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
Right, before we start, I have to tell you that this game is only for sale to adults and very
tall kids. So if you're under 18 (or a midget) you'd better not read this review. You can't
buy the game anyway.
Virgin's game of the comic (coded by Probe) start those infamous characters, Johnny Fartpants,
Buster Gonad and Biffa Bacon in a race through Fulchester. At the start of the game you get
to choose your representative for the race, who you're stuck with until you get bored and re-load
This three-horse race takes place across five stages. Starting in the country, it moves
into the town, through a building site, across the beach and ending up at the Disco.
Before the race starts and in between stages, your character indulges in some odd pastimes
in order to earn tokens - more on these later. There are two bonus stages for each character,
which alternate throughout the game. For instance, Johnny uses his prowess with bottom burps
to inflate balloons (the more inflated, the more tokens); and to levitate himself as high as
possible (the higher he goes, the greater the token reward).
These tokens are stored up and
swapped for a special power during the race. By holding the fire button down for a second, the
three characters can utilise a special power. Biffa thinks someone's spilled his pint and
goes into a lager frenzy; Johnny uses guff power to propel himself along and Buster speeds
up by bouncing along on his enormous... er... plums. Ahem.
Once Roger Mellie has introduced the contestants, Roger Irrelevant wanders on, and with a wave
of his fish, they're off! To move your character just push right on the joystick and he
trundles along. Steer Biffa, Johnny or Buster around obstacles by pushing up or down, but be
careful: moving out of lane incurs the wrath of Rodney Rix, who lobs bricks at your character.
Falling down holes, bumping into obstacles, getting pooed on by Bertie Blunt's parrott, being
besten up by The Parkie, tripping over Mrs Brady's shopping or getting run over by Alridge Prior's
motor scoorer all prove harmful to your contestant. Every hit sends them flying, whereupon the
dazed characters sit on the ground, wasting precious seconds before rejoining the race. Worse
still, they gain a 'shame' token; three tokens and you're out of the race.
Viz's visuals are brilliant. The inhabitants of Fulchester are wonderfully drawn and animated,
and the bonus sections are gorgeous. All this is accompanied by a number of funny sound effects
and some very jolly tunes. Gameplay is a bit dull, with the only variety coming in the different
characters and the bonus rounds - and even these grow dull quickly.
Worst of all, the game is utterly crippled by the worst multiload I've seen in ages.
You load in the character select screen and choose who you want to be. Then you load the
first bonus game (these are on a second tape). Play the bonus round, then load in the first race.
If you don't qualify for the second race (which you probably won't), you get to run it
again - once you've done the other bonus round. So you load in the flip side of tape 2,
play the second bonus round and then rewind the main tape to load in the first race again.
And so on.
No way can I recommend tape users to by Viz - the multiload renders it unplayable and
the action isn't exciting enough to warrant the wait. Like it says in the intro. "Who'd have
thought that eleven years later, at the end of of a decade of phenomenal success, Viz would
end up trying to flog a mediocre computer game in a desperate bid to make a few bob." Bang on, guys.
Now there's a bonus!||
In between the racey stages, there are bonus rounds where your character gets the chance to
earn tokens. These are then swapped for special powers in the races themselves. Biffa goes
into a lager frenzy, killing everything in his path; Johnny uses an almighty guff to propel
himself over hazards; and Buster bounces along using plum power. Well, at least it's different...
Biffa Bonus 1 - Biffa is charged with the task of drinking huge amounts of beer - a doddle
for our Biff. All you have to do is waggle the joystick furiously to down the amber nectar.
Then the next pint slides along the bar automatically.
Biffa Bonus 2 - Outside, some unseen enemy is hurling bricks at Mr Bacon Jr. You have to push the
joystick up, across and down to fend off high, middle and low bricks. Miss one and Biffa gets
socked - as has happened here...
Johnny Bonus 1 - The lad with guff power has to blow up balloons to earn himself a few tokens.
More joystick waggling to release chuffs and inflate the balloons. And don't let them go bang
otherwise your token does too...
Johnny Bonus 2 - More anal antics as Johnny attempts to propel himself upwards using only the power
of his pumps. Again, more frantic stick waggling increases Fartpants' altitude. The higher he
goes the more tokens he gets.
Buster Bonus 1 - Similar to Mr Fartpants, Buster Gonad uses the amazing elastic properties of
his plums to get himself upwardly mobile. Waggle that stick to gain more height. And what does
height make? Tokens!
Buster Bonus 2 - Mr Gonad employs his weightly appendages to flatten dough into pancake shapes.
There's a prize on offer to anyone who can guess which control method this uses. (Hint: it
involves the joystick and an aching arm)