Plasticine pantomine?

Putty logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

SYSTEM 3 * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

When I was a small child, there was nothing I'd like better than to play with some Plasticine, and by golly what fun it was too. You'd get your mum or your dad to buy you some and you'd be really excited taking it home to unwrap it.

On unwrapping Plasticine, the first thing that hits you is the smell of the stuff - it's totally indescribable. After smelling it, it's time to make something, so for some ideas you'd look at the handy leaflet included in the pack and all the models would look absolutely brilliant.
A whole range of colourful and cheerful models begging to be made! After reading the leaflet, problems rear their ugly little heads.

For safety's sake, you decide to make something simple, like a snake. That can't be too hard, can it? A long green body, stick a couple of eyes on it, place a red forked tongue at the front and Bob's your Aunty. Easy really, so you decide to make something a little bit harder, like a colourful little parrot. A round blue head with a couple of white eyes on it - err oh dear I haven't got the white, hmm I'll have to use some yellow.

An orange beak, a blue body, yellow feet and some green wings. Whoops I used all my green for my snake, drat. Right take my snake apart, oh no the green's got loads of red bits in it now.
I'll have to pick all the red bits out, damn I haven't got a lot of green left. So I'm now left with a parrot with small wings and to be honest it looks deformed too. Boo hoo. So you try and tr y to make more models, but unfortunately you run out of loads of colours, so you try mixing colours to make new ones, and whichever combination you try to mix, it always ends up puce.

All you can make then is puce blobs, which to be perfectly honest are a bit useless, but hey you can't complain because here comes Putty, a pliable platform game from System 3, and it's guaranteed not to turn puce.

Originally it was called Silly Putty, but due to some problems they changed it to Putty. Right, it's time to start practicing for that Jackanory spot because it's story time.

In a galaxy far away there is a place called Putty Moon. Putty Moon is a small world that orbits around the planet Zid and is home to a race of squishy, pliable squelchy beings called Putties.

Life used to be so peaceful and still on Putty Moon - that was until the evil and downright cheesy Wizard Dazzledaze and his cat Dweezil turned up in their flying saucer and ruint it all. Dazzledaze and Dweezil captured all the peaceful Putties and brought them to earth, selling them as chewing gum and making tons of money which they spent on toys and sweets.

Hey, this story is a bit sad and depressing, what's going on? But wait - a single lone Putty had watched with tears in his/her/its eyes as all its chums were taken away by the evil wizard.

Normally this bad ass Putty would get revenge against the evil wizard, but it had a bad dose of the sniffies at the time, and so stayed in bed.
Many months passed, and slowly but surely new arrivals had started, err arriving on the Putty Moon. These were naughty babies from Earth which had been kidnapped by Dazzledaze and Dweezil and were magically being transformed into horrid creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Suddenly there were more arrivals. This time it was a load of robots from the planet Zid who were exploring the Putty Moon. Dazzledaze spied the Bots through his telescope and fearing that they would do harm, froze them into blocks of ice.

Putty can help free its chums from the evil clutches of Dazzledaze and Dweezil if he can get help from the Bots. So Putty must smash the ice blocks and get the Bots back to their flying saucers, returning with them to the planet Zid.
Once on Zid, the Bots will build a skyscraper big enough to reach Putty Moon. Putty must help with the building by rescuing as many Bots as possible to help with the construction. Once it reaches the moon, Putty must do away with Dazzledaze and Dweezil and bring peace, love and happiness to the whole word, or something like that.

Putty might look like a straightforward platform game, but it isn't. It's wild and wacky and even a bit bizarre in places. The main reason why it's so different from 'normal' platform games is that the main character, Putty, is so controllable, and can do so many different things.

Putty can bounce, stretch, melt, absorb, slither, inflate, explode, mould, jab and even make coffee (eh?). Putty is so well animated that it really is quite brilliant to watch it slither and stretch all over the place.

The game has a very high humour content especially where the enemies are involved. There are guys who pick their noses and drop their bogeys on you, guys who blow bubbles in the bath if you know what I mean, sumo wrestlers, Frankenstein, a carrot, with serious Schwarzenegger influences who shouts "Uzi nine centimetre", a Scouse sausage and many more.

