Flunky


by Don Priestley
Piranha
1987
Crash Issue 44, September 1987   (1987-08-27)   page(s) 104

After a while on the dole you strike lucky and get a job at Buckingham Palace as a flunky to the Royal Family. And you must keep your employers - The Queen, Andy and Fergie and Charles and Di - happy with your efforts.

Some of the tasks are peculiar: fetching a toy boat for Andrew's bath, getting Di her wig, giving Fergie freckles. These idiosyncratic jobs can be completed using objects you're carrying from the start of the game, such as matches, or with other items that you find around the royal residence.

If the job isn't done perfectly, you'll incur the footsquelching wrath of a guard who can kill you by touch or with a rifle shot. To escape him, you have to disappear behind a secret panel -which also gives you access to the dungeons beneath the Palace.

When you've completed a task for one of the Royals, they must sign your autograph book.

If you've collected all their signatures within a set time, you should enter the Queen's throne room and complete your final task for Her Majesty. That done, your days as a royal flunky are successfully over and you can retire happily (perhaps to become a character in Stifflip & Co...).

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor. Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: typical big, unmanageable Don Priestly characters, well-coloured
Sound: spot FX
Options: playable in five (cinq, cinque, cinque, fiinf) languages; definable keys


'I don't like this kind of game much. Popeye was cute and clever, but Don Priestly's following game, Trapdoor, was annoying and hard. Flunky is more of the same, though the humour has increased to a Spitting Image scale. The characters move around slowly with the same old blocky and jerky animation. Flunky is decent as a follow-up, perhaps, but not much fun.'
PAUL ... 51%

'Flunky is a pretty attractive game - interesting, well-presented, with pleasant graphics and reasonable sound, though let down by some unoriginal techniques. The caricatures of the Royal Family are quite funny first time round. But though some of the eponymous servant's problems are quite difficult, there's a limit to its addictiveness. And Don Priestly's masking technique must be nearing the end of its usefulness - but it still game look attractive, much like Priestly's much like work.'
MIKE ... 78%

'Flunky's graphics are quite good, especially the backgrounds, and the flunky sprite moves nicely (despite looking as if he's been to the Roger Moore school of eyebrow-wiggling). And most of the Royal Family is at least recognisable. But the playing screen is small, and there's some nasty colour clash. Overall, Flunky is an average puzzle-solving game.'
MARK ... 50%

Presentation: 68%
Graphics: 68%
Playability: 57%
Addictiveness: 58%
Overall: 60%

Summary: General Rating: Flunk is a good-looking arcade puzzle, but it's monotonous despite the original scenario.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 23, November 1987   page(s) 59

So what's the name of the game? Flunky, you dumb cluck, can't you read? And what's it all about? Well, just a simple matter of getting the Queen's autograph, that's all. To do that you first have to get Charles, Di, Fergie and Andy to scribble their illustrious signatures in your book. You'll also have to light all the fires in the Buckingham Palace fire-places. Easy-easy-easy... here we go, here we go, here we go...

Hang about. Why is that palace guard pointing his weapon at me? Doesn't he know I'm on his side? Oy, pal, I work here too, you know! BANG! Blimey, not much point trying to reason with him. Must have an IQ equal to the average house brick.

I may be new at the job but I'll soon get the hang of the palace layout. Through the first door is Andy and Fergie's apartment, through the second door live Chas and Dave, sorry Chas and Di, and through the third door... BANG!... erm, yes, obviously Her Majesty's private apartment to which I'm not privy yet. Must get those other autographs first.

Tumti-tumti-tum, just go through here and... ahem, sorry Andy, I mean Your Highness, didn't realise you were in the bath. I was hoping I might catch... ahem, cough, no, nothing at all. What's that, sir?? Bring you something to play with? What about your loofah? You want a boat, right, I see. Tra-la-la... three rooms away, here's a boat, this is going to be easy, tumti-tum... there you are, sir. What, no good? Rats, there's no pleasing some people. I'll go and light Fergie's fire instead, if you'll forgive the expression. What's that Ma'am. You want some freckles? At once Ma'am.

