There are what you might call some eccentrics writing software these days. It probably comes from some primitive instinct to shake off the worrying stereotype that proclaims that they are all sad men who sit in their bedrooms, at home with Mother, programming for all hours, only taking time off to readjust the Elastoplast that holds their NHS issue glasses together. Then again, maybe they are all just plain mad.
The chapette behind this is clearly no exception, as the scenario for this "interesting" puzzle game shows. A blighter named Dr Devious - ex-politician, ex-taxman, ex-DPP - has come up with a plot to hold the world at ransom as a revenge for his untimely demise from the forefront of public life. Using his immense scientific skills, honed and focused in a garden shed, Dr Devious built a weapon. A weapon so powerful and so, well, devious really that it scared the pants off him. While bending down to pull them back up he realised that he would soon be a very rich man.
The weapon was a feat of molecular manipulation, chemical control and physical fondling. Or something. It could turn any object into a cubist representation of itself (he fancied himself as a bit of an art bluff) and then juggle it around it renders the said object/monument/public toilet completely useless. Dr Devious has the power to put them all back, but it will cost the world's governments big money. This is where JJ Maverick comes in, controlled by your good selves. Only he, the world's best special agent, can save the day. Only he has the talent, the nerve and the dramatic aftershave to do it. If you want to know what he looks like, pick any guy from a Gillette advert, especially one of the yuppie types, and you've got it.
This is a weird game. The first thing you are presented with as you start is basically a collection of nondescript blocks that need to be moved into a transparant frame. When they are all in the right places, the screen updates to reveal what the object is - essentially an excuse to parade some truly fantastic artwork, and for you to pat yourself on the back.
The controls are unusual to say the least. After the tutorial style of the first seven or eight levels, JJ Maverick becomes fully mobile. This involves the rather disorientating concept of every vertical or horizontal flat surface having its own gravity, so JJ can jump out from a wall, then be attracted by the gravity of a surface at another angle and land on that. Very strange. To move the pieces, JJ can pull, lift and carry, throw or drop them into place. As the levels get harder it gets more difficult to work out exactly where you are going to move to and how the hell you are going to get that piece over there. It is all too easy to make one false move and end up in big trouble.
As if this wasn't enough, you get the added problems of irritants such as big things that shoot at you, bonuses to try to and to, and the whole thing is against the clock. What a complete nightmare.
It soon becomes one of the most frantic puzzle games this side of Lemmings, but because of the esoteric nature of the thing, and the iffy controls, it is definitely an acquired taste. But I've always been intro acquiring new and different experiences - just ask my [that's quite enough of that - Mary Whitehouse Dept].
Enjoyable, more challenging than Anneka rice, and excellent graphics - a worthy reward for struggling through the levels. Yes, it is eccentric, esoteric and some other word beginning with e and ending in ric.
The fifty levels there are will take a lot of playing, the hair-pulling factor is enormous and you won't stop battling with it for hours - if the joystick doesn't get through the monitor first. Fab.