Bubba 'n' Stix logo

At long last a game about van drivers, aliens and a man's real best friend, his stick.

It's not that often that one can recall a release which stars a van driver as its principle character. In fact, I don't think there's ever been one up until now (if I'm wrong, it's answers on a postcard to the usual address).

Now, I've nothing against van drivers, well apart from when they're on the road that is. Slower than a car, but faster than a lorry they seem to haunt the fast lane of our road network, flly paid up members of the exclusive "we own the road club". Thankfully, Bubba 'n' Stix isn't about you driving down the M6, attempting to dodge and weave through three lanes of Transit-wielding psychos, all half an hour late for that job in Preston.

Instead, what we have ladies and gentlemen is a very interesting little platform puzzler, or puzzform (maybe?) The action centres around Bubba, the van driver, who is on a job to Preston and you have to dodge through three lanes of... no, not really. Bubba is on his way to the local zoo with a lorryload of wild animals. Unfortunately, someone else is on the look out for additions to their animal manegarie.

High up in the clouds a spaceship suddenly descends and swoops down on the oblivious Bubb, kidnapping him and his live cargo. Now, the alien at the helm of the offending spaceship is the rather clumsy Glik, He is under orders from his boss to bring home to their planet various species from around the universe - just another delivery driver really; see the irony folks?

Unfortunately for Glik, he manages to lose control of his ship and sends it spiraling towards the planet below. In the ensuing crash, both Bubba and the other occupants of the spaceship are sent flying out of the back of the ship, onto the surface of the alien world.

As Bubba recovers, he is hit on the head by a stick. But, this is no ordinary stick, this is Stix. As Bubba goes to walk away, Stix follows him.
This is a pretty dumb thing to have done because for the rest of the game Stix is continually thrown, wedged and trodden on. Ah well, we'll just presume that he's a good old stick.

Anyway, whatever the context of their relationship, what we hae here is a very clever little puzzler. The first level sits your on the planet surface where you crashed, and almost serves as a tutorial for you to become familiar with the uses of Stix.

It takes the first of five or ten minutes when you're playing Bubba to become familiar with the logic behind the puzzles and the many ways you can manipulate Stix.

As well as the usual forms of punishment you'd expect to use a stick for, like beating aliens up, many of the puzzles rely on using Stix in other ways. He can be used as a snooker cue, a tightrope balance, a javelin and a platform to either jump or walk on.

Progressively the levels get tougher, not only the aliens you must fight, but in the puzzle solving and dexterity department.

Bubba 'n' Stix comprises of five levels and a number of bonus stages, and features all of the things you lucky rascals have come to expect of platformers like restart points, power-ups and score bonuses.

What's really nice about Bubba 'n' Stix is the animation. Bubba and all his adversaries are beautifully animated in a very cartoon style. In fact, there are times when the game feels more like an interactive cartoon than a computer game.

The backdrops are also really well arted and add to the whole feel of the play, which is definitely lodged in the slapstick section. For example, when Bubba encounters Glik, all plans to recapture him seem to backfire with slapstick consequences.

In just about every department, this is a winner. Bubba 'n' Stix is truly what you would describe as nice, and that's not meant in any derogatory way.The graphics are smooth and well animated, the play is pretty addictive and even the soundtrack doesn't annoy you. What more could you want?

Bubba 'n' Stix logo

Just another 'here's a strange storyline that magically ports us into space so we can have some curious creatures around' platformer or has B 'n' S got a lot more gumption?

Elvis Bubba. Do you really need to know anything more than that? Surely he has the finest name of any character since the delightfully monikered Guybrush Threepwood of Monkey Island fame? Elvis Bubba. Go on, say it a few times, let it roll across the tongue - let small globules of saliva dribble down your bottom lip.

Ahem, anyway Elvis is a good 'ole country boy, nicely bedecked in dungarees and baseball cap (peak of the back, mind) and he makes his living as a delivery man - they even let him drive the van.

