Lock up your bus pass! It's...

Rolling Ronny logo

Virgin * £24.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Imagine, if you will, a mutant creature. A horrendous genetic hybrid. A blemish on the fact of Mother Nature. A terrible cross between Ronald McDonald and Richard Stilgoe. Pretty scary isn't it? Well, boys and girls, pull your duvet tighter around you because that just about sums up with Rolling Ronny's all about.

Ronny's a clown you see. He's got a cheery red fright wig and a "humorous" nose, plus all the other violently amusing features that Ronald McDonald, that friendly face of international consumer conglomerates possesses. Ronny's also taken to wearing rollerskates all the time, like that sad old git Richard Stilgoe in his "highly acclaimed" musical, Starlight Express. Crikey. Hardly the most inspiring blend of characters is it?

Such a blend could, theoretically, result in two types of game. It could turn out to be a platform game based around a roller-skating errand boy, or it could be a simulator of a synthetic tasting hamburger with a stupid beard that writes awful musicals.
Luckily no one at Virgin could think of a game about a hamburger, wo we've been given Rolling Ronny instead. Phew.

Ronny, our hero, lives in Fieldington, an unnecessarily zany and wacky fictional cartoon type town. Everything in Fieldington is cheerful and twee. It's the sort of place were people burst into song in the middle of the street, and all the buildings bounce from side to side in time to the music. It's that sort of place - not the sort where you want to wake up with a hangover.

Nor is it the sort of place to steal the Crown Jewels from, but that's what some highly stupid Fieldington thieves have done. Even more stupidly, rather than flog the jewels on the Black Market and move to Rio, the thieves have left the jewels in flashing boxes all over town. Criminal masterminds, eh?

Rather than getting the plods to earn their keep and gather all the jewels back together, they decide to do a spot of delegation and lumber our Ron with the job. I don't know, you pay your taxes, you're a responsible citizen and you end up doing the police force's dirty work for them. Fascist state or what?

Anyway, what it all boils down to is nine levels of scrolling platform action with Ronny risking life and wig to collect these flamin' jewelery boxes. It won't be easy though. Fieldington is a strange, and not entirely safe, place. All manner of spooksome objects float towards you, intent on wearing down some of your health.

Cartoon cars, looking like the Anthil Mob's Chugabug from Wacky Races - and what's a spanking cartoon that was - chunder towards you ready to knock you for six. For protection Ronny can leap on to higher platforms, or defend himself by throwing salami at his aggressors. Why salami? No idea, and I've got a feeling that it might be best if we don't probe any further.

Also along the way Ronny can collect some bonus items to aid him in his quest. Some affect Ronny and give him super powers when selected, others will affect his adversaries to give Ronny some sort of sneaky advantage. Ronny can carry four icons at a time, and they're activated by hitting the relevant function key, in case you were wondering,

As well as looking out for icons and jewelery, you must collect coins which can be used to pay for icons in the shop and to pay for your bus fare to the next level. Coins can be found lying along the way, picked up by shooting the bad guys, or earned y running errands for the good citizens of Fieldington.

You see, every now and then, you'll come across some dopey looking citizen milling around in a rather useless fashion. Walk up to them and they'll offer you an errand. The errands usually involve taking an object to another person or location on that level, although sometimes you may have to retrace your steps to find it.

How much yo earn for an errand will depend on how much the person is willing to give, but you can bargain with them at the risk of losing the job. This adds a much-needed human element to the tired platform genre, and may just be the thing that saves Rolling Ronny from total obscurity.

Sound is reasonable, although the sound effects are, well, non existent if the truth be told. The tune's great though. It's a boppy sort of circus tune that keeps you humming throughout the game, and also has that wonderful quality of annoying the hell out of everyone around you.

The graphics are very colourful, and they've squeezed in a fair wodge of detail too. The sprites are well varied, and suitably weird, with everything from flying paperback books to incontinent birds out to mark your card. The cars in particular are fun to watch, as are the bouncing unicycles in the sewers. Yep, Rolling Ronny is pretty damn surreal when you think about it. It's also what the Ancient Greeks might have called "a flippin' good game".

