In Eighty Days Around The World logo

FROM the people who made far too good a job of Katakis for it to have escaped the eagle eye of Activision's lawyers, comes a tale of derring do and adventure from around the globe.
A tale first scripted by Jules Verne of course, as the game is Around The World in 80 Days. The good news for Rainbow Arts and Interceptor, who is marketing it here, is that I doubt if anyone's lawyers will be raising an eyebrow in its direction. Mr Verne having popped his clogs longer than 50 years ago.

It all starts in the Reform Club in London naturally with our Phileas Fogg boasting that he can traverse the world in 80 days, and that without a Young Persons railcard. And so the crusty nobs of the Reform Club force him to bet all he owns, accounting to a tidy £20,000 - which never mind buying you a cottage in Wales, would have bought you Wales itself in those days - to prove his claim.

On October 2 Mr Fogg and his faithful (that is to say, stupid) butler, Passepartout set off on the great adventure. First stop, Paris! One of the strange things about this game is the way you have to split yourself schizophrenically, between Fogg and Passepartout. Half the time you play the lackey, and the other half the loony Englishman.

Anyway, the game kicks off with a small dot travelling across a world map, a puffing train in the corner to indicate speed of travel, a moneybag to indicate finances, and an option to bribe or play cards.
This is where Phil and his lackey spend half their time, as the game goes off to individual adventures as and when their locations are reached, before returning to the map once more.

The bribe option speeds up your rate of travel, depending on how much dosh you want to spend. What I found rather witless was the cards option in which you can resupply the campaign moneybag if you get lucky.
The point is that you don't need to get very lucky at all because either Phileas cheats, or the dealer is a personal friend, because they come up in certain patterns. Recognise the patterns and you can make a lot of money quickly.

Anyway, the first adventure that our lads find themselves embroiled in has Passepartout running through India in search of? What? A take-away? Dunno really.
The bottom line is that this is arcade action time, with said butler trotting through the jungle and then a temple while people drop things on him, or throw spears, or he falls into pits. Fail to make the exit in time and the adventure is over.
It isn't too hard, and the graphics are quite decent, but the scrolling is a joke. We're talking routines rejected by Psygnosis here.

Next stop is Japan and catching acrobats on your shoulders, which is difficult to say the least. Should you survive that, dodging wolves in America comes next with a quite silly section in which you must copy an Indian medicine man's dance if Fogg isn't to become an Indian eat-at-home.

Still, an eccentric Englishman's lot is not an easy one. SO, after an enjoyable sledge ride it's on to good old Blighty, just in time to get incarcerated in the dungeons of London. Can you escape in time? Do you care?

Although the graphics are quite good, Around the World in 80 Days is just a little repetitive, forcing you to play the same bland sub-games each time you fail. At times it seemed like I'd been playing for 80 days, and I hadn't even got further than the kitchen for a cuppa.

In Eighty Days Around The World logo

Price: £19.95

Yes, now you too can have the chance to explore all the sights and sounds of the mid 19th century globe, for you are none other than the hero of Jules Verne's light hearted book - Phileas Fogg, scientists, explorer, flounderer, drunkard and cad.

Whilst collapsed in a semi-paralyptic stupor one night, you made a small (£20,000) wager with a friend that you could circumnavigate the world in under 80 days. Just you and your little French friend Paspatous. You leave England for Paris, and your adventures begin.

Around The World In 80 Days sadly, is not very exciting. The thought of spending 2,5 months doing what you can now do in under 24 hours does not sit comfortably in my mind. Not to say that the game is based on poor subject matter. It is simply that the game is based merely on four sub games, each supposedly showing part of his journey.

Not that Phileas even makes an appearance in the game. It is all seen through the eyes of Paspatou.

The main part of the game is basically a view of a map of the globe, and a small white dot showing the location of our heroes. Dotted around are various pieces of information showing the date, form of transport, how much money is left, and the four action icons. These are 'Bribe', give the pilot/driver/rower money to make him go faster; 'Cards', which you play to win money, 'Play', which takes you directly to the next sub-game, and 'Pause'.

The first of the sub games is a gentle jaunt through an Indian jungle and into an underground temple. Later sub games include acrobat hurling in Japan and bank robber avoiding in London.

The sub games are viewed side-on, much in the mould of Rolling Thunder. The game 'scrolls' (I use the term in the loosest sense of the word, it actually flip-scrolls and very badly too) from left to right, occasionally up and down, and pits you against various nasties. In the first one, you are pitted against tribal natives which you attack with exploding spears. Later on you kill birds, rats, and the guy who makes all the irritating background flute noises. Yes, that is something that I can say is OK, the sound effects. Though not the best I have heard, they are quite atmospheric, though they cannot save the game.

Gameplay is almost non-existent; the controls are slow and unresponsive, and as for the time it takes to fire, you are better off trying to avoid things. A weak attempt after Into The Eagle's Nest.