Then one day, Elvis is involved in a stick-up and is kidnapped by an alien big game hunter intent on exhibiting hi on his newly-founded zoo near Chester on planet Zorg. An admittedly unusual day in the life of a delivery man, but without such shenanigans we'd most likely be left with a came called Bubba 'n' Delivery Van. And that would be tedious.

But to add to the excitement, the zoo-bound spaceship carrying the bizarre creatures becomes unstable (oh, no) resulting in a number of the creatures escaping. Elvis finds himself in the company of an alien stick (Stix, believe it or not) and his quest to return to Earth begins. Not that Earth wants the bloody idiot back - only kidding Bubba mate.

Bubba bumbles along taking all the stick while Stix gets stuck into all the sticky situations...

Stirring up trouble
Unfortunately for our none-too-bright hero and his wooden sidekick, five levels (plus bonus levels) of platform/puzzle mayhem lie across their path - a cloud on the horizon, if you will. And the big alien hunter is not content to let our pals wander off into the sunset without so much as a by-your-leave, no siree. He turns up at regular intervals with an extremely large gun, almost like a bad penny, proverbially.

So you've got a man with a stick, What do you do, as him what's on that end of it? Well no, for our stick is what makes this game tick. Levering boulders, thwacking baddies, rolling barrels, flicking switches - you name it, Stix takes care of it and he always returns to your side, rather like a well-behaved boomerang.

Bubba is but a bit-part actor with the odd one-liner along for the ride, while old twiglet hogs centre stage. This, as you may have gathered, is no ordinary platform romp. All the trees have eyes, and they follow you (calm down son) and the bushes, well they've got big mouths and teeth and they bits you (is there a doctor in the house?). And aliens on motorised roller skates run you over (help).

Foliage is the foe on level one with the odd alien thrown in for good measure, although it's not the baddies that are difficult to dispatch - one sound swipe with your wooden pal is usually enough to deal with them - it's the puzzles, the brain teasers that cause the hold-ups.

One minute you're howling along like a good 'un and suddenly you come to a cliff face seemingly impossible to ascend. Next you're trying to get across a pool of water and well, you can't can you? Some of these teasers can take an age to solve but the worst are those where you know what to do and you just cannot do it. And this can make you very, very angry to don't play within earshot of your grandma. "Aaaarrgghhh ******", is but one of many comments that spring to mind.

But don't let the puzzles put the fear of Bubba in to you. They can be frustrating, but all you expert game players out there should be able to crack them after a while. Still, it does help when those nice people from Core visit and show you how to do them. And we're not telling.

The first level is really no more than a warm-up and a bit of practice will see it completed in less than three minutes. But after that it can get qite tough and the second level and beyond are for more involved. Trouble ist, it's a bit difficult to assess just how much lasting appeal Bubba 'n' Stix has. You and I know that five levels aren't many, but the confines of game reviewing don't leave enough time to complete a game. And I certainly haven't completed this one. But we at AF know that many of you are better than us at games - it's a challenge for me but some may twig them a bit quicker. Clever swines.

Playing Bubba 'n'' Stix is not unlike watching a cartoon, with the hapless Bubba bumbling along taking all the stick while Stix gets well stuck into all the extremely sticky situations (what?)

Mixed bag of creatures
The graphics are incredibly bright and bouncy and Bubba has plenty of quirky habits - a goofy grin, a check of the watch and, not least, a silly wave. And when Stix makes contact with foe, he dispatches them with a wonderfully satisfying thwacking sound. There are many bizarre and interesting creatures wandering around, some friendlier than others, ranging from little blue blobby blokes to red slime with horrible tentacles that tend to relieve you of life upon close physical contact.

If one were generous, one could suggest that Bubba 'n' Stix is one of the most interesting and unusual platformers to recently appear. I am and it is. And despite the small number of levels, it looks great and plays like a dream.

