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Stifle your cynisism for yet another cutesy platform effort.

These days platformers are churned out faster than a whippet on speed and they have to be pretty darn spectacular to attract more than a glance from your average gamesplayer. An unusual angle or puzzle element is not enough any more to gain interest and I'm afraid Puggsy falls into that some desperate black hole of hopelessness. In fact it maybe worse than that... much worse.

Puggsy is your usual "aah, isn't he cute" type of character who addes to the sickliness factor. He is an alien (yes, very original) but looks uncanninly like a pickled onion with a condom on his head.

He has lost his way and has stopped at another world to ask directions but unfortunately some racoons have decided to steal his spaceship. Oh, what a story line, the powers of genius, hey?

Puggsy's only hope is to battle through the 17 different locations, 5 end-of-level guardians and to finally reach the ancient city of Raclantis to face the ultimate guardian and eventually rescue his spaceship.

Controlling Puggsy is by joystick and is clumsier than a drunk elephant on roller skates. The controls feel chunky and unresponsive and become very tedious.

Gameplay involves your character picking up the many objects that can be found and using them in some manner to solve the puzzles. Within the level there are switches, ocks and teleports which can be activated (or deactivated) by throwing various objects at them. Throw keys at locks to open things, for instance.

Each object has its own "weight" modelled on real world gravity so, for example, holding a heavy object would stop Puggsy being blown around by a fan enabling him to walk easier. Objects can be stacked up to get to higher levels.

Puggsy can also hook objects onto platforms that can't be reached by jumping. As the objects act under gravity, some can float or bounce. Puggsy can make use of balloons which he floats on. Bonus points are awarded for any objects carried through to the next level.

His speed and jump ability can be increased by picking up training shoes, and by using sun shades he is temporarily protected.
On the plus side, (yes, there is one) the end-of-level guardians are huge and relatively appealing. The map screen is a nice touch. Puggsy can travel back and fro to all the previous levels he's been to.

The game would be ideally suited to a younger games player but this hardly rings true when you consider that most of the kids now are demanding the latest and most bloodiest beat-'em-ups!

A lot of effort has obviously gone into this game especially in designing the puzzles, but it really is nothing new Another platformer, which plods along at a snail's pace, hardly up to Psygnosis's usual high standards.

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Puggsy is... well... er... difficult to describe. He's sort of an orangy, pinky blob thing with a snorkel for a head, with little brain and even littler common sense. He's been forced to land his spaceship on an alien planet to ask directions to the planet-warming party that he's been invited to. Unbeknown to him, the inhabitants of this planet, ugly little racoons, have run off with his ship.

So he sets off on a journey across Raclantis to get his ship back. The natives' love of practical jokes soon becomes apparent when Puggsy tries to cross the landscape. The planet is full of tricks, traps and puzzles which Puggsy must solve.

The puzzles take the form of making objects interact with one another. For example, throw a flaming match at a candle and its wick will light. Objects are littered all over the landscape, but Puggsy has very tiny hands and no pockets, so he can only carry one at a time.

If he is holding a particular object he can do one of four things with it - throw it towards another object to interact with it, drop the item, use it with itself (open it) or use it with another object (shoot the gun at a baddie for example). It's very similar in gameplay style to the Dizzy arcade adventures. And they were particularly dull.

Another problem is that the gameplay is slow because you have to use the fire buttons to pick up or drop objects and hit the space bar to instruct our little hero to sue an object. This makes the usually enjoyable task of blasting aliens to bits really rather boring.

The problem with the puzzles is that the only time they get difficult is when it's unclear what you're supposed to be doing. Then, instead of taxing your cerebral muscles, all that happens is that you get incredibly confused and annoyed.

The confusion usually occurs because the badly-designed graphics make it unclear what an object is supposed to be. So, you have to check through the manual to check on what you've picked up.

That is, of course, when you do actually manage to get the object in your hands. To pick up something you don't just need to be standing behind it, you need to get Puggsy's gloves lined up perfectly with it. Darned frustrating when there's a sea gull dive-bombing you as you're trying to pick up the essential key to unlock that final door.

Passcode crazy
Lazy programming makes you scream out loud as you swap disk after disk just to move on to the next level. It's annoying enough with two disk drives, but with only one drive it's hell. And why need level passcodes with 27 separate numbers I will never know. It's a laborious process just making sure you're entering them all in the correct order.

I have seen worse games than Puggsy. The backgrounds graphics are nice, as is the in-game music. But there have been so many similar arcade adventures with clearer graphics and better gameplay. My advice is to steer well clear of Puggsy. It may look sweet, but under that cuteness is a really dull game.

