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Sleepwalker logo

Obwohl bei Ocean ja immer mit einer Filmversoftung gerechnet werden muß, hat das neue Spiel der Engländder nichts mit dem gleichnamigen Movie nach Stephen King zu tun – schon eher mit "Brat" oder "Lemmings".

Sleepwalker Aber auch diese Gemeinsamkeiten beschränken sich auf eine indirekte Steuerung, denn in Manchester wurde diesmal weder abgekupfert noch umgesetzt, sondern eine ebenso eigenständige wie originelle Variante des bekannten Selbstläufer-Themas geschaffen. Man schlüpft dabei in das struppige Fell von Ralph, einem hochintelligenten Hund, der sein Herrchen Lee sicher nach Hause geleiten muß. Der Titel des Spiels verrät schon den Haken an der Sache – Lee ist Schlafwandler und darf keinesfalls aufwachen, während man ihn an den überall lauernden Gefahren vorbeibugsiert!

Es ist eine geradezu überhundliche Aufgabe, die unser gutmütiger Vierbeiner da auf sich genommen hat, denn die sechs Level sind riesig und führen das ungleiche Paar kreuz und quer durch die ganze Stadt Kopsville mit ihren Wolkenkratzern, Baustellen, dem Zoo und einem Friedhof. Bevoer der kleine Schläfer endlich wieder in seinem Bettchen liegt, sind Dutzende von roten Ampeln, dampfenden Abflußrohren, Disco-Türstehern, Drahtseilen, Trampolinen und gähnenden Abgründen zu überwinden. Gottlob ist Ralph vom Leben auf der Straße so gestählt, daß ihm weder Schlägereien noch giftige Quallen oder tiefe Stürze etwas anhaben können – selbst scheinbar hundertprozentig tödliche Situationen bewältigt der rasende Flohzirkus auf lustige Comic-Weise im Stil von Tom & Jerry.

Während der Traumtänzer Lee einfach immer nur dahinschlurft, bis ihn irgendein Hindernis zur Kehrtwendung überredet, ist der eigentliche Held also gezwungenermaßen hochaktiv: Sobald sein Herrchen mal kurz in sicherem Gelände herumtrödelt, läuft er eilends voraus, um Hindernisse und Gefahren auszukundschaften bzw. aus dem Weg zu räumen. Dann hastet er zurück und dreht Lee in die richtige Richtung, schiebt ihn an oder verpaßt ihm einen Tritt in den Allerwertesten, damit er Stufen, kleine Mauern etc. überspringt. Außerdem kann das einsatzfreudige Tier Brücken aus (Hunde-) Fleisch und Blut bauen und Gegner mit seinem Knuppel ausschalten. Um dieses immense Pensum zu schaffen, muß Ralph natürlich unheimlich schnell sein – und je länger man den Joystick gedrückt hält, umso schneller wird er. Einerseits ist das zwar sehr praktisch, um nicht zu sagen notwendig, andererseits wird der Bremsweg dadurch manchmal auch gefährlich lang. Als zusätzliche Hilfe darf der kluge Köter eine Übersichtskarte anrufen, die leider nicht ständig am Screen bleibt, obwohl zumindest ein kleines Radar dort schon sehr nützlich gewesen wäre.

Wirklich nicht gespart wurde dagegen an Extras und Boni aller Art. Einmal gibt es die bekannten Geschichten wie Zusatzleben, vorübergehende Unverwundbarket oder frische (Schlaf-) Energie. Letztere füllt den "Schlümmer-Balken" nach, der den Spieler ständig über die Schlaftiefe Lees auf dem laufenden hält. Der Junge verliert seine drei bzw. fünf Bildschirmleben (je nach gewählter Option) nämlich nicht nur durch simples Sterben, sondern auch durch unzeitiges Erwachen – und jeder Rempler, den er kassiert, führt ihn ein Stück weit aus dem Reich der Träume heraus. Daneben schwirren noch Extras zur Kartenverbesserung, dem leichteren Brückenbau etc. herum, aber so richtig geht der Punk erst ab, wenn sich aus den aufgeklaubten Buchstaben das Wort BONUS (in der englischen Version COMIC) ergibt. Dann gelangt man in einen Sonderlevel, wo es neben Sammel-Ballons zum Ergattern von weiteren Extraleben auch über 70 Symbole gibt, mit denen sich Ralph selbst eine kleine Freude bereiten kann. Wir wollen keine Spielverderber sein und verraten deshalb nicht, welche Überraschungen Euch da erwarten, aber gelungen sind sie allemal!