Bubba 'n' Stix logo

Um in der aktuellen Flut von Jump & Runs für den Amiga nicht unterzugehen, hilft nur Originalität - ergo hat man bei Core Design den neuen Hüpfhelden mit einem irren Allzweckinstrument ausgerüstet!

Bubba bereist die Plattformen mit einer schicken Latzhose am Leib, einer flatten Mütze auf dem Kopf und dem praktischten Stock aller Zeiten in der Hand: Das Teil dient zum Vertrimmen der Gegner und Erklimmen steiler Felshänge, zum überbrücken von Schluchten, zum Aushebeln der dicksten Felsbrocken und zum Betätigen sonst unerreichbarer Schalter - man fragt sich wirklich, wie seine Kollegen bisher ohne dieses Tool namens Stix auskommen konnten...

Mit Hilfe des guten Stöckchens soll Bubba nun die Flucht von einem fremden Planeten gelingen. Zunächst wird also der Alien-Wald durchforstet, wo man im Kampf gegen marschierende Büsche und Bäume, Schleimtropfen und andere Widrigkeiten nicht nur ein geübtes Joystick-Händchen, sondern auch einen klugen Kopf beim Knacken kleiner Rätselnüße beweisen muß. Fast noch etwas knobellastiger geht es anschließend am Raumschiff-Schrottplatz zu, wo sich in zahlreichen Etagen einige Tentakelgegner und noch mehr Puzzles in den Weg stellen, die ihrerseits oft nach geschicktem Stock-einsatz verlangen.

In der Höhlenwelt kommen dann wieder die Aktionistem zum Zuge, wobei sie es hier am schwersten haben: Aufgrund des überbelegten Joysticks reagiert Bubba gelegentlich etwas träge auf die Kommandos. Abhilfe schafft ein Zwei-Button-Pad bzw. -Stick, da die (extra angepaßte) Steuerung dann wesentlich besser von der Hand geht.

Doch auch ohne solches Equipment läßt es sich hier (über-)leben, schließlich verträgt der Held etliche Feindberührungen, ehe er sich von einem seiner drei Leben verabschiedet und am zuletzt besuchten Startpunkt einen neuen Anlauf wagt.

Außerdem geizen die Plattformen nicht mit Reizen: Die Genre-Standards (Sammelboni, Extraleben, etc.) sind selbstredend enthalten, nachgeladen wird nur selten, und wenn, dann recht kurz, aber vor allem brennt Bubba 'n' Stix ein Feuerwerk an witzigen Gags und Einfallen ab, das seinesgleichen sucht! Ja, zeitweise meint man, ein richtiges Slapstick-Movie zu sehen, wenn sich Aliens gegenseitig die Keule über den Schädel ziehen oder dumm aus der Wäsche gucken, weil der auf Bubba abgezielte Felsbrocken ihnen selbst auf die Birne fällt.

Wie von Core Design nicht anders gewohnt, läßt die technische Umsetzung der Ideen kaum Wünsche offen: Die Animationen der Sprites sind vom Feinsten, die bunte Hintergrundgrafiken bleibt ebenfalls nicht ganz unbewegt und scrollt auch ebenso brav wie parallax in jede Richtung. Schade bloß, daß die Lauscher zwischen (spritziger) Begleitmusik und (durchschnittlichen) Sound-FX wählen müssen; beides zusammen ist nicht möglich.

Fazit: Aufgrund mangelnden Feintunings beim Gameplay bzw. der Steuerung ist Bubba 'n' Stix knapp an der Hit-Hürde gescheitert - aber wer mal wieder ein etwas anderes Jump & Run zocken will, der sollte sich Cores Stöckchen trotzdem schnappen! (rl)

Bubba 'n' Stix logo

Until now, there's been a noticeable gap in the market for a video game that stars a moronic inbreed from the deep south of America, the sort of place where technological progress means that telephones and refrigerators are now regarded only with suspicion rather than fear.