Der Konsolen-Killer

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Mit Puggsy hat Psygnosis seine erste Eigenproduktion für Konsolen abgeliefert - mit dieser Konvertierung den Beweis, daß auf Mega Drive und Co. nichts möglich ist, was nicht auch am Amiga machbar wäre!

Obwohl die Liverpooler Softwareküche dieses Plattform-Süppchen nach bewährtem Rezept (man denke nur an Genre-Klassiker wie die "Beast"-Trilogie, "Ork" oder "Barbarian") zusammengerührt hat, schmeckt es doch einen Tick rätsellastiger als die gewohnte Kost des Hauses.

Prinzipell handelt es sich aber erneut um ein ungemein spielbares Jump & Run: Held des Tages ist Puggsy, ein liebenswerter Außer-irdischer mit großer Nase und einem Körperbau der auf einen Kartoffel-Sack in der Ahnengalerie schließen läßt.

Dieses Prachtstück von einem Alien hat nun den Fehler begangen, mit seinem Raumschiff auf einer irdischen Südseeinsel einen Zwischenstop einzulegen, um die Eingeborenen nach dem Weg zu fragen.

Daß es ein Fehlr war, merkt man unschwer daran, daß die technikbegeisterten Insulaner vom Raumer unseres Hauptdarstellers so angetan sind, daß sie ihn kurzerhand in ihre Hauptstadt verfrachten.

Der Spieler soll nun behilflich sein, Puggsy wieder in Besitz seiner High-Techn-Mobils zu bringen. Dazu durchläuft und durchhüpft man 17 abschnittweise unterteilte Levels, wobei der Held den angreifenden Krebsen, Vögeln etc. zunächst ziemlich wehrlos gegenübersteht - nach Aufsammeln von Gummipistolen oder anderen Ballertools ist die Selbstverteidigung aber gewährleistet.

Zumeist dient das herumliegende Sammelgut jedoch friendlicheren Zwecken: beispielsweise lassen sich Fässe zu Treppen aufstapeln, mit Steinkugeln aktiviert man Schalter, und mit Wasserkübeln werden Feuersbrünste gelöscht.

Umsicht und Bedacht führen hier also viel eher zum Ziel als ein nervöser Ballerfinger, denn die Rätselnüsse haben oft eine ganz schön harte Knobel-Schale. Damit Einsteiger trotzdem nicht gleich wieder aussteigen, hält das Game einige Simple "Junior"-Levels bereit, anschließend kann man anhand einer Weltkarte jeweils vor Levelbeginn seine Fortschritte begutachten oder der Paßwort jederzeit an der zuletzt besuchten Stelle wieder anfangen.

Für Abwechslung sorgen originelle Endgegner, haufenweise versteckte Subgames (z.B. eine "Space Invaders"-Variante) und kleine Speedpassagen auf einer Kohlen-lore, för optischen bzw. akustischen Hochgenuß eine Präsentation, die das Original vom Mega Drive bei der fröhlichen Musikbegleitung sogar übertrifft.

Ansonsten kommen die Palmenstrände Pyramiden oder Stadtbezirke genauso bunt und parallax angescrollt wie anno Konsole, und die Animation sämtlicher Charaktere ist noch immer traumhaft gut. Außerdem gibt's hier am Amiga sonst eher rare Technik-Kabinettstückchen wie Rotier- und Zoomeffekte zu bewundern.

Da auch die Steuerung vollauf überzeugen kann, ist das Fazit nicht schwer zu erraten: Wer Plattform-Spaß mit unterhaltsamen und originellem Gameplay sucht, der wird bei Puggsy fündig! (rl)

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Aren't aliens dumb? We're beginning to lose track of the number of them who've crash

Right, I've got this review to write, but I don't have the disks of the game. Cam tells me that I have to pick the disks up from the Amiga Format office because the guys there have borrowed it for a bit. Fair enough, I climb the stairs, open a couple of doors, go through Commodore Format's office and open another couple of doors. From there, I go down the stairs, through another couple of doors (there's lots of doors at Future) till finally I reach the Format office. But oh, blow of blows, the Amiga Format door is closed to me (literally if not metaphorically).

Hmm, what to do? Ah, I know, I'll go down to reception and get the key. One flight of stairs and some more door opening later, and reception is finally reached. The persons of female gender who work there inform me that the key is in another of the Future buildings. One set of directions and some head scratching later, I finally reach the other building. Again, another obstacle besets me. I don't know the key code security, but I know a man who does, only thing is, he's in another building.

Now I know that I've probably lost a load of you already due to the tedious nature of that opening. After all, these sort of minor mishaps and message-running chores happen every day everywhere. The tasks are boring but have to be done because that's what real life is all about, apparently.

What I need explained to me is why someone would possibly want to replicate this tedium in a game and intensify it. Yet that's just what Psygnosis have done with Puggsy.

