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Dennis logo

F Dennis rom Dennis the Menace to the Perishers, the anarchic scruffy kid has been the mainstay of comics, books and movies for years. Now a similar American incarnation has surfaced in the shape of Ocean’s latest film licence game.

The seven-year-old hero of Dennis is in big trouble, as usual. Not only has he lost all of Mr Wilson’s precious coin collection, but his friends Joey and Margaret have been kidnapped by the evil Switchblade Sam. The aim of this platformer is to explore each of four different worlds, and their associated sub levels, collecting coins and battling baddies as you go. Ho hum.

If the startlingly derivative plot fails to capture your imagination, wait until you start playing the game. Graphically, it looks like a cross between Sleepwalker (Dennis looks suspiciously like the somnambulistic Lee) and Alternative Software’s Sooty and Sweep. It is hideous and certainly not worth £25 of anyone’s money. The gameplay is little better. The nasties keep coming back every time you kill them and your so-called special weapons (a pea-shooter, catapult and water pistol) are virtually useless. There are plenty of power-ups and courage-building sweets but Dennis still dies remarkably often anyway.

By far the worst bits are the appalling soundtrack and teeth-clenchingly bad sound effects. And the CD32 version is little better. Ocean must have paid a lot for this licence, but since the movie was a flop the game is likely to go the same way. Avoid.
Rob Mead

Amiga Format, Issue 58, April 1994, p.79

DENNIS
PROGRAMMERS
In-house
PUBLISHER
Ocean 061-832 6633
PRICE
£25.99
CD32 version £19.99
RELEASED
Out now

 

25%


Dennis logo

D en Sprung nach Hollywood hat der altgediente Comic-Lauser bereits vor einem Jahr hinter sich gebracht – jetzt liefert Ocean das praktisch unvermeidliche Jump & Run zum Film nach.
Dennis Parallel zur Normalausführung ist der digitiale Frechdachs in einer speziellen A1200er-Version erschienen, wo er seine Streiche vor etwas aufwendigerer Hintergrundgrafik treiben darf – ansonsten bieten beide Fassungen die erwartete Plattformkost:

Obwohl der kleine Elternschreck nun wahrlich kein Kind von Traurigkeit ist, trifft ihn diesmal überhaupt keine Schuld, als zwei seiner Freunde und dazu noch Mister Wilsons wertvolle Münzsammlung entführt werden. Ganz im Gegenteil, Dennis beschließt, ausnahmsweise mal eine gute Tat zu vollbringen und die fünf (teilweise wieder in mehrere Abschnitte unterteilten) Levels dieses Spiels unter Zeitdruck nach dem wahren Täter Switchblade Sam zu durchforsten. Dafür muß der bengel erst mal im haus nach seiner Steinschleuder und dem Blasrohr fahnden, damit er seinen witzig gestalteten Gegnern nicht völlig hilflos ausgeliefert ist. Das setzt gewisse Kletterkünste und das Entdecken versteckter Schalter voraus, außerdem darf er die einzelnen Spielabschnitte nur verlassen, wenn er zuvor die dort herumliegenden Münzen aufgeklaubt hat.
Sobald auch der Ausgang des Hauses gefunden ist, geht es in den Park, einen Kesslraum, durch die Abwasserkanäle und schließlich in die Wälder, wo das große Showdown mit dem Kidnapper ansteht.

Das Gameplay besteht aus forgeschittenem Hüpfen über zum Teil bewegliche Plattformen, dem Ausweichen von gefährlichen Hindernissen, fleißigen Sammeln und dem Benutzen der per Tastendruck auswechselbaren Waffen. Die Hintergrundbilder sind ganz niedlich, auch wenn sie sicher niemanden vom Hocke reißen, doch der kleine Blondschopf selbst wurde ausgesprochen liebevoll in Szene gesetzt: Läßt man Dennis etwa eine Zeitlang in Ruhe, fängt er an, sich gelangweilt Drops in den Mund zu stecken, und es sieht auch sehr nett aus, wenn er mit der Wasserpistole, dem Blasrohr oder seiner Schleuder hantiert. Das Scrolling und die Joystick-Steuerung gehen in Ordnung, der Begleitsound nervt dagegen einfach nur. Eine Continuefunktion und die einstellbare Zahl der Bildschirmleben sorgen dafür, daß auch nicht so versierte Hüpfer Spaß an diesem Entführungsfall haben; andererseits sind weder Highscores noch Spielstände speicherbar, und Paßwörter gibt es auch keine.

