcade title from 1983 that revolves around two plumbing bros. (we interrupt this broadcast to bring you a fascinating factoid), one of whom started life as a carpenter and was known as Video Man, and before that, Jumpman.

I can’t quite put my Mario on it. It’s on the tip of my Mario. Don’t worry, it’ll come back to me sooner or later.

In the meantime I can inform you that it was coded by Andy Clark, illustrated by Andy Noble and the title music was composed by Phil Brown. The arcadey sound effects are courtesy of the multi-talented Andy Noble.

If the plot of whatchamacallit is anything to go by, you find yourself in a New York sewer, working as a plumber investigating a series of strange sightings, and kicking the backsides of any unwelcome inhabitants that cross your path.

Well, Doody is certainly the strangest looking plumber I’ve ever called out… never mind, it’s an all-out, pure arcade action affair that’s a fun way to while away half an hour, even if it’s unlikely to burn out your grey matter through overexertion.

The goal of each of the 32 ‘wraparound’ single screen levels is to clear the platforms of baddies by first headbutting the ground beneath them to flip them upside down, and then colliding with their incapacitated bodies to drop-kick them off-stage. Fail to tie up that loose end swiftly enough and they’ll reanimate, honing in on your orangey self with all the veracity of an aggrieved wasp.

If you find that a level is swarming with the pests you can nut the underside of the POW button up to three times to cause a quake and turn their world around in one fell swoop.

Nudge them again from beneath whilst they’re flailing and their orientation is corrected, leaving you vulnerable to attack once more. Not a manoeuvre I’d recommend what with death being a fairly terminal state and all that.

[You’ve made a game, you’re part of a demo group. Why outsource the intro?]

Your task is made infinitely less troublesome by the provision of a simultaneous two player option. Bespectacled green-clown-shoe-wearing orange, meet blueberry (?) wearing green clown shoes.

Doody’s only lethal weapon being your shiny bonce, the fire button is kept free to trigger the jump action, lending the game a much more consoley feel than your average Amiga platformer. If simulating that other game I can’t for the life of me remember the name of constituted the core of the brief, then really it couldn’t have functioned any other way.

Similarly, your fruity friends (two of your five a day!) are subject to realistic inertia forces so can’t blaze from 0 to 60 in half a nanosecond, much as they can’t come to an abrupt halt in a heartbeat. Not to worry, the motion mechanics soon feel as natural as, erm, tormenting turtles, penguins and crabs I suppose.

When you’re not getting your kicks upending critters, collecting coins, and letters spelling out the word ‘bonus’ to earn extra points (and consequently extra lives upon reaching 10,000) will occupy the remainder of your time.

Once you decide you’ve abused enough defenceless animals for one day, you have to hard-reset your Amiga – Doody will remain in memory and survive a soft restart otherwise.

I have no idea if this is a deliberate joke or a bug, though one way round it would be to hold down both mouse buttons as you reset your system to access the boot menu and bypass the face-hugging rogue programme.

Amiga Format aside, only two other members of the gaming press’ major players got to cast a critical eye over Doody. Amiga Power awarded it 5 out of 5 in their March 1992 edition, and in December 1993, The One were also suitably impressed, dishing out a healthy 88% score.

So we all agree then, Doody is a nutritious addition to any Amiga-based diet. Stick it on your groceries list now. Anything that keeps you away from that wretched, derivative Mario Bros. game has to be worth a look!

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