Plasticine with a crap antenna on top

If I was still working in the shop that I used to work in and someone asked me what I thought of Puggsy, I'd be non-committal about it. I'd say something like: "Well it's got beautiful backgrounds, the animation of the sprites is slick and smooth and there's some pretty nice colours in there and it's got lots of puzzles. Oh, and cutesy characters in platforms games are loved by lots of people."

I haven't given the customer an opinion because if I did, and told the truth about the game, he wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
It's RUBBISH, CRAP, TEDIOUS and BORING beyond belief. And that's just the good points. Why anyone would subject themselves to the torture of playing this game unless they were getting paid to review it is beyond me.

The character (Puggsy) looks like a crudely shaped piece of plasticine with a crap antenna on top. He doesn't so much move as plod. He looks extremely dumb and, unless of course you're Bubba from Bubba 'N' Stix, that's a bad thing in my book.

The objects that this dumb blob picks up and moves around apparently behave in a manner akin to Newtonian physics i.e. they suffer from inertia and mass.
Fine, you might think. But let me tell you this. Wait until you've just about built enough wooden barrels up so that you can reach a previously out of reach platform. Unless you're really careful, it's just about a sure fire bet that you're going to knock barrels off and have to start building again - Aaarrrggghh!

In all the months that I've been here at AP, this game came the closest to making me lose it. You know, lose it? Lose the rag, the head, the place. And remember, it was me who reviewed Snapperazi and still managed to retain an attachment to sanity.

So, the advice I'm going to give you is simplicity itself, avoid Puggsy at all costs, even if it puts your life at risk. There are some fates worse than death.

Puggsy logo CU Amiga Super Star

With more useful objects than a Swiss army knife, is Puggsy really a tip-top puzzler of a game? Lisa Collins hurls herself into the fray to find out just how playable it is.

Puggsy was a hit on the Mega Drive and SNES, but is it going to belt off the Richter scale on the Amiga also? In short, yes. Puggsy, complete with dely-bopper hairdo, kept me completely captivated as he bounced, jumped and ran his way through 51 levels, battling against evil adversaries, including five end of world guardians and, finally, the requisite end of game big baddie.

As you puzzle your way through the sections with names like The Star Fall Lake, The Cove, The Beach and The Red Woods, you can't help being blasted by the superb sprite graphics, which include underwater raccoons in diving suits, cute-but-dangerous knights, evil starfish and deadly birds.

The story so far... Puggsy's spaceship has been nicked, leaving him stranded on an island on an alien planet. Your job is to help him get off the island and back home to his mummy and daddy.

Don't be fooled by the simple storyline though, Puggsy races through each superbly-animated level using a TOI (Total Object Interaction) system, which means every object you come across can be used to help you out of your predicament. If you have to cross a deep, murky lake then clinging to a light object will help you keep you afloat, conversely or if you are being blow about by one of the huge propeller fans, holding a heavy object will keep your feet on the ground.

One of the fab things about Puggsy is that it makes you use your noodle, and lord knows, with all the mindless violence around these days it's a welcome change (Oh shut up Lisa - Ed). For example, on one of the levels in the Star Fall Lake section the only way to continue is to put out the flames that block your path, so you have to find something to put them out.

But it's not that simple. I quickly found a water pistol, but before the fire had been completely quenched the pistol ran out of water. So I had to troop off and look around for another way to fill the pistol up.

There isn't always one answer to any problem and this adds to the fun. While you are busy working out your next move, you have to watch out for nasty raccoons and all manner of evil aliens which pop up out of the ground unexpectedly.

There are a couple of hidden extras which help Puggsy out. If you find a box with a pair of sneakers in it, put them on and Puggsy will speed faster than the CU AMIGA team on a Friday night at 6.01pm. My favorite item is the small treasure chest which once opened, will spew out all of the items that you need to pick up in order to find the exit.

The game's soundtrack changes and bounces along as Puggsy runs through the levels and worlds. My favorite track is when he has to battle against some cute-but-deadly mini knights in the Keep section and he is accompanied by music which sounds like the soundtrack from a movie set in the Tudor times.

One tiny quibble I did have with the way the game looks was that Puggsy's hand didn't seem to grip objects - it hovered above them rather than grasping them. Also the loading sequence seemd to take forever.

However, these admittedly rather minor quibbles aside, Puggsy is a fab game, which should keep you entertained for days. Buy it.


In Puggsy there are loads of objects to use, stand on, throw and fire with. Here is a small selection of some of the extra handy objects you can find on the alien island.

Treasure chest: This is extremely important as finding and using one will tell you what other object you need to use next in order to proceed.

Book: When you pick this book up and use it, you will not only get a fab part of glasses but also some extra hitting power.

Hearts: These give you an extra life if you remember to pick them up and carry them through the exit gate.