Bob's Bad Day logo

My eyes have gone all funny and I feel sick, and Bob's Bad Day could do the same to you. It's something to do with the way the screen goes round and round and round.

Bob is having one of those days, his head has been removed. Most of us would give up at this point, seeing decapitation as a pretty final statement, but not you. You are going to bounce and roll your way through 51 hectic, puzzle-ridden levels to meet your other half, and then on through another 50 levels controlling both halves of yourself before final unification.

The game revolves around collecting coins, almost literally. Your head stays resolutely in the middle of the screen while the world revolves around it, often at dizzying speeds. Each level is against the clock, collect all the spondulicks and reach a target before the time runs out and it's on to the next level.

Gravity, generally speaking, points downwards, so you fall to the bottom of a level. Moving the joystick left and right turns the entire level around you, press fire and you jump. All you need to do is turn the world so you can get the coins.

It's not that easy, of course. There are awkward corners to manoeuvre yourself into, and nasty surprises to greet you there. Scattered about the levels are various bonuses to help and hinder you. Some change the direction of gravity, forcing you to think quickly to suss out which way you are going to fall. Others include heavy gravity, teleport, sticky ball and one that gives you the ability to thrust, as they call it.

You will need a combination of brains and quick reactions. The puzzles are increasingly tricky and things can get very fast indeed, almost too fast. Get a bit enthusiastic with the joystick and you rocket about like a thing possessed.

Fast spin cycle
The spinning effect is superb, very smooth and quick. The graphics are simple and frighteningly colourful with some smart parallax effects in the background. It sounds dead funky too. Once you get the hang of the control method, the game comes to life. It's a refreshing change rom the seemingly endless flow of platform games. The levels are cunningly designed and the action is frantic. Get your disembodied head through the first levels and you are in danger of being hooked - it's very playable.

There is not any great depth or longevity in it, but Bob's Bad Day is great fun, even if you do have to lie down for a while after a long session until the world stops moving. It's positively kaleidoscopic.

Bob's Bad Day logo

In diesem Heft wimmelt es geradezu von neuen Psygnosis-Games - eines der interessantesten davon ist dieser auf den ersten Blick doch so unscheinbare Geschicklichkeitstest!

An die Klasse der "Lemmings" reicht Unglücksrabe Bob zwar nicht ganz heran, kann jedoch ebenfalls mit einer neuen Spielidee aufwarten: Ein Zauberer hat ihn in einen Ball verwandelt und in eine 100 Levels umfassende Labyrinth-Welt gesteckt.

Diese jeweils mehrere Bildschirme großen Irrgärten muß Bobby nun unter Zeitdruck durchrollen und dabei eine bestimmte Menge von Goldmünzen einsammeln, ehe er sich auf die Suche nach dem Ausgang macht. Und der Clou an der Sache ist, daß man hier mit dem Joystick in erster Linie das Spielfeld bewegt!

So läßt man den Screen etwa um die Mittelachse rotieren, damit unser kugeliger Freund der Schwerkraft nachgibt - ein Druck auf den Feuerknopf animiert ihn aber auch mal zu einem kurzen Hüpfer.

Neben dem immer verzwickteren Aufbau der Levels sorgen fiese Gegner, Ventilatoren, Teleporter, Bumper Sprungfedern und nette Extras (die z.B. die Schwerkraftverhältnisse ändern oder die Steuerung teilweise außer Kraft setzen) für Spannung und Abwechslung.

Damit es nicht zu spannend wird, gibt es unendlich viele Continues und Paßwörter für die einzelnen Abschnitte.

Nicht zuletzt dank der hervorragenden Handhabung stellt sich hier quasi auf Anhieb Laune ein, die auch recht lange vorhält. Dazu trägt die vielfältige Soundbegleitung von Ragtime-Musik über irische Folklore bis hin zu wüstem Tekkno-Kraach ihren Teil bei, lediglich die sanft scrollende Grafik scheint einem C64-Spiel der frühen Achtziger zu entstammen. Dennoch, den Spaß an Bob's Bad Day kann selbst die trübste Optik nur unwesentlich trüben! (mic)

Bob's Bad Day logo

Marble Madness goes all rock 'n' roll.