The idea behind the game is simple - collect the Bots by absorbing them and then take them to the exit. However, it's surprisingly difficult - but not too difficult that you lose interest. The Putty has to keep its pliability level topped up at all times - if it doesn't it starts losing lives and then it'll be game over.

As well as collecting food to keep its pliability up, Putty can also collect icons to help collect the Bots. There's a pocket watch which will give you extra time, a trashcan which will let Putty carry more than one Bot at once and Dweezil power which will give Putty invulnerability.

By far the funniest power up is Uncle Ted, which is a little guy who sits at an organ and plays a ridiculous tune which make the nasties dance uncontrollably for 30 seconds thus distracting them from their job.

Right that's enough background information. I bet you're wondering what the game is actually like. Well with hand on heart I can honestly say that Putty is absolutely brilliant - a platform game that is totally original in almost every way. The graphics are pretty wonderful - take a look at the screenshots. The sound is brill as well with loads and loads of samples.

Once you've learned the controls they become second nature, so no problems there. Plus Putty is quite possibly one of the funniest games ever - it certainly caused people to have a laugh and a giggle in our office.

Putty is a worthy winner of a Gamer Gold if ever I saw one. Big hand claps go to System 3 for this one, plus with a data disk already on the way it seems as though the whole gaming world is about to go Putty mad.



System 3 have had plenty of stick about their recent games, but their new release redresses the balance. Batten down the hatches and seal up your window panes 'cos it's time for...

Putty logo

As he slept in his homely hole on Puttty Moon, Putty began to dream about his old Grandpa...
"Ee, you must remember as well as I do, young Putty. The Moon used to be a quiet place, and our people lived in peace and harmony. Until, that is, the evil Wizard Dazzledaze and his cohort Dweezil the cat decided to pick on us. Sold us off for chewin' gum, they did. Daylight robbery. And what did you do? You sat there, didn't you, whinging about how you had a cold."

"Well now, it's time for action, young Putty, ACTION! There is only one way to rid the Moon of its evil presence, and that's to help the Bots to build a tower from the planet Zid to the Moon. When it's completed, the Boss will be able to climb up it to vanquish Dazzledaze and Dweezil once and for all. Only trouble is, the Wiz has captured the Bots as well and frozen them in ice. Only you can rescue them."

"The future of the Moon is in your hands, young Putty, or whatever you have for hands at least. Don't let us down."

With the vision of Grandpa gradually fading away, Putty awoke. After he got up and stretched a bit, he decided that today was the day he should change from being a lazy, cowardly blob and do something about the wicked Wizard.

You take control of Putty as he (Is it a He? How can you tell with an amorphous blob of blue matter?) attempts to free the Bots from their captivity, and return them to their spaceship. Not only are the level of Putty Moon difficult to negotiate for an amorphous blob such as yourself, but also Dazzledaze and Dweezil have sent a whole army of nasties to thwart your efforts.

It must be really difficult nowadays to think up a new scenario for a platform game, but System 3 have not only come up with a good story, but a superb game as well. Not since Robocod have we seen graphics of this quality. It's got incredibly colourful and detailed backgrounds, superb scrolling and great characters.

The main character, Putty himself, is a small but perfectly formed sprite which is very nicely animated. As he moves along, little feet are formed in his flexible form, and his eyes point in the direction he walks. The eyes aren't fixed to his body, they sort of 'float' on the top so when he falls they follow his body a split second later.

He can be made to stretch into all manner of shapes, look around corners, absorb the enemies and take their shape - he's basically the most versatile hero since Arnie Schwarzenegger (and you don't often see Arnie inflate himself to huge proportions then explode, do you? I rest my case).

The nasties usually attack in large formations, and may take on one of a huge range of different forms. From psychotic carrots which yell "Uzi, 9-centimetre!", as they offload a few rounds at you, to Shockapillars (electric caterpillars), they are generally very deadly but at the same time strangely cute...

Have I mentioned sound? Well, this game has the most bizarre sound effects since Mega-Lo-Mania: a huge collection of sampled bells, whistles, pops and screams all of which actually add an enormous amount to the game. In fact the sound effects are one of the first things people notice about Putty, and they draw you in immediately.


From psychotic carrots which yell "Uzi 9-centimetre!" to Shockapillars... they are deadly

You are rubber
The first level is basically a trainer, which enables you to bounce around to your heart's content, getting used to the control system. This screen even has little arrows pointing around the level which are labelled with actions (e.g. Bounce), which is good because control is difficult at first. Anyway, after five minutes of play it all becomes second-nature.

