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There can be a few less rewarding jobs than being a crash dummy. You get strapped in, some idiot in an overall sticks a brick on the accelerator pedal and before long you're shooting through the windscreen of a Mini Metro at 90 miles an hour.

Incredible Crash Dummies gives the auto industry's unsung heroes their own (surprise, surprise) platform game. Dummies Spin and Slick are roused to action when the evil Junkman steals the plans of a T9000 bionic dummy and kidnaps Dr Zub, a top scientist. Bravely, Spin volunteers to stay behind, while you - as Slick - head off in search of Dr Zub.

It's different from most platform games in that the aim is to survive and complete a series of levels against a time limit. Each level is filled with hazards - crash cars, mad dummies on bikes, pits of fire - and each time Slick collides with one he loses a part of his anatomy.

Once both arms and legs are gone, it only takes one more hit to lose a life, but Slick can hop round a level however badly damaged he is, and there are plenty of medicinal screwdrivers dotted around to bring him back to health. He can also pick up spanners to throw at baddies, as well as a host of other power-ups.

The novelty of hopping around on one leg or losing your arms keeps you amused for a while, but that apart, the game does more or less exactly what you would expect. The collision and edge detection is fairly accurate, and the puzzles and level meanies are mildly diverting.

And in actual act, that's Crash Dummies, problem. It does everything reasonably well, but nothing exceptional. The graphics are OK, the gameplay's OK, the concept's OK and, even if it gets its hooks into you for a while, your interest is unlikely to be sustained. Your kid brother would love it... probably.

The Incredible Crash Dummies logo

Beim Deal um die Umsetzungen für "Mortal Kombat" mußte Virgin auch diese Plattformgurke von Acclaim übernehmen - ein Spiel, das trotz der Namensverwandtschaft zu einer Band alles andere als ein Hit ist.

Zuerst sieht es aus wie tausend andere Jump & Runs; nicht gerade aufregend, aber auch nicht so richtig schlecht. Doch je länger man sich vor dem Monitor langweilt, ums o mehr ärgert man sich über dieses saft- und kraftlose Game:

Der an sich recht originelle Held ist eine Puppe, wie sie Autohersteller für ihre Crash-tests verwenden. Dieser Dummy läuft, hüpft und rutscht nun ziemlich ungelenk und unter Zeitdruck durch die vier mehrfach unterteilten Spielabschnitte, in denen neben allerlei Feinden auch die genreüblichen Boni (Extraleben, Beschleuniger, Zusatzzeit etc.) auf ihn warten.

Ein Sprung auf des Gegners Haupt beseitigt denselben, andere Formen der Feindberührung führen dagegen prompt zum Verlust eines Armes oder Beines, so daß unser Freund anschließend ziemlich lädiert weiterhumpeln bzw. -rutschen muß.

Hier kommt ihm allerdings sein mechanisches Innenleben zustatten, denn die aufgefundenen Schraubenschlüssel eignen sich nicht nur als Wurfgeschosse, sondern auch zum Ersetzen verloreren Gliedmaßen.

Am Levelende ist dann jeweils ein Fahrzeug-Crashtest zu bestehen, und ganz zum Schluß kommt der Kampf gegen den Obermotz Junkman.

Sicher, das hört sich recht launig an, kommt aber am Screen irgendwie lieb- und leblos rüber. So sind Grafik und Scrolling zwar halbwegs o.k., aber genau wie Gameplay und Sound ziemlich altbacken. Und bei der Steuerung hätte man auf den Nachrutscheffekt beim Bremsen des Dummys ruhig verzichten können - so wie eigentlihc auf das ganze Spiel... (ms)

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Not only storming the charts but in a game too.

Bear in mind that Crash Dummies is aimed at kids around the age of fourteen (it is a console conversion) and you should not have any trouble figuring out why it is so cack. Less than eight percent of AP readers are anywhere near that delicate stage of physiological chronological degeneration, so if you happen to be among that group, add another 20 per cent onto the score at the end of the review.

At this point, the question is what makes this game so bad fills up your backsack and demands emptying. (Something to do with RPGs, probably. -Ed).

The easiest answer is linearity. Seven linear levels in all. No puzzles to solve, no lateral thinking required, no sense of involvement included and a general lack of addition factor. Any one of the factors in that list is enough to mar a game. So, as you will no doubt have concluded, just like the dummies of the title, the desire to continue playing the game falls apart and is never quite able to put itself together again.

The first two levels are an insult to your gaming intelligence - a straight run-through against the clock, with various obstacles to traverse and a couple of vehicles to shoot or jump over - and the others are just an insult, period.

Never quite able to put itself together again

The purpose of the game is to guide your dummy to the End Zone of the level. There are various obstacles and objects in the way which are intended to slow down your progress. If you hit anything, you lose a leg; hit something else, you lose another leg. This results in the ludicrous scenario of being left with a torso that propels itself using its arms.

You can even end up with a torso with no limbs whatsoever. In order to allay this (each limb-loss slows you down), there are screwdriver icons that you can run or jump through. These restore an appendage. So say you had just lost a leg. Running through a screwdriver would restore it. One of the annoying things about these screwdrivers is that they are not saveable, so even if your dummy is whole and complete and you run through a screwdriver and then immediately lose a limb, that is it gone.

You cannot restore the limb until you come across another screwdriver. It might not sound like problem, but it is very annoying, and the later levels when things start to get a tad difficult, being able to save up the screwdrivers would be appreciated.

Every time you lose a life, all obstacles and creatures that inhabit the surreal dummies world are reset and you start at the beginning of the level again. A pointless and frustrating mechanism, I am sure you would agree.

In way of conclusion, I have got to say that the game is not a complete and utter wreck. It will probably appeal to the Volvo drivers among gameplayers. But, having said that, I suggest you get it out of my breaking distance before I gleefully run it over.


The Incredible Crash Dummies
"We're bored", said the dummies.

The Incredible Crash Dummies
"I know, let's talk absolute crap".

The Incredible Crash Dummies
Whose caption is this anyway?

The Incredible Crash Dummies
Suddenly there was an almighty crash. We think.

The Incredible Crash Dummies
Dr Zub always hated meeting his mother.

The Incredible Crash Dummies
When that happened the boys fell to pieces.

The Incredible Crash Dummies
Aargh, we hate screechy sounds at AP.

The Incredible Crash Dummies
Slick? What kind of a name is that?

The Incredible Crash Dummies logo

Virgin out now £25.99

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs in swimming pool? Well, okay, perhaps that joke does not have a lot to do with computer games, but it does have a lot in common with Virgin's latest licence. There are some parents who think that the idea of a toy that your child can mutilate and run mock car accidents is a bit sick. After playing this game I am inclined to agree.

We've had games where players are blown to pieces, set fire to, bombed and generally wiped out. Okay, we've become immunised to all of that at this stage, but seeing a main sprite reduced from a fully-formed person to a double amputee is more than a little disturbing.

The whole thing happens in a large car factory disguised as a platform game. You control one of the infamous Crash Dummies in its quest to, well, get to the end really. As it runs, jumps, crawls, slides and collapses through each level you must try not to get hit by anything, as every collision results in the loss of a limb. If you lose all four, its head comes off and you lose a life.

Crash Dummies is a very, very unplayable game. The controls are as sluggish as a blunt knife being dragged slowly through set tar, while the collision detection is decidedly bandy. The main character seems to moonwalk everywhere, never quite touching the ground and, for some reason, you can move considerably faster without legs than with.

The game looks awful too, with garish colours and the sort of animation that wouldn't have looked out of place five or six years ago, while the sound consists of an irritating tune and a small handful of sound effects. Avoid.