This deficiency is understandable, seeing as moronic inbreeds are constantly given negative coverage in films such as Deliverance and Angel Hart, but Core Design have finally taken the brave step of introducing a character who could walk into a small room containing both his grandparents, four cousins, two broths in law, a nephew and three aunts, and still be looking at just five people. Yee-haw.

That's not the only innovation from this Derby-based programming team though, as they've managed to include not one, but two minorities that have constantly been overlooked in favour of cuter characters such as hedgehogs, frogs, (Frogs? - Ed) or ducks. I am, of course, talking about small sticks, which I've long considered to be an obvious choice for computer immortality.

You're not convinced? Okay, think about how many times sticks have played an important part in human history. At the beginning of 2001 - A Space Odyssey, was it not a stick that the ape man used as a weapon, therefore launching humanity on its destructive course of technical progression? (Well actually no, it was an animal bone - Ed)

And the Battle of Trafalgar, that famour sea battle that changed the course of European history. At the decisive moment, didn't Admiral Nelson raise his telescope to his blind eye and utter the famous lines "I see no sticks"? (Once again, close but not cigar. Nelso was busy dying as the battle reached a crescendo, and he said that line months if not years earlier. Come to think of it, I don't remember him mentioning sticks even then - Ed
And then of course, there was Twiggy the sixties supermodel. (The Words 'you're, fired', 'you' and 'git' spring strangely to mind - Ed.) Need I say more?

So now, a half-witted dullard redneck delivery man has teamed up with the world's first arborial super hero for the most explosive cretin/tree duo since, er... Since, um, well since the last dynamic moron/plant duo you saw. Oh yes indeedy.

The silly story's actually vaguely relevant to the game this time, so here goes.
Bubba's in the act of delivering something to the middle of the Baryou swamps for something when he's kidnapped by an alien zoo collector. Due to some mix-up, he's dropped off on a planet by mistake, and has to make his way back to Earth, avoiding the incompetent hunter in the progress.

Thankfully, while Bubba's as thick as two short planks, his friendly alien stick's a much sharper cookie, giving Bubba the edge over his enemies. Well, I did say vaguely relevant, because although it's a very, very silly story, the alien head hunter turns up quite a bit along the way.

What looks like another linear platform game turns out to be a rather fiendish arcade puzzler, as more often than not, your path's blocked by some sort of physical obstacle rather than a baddie. That's not to say that there aren't any baddies, because there's millions of them, it's just that they're usually done by a swift beating administered by Monsieur Stick.

No, it's the puzzles that halt your progress, and although they're actually quite simple in theory most of the time, they take a lot of tries to get right. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, as you feel great when you finally manage that difficult tip/flood/switch/run combo, but it can also be massively frustrating when you know exactly what you need to do, but JUST CAN'T DO IT! AAARRRGHHHH!

As you've probably worked out by now, Bubba's just an amusing vehicle which allows the brains of the team (i.e. Stix) to get from one location to another, so it follows that most of the clever stuff's done by the stick. This is the real meat of the game, and what makes it stand out head, shoulders and extremely long, skinny beck above any platformer.

Stix is a bit of a cool character, with his Beatles Mop of green hair and his skinny little brown bod, and he's ever so useful for all manner of actions from blocking holes to balancing with and standing on.

Now before you say "But hold on, I have in my hand an ordinary, un-animated, non-alien twig from a nearby wooded area, it can also be used for these actions, so how come someone hasn't made a game about me?" I'll pre-empt you by pointing out that Stix is an alien stick, and capable of a couple of rather special acts.

For instance, when Bubba throws him, he spins round and makes his own way back, so if you throw the stick away and set bubba running off in the opposite direction, you can inflict quite a lot of damage on baddies as Stick rattle his way down corridors. You can also wedge Stix into a hole or something and then call him back by pressing the fire button, proving once more that a stick is most certainly a moron's best friend.