Die Version für den A1200 bietet zusätzlich schmuckes Parallax-Scrolling an manchen Stellen und eine vor allem in den höheren Levels sichtbar bessere Optik. Auch die Zahl der Gegner wurde vemehrt, was einen etwas höheren Schwierigkeitsgrad zur Folge hat. Der ganz große Wurf ist Dennis damit immer noch nicht – doch wenn man bedenkt, wie enttäuschend Filmversoftungen sonst oft ausfallen, muß man den Ocean-Programmierern schon zugestehen, daß sie sich hier vergleichsweise anständig aus der Affäre gezogen haben. (st)

Amiga Joker, February 1994, p.32

DENNIS
(OCEAN)
JUMP & RUN
Amiga Joker Amiga Joker
66%
A500
68%
A1200
"OKAY"
72% GRAFIK 74%
73% ANIMATION 77%
51% MUSIK 51%
51% SOUND-FX 51%
68% HANDHABUNG 68%
66% DAUERSPAß 66%
VARIABEL: 9 STUFEN
PREIS DM 69,-/ 79,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB/2 MB
2/NEIN
NEIN
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Dennis AGA logo  AGA

Some games ought to just get the message and wander off into the sunset, we say.

Game: Dennis
Publisher: Ocean
Authors: Citizen Software
Release: Out now

F Dennis AGA unny how wrong you can be, isn’t it? Reviewing Suburban Commando last month, I was wibbling on about how the Oceans and Gremlins and MicroProses of the software ‘biz’ do not get slagged off like Alternative and other similar publishers do for releasing budget-type games at full-price, because they do not do it. Yeah, it WAS a great point, wasn’t it? Anyway, times change. This month, seemingly in a blatant attempt to make me look stupid, Ocean have had a brainstorm. It is called Dennis.

Dennis is licensed from the film of the American cartoon which has, it says here, been ‘making us laugh for over 40 years’. Which is a lie for a start. If they mean Dennis the American cartoon, then it it’s only been on TV over here for about two years, tops (and it is not funny anyway). If they mean Dennis The Menace, the ace Beano character (the US Dennis is also known as The Menace, apparently), then he is not in this game (indeed, he has got his own entirely different game, coming out very soon from – spook! – Alternative), and they should shut up about him. Sorry about this, but it is just a barefaced Stalinist lie and it annoys me. What next, David Vine introducing Snooker matches by saying ‘And now, Stephen Hendry versus the man who’s been making us laugh for over 40 years – Dennis Taylor!’? Get a grip, Ocean – just because they are both called Dennis does not mean you can get away with saying they are the same thing and not expecting anyone to notice. It is insulting.

BREATHE EASILY
Well, that’s got off my chest. Now to start getting annoyed about the game. Which is not difficult, because it’s the most dismal thing I’ve seen a respectable software house come up with in quite a long time. Where shall we start? Let’s start at the beginning.

Dennis AGA The first level is unutterably tedious, it is platform stuff, but to call it bog-standard would be a serious insult to bogs. The graphics are sparse and tiny, and most of the platforms seem, for no adequate reason, to be just too high for Dennis to jump onto, forcing you to take the most tortuously convoluted route possible to get anywhere. Useless stupid baddies litter the level, bouncing dumbly between two points or running pointlessly from side to side. They do not come after you or anything, but in case you are worried about being so unutterably crap that you might actually hit one and lose 10% of the energy in one of your nine lives (you can reduce this number via the separately-loaded options screen if you like, but there are so many 1Ups just lying around that you will still have about 14 by the time you are halfway through the stage. The manual also claims that you can make things trickier by choosing from ‘Hard’ or ‘Easy’ settings, but that is another lie), you can always waste it from a safe distance with a couple of shots from one of your pathetic ploppy weapons. It will come back as soon as you scroll its start position off the screen, of course (of course), but you will be long gone by then, and never coming back.

