Germ Crazy logo

ELECTRONIC ZOO * £25.99 Mouse

Here is a game which tells it how it is on the packaging: "See it eat through all major organs. Hear hysterical screams of agony, feel completely sick". Germ Crazy is a god-game à la Sim City, but played inside the human body. So it is a little surprise that the box gets the bad taste award for 1991.

More gas nurse
The idea is to arrest the progress of a virus. You have various facilities at your disposal all of which can slow or stop the virus. These ranger from a rather brutal attachment, a life-support machine, to warfare at germ level.

When the game kicks off, options can be chosen for the kind of germ warfare you are into. Thus, you can choose to fight on one specified area of the body (such as the heart), or on the whole body. There are six levels and these determine how hard the viruses are and the speed at which they spread through the body.

Once you are happy with your settings, the game proper starts and the germs start spreading through the body. Initially the little blighters are quite soft, but unless you perform some medicine quickly they will start eating their way through limbs and organs.

The main graphic in the game is your patient. Zoom in to a cell level and you get a representation of the viruses whizzing about. The icons are large and clear, though there are so many of them it is easy to become lost.

If you feel a trip to the doctor is in order, you can book the patient in to see a NHS or a private doctor. You only have limited amounts of cash, so the private option will bruise the cheque book. The NHS provides a check-up option and life support. The private doctor supplies drugs and performs operations: these are blimmin' expensive. If you are straped for cash, you can order your patient to lie down and have a hearty meal: well it works for me!

Don't mention the germs
Far and away the most fun is to be had when you start playing the game one-on-one against the germs. Individual sections of the body can be viewed close up. This means you can see exactly what sort of germ is attacking a part of the body and accordingly dispatch a germ agent to do battle.

Let us say that a shellerphage germ has plonked itself in a nice spot and is dispatching germ missiles at the body. This guy can be dealt with quickly by your own secret agent, the engulpher (he looks like pacman). Move to the agent choice-movement menu, pick your agent and the move onto the cell map to deploy him. It is important to keep tabs on each part of the body. It is easy to go for an all-curing antidote, but this is expensive and just delays the virus. Get your treatment wrong and the affected part starts withering, and a demoniac cackle lets rip. Enjoy too many of these and you will be treating a skeleton.

Here is a god-game with plenty to get your teeth into: you can be subtle with your treatments, or go for an organ transplant. However the game is hard to master, even on the easy option so it will take you a long time to get to grips.

Germ Crazy logo

Das ist wirklich mal was Neues: Eine Konfliktsimulation - nur mit der kleinen Besonderheit, daß das Schlachtfeld ein menschlicher Körper ist!

Das Leben eines Jungen soll gerettet werden, dessen Körper von Bakterien und Viren im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes "aufgezehrt" wird. Die kleinen Plagegeister kämpfen an insgesamt 24 Fronten - ob an den Beinen, am Herz oder gar im Gehirn - überall muß den Killer-keimen Einhalt geboten werden (man darf die Krisenherde aber auch einschränken).

Zu diesem Zweck können Pillen, Spritzen und andere Medizinbomben verabreicht werden; dafür braucht man aber Geld, und das ist nur beschränkt vorhanden. Oder man begibt sich direkt an den Ort des Geschehens und bekämpft die Bakterien-truppen mit Antikörpern.

Hier ist der kritische Punkt die verfügbare Energie, die man zur Bildung der Immunstoffe benötigt. Und nur wenn der Patient nicht allzu große Schmerzen leidet, weder zu müde, noch zu hungrig ist, hat er eine echte Chance auf Genesung!

Die Handhabung ist nicht gerade einfach, was weniger an der durchaus praktikablen Maus/Iconsteuerung als an der Komplexität des Programms liegt: Es gibt alleind 30 verschiedene Anti-körper, die produziert, verteilt, repariert und wieder eingesammelt werden müssen, dazu kommen zahllose Icons für Medikamente, Nahrungsmittel, Behandlungsmöglichkeiten und und und...

Grafisch ist der Medizin-Krimi kaum weltbewegend. Wer aber doch recht ordentlich, Sound ist dagegen absolute Mangelware (von der Titel-Musi einmal abgesehen).

Wer also mal ein Strategical der ganz anderen Art kennenlernen möchte, sollte sich Germ Crazy in der nächsten Software-Apotheke zeigen lassen. (Hugh Myashirov)

Germ Crazy logo

You have doubtless played Sim City, and ever-so-possibly Sim Earth too (if not on an Amiga) so why not have a crack at 'Sim Body' - or Germ Crazy as it is actually called?