The first screen only has one Bot on it, along with a few nasties, so saving him is easy. It quickly becomes apparent that the Bots are not only harmless aliens, but also inordinately stupid. How they can build a huge tower from Zid to the Moon when they can't find their way back to the spaceship I don't know.

All seems serene and gentle until... Aaarghh! The second level really drops you in at the deep end, with loads of horrible aliens and three Bots to save. The Psycho Carrot makes his first appearance here, and he is instantly likeable even though he's trying to pump you full of lead.
Punch him to reveal a crying baby (oh, I nearly forgot - Dazzledaze kidnapped a load of babies and turned them into the nasties), and then absorb the baby for extra points. The Bots actually move around on this level, and if attacked by an alien they will leap to their death, lemming style, so you have to get to them quickly.

Credits are picked up along the way, arcade style, and a continue option is provided so that you can start from the same place with a new set of lives - and you need them, too. If and when you lose all your lives, Dweezil the cat pops up, Looney Tunes style, and yells "Too Bad!" at you, with a bit of cartoony music playing over the top.

I am glue
I really can't say enough about this game. I could sit and write for a few weeks and fill the pages of this magazine about all the beautiful graphics, marvellous sound effects and neat little touches which make it so special, and then go back and play it again and still find something different. It is that expansive. At the same time, though, it's incredibly playable, the sort of game that will keep young and old coming back again and again for months.

With elements of Dropzone and Robocod, the cuteness of, well, something indescribably cute, and the most bizarre sound effects ever, it's easily the best platform game I've ever played, and certainly in the running for the best game ever on any computer. With the recent release of Zool and now this game, the Amiga is yet again confirmed as the games machine to have.


PUTTY, IN YOUR HANDS

Putty
Large exploding Putty: This is achieved by waggling the joystick up and down, and has a 'smart bomb' effect.

Putty
Bouncing Putty. Notice how his eyes display direction.

Putty
Slithering Putty: little feet are formed as he walks.

Putty
Stretchy Putty: elongate the blobby hero to reach high platforms, zoom along the floor, or nip past the enemies when they're not looking. This is Putty at his most flexible. Just look at him go!

Putty
Punching Putty: letting go a Putty knuckle sandwich.

Putty
Morphing Putty: absorb a enemy to take its shape.

Putty
Being amorphous, Putty can easily flatten out so he can absorb things.

Putty
Absorb: squelch down to absorb organic items.

Putty
Normal Putty: just waiting for something to happen.



Der Lattex Held

Putty logo

Originelle Spielideen sind rar geworden, vor allem die Plattform-Landschaften werden fast nur noch von bewaffneten Helden in Sprungstiefeln heimgesucht. Immerhin, bei System 3 hat man sich jetzt etwas Neues einfallen lassen!

Damit ist allerdings keinesfalls die einschläfernde Vorgeschichte gemeint: Der böse Zauberer Dazzledaze hat alle Bewohner von Putty Moon entführt, nur einer konnte entwischen - Putty, ein springlebendiger Kaugummi! Um die Kidnappungsopfer wieder ranzuschaffen, muß der ungewöhnliche Held all seine "dehnbaren" Fähigkeiten aufbieten und 18 feindverseuchte Level nach Hilfsrobotern abgrasen.

Als Kautschuk zur (Plattform-) Welt zu kommen, hat unbestreitbare Vorzüge: Putty kann laufen, springen, sich unglaublich weit ausdehnen oder ganz flach auf den Boden quetschen. Nur in den seltensten Fällen empfiehlt es sich, einfach draufloszuhüpfen; vielmehr will jede Aktion im voraus geplant sein, schon weil den einzelnen Gegnern nur auf höchst unterschiedliche Art und Weise beizukommen ist: Mal hüpft man ihnen auf den Schädel, dann werden sie zur Seite geboxt, im Notfall bläst sich der digitale Barbapapa auf das Vierfache seiner ursprünglichen Köpergröße auf - zerplatzt er dann mit lautem Knall, fegt es sämtliche Bösewichte vom Screen!

Als besonders nützlich erweist sich auch die Gabe, die Gegnerschaft "einzuschleimen", denn so kann man entweder einen Teil der bisher verlorenen Lebensenergie zurückgewinnen oder sogar für begrenzte Zeit Gestalt und Fähigkeiten der Feindes übernehmen.

