SOME PEOPLE would say that trying to produce a computer game based on a cult TV show is asking for trouble. When that show is Monty Python, it is more like asking for a dead parrot to be stuffed in your ear. Despite this rather unwholesome possibility, Monty Python is indeed the subject of a new game.
The story revolves around Gumby (John Cleese lookalike) and his search for a brain. The search involves traversing a number of levels in which you explode cheeses, collect food (spam, eggs, sausage and beans of course), fend off nasties and face the ubiquitous end of level guardian, all armed with a couple of whiffy wet fish. But do not be fooled. Behind this boringly normal scenario lies a game which will have even confirmed Python haters like me (!) hooked. The game is a great send up of itself and the whole gaming world.
For instance, have you ever watched an opening sequence where the head of the character you are about to become, opens up and his brain makes a dash for the wide blue yonder? Have you ever played a game where the horrible, awesome, powerful end of level guardian is a Minister of the Church? Have you ever started a game with a score of 99,999,999 and tried to loose as many points as possible, in order to earn a place on the "extremely sily scores" board? Has your dear, sweet Amiga ever farted at you before? Thought not.
From the very first screen you will know that this is no ordinary game. Gumby's progress under falling 16 ton weights is followed closely by what can only be described as a bush on legs. What it was up to I have no idea. But I am sure it did not either. After that, things go from zany to zanier.
Most of the time Gumby travels between screens in the usual way. Occasionally, however, he will find himself in a sort of "preparation" zone, where his head is disengaged from his body (with a satisfying ploink), and attracted to something more suitable - a fish, or a spring for example. Once the operation is over, a mechanical prodder shoves him off in the right direction.
Monty Python is full of the unexpected. Just when you think you have got the hang of things, the screen will go blank and you will get a "Game Over" message. Hang on, I had two lives left! The #@!$#@ machine popped its dongle again! But then a message will appear apologising for the break in your game, and telling you that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Suddenly a flickery black and white breakout clone appears on screen. Another apoloy and play is resumed. I tell you all of this not to loose lives just to see the infamous foot descend and crush poor Gumby.
To spoil you run, because believe me, there are many more things like this awaiting you, but because the first time it happened to me I laughed so much I lost the two lives I had left immediately.
Monty Python is a good piece of entertainment. It is one of the few games where you will actually try laughing at yourself is a cathartic experience, and we do not do enough of it in this industry. My only complaint is that the game is a bit on the difficult side. If it were a normal arcade game, I might say it was a bit easy, but trying to concentrate on reaching the end of the level when falling off your chair with laughter is bound to loose a number of lives.
Mrs GettyGooseGreen Creature Vogel