If I've got one criticism of Rolling Ronny, it's that it's just a bit too similar to all the other scrolly platform games that have mysteriously started to appear since the console market took off. It's very, very similar for instance, to Ocean's Simpsons game, or Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega MegaDrive. The little errand running bits go some way to make it special, but the essential gamestyle has been done a thousand times.

That aside, Rolling Ronny is a pretty groovy little game. It's easy to get used to and it's challenging, but not impossible. Not quite the coolest dude in town, but certainly cool enough to chill out and do this thang with the "Cool Posse". What ever that means.

Dr. Ronny's Patented Pick-me-ups
Spotty Teenager: Tell me Dr. Ronny, how do you keep your skin so... young looking?
Dr. Ronny: With my hypo-allergenic icons, that's how.
Spotty Teenager: Gee thanks. I'll never use ordinary soap again.
Dr. Ronny: Good, now sod off Spotty, I've got some icon explaining to do...
Rolling Ronny This rather springy little item will allow you to leap higher than a hungry piranha in Jeremy Beadle's toilet bowl.
Rolling Ronny The 'Powersneeze' icon acts as a smart bomb to destroy all the baddies on screen. Spookily, there's no actual sneezing involved.
Rolling Ronny One whiff of this dodgy coagulated and aromatic French cheese is enough to freeze everything for 10 seconds. I should think so too.
Rolling Ronny If you can't reach some of the higher up goodies then using the Magnetofluct will faithfully bring it to you. JUst like Bonnie, the Blue Peter dog.
Rolling Ronny And of course, selecting a bicycle horn makes you invincible for a limited amount of time. Obvious really.

Rolling Ronny logo

Rolling Ronny is an errand-boy - his task is to deliver parcels and the like all over the town, wherever his customers want. Ronny is a funny character, kitted out with a pair of roller skates, a bright red bushy wig (for visibility) and a huge red hooter of a nose (for attention), he is definitely not inconspicuous. In this game, his job description has been changed from simple deliveries to a top secret police matter.

For his latest adventure, Ronny has been commissioned by Scotland Yard to do some undercover work. A vicious gang of thieves made off with the ultra-valuable Fieldington Crown Jewels, but luckily for Fieldington's regency, the bandits were rumbled before they could leave the country. In an attempt to get rid of the evidence, the rascals hid them in small brightly coloured jewel cases and concealed them (not very well) all over Fieldington. The Yard decided that an undercover agent would be best suited to recover the Crown Jewels and who better than Ronny? Nobody would suspect anything of an errand boy, scooting around town on his skates, collecting things.

Cheese and Sneeze
You take the roll of Ronny (ho ho). To help him on his travels and protect him from nasties, he has a supply of Fieldington's best salami which when thrown at any meanies is enough to persuade them to think again about bothering him. However, sometimes salami is just not enough to protect Ronny from harm, so on your travels you can collect extra weapons, such as a PowerSneeze that will totally annihilate anything that moves on the screen. These weapons are stored in your pockets of which you only have four, meaning that you have to be careful about what you pick up and when: later on you might require some kind of an implement to attract those jewels that are just out of reach...

It's a fair cop, Guv
Being an errand-boy, people just cannot help asking you to do things for them, unaware of your more vital mission. On your travels you will meet various bods with parcels or letters that they will ask you to deliver for a cash bonus. Unfortunately for you, you have to take their business so that you can earn a bit of money. This is absolutely essential to progress through the game, as at the end of every level poor Ronny's legs are so tired that he has to catch the bus to transport him to the next stage.

As Scotland Yard are only going to give him his cash reward at the end of his journey - 9 levels later, keeping a track of finances is of utmost importance. It is no use spending all your money in the shop to complete one level if you cannot get on the bus to get to the next one.

The game is very easy to get into. The instant appeal is very high with a jolly soundtrack going on in the background, and beautifully coloured smooth scrolling graphics. It is addictive to play, and the way that the jewels are strewn around the level is such that they are not all instantly accessible, but with a little thought, all the jewels are obtainable.

The difficulty level gets progressively harder as you move along through the game, but on the whole it is well balanced so that it does not take too long to work out how to get all the bits you need to collect. It is not too hard to play and the game rolls fast enough to stay interested. A good jolly game with instant appeal, that will keep you addicted for a while.