Gut, langsam ist's an der Zeit, den Hund aus der Hütte (oder war's die Katze aus dem Sack?) zu lassen – wir schreiten zur Bewertung: Negativ dürften viele den happigen Schwierigkeitsgrad empfinden, was durch das Fehlen von Paßwörtern oder Save-Option noch verschärft wird. Man wird bei einem Lebensverlust meist auch ziemlich weit im jeweiligen Level zurückgeworfen, weil die Stellen für den Wiedereinstieg relativ dünn gesät sind. Kurzum, Ausdauer, Geschick und das richtige Timing sind angesagt, und Fehler sollte man möglichst überhaupt keine machen. Daher kann der mitgelieferte Trainings-Level gar nicht dringend genug empfohlen werden, zumal hier auch wichtige Tips zu holen sind.

Komplimente haben sich dagegen die gewöhnungsbedürftige, ansonsten aber einwandfreie Stick-Steuerung und die Präsentation verdient: Vom Intro über das eigentliche Spiel bis zur Endsequenz wird man grafisch durchaus verwöhnt, noch schöner dürfte freilich die angekündigte Spezial-Version für den 1200er ausfallen (laufen tut aber auch die normale Ausführung auf Commos Jüngstem). Das multidirektionale Scrolling verrichtet astrein seinen Dienst, und von der Option, die entzückenden Animationen abzuschalten, wird wohl kein Mensch je Gebrauch machen. Zumindest etwas interessanter ist da schon die kleine statistische Auswertung der gezeigten Leistung nach dem Game Over. Okay, die Musik ist eher was für Schlafwandler, und die Sound-Effekte sind selten, dann aber recht witzig.

Unter dem Strich hat Ocean mit Sleepwalker also ein wirklich nettes Spielchen abgeliefert, dem zum Hit eigentlich nur das letzte Quentchen Abwechslung in den höheren Leveln fehlt. Na, denn schlaft und wandelt mal schön – und vergeßt nicht, den Hund zu füttern! (mm)

Amiga Joker, March 1993, p.p.36-37

SLEEPWALKER
(OCEAN)
PLATTFORM - GAUDI
74%
"ORIGINELL"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
70%
76%
61%
66%
75%
76%
VARIABEL: 2 STUFEN
PREIS DM 69,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
3/JA
NEIN
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Sleepwalker logo

In celebration of Red Nose Day, Ocean have a way of getting you to part with cash (for a good cause).

Game: Sleepwalker
Publisher: Ocean
Authors: CTA Development
Price: £25.99
Release: Out now

X Sleepwalker erxes, king of Persia, once said on surveying his army, ‘I am moved to pity, when I think of the brevity of human life, seeing that of all this host of men not one will be alive in a hundred years’ time’. And after a couple of days of playing Sleepwalker, I am beginning to understand how he felt. Because I had an army of Ralph The Dogs instead of the single more or less indestructible one you get here, I would be cruising for an assassination myself in no time. Now I know what you are all thinking. ‘Oh bloody hell, what is the useless prat on about now?’ Well, it is simple. What I am on about is that this is a tricky, difficult and frustrating game to play, but I still cannot put it down. Controlling Ralph The Dog on his near-impossible mission to save Lee (The Stupid Kid) from certain Death By Somnambulism, I have had poor Ralph falling under speeding cars, swimming into electric eels, colliding with swinging demolition balls, crushed by industrial steam hammers, getting bitten by poisonous snakes, beaten up by nightclub doormen, turned into a bat by Dracula look-alikes and all manner of other unfortunate mishaps, but every time that he just picks himself up, dusts himself down and sets off bravely again on his appointed task, I cannot bring myself to leave him to manage on his own. ‘Manage what?’ I supernaturally hear you all cry. Well, it is like this. Lee, the Sleepwalker of the title, is a little boy with a problem. His problem is his predilection for falling out of his bedroom window and wandering in a trance through the streets of his hometown. This is, of course, a Bad Thing, because the streets are, of course, filled with all manner of hazards.

