More like a horror story

Garfield: Winter's Tail logo

GARFIELD, the feline fatso with the sardonic smirk, is dreaming about all the royalties he could get for appearing in a computer game, all the lasagne he could buy with the money.

Garfield has a big smile on his wide chops. But wait, a cloud passes over his face. Something is amiss. Deep in dreamworld Garfield has signed up with The Edge, but notices that Tim Langdell, the boss of the company, doesn't smell quite right. A first inkling of the horror to come.
Then Garfield notices that there are holes in Tim's jumper, and that he's wearing a tatty old hat. Odd, but it gets odder when Tim shows Garfield how the game is progressing some months later.

There's a scrolling section, a scene in a chocolate factory and a skating part. But where's the Garfield, the plump one asks, bemused. Right where we want him, snarls Tim, six-inch blades flashing across the office, glinting in the moonlight streaming through the window.
Garfield meows in surprise and finds himself catapulted into the game, becoming the computer version of himself.

TIm has vanished as Garfield peers out from under a blanket. There's the open fridge and part of his home, but he can only see grey nothingness extending beyond the edge of the room. Garfield realises that there is no way out of this screen, unless... unless he plays the game.

But to do that he needs to be asleep. Thinking of oceans of lasagne and planets of chocolate he eventually nods off. Floating above in a dream-thought bubble is the choice of the three adventures, completion of which in the right order leads to the fourth and, just maybe, freedom.

He selects the alpine racer choice and a dream version of himself wanders off the screen in search of escape.
Finding himself on a pair of skis is quite frightening for an overweight cat, especially, as in all dreams, his movement is terribly slow. It's like skiing through treacle.

Logs, trees, bushes, shrubs and other obstructions scroll up all to be avoided. It isn't too easy swerving out of the way, so jumping is the best bet. Going over the ramps with a jump sends him flying through the air, a much quicker and safer way than skiing along the ground.

On the bottom of the dream screen a little vignette of Garfield looks sleepier and sleepier each time he falls foul of an obstruction. To keep his dreamself awake, Garfield must swerve violently towards the edge of the screen with his mouth open in order to intercept local villagers who stand with plates of cake and food.

Unfortunately no sooner does Garfield see the nosh than the holder of it has scrolled past out of sight. There's nothing for it but to keep jumping. Even if he can't hear the sound of skiing or very little else except for some tuneless dirge in the background.

Eventually Garfield finishes the course and staggers into a lasagne factory. As he sits down to scoff, he knows that he's more like the Martin Bells of the skiing world than the Franz Klammers.
Then Garfield finds himself wandering around a very blandly painted factory, trying to turn valves so that a supply of feed gets through the various chocolate egg-laying chickens.

Up conveyor belts and down poles, up and down in lifts, and more jumping and trying to turn those infernal valves, and then wandering all the way over to the one screen which tells you how many chickens out of four you've fed.
All the while Garfield is getting sleepier, and although there's bits of food around, there isn't enough since a randomly appearing Odie keeps pinching it.
Poor Garfield, even if the lack of food wasn't making him sleepy, the boredom of the factory would. Time watches on, and cackles manically.

But now he finds himself on ice skates, tearing around a pond littered with snow, tyres, and half of the sprites of the first game. Only he's getting too fast and he can't slow down unless... Crunch!
He's stopped now, but as soon as he starts up again in the quest to find the missing chocolate egg-laying chicken, he's racing along. Even the ability to turn 90 degrees instantly doesn't help when you hardly have time to see. Oh no, a dead end... Crunch!

That's it for poor Garfield, his alter ego from dreamland returns to his captive computerised torso and shivers under the blanket. Garfield can only sit and wait, and hope that some talented individual with the patience of Job can finish the game and rescue him from this nightmare that The Edge created.



Garfield: Winter's Tail logo

THE EDGE £24.99 * Joystick

Garfield (the world's fattest and laziest cat, as if he needed any introduction!) has dozed off in front of the fridge. The cold is having some effect on his sleep; as he begins to dream of Northern Italy, and the Alps. As any glutton knows, Italy is where lasagna comes from, and on the other side of the Alps is Switzerland, where they make chocolate!

Naturally, both of these fat-foods feature in Garfield's dream. In the first section of the dream, Garfield is skiing down a hill with Odie, because at the bottom of this hill is the lasagna-making factory (a dream of dreams for all self-respecting carbohydrate-consumers!) There are logs, trees, stones and all sorts of other things in the way, which the fat cat must avoid or jump, as well as ski-jump ramps which must be negotiated successfully.

Right at the bottom of the hill, there's an extra big ramp, which Garf has to fly off to take him to the beginning of the second stage: inside the lasagna factory itself.

Having fallen through the roof of the factory, Garfield now gets a chance to increase his energy level. When he plonks himself down in front of the production line, waggle the joystick like mad to make him eat faster. The more he gobbles, the better he feels! When Odie stomps in to announce desserttime, it's off in search of the chocolate factory.

In here are loads of elevators, escalators and poles connecting the platforms. Garfield has to direct the flow of chocolate through the red pipes, so that the pipes dispense chocolate to all the mechanical chickens throughout the factory. The direction of flow though the pipes is shown by the arrows which appear at the pipes' connections.

Near to each of these connections is a little red button, which when pressed will change the direction of flow. After all the chickens have been fed; Garfield can enter the control room, where the mythical chicken that lays the chocolate eggs lives. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he discovers that the chicken has escaped.