All this bizarre twig-related activity is presented in frenetic, anarchic, cartoon-o-vision, with some of the finest goofball scenes played out time after time. Getting Bubba to leap into the water without Stix results in him splashing about in panic until Stick returns to act as a snorkle.
Running Bubba into an electric field causes a brilliant flashing skeleton to appear, and chucking Stick in produces a tiny skull with about six vertebra attached.

Bonuses and restart points appear as little wobbly aliens and tiny background animations make everything seem so alive. They're funny, brilliantly animated and I simply can't fault the graphics at all.

As I mentioned earlier, some of the puzzles are a bit tricky to execute, but that could probably be put down to my mediocre gameplaying skills, so I'll go onto the only other serious reservation I have with the game, which is its shelf life. The game's split up into five levels, and has some further bonus levels, consisting of Yellow Submarine-esque near-hallucinatory experiences. The alien forest at the beginning's little more than a warm up, but in the remaining four levels there's plenty of variety.

For example, lava flows and rock falls give away to complex grids of pipes, suction tubes and balloon machines in the underground level, so in each level, you're getting masses of gameplay and silliness.

I can't help feeling that five levels aren't much challenge for all you legions of battle-hardened gamers, and that Core could well be 'doing a Putty (as they say) by producing a small but perfectly formed product. If this is the case, then my crap gamesplaying is a positive boost. It means I'll take longer to finish it, so in losing, I could well win. Yeah, think about it.


You might think that the only good stick's a dead 'un and that apart from whittling and making matches, they're pretty useless items, only good for throwing for your dog, but you'd be wrong. Sticks are quite literally lifesaving essentials, vital for space travellers everywhere. Prepare to be amazed as Stix dazzles you with his twig dexterity.

Bubba 'n' Stix
Pushing Stix into a hole provides a handy, but temporary platform.

Bubba 'n' Stix
With a suitable fulcrum and sufficient force, you can use Stix to lever heavy objects.

Bubba 'n' Stix
A thrown Stix can inflict a nasty crack on the head, and he also returns under his own steam. Not bad.

Bubba 'n' Stix
In an entertaining but pointless display of boredom, Stix can be played like a flute.

Bubba 'n' Stix
Inexplicably, doubling in size, Stix can balance Bubba as he crosses a tightrope bridge over hot lava.

Bubba 'n' Stix
We can only assume that Stix is hollow, since he's not only musically inclned, but also fairly snorkelly.

Bubba 'n' Stix
Bubba can raise various doors by using Stix as a crank handle in the winding mechanism.

Bubba 'n' Stix logo CU Amiga Screen Star

After a couple of quiet months, it transpires that Core have been rediscovering the arcade/adventure game. Steve Merrett followed their lead and became the man with the stick...

When Core Design first decided to go it alone, their original intention was to enhance existing genres. This they managed with the likes of Torvak (Rastan Saga and its many mates), Heimdall (Knight Lore and its kin) and Corporation (any 3Der you care to mention).

But after a while something new beckoned - the arcade/adventure game. Now, call me an old fart if you will, but I grew up with the likes of Pyjamarama and Jet Set Willy on the good old Spectrum.
At the time of their release, which was admittedly in the middle of 1984, these were ground-breaking titles which created a new genre itself; and one which ever since has been my favourite.

Yes indeed, if one game style is going to win me over it's going to be the one which combines platform antics with a slight element of puzzling but Core have gone and lifted my expectations even further.

Yessiree, Bubba 'n' Stix is the Jean Luc Picard Next Generation equivalent of the arcade/adventure as it takes the basic puzzling theme one logical step further. You see, whereas countless other arcade/adventures tread the same route i.e. the player finds a useful object which is then taken to an obvious place where it is needed - Bubba 'n Stix requires genuine thought on the player's part - along with the requisite platform skills.

According to the game's convoluted scenario. An inter-galactic big game hunter has been busy procuring a huge menagerie of alien beings for a zoo. A hapless handyman by the name of Bubba has become the Earth exhibit, but kicked up such a stink that the various inhabitants went into revolt and caused the ship they were held on to crash.