Es steht also eine hübsche Bandbreite verschiedenster Verteidigungstechniken zur Verfügung, genau wie es Widersacher in den vershiedensten Variationen gibt: Gefährliche Pilze hüpfen wild über den Screen, Raupen drohen mit funkelnden Blitzen, Spielzeugsoldaten marschieren durch die Gegend, fast jeder Level hält neue Überraschungen und Gefahren bereit.

Zum Glück enden nicht alle Feindberührungen gleich tödlich, Putty verfügt über drei Leben und ein paar Continues, wodurch auch weniger geübte Zocker ihre Freude an dem Gummimännchen haben werden - zumal hier an Gags, Extras und Bonuskammern nun wirklich kein Mangel herrscht.

Auch die Grafik wurde nicht vernachlässigt, sämtliche Landschaften kommen bunt, abwechslungsreich und durchgestylt daher, und die witzige Animation der Sprites hat sich glatt den goldenen Kaugummi am Zahnseideband verdient. Alleine das sagenhafte Augenrollen mancher Gegner ist schon zum Kringeln, aber wie sich der Titelheld über den Screen "quetscht', wie er sein halbes Augenpaar hinter sich herzieht oder manchmal gelangweilt dreinguckt, das ist einfach genial!

Zu bemängeln wäre vielleicht das nicht ganz ruckfreie Scrolling, die etwas gewöhnungsbedürftige Steuerung und die Tatsache, daß man sich während des Spiels mit Soundeffekten begnügen muß. Dem Spaß an der Freud tut das jedoch kaum einen Abbruch, mit Putty haben die Jungs von System 3 gezeigt, daß sie mehr auf der Pfanne haben als nur langweilige Neuauflagen von "Last Ninja". (rl)



Putty logo

Don't be soft! If you're looking for a new platformer with a touch of strategy, a dab of cuteness, and a lot of bounce, then System 3's latest will give you morph for your money.

Putty, eh? It's the sort of word which conjures up images - images of something soft, tacky, sticky, amorphous, pliable, bendable, ductile, flexible, limber, little, malleable, plastic, supple, cushiony, doughy, elastic, gelatinous, pulpy, quaggy, spongy, squashy, squishy, bendable, elastic, flexible, mouldable, and kind of putty-like, I'd say. (Wow, that old Thesaurus trick always come in handy).

So, Putty, eh? Notice the lack of 'silly' there. Putty is no longer a licensed product, and so the blue lump at the centre of the game's antics is now just a regular piece of putty, an average Joe. But - e! - he's still pretty silly.

A quick history lesson is in order, I guess. Putty started life nearly two years ago, destined for release on cartridge for the Amiga. Since then, the whole concept of Amiga cartridges has fallen through, the Silly Putty tie-in has disappeared, and the game has - gasp! - been completed. It's a bit of a relief after all this that Putty fulfils its potential (and a lot more besides) instead of drowning in its quagmire of troubled history and overlong development time.

BOUNCING BACK TO YOU
The plot is typically forgettable, all to do with Dazzledaze the cat, a tower stretching from Planet Earth up to Putty Moon, and a whole load of robots who're in need of rescuing (thus enabling the completion of the tower and so the levels to play through). The basic gist then is that Putty's journey back to Putty Moon involves travelling through six distinct graphic environments, each with three stages. Each of those is a vertically scrolling level four screens high.

Then... on each of these levels there's an space ship or elevator of some description - the safe haven for the robots. Dotted around the levels platforms are the robots who need capturing, taking to the safe haven, then releasing.

On the early levels the robots are frozen in blocks of ice, but as Putty gets closer to Putty Moon the temperature rises and the robots are free-roaming. By this time it's a regular occurrence to hear a scream, then see a robot tumble to its death. The robots aren't very good with ledges you see.
Luckily, robots are regenerated pretty quickly, and each level usually only needs between three and five robots saving to complete it, so none of this presents too much of a problem.

Time and 'pliability' (effectively your energy level) do, however. Each level has its own time limits, though extra time is gained by getting a robot to safety.


It's almost impossible to resist its charm

The main problems are presented by the varied nasties who roam the levels. These are all unique to the six playing areas, and just like the robots they will regenerate after a time if killed. Yep, that's right. Putty can kill the bad guys - and in a number of distinctly putty-ish ways.

