Viz
Copyright/Publisher: Virgin Games, Design & Production by: Probe Software Ltd,
Programming: Daryl Bowers, Mike Lorenzen, Graphics: Lee Ames,
Music: Jeroen Tel, Release Year: 1990, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Never has an organ made such a massive impression on the population. It's rude but side-splittingly funny, it's the inimitable Viz comic. Phil King probes into the computer licence which is purportedly not for sale to children.

(We sincerely apologize for the mysterious problems during typesetting which have caused asterisks to appear in certain words in this review.)

Now you can find out what it's really like to be an outrageous Viz character, by stepping into the shoes of either Biffa Bacon, Johnny Fartpants or Buster Gonad who are all taking part in Fulchester's annual fun run.

The race comprises five horizontally scrolling sections, the first of which takes place in The Country with fences and trees to avoid and crevasses to cross via plank bridges. Additional hazards include the new-fascist Parkie who wallops you if you tread on the grass, and Bertie Blunt's parrot which does some diarrhoeical dive bombing.

Also watch out for referee Rodney Rix, who throws a brick at anyone straying from their designated race lane. Hitting any hazzard results in your character falling over, collecting a 'shame token' in the process - get three of these and you are too embarrassed to continue.

Beat the other competitors (and time limit) to the finish line and you then go into The Town, with cars and roadworks to avoid. Next is a dangerous Building Site littered with girders, then a stroll along The Beach, avoiding the beachball-throwing Pathetic Shaqrks and quicksand.

Finally, The Disco is surprisingly hazardous with The Fat Slags wobbling around and Sid The Sexist spilling his beer everywhere. To help them during the race, each character has one unit of Superpower plus a lesser 'special power', of which units can be earned between race sections in one of six simple bonus stages (two per character).

Viz is, as Roger Mellie might say, a load of bo***cks really. The only thing that lifts it up (oo-er!) is the wacky humour. It's great to see all your favourite comic-strip characters come to life, represented by accurate cartoon sprites with much attention to detail in their animation.

There's also plenty of funny comments appearing in speech bubbles plus Roger Mellie's inimitable (and unprintable!) race commentary. The race itself is a fairly stiff challenge (k-yuk k-yuk!) with the hazards difficult to avoid. All five race sections play almost identically, the humorous and often rude graphics being the only incentive to carry on.

But when the humour eventually wears off, the game becomes frustrating and the tape multiload is simply appalling, requiring you to reload extremely long sections (guffaw!) every time you lose. Now that's no joke.

?
What a surprise to see such a simple game occupy two tapes with a multiload surpassing Turbo Out Run for patience testing. Good detail and wealth of colour in the characters and courses doesn't prove much incentive when the gameplay is so unforgiving.

It's a bit unfair how you work so hard to gain the bonus screen tokens and then need perfect timing to use them to pass obstacles. Somewhat easier to let Biffa (best of the selection) leg it along, dodging everyone and using the Super Punch-Up Power to pip the others at the post.

Pity the other Viz characters were left to serve as extras to the simplistic run-and-dodge action. I've just thought, what about a World Games-style p-take starring all the Viz characters in their own 'events'? - now THAT would be a game to play!

THE LADZ

JOHNNY FARTPANTS
There's always a commotion going on in Johnyy's underwear, mainly due to his special diet of pickled eggs.
Special power: Parp power propels Johnyy over small hazards.
Superpower: A curry-induced 'Mega Pump'!
Catchphrase: Quack!
Bonus games:
1) Anally inflating balloons - too little wind and they shoot off; too much and they pop!
2) Pure waggling to propel Johnny upwards on the farting scale.

BUSTER GONAD
During a storm, Buster's gonads were zapped by cosmic rays which enlarged them to an unfeasible size.
Special power: Plum power allows him to bounce over small obstacles.
Superpower: Cats his bo***cks along in a wheelbarrow!
Catchphrase: Yoinks! My poor plums!
Bonus games:
1) Buster gets a plum job in a factory. A conveyor belt carries blobs of dough past Buster who must use his bulbous balls to flatten them into pancakes.
2) Waggle the joystick to make Buster bounce as high as possible

BIFFA BACON
Biffa has learnt from his 'caring' parents that the best way to settle an argument is to kick the other person's teeth in.
Special power: Can punch other competitors.
Superpower: Biffa goes into a mad fighting frenzy.
Catchphrase: Did you spill my pint?
Bonus games:
1) Waggle to make Biffa drink the pints which slide along the bar.
2) Biffa headbutts, punches and kicks the bricks which are thrown at him.


INTRO SCREEN

TAPE/DISK %
PRESENTATION 40/60%
Tape multiload (two cassette) is appalling. Choice of three characters. Interlevel 'Top Tips' are funny first time around. Amusing manual. Voucher for free Book of Crap Jokes.
GRAPHICS 77%
Colourful and detailed representations of the cartoon characters. The five courses are very varied. Huge characters in the bonus sections.
SOUND 67%
Cheerful tune and sparse, informative FX.
HOOKABILITY 44/57%
Quite tough to start with, making it incredibly frustrating on tape. Wacky humour is main appeal.
LASTABILITY 32/60%
Simple race sections offer only graphical variety. Tape version would test the patience of the Spoilt Ba***rd's mum.
OVERALL 40/60%
Okay on disk, but doesn't use the licence to the full.


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