Helter Skelter logo

Publisher: Audiogenic Price: £24.99

BILLY was a ball, a nice little, red bouncy ball. Bobby was Billy's cousin, and every day they played together in the sunshine, bouncing this way and that between the children and loving every minute of it. One day, they were playing as usual when a big man threw Billy and Bobby at a wall and knocked them out cold.

The next thing that the two balls knew was that they had been squeezed into a computer. Now Billy and Bobby are forced to bounced around a screen all day.
They'd much rather be playing with the children but instead they are the main characters in Helter Skelter.

This is a strange name for this game as there's not one helter skelter in it. Anyway, you might be wondering what it's all about. Well, you don't have to free Billy or Bobby from the computer 'cos you don't have to play the game, but even if you do, that's not the idea.

Billy and Bobby have been employed to rid 80 levels of bug-eyed monsters. If you tire of the 80 levels already available, why not design your own with the built-in editor. Each level consists of a number of platforms which are the haunts of monsters. These monsters really aren't doing any harm but your brief is to bounce them anyway.

Yes, the object of the game is to get your ball - either Billy or Bobby - to bounce on these poor defence-less creatures who do nothing to harm the environment and really look quite pretty, except for the ones that are really ugly and deserve to be thoroughly thumped.

Bouncing on these creatures causes them to vanish, but only if you get the one that's selected by the computer.
If you get one that's not due to be squashed then you simple squeeze it into two monsters and adds to your work load.
To add to the trouble, if you get one of these smaller monsters, its partner increases in size. This means that if you hit him again before his turn he will divide into two again.

Helter Skelter is a really fun game. It's damned addictive and is certainly something to seek your teeth into.

Helter Skelter logo

AUDIOGENIC £19.99 * Joystick

Sing along now... "I'm like a ... RUBber ball bouncing off the walls and on the wrong platforms and into the wrong monsters and oh no! AAARGH!"
Yes folks, it's time for another one of those games where you play a cute little bouncy creature. This time you are a rubber ball, bouncing around platforms trying to kill monsters. And what does that mean? Hours of frustration!

You play a small, red ball named Billy, who bounces around a series of platform-filled screens colliding with various monsters Billy can kill monsters by simply crashing into them, but the catch is that he has to crash into the right monsters..

The target creature is highlighted by an arrow and once hit will disappear. If, on the other hand, Billy crashes into an unhighlighted creature, it splits into two smaller beasties, giving him more to clear up. Easy enough? Not when you consider the seriously limited time limit. Things are never easy, are they? BOING?


As you would expect from a game of this type, the appearance leans heavily towards the 'cute' end of the spectrum. All the monsters, even the most evil ones, are drawn in a colourful, cartoon-like style and the sound is packed with bouncing, gurgling effects. Those who remember the original version of Helter Skelter will notice the refinements that have been made to the presentation, including the more detailed sprites, enhanced title screen and bouncy soundtrack, which all go together to improve the games' appearance no end.


The game itself contains 80 levels, the earlier screens being quite easy to complete, but getting seriously difficult as the game progresses. Consideration has been given to those who find the game either too easy or too difficult, however, by the inclusion of a screen editor (for those who finish the game quickly) and a series of passwords (so that wimps can reach the higher levels without battling through the earlier screens).


As you may have guessed if you read last month's Amiga Format (I'm sure you all did!) puzzle games are enjoying somewhat of a revival. Helter Skelter originally appeared a couple of years ago but was lost in the wash of big Christmas license releases. This is rather unfortunate, since the game was definitely worthy of attention. The revamped and updated version retains the compulsive gameplay, but with the addition of improved graphics and sound and more impressive presentation. If you missed it the first time round, then Helter Skelter is definitely worth a slice of any puzzle fan's moolah.

Helter Skelter: Extra Time-icon Extra Time - adds precious seconds to the clock.
Helter Skelter: Time Freeze-icon Time Freeze - stops the sands of time trickling away.
Helter Skelter: Monster Freeze-icon Monster Freeze - stops all the creatures in their tasks.
Helter Skelter: Kill Any Monster-icon Kill any Monster - bop any creature and he dies, but it works for a limited period only.
Helter Skelter: Level Skip-icon Level Skip - takes you straight to the next screen.
Helter Skelter: Extra-icons
Extra - collect all the letters and you receive an extra life.

Helter Skelter logo

Price: £14.95 disk

The title of ASL's latest Amiga release is somewhat misleading, since it has little to do with fairground slides, Beatles lyrics or mass murders (read the book of the same name). Frustration is really the name of the game for this jolly little test of dexterity will probably leave you a gibbering wreck with teethmarks in your joystick (eek!).

Taking control of a bouncing ball, your aim is to progress from screen to screen by eliminating the strange monsters inhabiting the platform infested landscapes. This is achieved by blatting them on the head with the ball. Sounds simple enough. The problem lies in the fact that you have to remove the creatures in order, as signified by a large arrow pointing at the next one for the chopping block. Should you blat another by mistake, it splits into two smaller monsters who scurry around with added vigour.

