Who Framed Roger Rabbit logo

THE No 1 film this Christmas is making a bid to be the top selling game in the New Year. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the movie, uses traditional and computer effects to produce an amazing film. If you have not seen it you should. And it might be best to stop reading this review because it will give away some of the plot.

Toontown is the home of all the cartoon characters. Many of them work at the studio of R.K. Maroon (played by Alan Tilvern in the film) in the real world, popping home to Toontown at night.

The good thing about being a Toon is that nothing can hurt you, having a fridge dropped on your head is all in a day's work for Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleicher).

Unfortunately, Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) has plans to level Toontown and turn it into an exit for a new freeway. To further this aim the judge has developed a fluid called "the dip" which will erase toons, and so must be handled with rubber gloves. He cannot touch the town because it belongs to Marvis Acme (Stubby Kaye).

But Marvin has been playing Pat-a-cake with Roger's wife, so when he gets killed R. Rabbit is the prime suspect. The judge wants to dip Roger for killing Marvin and then dip the whole of Toontown to make way for the freeway.

The Toons have only one hope. They must find Marvin's will and get it to the gag factory before midnight and crush Judge Doom's claim to the land. Marvin was a bit of a joker (watch out for the hand buzzer - gets 'em every time), and has written his will in disappearing, reappearing ink.

In the game you play Roger. You have to drive to the club where Marvin left his will, pick up all the napkins and bits of paper and then drive to the gag factory. The car, Benny the Cab (Charles Fleicher), is a Toon and so must avoid the puddles of dip on the road, either by driving over the buildings or by leaping the puddles. If you touch the dip you collect a barrel of the stuff and are shown a map which lets you see how close you are to your destination.

Collect five barrels and the game is over, Toontown is lost and you have to re-boot. Pretty naff, eh?

By raising Benny's suspension you can pick up tires (sic), diamonds and gloves to help you on your way. The tires (still sic) make Benny drive faster, which will give you more time at the club. The gloves protect Benny from the dip and the diamond decrements the barrel count - effectively an extra life.

All this is set to a brilliant arpeggio tune in keeping with the 1947 period for the film. You have to dodge other cars; the brilliantly animated crashes are not fatal but slow you down.

When you reach the club you have to run around the tables and pick up the papers. If Roger touches a whisky he will go crazy, but the worst hazard is a gorilla which will throw Roger out of the club.

From here it is back to the road and to the gag factory to do battle with the evil judge.

In the factory you have to pick up and use the tricks lying around. The game comes with a pamphlet which describes the different gadgets in a cute 1947 way. It also serves to protect the game.

At intervals you are asked a question about one of the gags. If you get it wrong the game resets. This means that the discs can be copied to a hard drive - a recommended procedure since there is a lot of disc access, which slows the game.

The film has 390 people in the credit list, the game apes this with a who is who in the Amiga world. The program was written by Eric Daniels and Reichart von Wolfschield of Silent Software.

The ever so cute graphics are by top notch Amiga artist Sachs and there are credits to Ben Fuller - famous for project D - Heidi Turnipseed - famous for the Photon Paint manual - and Leo Schwarb - famous for being Leo Schwarb - along with a long list of notables and nobodies.

But is it a good game? Well it is pretty and the music is great. It carries off the film link better than any game since Ghostbusters. Filling two discs is an achievement. I am hooked but I suspect that part of this is a love for the film and when that wears off so will the appeal of the game. Best described as out-Cinemawarring Cinemaware.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit logo


Hollywood, 1947. You're walking down the main road of Toontown when some smart rabbit in a polka-dot tie dashes up and gives you a big kiss. Yup, you guessed it. Roger Rabbit has beat a path onto the 16-bit scene.


Toontown is a unique area of 1947 Hollywood where cartoons and humans share the same sidewalk. The star of the show is Roger Rabbit who's just an ordinary guy (don't you mean rabbit? - Ed) who's been framed for killing Marvin the Gag King. Marvin's will mysteriously goes missing at the same time. Consequently the heat's on Roger. The heat in this case is 'toon hunter' Judge Doom. Doom's not to be messed with: he carries Dip which melts cartoons. Roger's got to be quick if he's going to keep out of Doom's gasp and find Marvin's will.

The game is split into three parts - Benny the Cab, Ink and Paint Club, and the Gag Factory.
Benny the Cab is more than just a racing game. 1940-style cars head towards you in both lanes; you must jump over the cars, avoid green Dip and cope with the strange joystick control. No easy task for a wabbit.

The Ink and Paint Club is the only place humans can go to enjoy live performances by toon stars - but you're not interested in any of that. Marvin's will has been written on a receipt in disappearing ink, so you have to dash round all the tables, picking up receipts and avoiding glasses of Bourbon. Whatever you do, don't let Roger touch a drink 'cos once he gets drunk he's dunked in the dreaded Dip.

The Gag Factory is where the toons are made. Unluckily the weasels are waiting for you and you'll need to make them laugh themselves to death. This tricky feat is achieved by picking up as many gags as possible. Once again you'll need to master odd joystick combinations to pick up and use the gags - get it wrong and a gag could backfire.


Brilliant graphics ensure that the characters actually look and act like cartoons. When Roger gets drunk he stops running, spins round and eventually collapsing on the floor. Realistic or what? Even the cars look exactly like the Disney vehicles.

Even though huge graphics hurtle round the screen, the game is remarkably nippy. Action is fast with Roger racing round tables so quickly you'll think you've just come back from a night on the town. Sound effects haven't been forgotten either: a terrific stereo soundtrack gets your foot tapping.