Offensive number one is the good old bounce. It won't work on all bad guys, but many of the smaller adversaries are easy pretty for a bit of squishing. Attack number two is the putty punch. Here a little fist 'morphs' out from Putty's amorphous body, smacking the enemy in the chops. Again it doesn't work on all baddies, but it'll usually get an interesting response.
Some of the bigger baddies who can't be beaten with fists will actually shout back - the scouse sausage for instance cries 'Come on then, I'll have you now, eh?' in an authentic Brookside manner.

Attack number three is absorption. This simply involves flattening Putty onto the floor (he's invincible in this position), and if the bad guy is absorbable, then he'll get sucked into Putty (whose pliability will increase). If Putty manages to collect a hidden set of teeth, then even the larger bad guys can be dealt with like this.

But wait, there's more. Putty can also burst himself (in glorious technicolour). It uses up 25% of Putty's pliability, but inflating him to bursting point acts as a smart bomb. It really comes into its own on the particularly hectic later levels (the early ones are busy enough, believe me). And Putty can transform himself into the form of some of the bad gys. The little pip-shooting clockwork oranges for instance (yeah, I know) can be absorbed, giving Putty the chance to become a blue orange (if you know what I mean) and give the bad guys a taste of their own medicine. There's even a malevolent black hole on the higher levels which can be absorbed and used as a blue hole.

And so the list of little features continues, and I haven't even mentioned the shockapillars or the evil white rabbits yet, never mind the astonishing number of moves which Putty can perform. Check out the tasty piccies dotted around the place for a more visual idea of what I mean.


When you first see it you'll chuckle long and hard

GIVING IT SOME STICK
Hidden in various bits of the game are bonus objects. These range from the teeth which I mentioned earlier, to simple point bonuses and extra time clocks, to invincibility, and dustbins (which enable Putty to carry several robots at once), and instant elevators.

Best of all though is the Uncle Ted bonus. Collecting this introduces Uncle Ted and his wonderful organ (obviously a cousin to Viz's Captain Morgan) for a minute or so. Once on screen Ted pounds away at the ivories, playing to his heart's content, sending all the nasties into a bout of involuntary dancing. They're rooted to the spot tapping their feet while Putty can make a hassle-free bid to rescue the robots. It's little elements like this in the game which elevate it to the level of near genius.

And did I mention just how funny this game was? The first thing anybody does when they see and hear it for the first time is to chuckle long and hard. There are just so many neat audio and visual gags packed in there, it's almost impossible to resist the charm.

Mega lo Mania really set some amazing standards for interactive samples in Amiga games, and disappointingly only a handful of games have followed this example. Putty manages to equal if not outdo Sensible's effort, with countless bits of speech, slapstick sounds and cool fx.

Listening to Putty, you could almost be hearing the soundtrack to a Warner Bros cartoon. And, despite the compactness of the graphics, they too contain a real cartoon element. Animation and expression are the keys - there's just so much detail in there, with even the most insignificant bad guy possessing smooth characterful animation (and excellent sound to match).

As we mentioned in True Stories last month, System 3 have declared that they want the Putty character to become a mascot for Amiga owners, just as the much-hyped Sonic and Mario are the pride of Sega and Nintendo types. Commodore seem to agree to an extent, placing Putty in their new A600 bundle pack (see this month's True Stories).

Somehow I don't think this'll work - the character just isn't strong enough as a static image - let's be honest, a blue blob with eyes doesn't initially look that exciting. But that isn't any reflection on the game. On screen Putty excels, the wealth of movements and expressions (all conveyed with the eyes) outdoing any other game character on the block. Without the endearing Putty character, the game just wouldn't be worthy of this amount of praise, and it'd be a bit stuck for a name to. But Putty it's got, and Putty it is. And most extraordinarily it is too.

PUTTY IN YOUR HANDS
Y'know, in a recent survey, eight out of ten magazine journalists (who work on AMIGA POWER), who expressed a preference came up with the word 'window' as the most obvious association for 'putty'. That's that sketch knackered then.
Instead, I'll close this enthusiastic review with the following simple question: What the hell are you waiting for?


