Litil Divil logo CD32 Amiga Computing Gold Award

Stunning animation maketh not a great game", as some wise soul once said. Gremlin's latest could change all that, as Dave Cusick has just discovered.


So-called interactive cartoons really got off on the wrong foot with the infamous Don Bluth Dragon's Lair games. Admittedly, the animation was nothing short of stunning, but once past the initial phase of drooling in wonderment, the astute gamer noticed a distinct absence of anything even approaching gameplay.

Fortunately, over the last year or two many companies seem to have got the message and as a result, sprawling CD-based adventure games on the PC have increasingly combined superb graphics and animation with brain-taxing puzzles. The end result has been a succession of smash-hits with gameplay to match the visuals.

Making good use of the huge storage capacity of a CD, Gremlin's Litil Divil promises amazing cartoon-like action and a lasting challenge. Can it deliver?


Mutt Divil is a highly ranked amateur sleeper with aspirations of becoming a professional in the near future. Annoyingly he's had to attend the annual Grand Council meeting in the Chamber of the Ancients. It might be the only thing that ever happens in the Underworld, but he'd still rather be elsewhere, sleeping.

The Council are meeting to decide who will be chose to go forth into the Overworld, through the Labyrinth of Chaos, to retrieve the Mystic Pizza of Plenty.

Unfortunately, and also fairly predictably, Mutt has drawn the short straw in this rather critical draw and as a result will have to attempt to complete this seemingly impossible task.

Nobody really holds out a hope for him, except his trainer Vice Alderman Muzzle, because the task has yet to be completed. Still, everybody's thoughts will be with him, if only because they'd really enjoy a piece of that pizza. If possible, his fellow litil divils would also greatly appreciate if he could get extra anchovies.

Mutt's quest takes the form of wandering around the maze-like corridors of the labyrinth, entering rooms where he must complete tasks to progress further into the game.



Well, since the CD32 itself is still a relative newcomer, there have not really been many games on this platform that Litil Divil resembles. It would be unfair to group it in with the Don Bluth games on other formats because they really are grossly inferior. Litil Divil is the first of what is sure to become a successful genre on the CD32.



Luckily Gremlin saw fit to think about the gamesplayer when producing this piece of software, because for once there's actually sufficient depth and addictiveness present to support the excellent presentation.

Interaction is not limited to simply pushing the joypad in a certain direction at a certain moment. Mutt can perform all manner of tasks, from treading on spidery things to leaping across pits using a combination of buttons and the directional pad.

Your main problem may in fact be deciphering exactly which button does what, since in different rooms their functions are totally different. As a result, whenever you enter a new location it is wise to quickly experiment so that you do not become caught in a tricky situation with no idea which buttons to press.

Admittedly there are situations where you will be left with no idea what to do, and there are rooms which cannot actually be completed until you possess certain items, either through picking them up or obtaining them from the store.

If you don't have an item, it may not actually be obvious that you need it, so you could find yourself perplexed as to how to deal with the room.

Still, unless you've failed in a room several times, in which case Mutt will automatically leave the location in disgust, it's always you who's in control and you don't feel simply like a spectator called on only rarely to make some decision.

If interactive cartoons are to succeed then they will have to take a leaf out of Litil Divil's book.



Obviously a reasonable proportion of the CD storage space has been given over to providing a decent soundtrack to accompany the action.

While you are romping gaily around the Labyrinth, a selection of tunes ranging from cartoony themes to all-action blockbuster movie-type things are pounding away. At times it sounds like a whole orchestra is packed inside the monitor, and the music always fits the scene perfectly.

Our hero Mutt's large repertoire of moves have appropriate sampled sound effects, many of which are quite humourous.




Let's get straight to the point. Litil Divil looks wonderful. The backgrounds are moody and atmospheric, with the puzzle rooms in particular being beautifully drawn and boasting lots of colour.