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
Bumping into one of the said hazards would almost certainly cause our, er, hero to awaken from his slumbers, and as we all know, waking up a sleepwalker is an Extremely Bad Thing. Looks like Lee is in trouble then.
Ah, well, not necessarily. You see, Lee has a guardian angel. Ralph The Dog, his devoted pet, takes it upon himself to shadow Lee on his nocturnal travels, taking out hazards in his path and gently guiding his sleeping charge in the direction of safety, while all the time taking the utmost care never to wake him up. Of course, this means that Ralph himself more often than not falls victim to the things which would otherwise get to little Lee, but hey – it is a dog’s life, don’t you know?

So there you go, that is the game plan. All this stuff takes place over five scrolling levels, filled with hazards both natural (like water which Ralph can swim through but Lee must not fall into) and not so natural (like weird monsters who will scare the little poppet to death). There are actually very few enemies as such, most of the game’s difficulty coming in guiding Lee through the mazes of platforms. There is plenty of that, though – even in level one you will be cursing and swearing at the little bleeder as Ralph’s increasingly-frantic efforts all come to nothing as Lee blindly walks straight into walls and sewers. You will need plenty of arcade talent as well as map-reading ability if you are going to make any progress at all in this game, but at least you do get a training level (in the style of Wizkid and Putty) which prints helpful hints on the screen to guide you through a sample stage and let you get the hang of the controls.

Mind you, you ar not going to need much else. There is no depth in the game at all, which means you might well get a bit discouraged by the time you get past the first couple of levels. Sleepwalker does its best to keep you interested by means of bonus levels, little cartoon sequences which you only get to see if you complete enough of the previous level, and lots of funny new bits in each new level, but the basic gameplay does not change all the way through, and the difficulty level might just be enough to put you off before then.

Still, this is all a bit picky, and it does not detract from the enormous fun that you will get out of Sleepwalker. It has been excellently put together and it plays dreamily, and the tone is just right too – you really begin to feel for the poor put-upon pooch, and the dream sequences where he imagines what he would like to see happen to Lee if he was not there to stop it are really sweet. I like this game, and if it can help save a few people from starving to death, then so much the better.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 23, March 1993, p.p.30-32

ALL FOR CHARITY?
All of this, of course, is very lovely and heart-warmingly stuff. But just out of sheer Ebenezer Scrooge-type nasty-mindedness. I have been wondering something. Not just me, either – we have had several letters on the subject, and the subject is this. Now it might seem a bit petty, but it strikes me that out of a £25.99 selling price, £4.32 going to Comic Relief seems a bit, well, small. I mean, I remember when Band Aid and all that sort of stuff happened, the big deal was that about 90% of your money went straight to charity, but with Sleepwalker we are talking about just over 16%. Is someone making a killing out of starving babies? To set the record straight, we spoke to Ocean’s Gary Bracey.