STRETCHING THE POINT

Flexible and versatile, that's Putty. Of course he's capable of so much more than we've shown here, simply by taking on the guise of some his enemies, but we've only got so much space. And don't worry if all these movements look a touch complicated, the control system is pretty damn intuitive, and there's even a trainer level at the beginning of the game to get your properly acquainted with Putty's extraordinary power.

Putty
Elastic fantastic! Putty can stretch into all kinds of shapes. Here he cautiously slides along.
Putty
Putty in Shockapillar form.
Putty
Eye, eye - Putty checks that the coast is clear.
Putty
Putty rabbits on, ready to be eaten.
Putty
Eek! Putty gets hit.
Putty
Putty does the 100m.
Putty
Putty lays low for a while.
  Putty
Putty mid-shape change.


Putty logo CU Amiga Super Star

John McGrane has always been a funny-shaped bloke, but he really cannot compare to the stretchable star of System 3's latest blockbuster game.

Mention the name System 3 and the average gamesplayer will automatically think of their Ninja series of strategic arcade adventures. Lately, the Harrow-based company has been trying to distance itself from the Ninja reputation with an avalanche of different gaming styles. First there was the platform antics of Fuzzbal, then the hack 'n' slash going-on in Myth and now Putty.

GOING ARCADEY
The story goes something like this. You are Putty, a small globular chap composed almost completely of putty. You know, the funny little brown substance that you used to put around the glass in your window panes to keep the difference between a hole in the wall and a window constant. Rather like Zaphod Beeblebrox's revelation that biro pens live a life of their own on a biroid planet somewhere in the Horsehead Nebula, System 3 believe that all putty comes from a place known as Putty Moon, circling somewhere in their unstable imaginations.

Anyway, Putty Moon has been taken over by an evil wizard called Dazzledaze, and as one of the small blobs who weren't entirely happy with this situation, you were banished from the planet. Naturally, you don't want to stay in this predicament, but how can you return without a rocket? Just ask a passing bunch of friendly robots to build a skyscraper high enough to allow you to reach Putty Moon.

Of course, Dazzledaze doesn't want you to come back, so has sent everything he's got to slow you down or stop you completely. That's only to be expected, but the other problem is one of your own making. The robots are all solar powered, but you can only operate at night. By day, the robots are a friendly enough bunch, laughing, joking, building and slapping each other's backs occasionally, but at night they become mindless and suicidal, and so have to be watched all the time. What's a poor Putty to do?

CAN DO A LOT
You will have to get by with Putty's rather extraordinary capabilities. I have to say, if there is one thing the console invasion has done for Amiga games, it is the introduction of very versatile characters. Putty, like the toy of similar name, can do a hell of a lot of things considering he is just a small blob of goey stuff. He has many different ways of moving about, for example. He can walk along platforms, with two little bumps sticking out below him in place of feet. He can leap too, gathering himself into a little ball and then springing up into the air. But that isn't all.

Possibly Putty's biggest trick is his ability to stretch himself over vast distances until he finds another platform, at which point he pulls the rest of his being after him, basically transporting himself to his new location. This trick, once mastered, allows him to race all over the screen in virtually no time at all.

But, you might be asking, what can he do to defend himself? In this respect he can use one of four different tactics. He can either punch to the left or right, forming a small part of his side into a fist and then jabbing anything within range. Or, with most enemies, he can absorb them, extracting, the life energy for himself. This is done by getting in front of them and then spreading out flat on the floor until they walk on him, at which point he sucks them in.

Another trick (and this he can only do with limited enemy creatures) is 'Puttymorphing'. When he has absorbed a creature, a double stab on the fire button changes him into the shape of the aforementioned victim, complete with attacking capabilities. For example, in Toyworld a clockwork orange marches up and down spitting pips. Once Putty absorbs this and polymorphs into it, he can spit pips at other enemies. Smart eh?

Finally, for a really big bang, Putty can turn himself into a smart bomb to take out all the opposition on screen at once. Waggling the joystick furiously causes Putty to expand to superPutty proportions before blowing up, wiping out everything else.

PLIABILITY
None of this can be done without energy, and Putty needs a lot of this in the form of Pliability to be able to do anything besides leap. As he performs all his little functions, his Pliability meter slowly drops, but this can thankfully be replenished by absorbing passing creatures as well as bonus food and energy tokens.