Rolling Ronny logo

Fahrt Ihr gerne Roller Skates? Mögt Ihr vielleicht auch noch hübsch präsentierte Geschicklichkeitsspiele? Dann ist Ronny genau Euer Typ!

Ronny bessert sein Taschengeld auf, indem er alle möglichen Besorgungsaufträge erledigt - auf Roller Skates, wohlgemerkt. Diese Fahrten sind nicht nur gefährlich, sondern auch ausgesprochen teuer, denn zwischen den einzelnen Stadtteilen muß Ronny den Bus nehmen, und der kostet im Durchschnitt so um die hundert Taler!

Auf dem horizontal scrollenden Screen skatet Ronny über Bürgersteige, Bahnschienen und Baugerüste, hüpft Treppen und Plattformen empor und feuert auf zudringliche Bildschirmgegner. Da gibt es wilde Motorradrocker, rücksichtslose Autofahrer, merkwürdige Typen mit langen Nasen und noch vieles mehr.

Jede Berührung mit diesem gemeingefährlichen Gestalten kostet wertvolle Health-Punkte; dafür hinterlassen manche nach ihrem Ableben Geldstücke, die man schleunigst aufsammeln sollte. Hin und wieder fällt das Geld auch vom Himmel, nämlich dann, wenn man beim Hüpfen zufällig gegen ein unsichtbares Feld gesprungen ist.

Die meiste Kohle gibt's natürlich für die Erledigung eines Auftrags. Ronny muß Pakete oder ähnliches durch die Gegend kutschieren, wofür er dann 20 Taler und mehr kassiert.

Tja, aber Geld ist halt nicht alles: Sprünge (die unvermeidbar sind, z.B. bei aufgerissenen Straßen) kosten Energie, ebenso ausgedehnte Kletterpartien. Deshalb sollte man gelegentlich einen Shop aufsuchen und einen Teil der sauer verdienten Kröten in Health- und Energy-Punkte investieren.

Außerdem sind hier viele schöne Extras vorrätig (z.B. Super-Sprungfedern), die im Spiel dann mit den Funktions-tasten aktiviert werden. Wer sich aber zu großzügig mit Extras eindeckt, dem kann es leicht passieren, daß er zum Schluß das Geld für den Bus nicht mehr zusammenbringt - Game Over!

Außerdem muß in jedem Level eine bestimmte Anzahl von kleinen Würfeln eingesammelt werden, sonst kann man den Spielabschnitt nicht verlassen. Ganz schön fies! Na, aber dafür läßt sich nach jedem der insgesamt fünf Level der Spielstand abspeichern.

Rolling Ronny ist ein technisch ausgereiftes Hüpf- und Sammelspiel; die Animationen haben Trickfilm-Qualitäten: Wenn Ronny gegen ein Hindernis donnert, fliegt er in hohem Bogen auf seinen Allerwertesten und sieht bunte Sternchen. Auch ist das Game an keiner Stelle link - wenn der skatende Bildschirm-Bote mal verunglückt, habt ihn ein Luftballon auf die nächste Plattform, damit er nicht gleich wieder am selben Hindernis hängenbleibt.

Dazu ertönen muntere Melodien, die wunderbar zu der kunterbunten Comic-Grafik passen. Tja, wenn die Scahe vom Spielerischen her noch etwas abwechslungsreicher wäre, hätte Ronny wohl glatt einen Hit eingefahren! (C. Borgmeier)

Rolling Ronny logo

Rolling Ronny is a bright and cartoony scrolling platformer, with tons of things to collect, lots of mini games bunged in for your amusement, and a smattering of 'look before you leap' subplots for added depth. Quite clearly these elements are supposed to get together and form a lighthearted romp in the style of, say, The Blues Brothers (also reviewed this issue) or The Simpsons. Let's see if they do...

To start with, there's no doubt that there's plenty to do in this game. Ronny not only has to skate along and collect floating boxes of jewellery on behalf of Scotland Yard, he also has to collect money with which to buy weapons, avoid sundry bad guys, and run errands for various characters within the game in order to amass ever larger sums of money (which prove essential for your progress).