‘The first thing to point out here is that things are happening this way at the insistence of Comic Relief themselves. The reasoning behind their attitude is that if people are doing something for nothing, they are unlikely to make their best efforts. If everyone who gets behind this is still making money from it, albeit at a heavily reduced rate, then the product will do a lot better. A percentage of the profit from a real effort will be at least as good as the total profit from a half-hearted one. We have never tried to pretend we were breaking even on Sleepwalker. People are still making some money from it, but why shouldn’t they? Sleepwalker was not a game specifically designed for Comic Relief, it was a top-quality product that we had already spent two years developing and had high expectations of making lots of cash from. We could have just re-released Shadow Warriors or come up with a compilation of old stuff, as happened before with Soft Aid, but we put up a really good game that we could have sold normally. The programmers have to eat, we have to pay for our company overheads (incidentally, Ocean pay for ad space for Sleepwalker as normal, but all the money so received by Future is donated straight to Comic Relief. – Ed), the distributors and retailers take their cut, and of course there is £4 in VAT coming off straight away. Everyone is doing this in good faith – we are not releasing anything else at the same time to compete with it, we are not sticking plugs for ourselves all over the game, everyone’s margins have really been hammered. And anyway, the more money we make, the more money Comic Relief makes. At the end of the day, we are hoping to raise at least half a million quid for Comic Relief. The reality of the question is, ‘is it better to do it than not to do it?’.



"Waking up a sleepwalker is an Extremely Bad Thing"




"It has been excellently put together and it plays dreamily"




"You really begin to feel for the poor put-upon pooch"


Upper UPPERS The central character (the dog, not the kid) is completely lovable, it is very easy to get into, and it is extremely addictive. It is technically spiffing too, with some lovely graphics and fast, smooth parallax scrolling.
Downer DOWNERS The controls can be a bit of a pain in the bum at times, and it is a bit repetitive by the end. Despite all the celebrity sampling it is a bit lacking on the sound front, too. But hey – it is all for charidee , right?

THE BOTTOM LINE
A smashing little game, and definitely one that is worth having in its own right regardless of the Good Cause. It is not really one for the easily-frustrated, though.
84

P E R C E N T



Sleepwalker logo

If you’ve bought the nose, worn the T-shirt and watched the 24 hour TV show, now’s your chance to play the game. Tony Horgan [miserable, stingy old git that he is] donates his right hand to Comic Relief.

Sleepwalker C all me a miserable stingy old git if you will, but I used to find all those 24-hour TV charity shows such a drag. Nothing but an endless stream of boy scouts singing ‘Ging gang gooly’, and bank managers presenting giant cardboard cheques, all to the constant raucous applause of a hyped-up studio audience. That was before Comic Relief came along and showed us all how it should be done. Swap Judith Chalmers and Michael Aspel for a bunch of the country’s best comedians, scrap the boy scouts and replace them with quick-fire comedy sketches, and cut out all that depressing music on the serious bits. The cash they raise speaks for itself. For this year’s event, as well as the T-shirts, splats and noses, Comic Relief have teamed up with Ocean to release Sleepwalker. For every game sold, Comic Relief get £4.32.

Yeah, yeah, but the game’s bound to be a load of rubbish, right? Being the sceptical sod that I am, that’s what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s actually a pretty good little game.

CARTOON CAPERS
Did you ever see that cartoon, where a bloke gets out of bed one night and starts sleepwalking down the street? His dog has to save him from countless grisly deaths, as he marches obliviously through building sites and across busy roads. The Ocean boys must have seen it, because that’s Sleepwalker in a nutshell.

Sleepwalker It’s a funny old game. Instead of controlling the sleepwalker, you play the part of his faithful hound. It all begins like Jamie and the Magic Torch. Lee, your master, climbs out of bed, steps on his dog, but instead of going for an under-bed adventure (as Jamie would with his magic torch), he strolls straight out of the open bedroom window! Fortunately, he doesn’t plummet two storeys to his death, but finds himself on the roof of the house next door. If he had any sense, the dog would just get him back through the window and into bed, but that would be too easy. Instead, he decides to guide him around six life-threatening levels, before eventually getting him back to bed.

As lee is intent on marching around like a brain-dead zombie, you’ve got to be brutal. You can push him, stop him, or give him an almighty kick up the backside. Apart from that, he’s free to wander where he likes. It’s not enough though, to just push him from one end of the level to the next. Each level is an assault course of pitfalls and traps, so most of your time is spent clearing the way for Lee.