The Mutt sprite moves excellently and behaves realistically throughout. His range of actions is huge, yet he always moves fluently. He will often amuse thanks to some imaginative and cartoon-like animation.

In short, this is one of the best looking games in a long time. True, the actual corridors of the labyrinth are a little dull and very similar to one another, but this doesn't detract from the overall effect.

They add to the interest because they make finding your way around the maze all the more challenging when one hallway looks much like every other.




There's little doubt that Litil Divil is an entertaining title which looks and sounds almost like a proper cartoon. Initially it certainly impresses and to be honest it's hard to fault the presentation in any way. It is that most rare of products on the CD32, a game which takes full advantage of the machine's capabilities and is not simply an Amiga port with additional music.

Five levels, none of which are easy, should be enough to last quite some time. It's not the sort of game you would go back to once it has been completed, but then again I shouldn't think many people will finish it in a hurry anyway. Gremlin should be congratulated. In Litil Divil they have borrowed the best elements of the current popular PC CD-ROM adventures and have produced one of the best CD32 games yet.

It might not be the sort of thing you will want to play for hours in a single sitting, but there's enough long-term interest to warrant its purchase and will provide plenty of fun.

And if Commodore are looking for a product which will show off the CD32 to prospective customers, then Litil Divil could be the ideal solution.

Litil Divil logo CD32

If you want a fantastically-animated game, then look no further than Litil Divil (Gremlin 0742 839942, £29.99) - one of the best-looking games currently residing in the world of CD32 titles.

Hailed by Gremlin as an 'interactive' cartoon, the animation is exquisite and Litil Divil himself exudes so much character that you quickly grow attached to him.
He's laden down with the usual dumb plot which in practical terms boils down to walking around a load of corridors, avoiding traps and the like, entering rooms and solving puzzles, until the main aim of the game is eventually completed.

All of the puzzles within the rooms are similar in style to those found in Dragon's Lair, only Litil Divil looks better and allows the gamer more scope for individual movement within each area of the game. The first level is difficult but can be coped with. The next level is incredibly close to impossible.

Unfortunately, the puzzles and the difficulty level aren't enough to make the game anything more than an average dungeon romp. Which is a shame. Litil Divil has so much character that he really should have his own Friday evening cartoon show. Preferably one where, instead of traipsing around dungeon corridors solving puzzles and the like, he gets to terrorise comfortably well off suburban types. He deserves it thoroughly.

But seriously folks
But seriously, Litil Divil's going to keep dilettantes and people with loads of money happy. Everyone else should give it a miss.

Litil Divil logo CD32

Fast ein Jahr haben die Teufel bei Gremlin gebraucht, um diesen PC-Satansbraten dem Amiga ins CD-Rohr zu schieben! Da brutzelt er nun vor sich hin und duftet nach einem leckeren Actionadventure...

Mutt ist ein liebenswertes Teufelchen wie du und ich, das den lieben langen Tag nichts anderes als Fressen und Schlafen im Kopf hat. Doch dann wird es vor das "Große Konzil" (die örtliche Teufelhauptversammlung) zitiert, wo man ihm quasi die Hölle heiß macht: Die "Mystische Pizza der Fülle" muß her, und wenn es unseren Gehörnten das Leben kostet.

Also schwefelt Mutt los, um dieses sagenumwobene Kleinod in fünf riesigen Gewölben voller Fallgruben, Elektroschockern, Flammenwerfern und anderen Teufeleien zu finden. Wer dabei nicht vorzeitig den Löffel abgeben will, muß höllisch auf seinen Energiehaushalt achtgeben, zumal noch 50 Spezialkammern voller ausgesuchter Gemeinheiten zu überstehen sind. Da warten auch mal Prügeleinlagen à la "Street Fighter" oder "Elfmania". Kämpfe mit giftgeschwollenen Spinnen und andere Actioneinlagen.