The whole thing's a pretty enough affair (if slightly characterless in some hard-to-put-your-finger-on way, and comes with its fair share of suitably juvenile humorous touches, but while it's all busy and colourful enough on the surface, in truth it's not all that much fun. Scratch the surface of this overly-elaborate platformer and you're left with a basic game of stunning mediocrity.

The mark of a successful arcade game is that you feel compelled to play it 'just one more time' but ploughing through this is more chore than entertainment. Whenever I made progress (which really isn't all that difficult or challenging) it had a very 'so what?' feel to it - there simply weren't enough surprises around the corner to make it worthwhile carrying on.

You get the feeling that Virgin have lavished too many trinkets on Rolling Ronny in an attempt to make a plain game look more sophisticated than it really is, and I'm afraid it simply doesn't work.

Not a terrible game, just an average one, but if you're looking for simple action-packed fun there are plenty of other options available. Try Robocod, those Blues Brothers, or Mega Twins or...

Rolling Ronny logo

Being the coolest dude in town is no easy task, especially when you're a roller skating clown with a big red nose. Will his City and Guilds in Pie-Throwing and Falling Over help him catch the crooks who have stolen the Fieldington Crown jewels?

Taking control of this erratic errand boy, you journey through nine levels of jumps, joystick jerks, platforms and pitfalls. The gangsters have thoughtfully left a trail of jewelry boxes for Ronny to retrieve, as long as he can cope with the malevolent motorists, roving red devils, bouncing balls and other assortment of odd characters in the big city.
Ronny also needs to grab some cash to pay for his bus fare!

Many of the gem cases are located in near-suicidal locations far away from any stairs or windowsills to leap from. The final resort for these tricky pixel-perfect platform predicaments is to use the balloon that lifts Ronny onto the screen after losing a life and obtain the obstructive ornaments.

Otherwise, you'll have to rely on Ronny's magic pockets which can store an array of useful gadgets from super-jumps to power-sneezes.

Apart from the parallax-scrolling clouds along the top four lines of the screen, the town backdrop is rather one-dimensional and uninspired. Sprites are predictable and wimpy. The German programmers have resorted to that old copperlist trick to get the colour-count to over 100 shades on screen at the same time.

An annoying Big Top circus tune and strange sound effects accompany the, erm, action. Good job the soundtrack can be switched off to save your sanity.

Sadly, our rocking boy Ronny is candidate for the most boring cute character to ever appear in this genre of game. Where are the impatient foot-tapping antics and dinosaur sidekicks supplied by other stars of the video game screen?

There is just nothing here to fry your circuits. Sure, this game is packed with large levels but I just didn't discover anything interesting on my travels, such as secret rooms or really big boss sprites, to keep my enthusiasm pumping.

Lacking the charm and excitement of the numerous platform romps and ravers already out there, I get the feeling Rolling Ronny will soon make his final appearance as a budget release. Not so much def as duff!

Rolling Ronny logo

Once upon a time Paul Lakin decided to crib Duncan MacDonald's intro. Then he realised he hadn't written one so he got on with reviewing Starbyte's Rolling Ronny.

Amiga reviewPaul: I've always seen myself as a peaceful sort of chap. No one appreciates beautiful countryside more than me, I'm always ready to help old ladies across the road and I'm kind to small children (Or so my defence lawyer told me to say).

However, after a few hours playing Rolling Ronny, I'm getting worried that beneath this sweet exterior beats the heart of a dangerous, blood crazed psychopath. Why? Because although Ronny is colourful, smooth and reasonably pacey, I found it utterly boring. Could it be that I yearned for a bit of blood and guts?

A game doesn't need violence to be exciting but it does need a bit of oomph. Rolling Ronny has more of a blehhhhh.

The object is to roller-skate your way across a city collecting tiny (and easily missable) jewelery boxes, delivering the occasional parcel, shooting some not very nasty nasties and generally doing all the other things that you tend to do in this sort of game.

You could probably write the rest of this yourself, mentioning the bonuses that can be collected along the way or bought in the shop. You might not guess that each level ends with a bus stop and that you must end each level with enough money for your bus fare, but would you really care?

It's all a bit platformy with things to jump over or on top of. There's nothing sufficiently original or exciting in it to keep you coming back for more. Now I'm going to pop out and bite the heads off a few seal pups. Stop