It is a kind of ' body simulator' (hence the crap intro) in which you have got to ensure the smooth running of your patient by fighting off any baddies (or 'germs') that attack him. A bit like the board game 'Operation' ("My turn to operate!"), only the funny bone does not keep disappearing between the various pieces of cardboard.

And you will certainly have your work cut out for you, with four limbs and several major organs to keep tabs on, and the threat of viral infection from all quarters. Rather more pressing, though, is the phenomenal number of icons and submenus you will have to wade through in order to get anything to happen.

They are jolly confusing indeed - there is a different icon for just about everything, and none of them are in the least bit intuitive - which is the main reason for the slightly middling mark down there (Go on, have a peek).

Returning to the plot side of things, how about a rundown of what you have got to do? Right, the body is split into several sections, each of which is vulnerable to attack. In order to stave off infection you have got a range of 'agents' available, which range from antibodies to microscopic tanks and laser guns. These can be assembled into armies and marched around the body (via the blood stream) to where they are needed most, which is where strategy and planning enter the arena. You can probably afford to lose the odd arm here and there, but if a major organ goes down you are in trouble. Other things to consider are eating/sleeping, drugs and hospital treatment.

So what we have got, then is an original and probably quite challenging strategy game that is suffocating under the vast amount of guff that has been heaped onto it. The impossibly steep learning curve (you have really got to learn the whole manual off by heart before you can begin to even think about a tentative first game) is largely a result of all those unfathomable icons, most of which would be trimmed away in favour of a few drop down menus or something.

I suspect that what lurks underneath is actually quite simple and probably quite easy to play if you are the game designer, but for the rest of us it is a nightmare and you are unlikely to have the patience to really persevere. It is an interesting idea that seems to have got a bit out of hand somewhere along the line.

Germ Crazy logo

Imagine a body ravaged by disease and almost certainly dying if desperate measures are not meted out immediately. Germ Crazy from Electronic Zoo involves a vicious battle against mutant strains of the cold virus.

Although based on war strategy games, Germ Crazy concentrates on fighting infections that destroy the body, rather than destroying other people. What a refreshing change! So all you Dr Kildare fans start boning up on anatomy, cytology and urology - perhaps you might then gain a useful insight into this game.

It takes a while to find the miracle cure, if indeed there is such a thing. Not so much Germ Crazy as driving you Plain Crazy. Over a thousand different play options may befuddle the mind, so start slowly and work your way around the game. There are three difficulty levels: a small section of the body like the hand, a limb and, hardest of all, the entire body.

Remember how a cold creeps up on you? One minute you feel fine, and the next it seems as if paralysis has struck. In Germ Crazy, the countdown time is thirty seconds before those bugs start multiplying in the system. Mother Nature, quite naturally, is not going to take this invasion lightly.

Defences include a well-stocked larder of 28 different body agents comprised of antibodies, statistics, and mobiles that will attack the marauding virus. These take the form of characters from past games, as in the Muncher which chomps Pac Man-like around the screen.

All controls are mouse operated. Clicking on the body agents and transferring them to the infected parts will start off an almighty battle between disease and health. A useful tip is to find out the merits of each agent so that they can be used in the most effective way. There is an aura of authenticity about Germ Crazy.

Many screens can be accessed to give information on temperature, levels of pain, hunger and whether the body needs to rest.

Fighting a losing battle against the virulent strain may call for something a little stronger than the body's own defences. The medical services at your disposal include the NHS, the Private Clinic, and, most dodgy of all, the Black Market, which contains, lots of drugs with plenty of side effects. Artificial limbs sell cheap in this illegal racket; click on the jagged saw covered in blood!

Be as sadistic as you dare. Give plenty of injections and hear the winces of pain. A soundtrack of heartbeats that thump distressingly enhances the game. Maniacal laughter can be heard when a part of the body is lost to the mutant hordes. Better get Doogie Howser MD in to prevent cardiac arrest!

Germ Crazy is an intriguing game in which it is very easy to lose yourself in fighting the battle in the body. Although the graphics are fairly elementary and not exactly breathtaking, they serve in creating a scenario for the combat. One of the more constructive games to come out, which is surely so much better and enjoyable than killing everything in sight.