Gib dem Affen Zucker

Catch 'em logo

Es ist eine Affenschande: Sämtliche Affen sind aus dem Zoo ausgebrochen und haben mit einem Affenzahn die Plattformen geentert - der Spieler darf jetzt den Affen machen und die Biester wieder einfangen...

Ganz schön affig, der digitale Affenzirkus, den uns Prestige da präsentiert, was? Nicht minder ausgeflippt zeigt sich das Gameplay: Um die flüchtigen Primaten wieder einzusacken, müssen sie erst abgelenkt und dann niedergeknüppelt werden!

Also stellt man ihnen etwas Interessantes (Freßnapf, Affendame, etc.) in den Weg, wartet, bis sie stehenbleiben, und zieht ihnen die Keule über die Rübe. Sterben kann man dabei kaum, einzig das Zeitlimit kostet manchmal eins der drei Leben, ein Sturz von den Plattformen setzt den Affenfänger hingegen bloß eine Weile schachmatt. Wichtig ist aber der wohlüberlegte Einsatz der Jagdmittel, denn der Vorrat an Knüppeln ist ebenso begrenzt wie die Ablenkungswerkzeuge.

In Shops kann die Grundausrüstung zwar ergänzt werden, und auch auf den Plattformen liegt mal ein Extra herum, aber die Äffchen fordern einen enormen Materialeinsatz!

Abwechslung wird in den 37 (via Paßwort anwählbaren) Leveln groß geschrieben. Puzzle-Elemente bringen die grauen Zeilen zum Rotieren, ein optischer Gag jagt den anderen: Ob nun ein Affe vor "Schädeln am Spieß" flüchtet oder der Held auf Bananenschalen ausrutscht, stets sind die Animationen witzig.

Es gibt hübsche Zwischensequenzen, die bunte Hintergrundgrafik scrollt supersoft in alle Richtungen und geht damit ebenso in Ordnung wie Begleitmusik und -effekte.

Wenn Catch 'Em dennoch nicht restlos überzeugt, liegt's an der hakligen Steuerung und am etwas arg gemächlichen Spieltempo. (rl)

Catch 'em logo

Catch 'em is foreign, and cute, and nothing quite like you've ever played before. It also begs to be reviewed in the well-worn manner of spending the remainder of the word count explaining what the game entails, with an indecisive "Try it - you might like it" message to conclude.

So then, here goes, Jeff is a zookeeper. One day while reading his newspaper, some apes escape from their cages and scatter themselves throughout 30 levels. There are three types of ape - chimpanzee, orang outan and gorilla - each kind with its own cage placed somewhere on the level.

Obviously it's your task to return each ape to the correct cage one at a time, but specific tactics must be adopted to catch them. The chimps can be hit over the head with a baseball bat, but only when they stop to eat.

So you'll need to collect a bat (which has a limited number of hits), collect some food, drop it in the path of the ape, clonk him one, stick him in your bag and release him in the appropriate cage.

Orang outans move somewhat more slowly around the screen and so can be hit and bagged in one. However, they do move ladders around for you, and as some platforms can only be reached by these ladders you'd better wait until they've moved the ladders to where you want them.

The gorillas, too, can simply be hit and bagged, but watch out as they're likely to pick you up instead, making you drop the contents of your sack. There's only one thing likely to tame a gorilla, and that's a god kiss-up - so lure a male and female gorilla together and as the snogging session unfurls, you'll be safe.

Falling from a platform is another sure fire method to dropping any apes you may have collected (you can only carry one at a time), as is slipping on a banana skin if you haven't seen fit to picking it up first (they're a little tricky to spot, I'll grant you) and depositing it in a nearly bin.

The bananas come from banana boxes from which the chimpanzees can steal the fruit and drop the peel - these boxes can be nailed shut (collect the nails first), but if there are two or more chimps about then they can re-open them.

And, with a few more details not essential to this review, that's about the size of it. Quite big, in other words, with thirty levels increasing to a scrolling twenty five screens on the largest, and quite an entertaining outing at that. And challenging too - make a mistake or run out of time and you'll be sure to see what you did wrong for next time.

Basically, if you enjoyed the totally bizarre concepts of Lemmings or Goblins then perhaps you could make something of Catch 'em too.

Catch 'em logo

Tony Dillon remembers when Game And Watch was all the rage, and Donkey Kong Junior was just out of nappies...

The whole world's gone soft. Remember the days when you could cull and maim as many digital cuddlies as you wanted without being branded a maniac or killer. Not in these green enlightened days. Nobody would ever come up with a game which involved walking up behind Chimpanzees while they were eating, club them into submission while they smiled, and stuff them into a sack and lock them in a box. Or would they?

Catch 'Em reminds me of the sort of games I used to play at school, where the envy of the class was the kid with the foldout Game And Watch system, with games played over TWO screens! Those games were violent and, on the whole, completely inoffensive. I wonder what Mr Game or Mr Watch would say if they could see this.

Your task is a simple (sinful?) one. You work for a local zoo, from which hundreds of Chimps have escaped. Armed with only your Chimpanzee Stunning Unit - a baseball bat - you have to locate the chimps and cart them back to the zoo, but not before teaching them a lesson they'll never forget. There aren't only lovable chimps on the loose, though. There are Donkey Kong-like apes and massive gorillas who have a habit of moving ladders around - handy on some of the later levels where platforms seem inaccessible.

Scattered about the four-way-scrolling levels are all your tools of the trade. There are spare baseball bats to replace any you break whilst Monkey beating. There are also bowls of food to distract the chimps before you knock them into next week, and there are nails to secure bananas so the chimps can't drop them in your path for you to slip on.

Catch 'Em looks and plays like any standard cure platform game. All the sprites have a cheery air about them - even when they are getting their skulls smashed in or are falling from a high ledge. Music and sound effects are suitably 'bouncy', although the bone-crunching thud when you swing your bat could be taken as a little too gruesome.

The control method is a little out of the ordinary, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. The fire-button is used to jump, rather than access the currently selected weapon (with the spacebar used to access your weapons). To swing the bat, you simply pull down and press fire, which often spoils any chance of instinctive play early in the game.

Catch 'Em is a return to the sort of game we all used to play, updated slightly for today's market. However, dated gameplay and dated design make this an extremely average game.