The lake is frozen over. Garfield, feet clad firmly in a pair of skates, takes off over the ice to follow the chicken's chocolate footprints (which, of course, he eats on the way). He must avoid the holes in the ice (watch out for Odie, who has a saw and uses it!) and collect any bits of food. Once he gets to the other side, it's into the Swiss Village to find the chicken, at last.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

What can I say? The graphics in Winter's Tail are fantastic: they're perfectly coloured and amusingly animated, and the characters are much brighter and clearer than they are in the Daily Mail! Sound is good too, with an excellent tune that plays throughout. Absolutely brilliant presentation.

JUDGEMENT

Once again though, good presentation is let down by a poor game design. The first section (skiing) is OK: it lacks a lot of content, but it looks good and plays reasonably. Unfortunately, the Lake and Chocolate Factory are both awful; the former is unplayable, the latter too boring for words. Fans of Garfield with money to spend on cuddly toys and other stuff of dubious usefulness might find it good value, but any gamesplayer is going to seriously question the importance of buying this. Not recommended to anyone but the most die-hard fans.


Garfield: Winter's Tail logo

Nichts gegen Katzen, und auch nichts gegen jenes grinsende Katzenvieh namens Garfield welches in diversen Comics sein Unwesen treibt! Aber was die Programmierer sich bei diesem Game gedacht haben mögen, wird wohl ewig ein Rätsel bleiben...

Schon nach knapp zehn Minuten stellte sich bei mir eine derart gähnende Langeweile ein, daß ich mich nur noch mittels einiger Liter sirupähnlichen Kaffees mühsam wachzuhalten vermochte. Das Einzige, was mich überhaupt noch die Augen offenhalten ließ, war der permanente Ärger über die miserable Joystickabfrage!

Das Programm besteht aus drei separat spielbaren Teilen: Da wäre zunächst so etwas ähnliches wie ein Skiabfahrtslauf, de mit allerlei neckischen Hindernissen gepflastert wurde. Da die Steuerung eine glatte Katastrophe ist, dürfte selbst der geübteste Skiläufer hier keinen Blumentopf gewinnen.

Die Grafik ist mittelmäßig und erinnert an selige 8-Bit Zeiten. Der anschließende Eiskunstlauf reißt ebenfalls kaum jemanden vom Hocker. Die dritte Aufgabe besteht schließlich darin, in einer merkwürdigen Fabrik irgendwelchen huhnähnlichen Viechern die Eier zu entwenden. Eine obskure Maschine bastelt dann daraus eine gigantische Pizza zusammen. Huch, wie originell!!

Konnte schon die erste Version eines Garfield-Spiels kaum jemanden überzeugen, so tut es diese erst recht nicht. Das Ganze macht den Eindruck eines hastig zusammengeschüsterten Programmes, wobei man wohl hoffte, mit dem fetten Kater als Zugnummer zu den erwünschten Absatzzahlen zu kommen. (Udo Bartz)


Garfield: Winter's Tail logo

The Edge, Amiga £24.99

Take a rotund, ginger tomcat. Give him an insatiable appetite for lasagne. And leave the fridge door open. What do you get? The sequel to Big, Fat, Hairy Deal, that's what.

Our feline friend has been sampling the delights of Italy's culinary expertise once more and, having fallen asleep in the icebox beside the refrigerator, he's started to dream. A beautiful dream. About FOOD. He can see a lasagne factory at the bottom of a ski-slope in the Swiss Alps. Wait a bit... there's A CHOCOLATE FACTORY THERE, TOO! Ah, heaven...

Winter's Tail is a three-part program, with the option of playing each section in whichever order you desire.

Part One rests your paws at the top of a steep ski slope. You (and, of course, your 'good friend' Odie the dog) must ski down the slope, dodging trees, bushes and rocks, and jumping the ramps. Should you tumble, you'll use a unit of energy (represented by a Garfield face which starts out smiling, but gradually saddens with each accident). Energy can be regained by stealing the food held out by the spectators at the sides of the track. Hitting the final ramp at exactly the right moment catapults you high into the air over the trees and straight through the roof of the Lasagne Factory.

The next load contains two separate levels, the first of which is more akin to a bonus stage, where you must waggle the joystick at great speed to scoff as much lasagne as possible.

The second part moves you over into the Chocolate Factory. Here, you must activate the choccy egg machines by turning dials, attached to a spaghetti-junction of pipes, in order that the chocolate mix inside flows to the correct machines. Achieve success in this section and you are whisked off to the final load. It's Torville and Dean time as you skate around an iced-over lake in pursuit of an escaped Chocolate Chicken. You're assisted in your search by the chocolate footprints left behind the bird (a trail which is followed by Garf's stomach - he eats the prints!), but be careful of the rocks which litter your path.


Phil King The great thing about Winter's Tail is the way it captures perfectly the personality of the amiable Garfield. Some of the animation is very funny - I love the way the furry feline kicks poor Odie right off the screen. The cheerful music also adds to the cartoon atmosphere. My main niggle is that with only three levels the appeal won't last too long, although the option to play them in any order is a good idea. The gameplay that is present is also very simple, but Garfield fans will no doubt enjoy this light-hearted, lightweight licence.
Paul Rand After the (in my opinion) disappointing Big, Fat, Hairy Deal, The Edge needed a different slant for their next Garfield tie-in. Winter's Tail isn't nearly as complex as its predecessor, a lot of the gameplay relying more on joystick dexterity and a good memory. In some respects, it's paid off, as this time it's a great deal simpler to get into the game. Winter's Tail does have its drawbacks, however. The sprites, although large, colourful and immediately recognisable, tend to move too slowly, especially on the skiing level where a hasty slide to the left or right is essential in avoiding some of the obstacles (I also noticed that collision detection was somewhat suspect on this level, too). Still, Winter's Tail deserves to do well, being an instantly playable, enjoyable tie-in of everyone's favourite moggy.