The first level is also where you will find Mr Wilson, Dennis bête noir in the cartoons. Mr Wilson, says the manual, is ‘walking around the house, unable to sleep due to his traumatic day. If he spots Dennis he will give a chase’. Oh dear. Let us be constructive here, shall we? Let’s help Ocean out. Let’s suggest how they might want to rewrite the manual for any forthcoming other versions.
‘Mr Wilson is pacing backwards and forwards in a small room. No matter how many times you hit him in the bottom with your pea-shooter, catapult or water pistol, he won’t notice you are there until he turns round, at which point he will chase you as far as the door of the room, although then he gets bored and turns back round and walks off’.

Dennis AGA WATERY DOOM
Great, eh? The only reason you would want to go anywhere near Mr Wilson is that he ‘guards’ a switch in his room which you have to switch to access another bit of the level. The switch actually looks exactly like a light switch (and is placed in a very light switch-like position), but you can only switch it by hitting it with... your pea-shooter? Nope. Catapult? Nope. Water pistol? Of course. I can just see all the little five-year-old Dennis fans running around their house now, shooting at all the light-switches with water pistols and then lighting up like a Christmas tree. That’s just been electrocuted.

Anyway, after about five-minutes of half-hearted aimless wandering through this level, you will have stumbled across all the necessary collectables and reached the next stage – the Park level. This is actually quite a lot worse than the house stage, because it all looks exactly the same and it has got deadly holes in the floor which do not look like deadly holes in the floor (although, of course - of course - some of them are not deadly holes in the floor and are actually secret bonus rooms, though there is no way of telling the difference), but suffer it bravely because the next level is more of the exact same. As is the next one. After that you get the most insultingly easily end-of-level boss I think I have ever met, and then it is onto the Sewers, which are like the house only with much less impressive graphics. Things were getting tricky for me by this stage (well, it WAS only my first go), because I was down to my last 11 lives. Lots and lots of really long bits with loads of holes in the ground where one slip gets you killed and sent back all the way to the start of the level, you see. Ho ho. What a great game this is. What came after the Sewers? I hear you all cry. I’m afraid I don’t know. I couldn’t see through my tears.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 34, February 1994, p.p.46-47



"It’s just a bare faced Stalinist lie"




"The most dismal thing I’ve seen in quite a long time"


A1200 Upper UPPERS (Long, thoughtful pause) Um... nope, sorry.
Downer DOWNERS Useless graphics, useless collision detection, useless design, useless sound, useless gameplay, useless everything. It’s useless.

THE BOTTOM LINE

...oh, and you have to choose between useless music OR useless sound effects, and it doesn’t recognise a second disk drive. Useless.
8

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE
What, you want to think about the drivel coming out on a less powerful machine? Are you mad?



Dennis logo  CD32

Nur einen Monat nach der Disk-Version hievt Ocean den Laushub auf die Silber-Plattform – kein Wunder, daß bis auf die Musik (jetzt von CD) und eine den zusätzlichen Buttons des Joypads angepaßte Steuerung keine Unterschiede zur A1200-Fassung zu erkennen sind. Nach wie vor fetzt man also durch hübsche Räume und Wälder, weicht Katzen, Mäusen und Hausbesitzern aus, schießt mit Blasrohr oder Wasserpistole und sammelt Goldmünzen, die das Tor zum nächsten Level öffnen. Zu kämpfen hat man dabei mit einem relativ hohen Schwierigkeitsgrad und unfairen Stellen, dennoch ist Dennis ein guter CD-Titel und damit 70 Prozent wert

Amiga Joker, March 1994, p.70