I woke up at 8:35, decided that I wasn't ready to face the world yet (let alone have to review a game, especially on a Saturday), and went back to sleep. I re-awoke at 9:14, bathed, dressed and made myself breakfast, for which I had a bowl of Ricicles, a piece of toast, a cup of tea and a small argument with my Mum about me leaving offensive mug rings on the sideboard. Suitably fueled, I decided I'd better get my act together and get on with my review. It was 10 o 'clock.
At 10:40, I accidentally mistimed a jump and landed on some spikes; forty minutes, that is, into the game, on my first go ever. Marvin, you see, is ridiculously easy, and that is the entire problem. At 10:52 my concentration slipped as I glanced out of the window to see what sort of day it was (it looked like rain, inevitably), and fell into some lava. Two lives lost, but the quantity of extra ones I had gained during my first 52 of play still had the life counter going off the scale. At 11:06 I paused and went to the loo.
Crikey, I thought as I searched in vain for some soap and rinsed my hands under the tap, I'm going to have a bit of a tough time reviewing this game. And, sure enough, a mere four hours and thirty-two minutes later, not including the break (and cheese on toast) I had for lunch, I finished the game.
I really am having problems reviewing this little banana. I've decided the best way to show you what it's all about is to include lots of screenshots, and explain the individual bits as the happen in order for you to get the gist of the game.
Marvin's Marvellous Adventure's pretty standard platform fodder, divided into sixty continuous levels (ie, there aren't ahy end-of-world baddies or 'World Complete' messages), the five worlds providing subtle variations in backgrounds and baddies.
From these screenshots you'll be able to see that it does indeed look great, all sun-setty and AGA-rendered. It looks cute, and Marvin looks cute as he pulls himself up onto platforms, or turns his head to look out of the screen and winks when you leave the joystick alone for a while. A thumbs up, at least, to the graphic artists.
So then, I enjoyed myself thoroughly for the four hours and thirty-two minutes it took me to play through Marvin, but it has to be said that I have no reason ever to want to play it again.
There are no bonus sections or extra screens to find (or at least, the ones there are are so obvious you're bound to find them first time around anyway), so basically I've seen everything the game has to offer.
My credibility would have been elevated yet further if I had actually finished the game on my first game ever, but in truth it probably took me around, ooh, ten attempts. Using the passwords I gained along the way through, natch.
Er, so a score. No one in their right mind would want to spend £30 on a computer game which will only last an afternoon, and although I'm no expert at computer games (He's joking, of course - Ed), I'm sure no-one who has played their fair share of platformers would take more than a weekend to finish this game. So this suggests that Marvin should be scoring an extremely low mark. Or do we assume that Marvin is aimed at (pause of disbelief) The Younger Player? If it is, then 21st Century really should have said so on the box, or in their press release, or to us, or, at least, something.
I search in vain for some soap
Apparently the programmers even referred to issues of AMIGA POWER when writing the game, noting our immediate hatred of platform games riddled with just the sort of niggles we like to iron out in Kangaroo Court each month.
Marvin suffers from none of these things. Never will you have to take a leap of faith, never will you curse as a hidden spike pierces you through the ground without warning, and never will you think "how was I meant to know that was going to kill me?" In fact, Marvin has to be the fairest platformer I've played since Rainbow Islands - every time you die you know it was your fault, and not an irritation of the program design, and you'll only get frustrated with yourself, not with the game.
The only problem is, as I'm near bored of mentioning, that it's far too easy. And I can offer little suggestion of how 21st Century could make it any harder, without them resorting to just the sort of nuances we've spent the last four years persuading softies to avoid, or basically completely re-writing the game.
We frown here at AMIGA POWER on games aimed at 'The Younger Player', clenching our teeth at the idea that just because at the last minute someone realised that a 'grown-up' game is far too undemanding, it can be flogged off to the 'kids', and flaring our nostrils at the idea that age bears any relation to computer gaming skill anyway.
Marvin is just such a game. We admire the effort that has been put into making sure it plays smoothly, but we scowl forlornly with utter distaste at the lack of effort it takes to play. Buy it if you want to boost your ego, or for a younger sibling or cousin, but otherwise, in a round-about-concluding-don't-bother-kind-of-way, don't, and you know what I'm going to say nether, bother. (Eh? - Ed)