Still sounds simple, doesn't it? Yes, well the real trouble starts in guiding your rubber sphere around the screen. The ball constantly bounces, and its efforts are simply reduced (by pressing fire on the ascent) or increased (by pressing fire on the descent). This strange control method takes a good few games to get to grips with, but once mastered doesn't prove too bad.
However, the combination of devious platforms, reproducing monsters, a wildly bouncing ball AND a 20 second time limit really puts the pressure on!

It's not all doom and gloom, though: there are a number of useful bonus items that appear on screen and are collected on contact. These include extra time, energy and score, plus an extremely useful warp, giving instant access to the next screen.

There are 80 pre-defined landscapes to be cleared, plus 48 screens on which the more imaginative of you may vent your artistic (or masochistic) tendencies by designing your own layouts. There's also a code-access system which enables you to enter the later levels without having to continuously play through those ever-so-familiar early ones.

Hardly the stuff of 16-bit wet dreams, but what IS there is very colourful, extremely smooth, and easy on the ears. A bit steep at fifteen quid, mind you, but Helter Skelter does provide some entertainment - with a large dose of irritation for good measure.

Helter Skelter logo

Audiogenic, £14.95 disk

What do the words Helter Skelter mean to you? A spiral-shaped chute that you slide down on a mat? Well for the moment forget about that, because the game Helter Skelter has got nothing to do with slides of mats, but plenty to do with platforms and balls.

The game takes place in one of those well weird 'other dimensions' we're always hearing about. This time the strange environment is a collection of rooms littered with walls and platforms which you must bounce on. Oh, by the way, the reason you're bouncing about is because you are a rubber ball (well, I did say it was weird) (Just like you, Maffy-babes - Ed.) Some rooms wrap around so that zooming off the screen places you on the opposite side. In these rooms are bunches of creatures, ranging from square-headed gonks to oversized blue crows.

Above the head of one of the creatures hangs a yellow arrow. This marks the thingy that needs to be bashed by you, thus removing it from screen. If, however, you land on a monster not marked by an arrow, it splits into two smaller creatures (but they don't split any further than this), making more work for you. All the creatures must be killed in the correct order before the timer runs out, otherwise one of your lives is lost.

As well as being able to move left and right, you can hurl yourself at the floor to increase your bounce - but be careful, since every bounce decreases your bonus.

Occasionally an icon may appear on the screen, giving you a slight advantage. If you think that the screens are too hard then you can alter them to your own design.

Gordon Houghton This is an unusual game in every respect, from the odd and basic sound effects to the gameplay itself. It's very cute, though, and I'm a real sucker for cutesy products (How to keep an idiot happy: give me a game of Bubble Bobble or Little Green Man and I'm well content). All the creatures are neatly and imaginatively drawn, which makes you think that some of the simpler designs are going to be easy - don't be fooled! There are some real pilchard levels in there! At this comparatively low price it's well worth a look, whether you like buck-toothed aliens or not.
Kati Hamza Aaaaagh! Ngaaaah! Wyagggg! Right, I think that's worked off all the aggression half an hour of Helter Skelter has just given rise to. And all because of an innocent little bouncy ball and a couple of evil-grinning potato heads - aah! Yeah, well, now I've picked my shredded nerve ends off the floor let's get on with the comment. The graphics aren't exactly the sort to take your breath away (have you been eating garlic again - Ed), the gameplay isn't overly astounding, but the package as a whole is more addictive than Saturday Night Live after sharing a pint of Barbican with PG down The Bull. For some reason that infuriating red ball never quite goes where you think it will! If you're expecting fancy presentation and over-the-top Amiga graphics, but if all you're after is a good old-fashioned mega-addictive, well-hard game than get this - you can afford £14.95!
Maff Evans Quite often, games gain acclaim just because they're a bit wacky, which makes reviewing this a bit dodgy. Helter Skelter is a wacky sort of game, so I'm sceptical of giving it a high mark. But I've played it quite a bit now and it's starting to drive me up the wall! The control is a bit tricky at first since the ball seems to have quite a lot of momentum. It takes a while to start moving and even longer to stop. Once this has been overcome, you can really get into it. It's not the sort of game where you have just one more go, it's one of those games you keep playing and playing 'till you go bug-eyed! The password system means that you don't get too bored by having to play the lower levels all the time (but the high levels are really hard!) and the screen editor may extend its lastability. There's nothing else for it, it's got to be another highly acclaimed 'wacky' game!
Helter Skelter: Arrow-icon Letters form the word EXTRA for a bonus life.
Helter Skelter: Clock-icon Temporarily stops the monsters from moving.
Helter Skelter: Hourglass-icon Adds time to clock.
Helter Skelter: Fast Forward-icon Temporarily stops the clock.
Helter Skelter: Lightning-icon Ends the level.
Helter Skelter: Allows you to hit any monster.