Enlisting the help of a stick-like critter called, funnily enough, Stix, Bubba and his new-found ally are left to explore five scrolling stages in search of a way to get home.

Yup, using Bubba's assorted jumping and running skills and Stix's... er, various stick abilities, a number of problems stand between our unlikely pair as they battle all manner of strange aliens. Nothing new but Core have a few surprises up their sleeves to keep you on your toes.

Starting in a forest world, Bubba and Stix begin to explore the eight-way scrolling play area. Via the joystick, Bubba is made to walk and jump, whilst assorted combinations of the fire button and the directional controls bring Stix into action - and what a versatile chap he is, too.

Whilst Bubba is particularly adept at jumping and the like, Stix can be wedged into holes to create a useful platform, thrown at oncoming enemies as a weapon, or even stuffed into someone's moth to get it through customs! In fact, it is the unlikely character of Stix which goes to create many of the game's stunning puzzles.

The problem with past Amiga arcade/adventures is that they either rely on the player's platforming skills or lean towards the RPG genre with oh-too-hard puzzles. Bubba 'n' Stix, however, strikes a perfect balance. The forest level eases the player into its many intricacies (throwing the stick, etc), whilst the later volcanic and maze-based locations add new ideas to the proceedings.

For instance, having got used to the idea of lobbing the stick at foes, next the player is given massive clues that wedging the stick into handy knot holes creates a platform and so on. In fact, so versatile does the stick become that later its use become second nature; a good sign of any arcade/adventure.

Every aspect of Bubba 'n' Stix shows that Core have obviously invested a great deal of time into its development. It really is a logical advancement over the many arcade/adventures on the market and, in terms of appearance, it scores much higher than the likes of The Addams Family and its ilk. Basically, Core have created a game which links between 'old style' puzzlers such as Monkey Island and platformers such as Zool, creating a game necessitating both skill and thought of the player's part.

In these days of platform-based console epics, the Amiga needs a new string to its bow and Bubba 'n' Stix is the perfect weapon. It's playable, long lasting and looks the bizz. What more could you want"? Give it a whirl...

Bubba 'n' Stix CD32 logo CD32

Core Design 0332 297797 * £29.99 * Out now

A stick as a sidekick, now there's a novel idea. Bubba's a delivery man and after being kidnapped in a spaceship full of creatures bound for a zoo, he teams up with Stix - he's the stick sidekick if you hadn't caught on - in an attempt to escape incarceration.

An odd tale admittedly, but it makes for one heck of a game. Five levels of platforming combined with some fiendish puzzles to solve will have you tearing your hair with frustration.
But Bubba 'n' Stix is quirky, the cartoony graphics look great and there are some superb thwacking noises to boot.

Bubba 'n' Stix CD32 logo CD32

Der Plattform-Knabe und sein stocksteifer Alien-Freund, das war bereits auf Diskette ein sehr originelles Team - jetzt hat Core Design das Duo auf CD verfrachtet, ohne sich dabei mit Neuerungen zu verausgaben.

Wer einen A1200 mit CD-ROM ode rein CD32 besitzt, wird gegenüber seinen Kollegen mit Standard-Amigas nun zwar mit einem dicken Comic-Intro und CD-Musik verwöhnt, ansonsten unterscheiden sich die Versionen aber nicht.

Das hat freilich auch seine Vorteile: Das launige Gameplay wird hier von einer sehr gut an Joypad bzw. Zwei-Button-Sticks angepaßten Steuerung unterstützt, dank eines zweiten Modus kommen A1200-User aber auch mit ihrem gewohnten Stick bestens klar.

Ein Stick der eher ungewohnten Art ist hingegen Stix, das praktische Alien im Marschgepäck von Held Bubba. Es sieht aus wie ein ganz gewöhnlicher Stock und dient zum Vertimmen der Gegner ebenso wie zum Aushebeln von Felsblöcken, man kann damit ansonsten unerreichbare Schalter betätigen und noch so einiges mehr.