Obzwar in erster Linie die gewohnte Plattformkost serviert wird, kommt dabei aber auch der Kopf nicht zu kurz: Viele Passagen lassen sich nur durch Mut oder den gezielten Einsatz von Gegenständen bewältigen (während grüne Keulenschwinger etwa erst bei beherztem Vordringen von einer Holzbrücke plumpsen, kann man den Krabbeltierchen nur mit Spinnenspray beikommen), die man im Spiel selbst und teilweise auch in Shops erhält.

So klaubt Mutt unterwegs u.a. Münzen, Nahrung und eine geheimnisvolle Nadel auf - die Kohle dient dem Einkauf, das energiehaltige Futter wird wortwörtlich aufgeschmatzt und der Einsatzzweck des Pieksers an dieser Stelle nicht verrufen, hätsch.

Ganz leicht kommt man also nicht an des Teufels Pizza, zumal etwa das Hüpfen über Säureseen samt den dort hausenden Monstern doch etwas Geschick im Umgang mit dem Joypad erfordert. Arg schwer ist das Game indessen auch nicht, schon weil sich Mutt im erwähnten Beispiel als säureresistent erweist und nach einem unfreiwilligen Bad munter ans Ufer paddelt, um sich dort abzuschütteln und gleich den nächsten Anlauf zu wagen.

Verirren kann man sich dank eines Mini-Automappings in der Hölle auch nur schwerlich, und wer ihren zahllosen Gängen vorübergehend den Rücken zukehren möchte, der darf ja jederzeit die opulente Speicheroption aufrufen.

Optisch ist hier zwar nicht unbedingt die Hölle los, doch sind die flott scrollenden Grafiken nett gezeichnet und teilweise ungemein witzig animiert. Die CDD-Musik geht prima ins Ohr, die Sound-FX lassen sich ertragen, und an die hakelige Steuerung muß man sich (besonders da, wo es auf Timing ankommt) halt gewöhnen.

Eingedenkt des abwechslungsreichen Gameplays tut man das aber recht gerne, denn Gremlins Satanslabyrinth hält allerlei diabolische Überraschungen für den Spieler bereit. Anders gesagt: Auch und gerade am CD32 verspricht Litil Divil ein paar höllisch unterhaltsame Stunden! (mic)

Litil Divil logo CD32

Well, at least it's not an 'n' game. (But we're going to change it anyway).

Folks, I'm reviewing Little Devil at the same time as Super Stardust, and both games neatly support the same argument. That argument concerns the difficulty of games and goes along the lines of it is impossible for a game to be too difficult, merely unfair.

Whereas the sudden fiery deaths of Super Stardust were quite clearly my fault, my inability to get beyond level two of Little Devil is a problem to be laid at the scuffled loafers of the designers.

Let me regale you with an example puzzle from the game by way of explanation. The very room, in fact, that has defeated me. The idea of the puzzle is to get from the bottom of the screen to the top by leaping across a trio of spindy bridges. Plasma balls patrol the walkways, irregularly launched from spitting heads to bounce unavoidably along their allotted route.

Since they are unavoidable, you have to jump back and forth from bridge to bridge in the best Frogger tradition until you can advance to clear space. The speed of the balls and the sluggishness of your character, the demon of the title, makes completing the screen extremely tricky.

But that's not all. A section of each bridge is pointedly cracked and worn, and when you jump on to such a segment you discover why - it collapses beneath you, tumbling you into the abyss and leaving an awkward gap in the walkway.

But that's not all. A small hopping monster constantly makes his way towards you, and if he catches you, knocks you off the bridge. You have to stay on the wrong bridge long enough for him to spot and follow you before making the jump you were planning all along. If the balls haven't got you by then, of course.

But that's not all. In common with the rest of the game, your demon has a bit of an independent view on movement. Sometimes he'll respond dutifully to your button-pushing, at other times he might go in completely the wrong direction. Of he might just not move at all.