A NIGHT ON THE TILES
Although you control Ralph, it’s Lee’s life that you’re concerned with – you’re invincible. For a little kid, Lee’s a pretty rough and ready kind of guy. If you do let him fall off the roof, he probably won’t even wake up. Even so, every time Lee walks into a wall, or drops from a height , his sleep-o-meter takes a knock. If he wakes up, you loose a life, as you do if he manages to kill himself.

Leaving him to wander around on his own for a while, you can try to find a route through the level. There are a few places you can leave him marching up and down between two walls. This keeps him safe while you work out how to disable the traps ahead. He’s never entirely safe though – constantly walking into brick walls takes its toll.

Water is Lee’s worst enemy in the first level. Someone’s left the manhole cover off the sewers, and if he drops into the contaminated sludge flowing underground, it’s curtains. Other hazards include open skylights, leaky boiler tanks, traffic, and an excitable night club bouncer. You’re armed with a baseball bat, which comes in handy for subduing the dog catcher and the bouncer.

Most of the static traps simply have to be avoided. Lee can be kicked over many hazards, including gaps in the platforms. If the gap’s small enough, you can make yourself into a human bridge (well, a canine bridge really, but you know what I man).

IT’S NO JOKE
Sleepwalker Humour plays a big part in the game. Ralph’s animated with a load of exaggerated expressions, not far off the goggle-eyes of Wile E Coyote. He’s also given momentum, so if you change direction suddenly, he skids, then turns and runs back the other way. It all helps the comical look, but doesn’t do much for the gameplay. Okay, so Mario skids when he turns round, but Sleepwalker takes the idea a bit too far. If you land just on the edge of a platform, instead of either falling off or staying on it, he spends a few vital seconds flailing his arms around, and then falls off. By this time, Lee could have done himself a mischief, or fallen from the top of the level right back to the start. As you can imagine, it’s extremely frustrating to see all your work go down the pan, just because Ralph was too busy being funny.
It’s not all bad – far from it. It’s the humour that makes the game. Making Ralph immortal was an excellent idea. He could be put through an industrial size meat mincer, and he’d still live somehow!

It would be easy to call Sleepwalker a Lemmings clone. There are a lot of similarities, but here you get much more of a feeling of involvement. The only real problem I can see is the longevity potential. It boils down to a game of trial and error, so you end up going through the motions for each level, until you get to a new section. Despite this, Sleepwalker is a good laugh, and should keep platform addicts amused for a while.

CU Amiga, March 1993, p.p.68-69

IT’S DOG’S LIFE
Sleepwalker
...zapped by blobs of radioactive waste… Sleepwalker
...beaten up by night club bouncers…
Sleepwalker
...run over…
Sleepwalker
...electrocuted by flying eels…
Sleepwalker
...and squashed to a pancake by falling boulders…

OCEAN £25.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
OCEAN SOFTWARE, 2 Castle Street, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4LZ. TEL: 061 832 6233
 ;
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 ;
OUT NOW
PLATFORM
CTA
JOYSTICK/KEYBOARD
3
1
NO
1Mb
 ;
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
70%
50%
70%
80%
Often frustrating puzzler and platform fun.
OVERALL: 81%



Sleepwalker logo  AGA  A1200 Speziell

Schlafwandler sind die Leute bei Ocean bestimmt nicht, denn bereits wnige Wochen nach der Standardausführung ihres originellen Plattform-Ausflugs ziert nun eine Spezialversion für den 1200er die Händlerregale..

Sleepwalker Daß sich dabei am tollen gameplay (Test im letzten Heft) absolut nichts geändert hat, versteht sich quasi von selbst, doch kündet ein güldener Packungsaufdruck von der aufgebohrten Grafik und dem verbesserten Sound. Daher machten wir uns eilends auf die Suche nach den versprochenen Präsentations-Genüssen und... entdeckten erstmal nichts!

