Much too silly

Monty Python's Flying Circus logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

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

Monty Python's Flying Circus logo

Virgin/Mastertronic * £19.99 * Joystick

"I will not biii theese record, eet ees scretched."
No, no... this is a game review.
"Aah! I whill not biii thees game review, eet ees scretched!"
Err... pardon me?
"Droop your pantees. Sir Whilliam, I cannot whait teel lunchteim..."
Err... yes... and now I think it is time for something completely different.

After years of reciting the scripts over the odd pint in the pub, Monty Python fans can now get hold of another piece of Python memorabilia in addition to the various videos, records, books and tapes. Monty Python the game places you in the rather ungainly shoes of gentleman, wit, Casanova and connoisseur - DP Gumby, he os the stunningly beautiful flower arrangements.

Poor old Gumby has suffered quite a traumatic experience. The four sections of his brain, fed up of the badly-cramped conditions inside Gumby's head, which is rarely used except for breaking bricks, have decided to make a break for freedom. Finding life in the big wide world more fulfilling than being pounded by pieces of multi-purpose masonry, the pieces of brain do not want to return, so Gumby sets out on a track to retrieve them.

Armed with little more than a knotted hankie, a plan from Mrs Gumby which involves eating copious amounts of Spam and a handful of fish (where did that fishy go?). Gumby sets off into the wilderness. After dodging falling weights, and being pursued by a beleafed Mr. Johnson (who is learning the art of not being seen), Gumby has his body removed and the anatomy of a fish attached. From here he must swim through the pipes, collecting Spam as he goes, or he can choose between sausage, Spam and beans or Spam, egg, Spam, sausage, Spam, Spam, beans and Spam. After battling the deadly keep-left signs and defeating the Spanish Inquisition (I bet you did not expect the Spanish Inquisition... NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!).

At the end of the level... oh, forget it. I never wanted to be a reviewer, all I wanted to do is sing... NO! We are not having any of that in this magazine! Oh, all right then...
At the end of the level (I keep getting this funy feeling of déja vu), Gumby retrieves his body in time for an argument with the Minister of Contradiction.

No he doesn't.
Yes he does.
No he doesn't.
Yes he does.

Once the argument is over it is back to Mrs. Gumby, who uses the Spam he has collected to try and tempt back one of the pieces of the brain. Then he goes back to another strange land to find some more of that lovely tinned food... Spam (Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spammity-Spaaaam, Wonderful Spaaam!) SHUT UP! Bloody Vikings.

And now... Number one, the Larch... theee Larch.

This game review is dead. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-reviews. Stop that! It's silly. And a bit suspect too, I think.


... suprising how much the game's graphics look like one of Terry Giliam's cartoon sequences. The use of colour and shading perfectly captures the feel of the opening credits of an episode of the TV show, from the hunch-shouldered Gumby stomping around the levels to the large showstopping foot when you lose a life. The sound effects (sampled directly from the series) enhance the atmosphere even further, from John Cleese's dulcet tones in the argument to Terry Jones reciting the food that Gumby has collected. Unfortunately, the Sousa march intro music is a mite on the grating side (rather like grating cheese, but this is not a cheese shop), "I'd just like to say that this is the first time I have been quoted in a game review".

I am sorry, we have not got time for that right now.


The gameplay is quite simplistic, but the puzzles involved give you one reason to come back to the game - the puzzles and sheer sense of humour... that's two, two reasons... the puzzles, the sheer humour and the urge to see what the next level is like... that is three, three reasons to... all right! Start again!

Amongst the reasons to keep you returning to the game are the devilish puzzles, the sheer sense of wacky humour and the urge to check out the next level. Once all the levels have been completed, it is still quite possible that you will return to check out the jokes again - after all, people watch the TV shows again and again, don't they?


It would have been all too easy to just bang out a bog-standard platform game with a few Python-related characters bouncing about and rely on the name to shift units. Core have done a surprisingly good job in translating the feel of the Python gang's humour to the Amiga, from the superb graphics to the occasional intermissions, where an obscure off-the-wall gag appears. Behind the impressive appearance, the game itself is also rather playable, which means that those unfamiliar with Python humour can get into the gameplay. In fact, there is only one thing wrong with the game... you don't get wafers with it.

Und jetzt zu etwas ganz anderem...

Monty Python's Flying Circus logo

In ihrem zwanghaften Wahn, alles und jedes zu versoften zu wollen, verzetteln sich die Hersteller ja oft genug. Aber: Aus den skurrilen Einfällen der Monty Pythons ein Actiongame zu zimmern - auf die Idee muß man erst mal kommen!

Wir haben es hier mit dem abartigsten Spiel aller Zeiten zu tun - mit weiten Abstand! Schon die Ausgangssituation ist typisch für den Witz der englischen Komiker-Truppe: Mr. R.B. Gumby hat leider sein Hirn verloren. Per Joystick steuert der Spieler den gehirnlosen Helden durch merkwürdige Landschaften, Rohrsysteme und andere Alltäglichkeiten, immer auf der Suche nach einer neuen Kopffüllung.

Im Verlauf des obskuren Spektakels trifft man auf üble Fallen, wird in einen Fisch verwandelt und bekommt es mit total verrückten Gegnern wie Wikingern in Rollstühlen oder Schweinen mit Propellern zu tun.

An schrägem Humor herrscht wahrlich kein Mangel, so findet sich z.B. de Spieler mit den wenigsten Punkte an der Spitze der Highscoreliste wieder. Die Grafik im bekannten Monty Pythons-Stil ist hübsch animiert, dazu gibt es lustige Zwischensequenzen, einen klasse umgesetzten Original-Soundtrack, sowie originelle FX.