All diese Einsatzmöglichkeiten lernt man zu schätzen, wenn es durch finstere Wälder, futuristische Raumschiffe oder antike Tempelstädte geht, dazwischen sind auch ein paar Schwimmübungen zu absolvieren.

Allerorten begegnet man dabei witzigen Widersachern wie Vögeln oder Robotern, muß sein Geschick beim Durchqueren gefährlicher Höhlenlabyrinthe beweisen und auch mal das eine oder andere kleine Rätselknäbel entwirren.

Obwohl das Spieltempo insgesamt eher gemächlich ist, herrscht an Abwechslung kein Mangel. Dazu kommen immer wider tolle Grafik-Gags und ein wohl-dosierter Schwierigkeitsgrad, der dank unendlich vieler Continues und sechs erlaubter Feindberührungen auch Action-Novizen den Besuch höhere Abschnitte ermöglicht.

Veteranen mögen sich hingegen ein wenig daran stören, daß dieses Jump & Run keine richtigen Endgegner aufbietet und die Extras sich auf ein paar fade Sammelboni beschränken.

Die Optik mit dem blitzsauberen Parallax-Scrolling und den teilweise sogar animierten Hintergründen hat sich gegenüber der Disk-Version ebenso wenig geändert wie die lauen Sound-FX; die Musikbegleitung hat wie gesagt deutlich zugelegt. Und auch über eine deutsche Anleitung und Codes für die fünf umfangreichen Levels dürfen sich die Besitzer der Schillerscheibe freuen.

Fazit: Eines der spielbarsten und unterhaltsamsten Hüpficals, die derzeit auf den Rillen einer Amiga-CD ihre Runden drehen! (rl)

Bubba 'n' Stix soll keine Ausnahme bleiben, bei Core hat man auf CD noch viel bor. So lauert mit "Skeleton Krew" bereits höchst vielversprechende Aktion in den Startlöchern, außerdem darf man auf Konvertierungen der spektakulären Mega-CD Knallereien "Thunderhawk" und "Soulstar" hoffen - beide Games setzten auf der teschnisch schwächeren Sega-Konsole Maßstäbe, wenn es um rasantes Gameplay mit schneller 3D-Grafik geht!

Bubba 'n' Stix CD32 logo CD32

Core Design, £29.99

In some ways, this represents the opposite end of the CD32 equation - a game ported straight across with practically no changes, for four quid more than the floppy version.

Still, you do get a nicely-done animated intro, and Bubba 'n' Stix is a dreamy and loveable (84%, AP34 platform puzzler (with the emphasis on the 'puzzle') in the first place, so I'm not going to give it too hard a time. But do consider getting the floppy version instead if you can, because it is quite a bit cheaper.

Bubba 'n' Stix CD32 logo CD32


Core Design have built up a good reputation for platform games over the years, although many have been of the 'race-from-left-to-the-right-jumping-on-things' variety. That probably explains why this one came as such a shock when it was released on floppy late last year, shortly before this direct port to CD.

More puzzle based than most of their previous efforts, it tells the tale of a young geeky truck driver called Bubba, who gets abducted by aliens who want to place him in a zoo. Unfortunately the ship breaks down and you end up dumped on an alien planet, with only a small stick-like alien for company. From here you have to find your way home.

Stix, as your alien friend is named, is an extremely versatile little chap, who can be used in all manner of situations. You can throw him as a boomerang, poke with him like a pool cue, stick him into holes in walls and use him as a step, brace one end of him under things and use him to lever them, along with a thousand other uses.

On CD the game is almost exactly the same as its floppy counterpart. I.e. the same high quality graphics and animation, the same amount of charm and character and the same taxing, yet well within the realms of playability puzzles. The only real addition is the extended intro sequence at the start, which gives you the plot in cartoon form. A game well worth owning if you fancy a real challenge.