Things nearly took a disastrous turn for the worse the other day. After a day spent watching the entire screen spin around, some painters came to do the AP office windows and filled the office with horrible solvent vapours. The nauseous combination of my field of view filled with garish colours slewing round in circles and my nostrils filled with paint fumes very nearly made it Cam's Bad Day, I can tell you. So that is lesson number one then - do not play this game while under the atmospheric haze of industrial thinners.

Tales of impending vomit aside, Bob's Bad Day is a puzzle game in the same tradition of, well, nothing at all really. To claim it was derivative of anything, you would have to reach as far away as a game called On the Ball for the SNES (Or the bonus game from the original Sonic The Hedgehog), which really is getting a bit vague.

The story concerns the hapless Bob, who manages to upset a wizard and have his head magically wrenched off. His body gets zapped to Level 51 and the head starts off at Level One, and to get back together again, he has got to work his way through all 100 levels. It is a crap story (with some particular shaky maths), but it does go some way in explaining why programmers spend their time making the screen spin around rather than, for example, writing romantic historical fiction.

An atmospheric haze of industrial thinners

To explain how the game works, it is best to run out into your garage and make a mock-up visual aid. Build a maze out of wood and then fix it to the wall by hammering a nail through the centre. Using a marble as a surrogate Bob, you can see that by turning the wheel, you can make him move around. But that is enough of these Why Don't You? Antics - back to the game.

You have got a time limit to collect all the stars and then make it to the vortex, but after a few levels of just rolling around, all manner of confusing and stimulating horrors are thrown in your path. These come in two forms, the simplest ones being the actual physical nasties that lurk in the maze, where strange creatures hurt you and large spiky cogs grind you up until you burst. These hurt, but it is the power-ups that cause permanent brain damage.

Can you imagine left gravity? I could not until it happened, and even then it took me a few minutes to work out that Bob was 'falling' to the left of the screen. No sooner have you got used to that, then you hit another power up and start 'falling up'. And then the left side of the joystick goes numb, so you can only rotate anticlockwise, and then your controls reverse, and then your head explodes. The game messes with your head so effectively that you get in a right state, spinning uncontrollably as the time ticks away, and screaming at the screen as Bob once again gets teleported onto a mass of cogs.

Now here I am getting all excited about this, and you are looking at the screenshot and thinking "That does not look very impressive," and you would be right, because it is a bit of a plain Jane of a game, but so what? It plays brilliantly. You do run the risk of falling over or feeling a bit queasy after extended play, but hey, it is well worth taking that chance.

Bob's Bad Day logo


Some people are born lucky, like a mate of mine who has this uncanny knack of finding money in the most unusual of places. Others have so much bad luck that they can't get out of bed without step ping in a great steaming pile of dog pooh. Bob, as you might have guessed, belongs to the latter group of unfortunates. Apparently, he's annoyed a dodgy wizard who has turned his head into a bouncy ball and dumped it in a series of mazes. The only way out is to collect all the coins which have been conveniently left there.

Your job is to help Bob out of his predicament by guiding him around the mazes and picking up all the coins. Of course, there are many dangers to face, like spiky cogs and, in later levels, nasties in the shape of kitchen plungers and spinning stick things. Hitting them is no big deal as long as you've got some coins in reserve.

Run out, however, and Bob bursts losing the level and the game. You can also lose by spending too long bouncing and spinning 'cos Bob can only take so much before he goes green and throws up all over the screen. To really add some difficulty there's the odd icon which, once collected, will do really horrible things like altering the pull of gravity or disabling a part of your joystick.

This game concept has been explored before but what makes BBD so unusual is that it's the first Amiga game to implement full screen pixel rotation. Yes, the SNES's Mode 7 has made it to the Amiga. So, instead of bouncing Bob around a static maze you rotate the maze around him! The Dome are the team behind this coding breakthrough; they are a Norwich-based development house who are relatively new to the Amiga scene having formed a mere six months ago.

Of course, the downside of being the first to utilise Mode 7-style rotation is that the game graphics have to be very basic. This initially detracts from what is a very playable game, but you'd be foolish to let it influence you for more than a few seconds.

Bob's Bad Day is one of the most playable and addictive games I've seen in some time. The difficulty curve is exceptionally well judged, the playability is pitched just right and, with 100 levels, it'll keep you going for a good while.

Don't let first impressions put you off Bob's Bad Day or you'll miss one hell of an addictive puzzler. Try it out.