The game is played over six levels, starting on the ground and working upwards to the tallest building on Putty Moon, where Putty can make the most important leap of his life. Each of the six levels is played over four stages, and each stage can be up to four screens high. The format of each screen is essentially the same, although the strategy develops as the game goes on. Robots appear all over the level, and you have to collect them, one at a time, and drop them off at a specific point until a preset total has been matched. At the start of the game, everything is pretty easy.

The first level actually contains a trainer mode, complete with arrows and instructions written on the wall to help you become accustomed to Putty's powers, and to teach you some basic strategies for getting around the vertically scrolling screens.

As you go through the early stages, it is a simple case of bouncing around the levels, avoiding the enemy and getting the robots home. However, as you continue through the game, your strategies need to be developed as the gameplay takes on some unexpected twists, such as enemies that home in on you for example, or platforms that only move when you're not on them. Just because you can walk through the early levels without blinking doesn't automatically mean that you'll get through the later stages just as easily.

The range of enemies is quite astounding, and some are quite disgusting. From the terminator carrots who scream 'Uzi nine centimetre' before trying to blast you out of the skies, to the toy soldiers who match up and down belting out 'Achtung!' before clobbering you, there are some really bizarre sprites to encounter. There is even a guy in a bath who fires deadly bubbles of noxious gas in your direction, but not before letting you know exactly where the gas comes from by making a revolting gurgling sound in the bathwater. Almost every single character has some aspect to them that will make you laugh. God knows ho they got half the samples in the game and, come to think of it, I really don't want to know wither. These guys are sick!

UNCLE TED
There are a range of bonuses to collect, too, most of which are hidden in various parts of the scenery. It is down to you to discover how to find them. Naturally, there are all the standard options, such as bonus points, bonus energy, extra life and invincibility.

Where would a game be without them, but there is one special bonus that reduced me to hysterics. Picking up this capsule releases the most foul demon ever seen in a computer game, a horror so unspeakable that the slightest sound of the poisonously magical tune he plays is enough to turn any creature into a whirling, dancing dervish, incapable to react in any way other than to jig the children of Hamlet. This monstrosity is a pub-pianist by the name of Uncle Ted - Children's performer and club cabaret star extraordinaire. Ted sits there, behind his upright piano, and bashes out a 'Roll Out The Barrel' style anthem which renders everything helpless. What a guy!

After Myth, System 3 had to come up with something completely amazing graphically and sonically as to not move backwards. They couldn't have released a better product than Putty. All the way through, samples fly out of the speakers thicker and faster than anything heard before. A sausage that threatens to 'ave you now' in a scouse accent, a cat that pops up to taunt you Bugs Bunny style and a theme tune vaguely reminiscent of the Joe 90 intro, complete with Hammond Organ. This game has over a Meg of sound samples, and it shows.

Visually, Putty is something else. The animation on the main sprite is among the best I have ever seen, and I'm only too glad that there is a coverdisk so you can see how wonderfully he moves. Every little movement causes his eyes to swing about, and the angry look of concentration just before he explodes will stick in my mind as one of the most expressive faces ever seen in an Amiga game.

Putty is unlike anything I have played, it is not quite a platform title, and there is too much to it to call it a console action title. One thing I can say about it is that it is brilliant. The in-house programming team have let their imaginations run riot and the result is one of the most original games for a long, long time. Each level offers a new challenge coupled with another motley collection of hostile enemy sprites to overcome. This game HAS to be in your collection, whether you want it or not. Thanks to Commodore's new deal, this game will appear in the Christmas packaging of the A600. Lucky beggers. Everyone else, buy it now.


MANUAL

Putty is a very versatile creature, and you'll need a lot of practice to master his moves. System 3's Adrian Cale agrees, and feels that it is unfair to throw players in at the deep end. 'If I pick up a game, and find I can't play it right off, I get frustrated. We want people to enjoy Putty to the full, which is why we've thrown in the trainer mode on the first stage, and given the game a definite curve'. The manual is also written for the first time Puttyist, using masses of illustrations to show exactly how to control our hero and what sort of strategies to adopt. How's that for customer service?

WHAT DIDN'T GET IN

The lads at System 3 are almost completely happy with this product. Almost, but not quite. The one thing they still find the time to complain about is the amount of things that they wanted to go in but just couldn't find the room for, such as some heavy breathing from an oversized Samurai who tires himself out after the smallest jump. Watch out for data disks soon...