Als auch ein zweiter suchender Blick nichts Augen- bzw. Ohrenfälliges zutage förderte, hileten wir doch lieber Rücksprache mit den Jungs in Manchester. Dort teilte man uns zwar mit, daß sowohl die Normal- als auch die Spezialversion gerade mit deutscher Sprachausgabe versehen und in dieser germanisierten Fassung demnächst bei den Händlern auftauchen werden – aber die speziellen Vorzüge der speziellen 1200er-Version konnte man uns auch nicht näher beschreiben. Immerhin erhielten wir den heißen Tip, mal beide Varianten nebeneinander anzuschauen, im direkten Vergleich würden die Unterschiede schon auffallen...

Okay, das haben wir gemacht, und jetzt wissen wir es ganz genau: Die Sound-FX sind vielleicht ein bißchen „fülliger“ geworden, im Intro hat man das Zimmer des verträumten Helden frisch tapeziert, und die Hintergrundgrafiken wirken nun etwas farbiger. Wenn man sie nachzählt, sind es zwar immer noch so viele bzw. Wenig Farben wie zuvor, aber durch ihre bessere Verteilung entsteht doch ein etwas „bunter“ Effekt. Fazit: Haben sollte man das Game schon, aber bestimmt nicht in zweifacher Ausfertigung! (ms)

Amiga Joker, April 1993, p.36

SLEEPWALKER
(OCEAN)
PLATTFORM - GAUDI
74%
"(FAST) WIE GEHABT"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
71%
76%
61%
67%
75%
76%
VARIABEL: 2 STUFEN
PREIS DM 69,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
2 MB
4/JA
NEIN
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Sleepwalker CD32 logo  CD32

Programmers: CTA Developments * Publisher: Ocean 061-832 6633 * Price £25.99 * Release: out now * AF Rating: 83%

Sleepwalker CD32 C omic Relief’s all over now, so you forget about being charitable. The question is: can Sleepwalker CD32 stand up to close inspection, now the hype is all over?
You play a cute animated dog called Ralph in a platforming adventure centred around your sleepwalking master, Lee. The aim of the game is for you to safely guide Lee through the hazardous streets of Kipsville and get him safely to bed.

The first thing you realise is that Ocean have done this on the cheap. The plastic CD box does not have any special artwork or information on it and you get a copy of the standard Amiga manual with a slip of paper showing you which keys to press on the CD32’s controller. Tut, tut.
Sleepwalker also loses points for being almost unbearably frustrating. You think you have got little Lee into the perfect spot for a good kick up the side of a building when he trundles off and spoils your plans.

However, with six massive levels, stacks of puzzles, bonus sections and some genuinely funny moments, Sleepwalker turns into an addictive and absorbing platformer. This CD32 version has all the gorgeous graphics, sound samples and animations of the AGA incarnation as well as some very Christmassy music. It is a shame Ocean have not included extra levels or animations (though there is a rolling Inferno demo) but this is still a brilliant game to get for CD32, despite the cheapskate packaging.
Rob Mead

Amiga Format, Issue 54, Christmas 1993, p.116


Sleepwalker CD32 logo  CD32

Oceans Plattform-Schläfer und sein Hundeführer haben seit ihren 1200er-Tagen wenig dazugelernt, lediglich die verträumte CD-Musik fällt positiv auf. Weil das Game aber recht nett ist und außerdem ein beeindruckendes Demo des kommenden CD-Flugis "Inferno" mitgeliefert wird, bekommt man für seine 79,- DM hier immer noch 70 Prozent (rl).

Amiga Joker, December 1993, p.83


Sleepwalker CD32 logo  CD32

Ocean £25.99

I hope someone starts bringing out some original CD32 games soon. It is getting pretty hard to think of new and interesting ways to say ‘Well, it’s exactly the same as the A1200 version with a new CD soundtrack’. In fact, I cannot think of any at all, so I am going to stop right here.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 33, January 1994, p.p.98-99

THE BOTTOM LINE
CD32 The CD soundtrack on this one is absolutely lovely and suits the game down to the ground. Otherwise pretty much A1200-port business as usual. Oh, and there is still a donation to Comic Relief made with every copy sold – so you are feeding the world as well.
83
P E R C E N T