But that's not all

But that's not all. The creakingly forced perspective of the graphics makes judging jumps fiendishly difficult. Should you jump forwards? Left? Diagonally forwards and left? And once you've reached the far door (a feat I managed exactly twice) in what direction does the game consider it to be? It might appear to be forwards (or left) (or diagonally forwards and left) but, stunningly, lunging the joypad those ways seems to do nothing at all.

I'd be tempted to say that, like so many puzzles, you probably don't have the correct object to complete the screen (for example, a beat-'em-up room has you fighting a sumo wrestler but no matte how many blows you land your opponent shrugs them off and batters you to a pulp. Collect the pin from another room, however, and you can pop the villain like a balloon. There's no indication this might work and it's only after scrapping for a few, vitally soul-destroying seconds that the demon impishly takes it upon himself to use the pin on his own initiative) but since you've had no chance to pick anything up, that's obviously not the case.

But that's not all. Although this room is blocking the way - you can't get further into the game except by completing it - after six attempts, the room resets and you're thrown out. And you have to go back in again straight away, except it's not quite straight away because of the universal slothful but up until now not generally accepted to be mentally tortuously maddening CD loading times.
But that's not all.

When you start Little Devil - before getting to the game, or even the load saved game screen - you have to fight this troll on a bridge. It's a pointless exercise (no matter how many times you get hit, you can't be killed, and you start the main game with full energy), tediously unpredictable (sometimes your blows connect, sometimes the troll dodges them, sometimes he just flattens you before you can move), you can't skip it, and it appears to be there only to make you very angry before even beginning the game proper.

This consists of walking around some 3D tunnels that look identical except for the amusing obstacles scatted about (holes in the centre of the tunnel that you can't see until you're upon them and spikes at the sides of the tunnel that you can't see until you're upon them and many other similar irritations) and picking up energy-replenishing gof or gold which you use to buy objects in the shop. It is, basically, a giant 3D maze with an auto-mapper (except the auto-mapper doesn't indicate in which direction you're facing, so you keep going the wrong way).

This leaves the puzzles. They're beautiful things. They glister. But, readers, as that wise old saying solemn-noddingly corroborates, they are not gold. They are, in fact, diguised versions of the walking along and hitting people beat-'em-up, the follow the leader shapes game Simon, and the board game Downfall where you twiddle interlocking dials to jog a prize into your hands.

They are but a tiny, tiny pat removed from the rooms in Dragon's Lair. That series of games, you will recall, required you only to move the joystick at certain points. In Little Devil you have full control over the character, but always within straitjacketing parameters.

I tried to approach Little Devil as a player, all bright-eyed and excited about the prospect of the first real not-about-to-turn-up-treacherously-on-the-A1200 CD32 game. I've been cruelly and completely disappointed.

Mayhaps the remainder of the game improves sharply, but I can't equate drastic change with the initial levels' identical troll-maze-crashingly unfair puzzle structure. (The PC version certainly didn't get better, and if the programmers have beefed up the gameplay as they said they had last month, why put the rubbishy bits first? It doesn't make sense.) Little Devil is an extremely poor game, and that is that.

Litil Divil logo CD32

What do you get if you take an idea for an interactive tune, and then wait five years to complete it. Gremlin know the answer, and are willing to whisper it in Tony Dillon's ear.

One of the first things anyone ever did when the optical medium (CD-Rom/Laserdisc) was first used on a computer system was attempt an interactive cartoon. In case you need reminding, that particular name went under the name of Dragon's Lair.

The world was wowed by the fantastic graphics and sound, but when anyone actually tried to play the thing, they tended to walk away quite disgruntled. The problem was that it just wasn't playable at all, being more a case of remembering the required joystick movements for each screen rather than actual interaction. Since then there have been various interactive cartoons, but almost all of them have failed.