For all its brilliant graphics, sound and speed, Roger Rabbit has one major fault. The game uses an illogical number of disk swaps. The packaging claims that two drives are an advantage... they're a necessity! It takes eight disk swaps to load the game. And even with two drives it'll be ten minutes before you're playing. The frustration doesn't stop there: every time the game comes to an end you have to reload it - great if you have masochistic tendencies.

Buena Vista is a subsidiary of Walt Disney and the superb graphics reflect the high-standard you'd expect from them. Joystick controls are likely to take a lot of mastering and with only three levels you could find that the addictive factor doesn't stand too much battering. The game strongly resembles the film so it'll be as well received.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit logo

Activision/Buena Vista
Price: £24.95

Would you spend twenty-five quid on a piece of software if it offered you three short games in return for hours of disk swapping? Well to quote the eponymous hero of Touchstone's film "Only if it was funnyyy!!!"

Of course it is not. It is very annoying. Expectations were riding high after I had seen the film, which (getting a bit pseudy for a moment) is a watershed in animation. These were tempered though, by the knowledge, born of years of disappointment, that software is rarely funny.

Buena Vista's game is now on release in the UK (as opposed to half a dozen imports immediately snapped up by greedy journos) but before you rush out in a toon-inspired frenzy check this. Roger Rabbit is a major disappointment. Whilst it delivers everything it claims in terms of "outrageous graphics and animation", someone has, as usual, forgotten to put in the gameplay.

It takes six lengthy, painful disk swaps before you are ready to play the first of the three games. It is a car chase and involves Rog and Benny the Cab making their way across Hollywood to the Ink and Paint Club. You have to avoid oncoming cars and the puddles of deadly dip (fatal to Toons) which block your way. This soon becomes fiddly and repetitive.

Should you die in this section there is more disk swapping that simply reveals a picture of a broken-hearted Roger. From here it is a matter of reloading the game virtually from scratch. Is this a Toon town joke?

Things improve a little in the Ink and Paint club, where you will fight a losing battle against the penguin waiters. They come and lay the table at an extraordinary rate as you rush about collecting the napkins in the hope of finding Marvin's will. Two nice touches here are the way the gorilla will bounce you out the club if you come within arm's length of him, and the result of snatching one of the glasses of booze left by the waiters. Rog cannot hold his drink.

It is another short drive in Benny the Cab (with the possibility of losing another precious life) before you reach the final section where the game redeems itself slightly. The weasels are lying in wait at the gag factory and the only way of killing them is by using the right gags on them. Yeah, so it is a platform game, but it is an improvement on what went before.

Roger Rabbit is a severe disappointment that relies for its appeal on some very pretty cartoon graphics. The sound though is weak, and although there are some sampled Roger sounds, they are weak and few and far between. Sorry, I cannot recommend this - not even for a night with Jessica Rabbit.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit logo Zzap's Rockford: I did!

Activision, C64 £14.99 disk only, Amiga £24.99

It's a sad, sad day for the inhabitants of Toontown. The proprietor, Marvin the Gag King, has left for that great animated feature film in the sky, leaving behind his last will and testament, which bequeaths the whole of his sprawling metropolis to the Toons who inhabit it. The trouble is, the silly old huffer declined to tell anyone where his will was...

Zzap's Front & Back: We're not bad! We're just drawn that way!

To add to the troubles, the completely and utterly not-very-nice person Judge Doom is threatening to destroy the Toons and their dwelling with his invention, 'The Dip' (A chemical which dissolves Toons on contact) unless the document is found. It is your task, as Roger Rabbit, to find the will before Doom can unleash his Dip (?!?) on Toontown.

There are three levels, each one representing a different scene from the film. Level one has you traversing the streets of Hollywood in Benny the Toon cab, trying to lose Doom's heavies, while at the same time avoiding pools of Dip on the road. Beat Doom's boys to the finish, and you arrive at the Ink and Paint Club.

This time Roger rushes around the tables, retrieving all the napkins (one of them is the missing will). Attempting to halt your progress are Penguin waiters who replace the napkins, and Gorilla bouncers who throw you out if you go near them. Finding the will sends you to the Gag Factory, where Doom's right hand Toons, the Weasels, are waiting. Destruction of these varmints leads to Doom himself, whose ultimate defeat means tranquillity in Toontown once more.

Gordon Houghton Roger Rabbit relies heavily on presentation to present a worthwhile package to the gamesplayer, but fails abysmally because what's there isn't really that outstanding to begin with. Okay, so the stills of the various Toons are fairly impressive, but once you get down to the game proper, there just isn't anything in it to warrant prolonged play. The main character sprites are pitifully small, even more so on the Amiga than on the 64, and sound fails to significantly impress. Stick to the film. It's a hell of a lot more satisfying than this.
Kati Hamza For a start off, three levels is not what I'd expect from a conversion of a mega-watched film. I'm sure that a blockbuster such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit has enough content to spawn at least a couple more scenes (what's happened to Eddie Valiant and Jessica Rabbit, for instance?). I wouldn't mind so much if the levels on offer were worth playing. Graphically they're fine, albeit a tad on the titchy side, and music and sound effects add some atmosphere to what's going on. The problem is that the gameplay itself is severely diluted, almost to the point of coming out of a tap. It might be just me, but I can't seem to prise any fun out of jumping over cars or running round tables. Sorry, but this isn't one I'll be overdrawing at the bank for.
Roger Rabbit: Only when it was funny; ...by the time you yanked my ears!; Pleeeeze Eddie!