Hazy Game Reviews

I’ve been toying with a new approach to reviewing Amiga games. As an antidote to my endless waffley stuff that goes into every minor, nerdy detail, I could keep them light, off the cuff and rough around the edges. I really think it could catch on, and since nothing like it has ever been done before it would be a breath of fresh air. If I can be bothered.

Of course, they’d soon turn into super-comprehensive affairs that would demand a tonne of work, pictures and video content, making the title perfectly ironic. For now though, with a Clint in my eye, I’ll give it a shot.

First up is Blob Kombat, a shareware offering from Hullbillies Pink Pig Software. Aside from ‘K’-ing it up, it has little in common with the Mortal kind. For a start, the restricted demo version was distributed via an Amiga Power/Amiga Format kover disk in October and December 1995 respectively, and there’s no provision for single-player gameplay. It hones in on the multiplayer aspect and makes it three-way.

You play as a limbless blob of one of three colours of Putty. Only not a blue one. Even so, there’s no getting away from System 3’s influence. You look like Putty, and shimmy around the platforms like Putty – as a parody the animation is spot on. It’s amazing how much expression and personality you can inject into a pliable lump with eyes. If you make a leap and only just about manage to clutch at the edge of a platform, your squidgy entity moulds to its shape and you clamber aboard, sidestepping the pixel-perfection precision tedium demanded by so many other games of this era.

Attack options throughout the tournaments are a fair bit more limited, however. You can leap (or fly) into the air and carefully time your descent to bounce on opponents, squishing them into the ground, and that’s it. Tapping the fire button jumps, while holding it down momentarily jumps higher. It’s unlikely that shoving an opponent Worms-style will achieve anything, yet you have to appreciate the cute animation and attention to detail that went into making it an option at all.

Consider yourself victorious if you can come to terms with the conveyor belt lower floor, and deplete the other blob’s trio of lives before they can vice your versa. That’s gotta be a phrase, I saw it on a sweet wrapper once.

This being a knockout tournament, you must take a backseat once you’re out of lives, allowing players 2 and 3 to scrap on to the death. Sadly there are no brutality, animality, babality (or any other kind of -ality) finishing moves to crown your kills with an artistic flourish.

Colour-coded dots can be scooped up to confer bonus powers such as a mega jump, invincibility, a slow-motion or enemy freezing effect, or the power of flight. Extra lives are acquired in the same way.

Investing in the full version for a whopping £6 would have bought you the entire gamut of 20 levels, a level editor, and the Blitz Basic source code. Oh, and warmed heart cockles for being jolly nice to impoverished young developers. Developers such as designer and graphician, Dan Blackburn, coder, Dave McGlashan, and musician, Disco Dave Llewellyn. Who deserved our support because this is a spiffingly good laugh… if you can supply your own chums. 

I could probably say more, but it’s a load of hassle and I’m feeling lazy… er, I mean hazy. Totally different thing.

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