Now Gremlin Graphics are giving it a go with Litil Divil, a game that has been in production longer than most of you have had an Amiga. In its time it's been a floppy disk based maze game, then a PC CD-Rom based puzzle game, then a combination of the two, and now it's made its way onto the CD32, and to be honest it's the closest to a fully interactive cartoon yet, but that doesn't make it a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination.

You play Mutt Divil - a young but enthusiastic denizen of hell, who has been unfortunate enough to be selected for the annual Mission Impossible to travel to the bowels of the underworld, through five levels of sheer, well, hell, and then return with a pizza to feed the higher members of the council.

Every year a likely candidate is sent to get the food, but not once has one returned with a 'deep pan meat plate hold the spicy pork oh and could I have some anchovies on that' delicacy. As you can imagine, the elders are getting disgruntled about this, so anyone who doesn't return is threatened with a fate worse than death.

Unfortunately, if you don't return, then you probably are dead, but then again this is hell, and so it all works out somehow.

Enter Mutt - the man (of sorts) with a mission. Essensially he has to travel through the five enormous levels of the underworld, collecting all the cash he can find along the way and solving puzzles in all the rooms he can find.

There are fifty of these rooms in total, and jolly entertaining they are too. As a rule, solving one of them will either up another section of the maze, or give him an item which he will need for a later room. Whatever the case, there is one ruin that always come into play when you enter a room, you are never told what it is you actually have to do.

In many cases, the solution will be painfully obvious from the start, but in others you really need to work through it to get there. Take the Marmaid room for example Here you are shown a mermaid with an evil glint in her eye sat in a large oyster, in front of her are three rather vicious looking piranha fish. She raises her hand, and a mystical symbol appears.
Jumping on the fish also produces a symbol, so it's quite obvious that all you need to is jump on the right fish to produce the same as the mermaid shows you to complete the screen.

In a more obscure vein however, is the large snake's head that spits spiders at you. This is right at the start of the game, and you can't solve it right away. No amount of stamping on the spiders will complete the screen. Instead, you need to get hold of a can of insect repellent, which you spray into the snake's eyes to destroy it. OK, so you've got no way of knowing this the first time you enter the room, but once you've been to the hop, you should know all about it.

Sorry, didn't I mention the shop? Why did you think you had to collect cash as you ran around the maze? (At the end of the level you have to pay a toll to get to the next level, but that's not the only reason to collect money).

At the start of each level you'll find a shop with just some of the items you'll need to get through the puzzle screens. You don't actually know which screens require which objects, but due to the nature of the rooms, you don't actually need to know. You can only use the right object in the right room, so if you don't have it, nothing will happen when you press the blue button.

Litil Divil is an incredible looking game, but with all those years of development behind it, it should be. The animation is smooth and characteristic, wit lots of fun spot animations and effects thrown in. Every action has a separate animation and sound effect, and after hearing Mutt hum to himself every time he picks something up, I soon managed to drive the office to distraction by humming the same tune every time I picked something up.

So far, it all sounds marvelous, but unfortunately Litil Divil isn't quite as fantastic as it first appears to be. The problem comes down to the size of the levels. Each level is an enormous maze that doubles over and under itself, and contains tunnels and bridges over different parts of the maze. As there are only about ten puzzle rooms per level, this means that there is a hell of a lot of walking around to be done, which can get very boring very quickly.

Also, the hazards in the tunnels screen just can't be seen most of the time. The view window in the tunnel is quite small, and the sprite of Mutt running into the screen is quite large, making it hard to see anything at all. That plus the fact that while thing scrolls quite quickly means that more often than not you run into spikes and holes rather than manage to avoid them. This soon becomes frustrating, I can tell you.

So Litil Divil finally appeared, and to be honest I feel a little disappointed. It has come so close to being a great game that it's a real shame it has been spoiled by being too big. Not that there's anything wrong with a game being big. It's simply that if you are going to stretch something out over a thousand screens, then you need to make sure that there is enough game in there to fill a thousand screens.