Daß das Scrolling leicht ruckelt und die Farben ein bißchen blaß sind, ließe sich also locker verschmerzen, wenn spielerisch etwas mehr geboten wäre. Nur leider wimmelt es von unfairen Stellen, und die Steuerung ist auch alles andere als genau. Kennt man die Gags erstmal, wird es daher bald langweilig. Schade, denn witzig ist die Sache wirklich - nicht nur für Gehirnamputierte... (mm)

Monty Python's Flying Circus logo


For the past 21 years, the world has been entertained by such barmy antics as silly walks, spam-eating Vikings and my all time favourite, the 'How Not To Be Seen' documentary. After the success of the books, films and videos it was only a matter of time before someone attempted to produce a computer game of the famous Python television shows. Virgin were the softcos that dared to dip a toe in the water and recruited Core Design to develop the game for them. It was always going to be a difficult licence to attempt, but both companies have aquitted themselves admirably. The original feel and humour of the classic shows has been captured in digital form and the game is rather fun.

R.B. Gumby (he of the curved spine, miserable attitude and rolled up shirt sleeves) has lost his brains. The only way he can recover the four parts of his brain is to eat spam. 16 cans for each lump, to be precise. Of course, in a wacky world such as this, he cannot just walk into a shop and buy some. He has to undergo strange formations and travel through wacky landscapes, destroying cheeses and avoiding the deadly keep left signs. Sounds like Python? You betcha.

You begin, in Gumbyesque form, stood on a typical Gilliam hillside. Behind you is somebody who is not being seen (i.e. hidden in a bush). Walk forward a bit, and the game quickly cuts to one of many pointless, but very funny, interludes. For example, the first one tells you how to spot the Larch from a long way away. From there, poor ol' Gumby gets his head ripped off and stuck onto the body of a fish which has to travel along shooting dead parrots, policemen, the Spanish Inquisition and all sorts of other characters from the shows.

The game has three strengths: the graphics, the sound and the comedy. Visually, the game is almost perfect. All sprites are spot on when it comes to capturing Terry Gilliam's distinctive look, but some of the backdrops are a little bland. A particular favourite has to be the exploding cats on level 2 that sit around doing nothing in particular and suddenly explode when you approach.

The sound effects range from the unusual to the disgusting. Hear Gumby emit large belches upon eating spam. Chucle to John Cleese arguing with you in the Ministry of Pointless Arguments. Best of all is the end of the level, where are mad charlady reads off the list of goodies you have collected in a horrible high pitched voice.

Sadly, the humour flags. The game is not impressive enough to stand on its own. After a couple of runs through the first level, I soon found myself getting bored and, after you complete the game, I cannot see anybody ever going back and replaying it.

A good trip down memory lane, and worth playing if you are a true Pythonite, but to be honest I cannot really see the point in buying it. With stronger gameplay it would have been ideal but, as it stands, your money is better spent on a couple of Python videos.

Monty Python's Flying Circus logo

Virgin Mastertronic, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk

Ah yes, the Silly Six from the classic BBC comedy series, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and the other one (that's Graham Chapman - Ed). The Python game concentrates on Palin's leading character, the loud, dim-witted Gumby. During routine surgery, our hanky-wearing hero's brain made a break for it, splitting into four pieces and escaping into the surreal Monty Python cartoon world. Unless he can retrieve all parts of his brain, Gumby's dreams of becoming a chartered accountant are dashed.

There are four levels, one for each brain segment, and during them Gumby takes four different forms. As himself, he hops around platforms, but he also floats around mazes of pipes as Gumbyfish, through the skies as Gumbybird and, in bonus rooms, is just a head on springy foot. Wherever and whatever he is, he has a limitless supply of fish to throw/fire at his adversaries, which include dead parrots, vikings on wheels, Silly Walk ministers and flying feet. Fired fish can also activate switches and destroy cheese blocks, often revealing energy-giving food or tins of Spam. If Gumby reaches the end of the level with sixteen tins, he's rewarded with a piece of brain.

In the Amiga version, there is a simple interpretation of the Argument Sketch between levels. Gumby faces John Cleese who says 'No it isn't!' and 'Yes, it is!" at random, the words appearing in speech bubbles to his left or right. Gumby must disagree with him using his own no/yes bubbles, each disagreement earning bonus points.

Phil King And now for something not particularly different. As a Monty Python fan I'm disappointed with the game. Sure it's got a lot of zany humour and the graphics are a fair imitation of Terry Gilliam's surreal animations, if a bit blocky on the C64. But let's face it, the game plays like a dead parrot - either that or it's pining for the fjords. Shooting a stream of nasties one by one is even more repetitive than the spam song. This, with the lack of a time limit, reduces the pace of the game to a very silly walk indeed.
The Amiga's cartoon interludes and hilarious argument and regurgitation scenes go some way to make up for the lack of gameplay variety. But at its best the game is only mildly amusing; at worst just plain silly.
Warren Lapworth Monty Python is pretty disappointing (yes, Warren, but why? -Ed). Blimey, I knew I had to give my opinion but I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisi - NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our key weapon is fear - fear and surprise! Ah - our TWO key weapons are fear, surprise and ruthlessness! Er, our THREE... Ahem. Sprites represent characters from the series in a pleasing if blocky manner. Gumbly himself particularly well designed. And although short on detail, backgrounds are authentic too. Sound is duff on the 64 but the Amiga's TV samples are amusing. Gameplay's the problem, though: Monty Python's just a very ordinary, simplistic shoot 'em up. Attack waves are dull, hopelessly predictable, and lining up cheeseblock after cheeseblock is pretty mind numbing; Monty Python is pining for some playability.