What's this on Fergie's dressing table? Looks like a radio. The graphics are good but I wish these arcade-adventures would actually tell you what it is you've found when you've found it. Ah-ha! A secret passage! Some kind of radio control device, obviously. I'll just go down in the cellars... and here's another boat! But when I go into that dungeon the portcullis drops behind me. And to raise the portcullis, I have to pull on this here hanging skeleton... pull, pull, pull, then run like a flunky and I can just get out. And if I stop pick up the boat, I can't make it past the portcullis in time.

Back to Chas and Di. Now is this Di's wig... could be a set of curlers... or is it a spring? And why are all these balls bouncing about in the next room? Splat-splat-BOING! That's me getting hit on the head twice before discovering it is indeed a spring I'm holding, and it'll bounce these balls from one room to another.

To sum up, my little would-be flunkies, this is a game with big graphics, funnily done, and with more than a touch of the Wallies about the way you collect objects and have to work out what to do with them. Redefinable keys, joystick option, and if you get fed up with the English version, you can play in any of four other languages. Takes a wee while to get into, but then I was playing with no instructions. The only quibble could be it might prove a mite too difficult for the average gamester, but for those with perseverance all I can say is splat-splat-BANG!-BOING!-splat, Ma'am. Now 'scuse me while I tug my forelock... ahhhh!... By jove I needed that.


Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Summary: Irreverent arcade-adventure that could get winners thrown in the Tower. Perhaps a touch too difficult for its own good.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 34, October 1988   page(s) 94

Quite and odd little game, this one. You play a manservant in Buck Palace. The occupants (Andy, Fergie, Charles, Di etc.), should you wander into them, will set you off on a task. For instance in the bathroom you'll find Andy in the tub, and he'll ask you to go and get him a boat to play with, so off you trot to find on. And so on.

The selling point of the game is the giant colourful and very humourous graphics: brilliant caricatures of the royal family. However, for me that wasn't enough to make the game particularly unputdownable. Full marks for originality, though.

Re-release/Original score 9


Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 67, October 1987   page(s) 38,39

Flunky is the latest offering from Don Trapdoor Priestly, and it's undeniably the most ridiculous idea for a game I've ever come across.

You are a servant, sent off to light the fires in the royal rooms at Buck House. Unfortunately those rooms contain various Royals, all of whom set a task for you to perform. In return for completing each task, you get an autograph. Collect five big nobs' autographs, and you've finished the game. If you're interested...

Flunky is entertaining to begin with - no question. The same graphics techniques that made Trapdoor so wonderful are here again. The figures are nice and large, colour clash is virtually non-existent, and the sight of Randy Andy popping out of the bath-tub is - for the first time - highly amusing. Fergie's horribly realistically red-headed and Prince Charles' ears are large enough to hang-glide from.

But after a few trips through the Royal Apartments, collecting Andrew's boat, and Fergie's freckles, being shot by psychopathic guards every time you try to sneak into the Queen's rooms, it does lose its charm somewhat.

With Flunky, the solution to a problem is nearly always the wrong way.

In fact the tasks are often overly complicated, and it's usually rather more luck than judgement that you find the right solution.

Still, there are lots of things going on. And as I've said before, they're complicated. As you move through the rooms of the royal residence various royals will pop out and give you a task. ("Fetch my wig," or "Feed the corgis"). It's up to you to do the business, using anything you've seen on your travels.

If you've ever felt like performing utterly mindless tasks for mind-bogglingly boring people, then you're just going to love Flunky.

If, on the other hand, you find the idea of being a virtual slave to the Royal Family totally abhorrent then leave it well alone.

Label: Piranha
Author: Don Priestley
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard


Overall: 6/10

Summary: Latest from Don Priestley - he of the big sprites. Very similar ideas to Trapdoor, but with a poorer plot and play.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 1, October 1987   page(s) 48

Supplier: Piranha
Version Tested: Spectrum

Flunky is a derogatory term for a liveried servant, cook, waiter etc. In this game you play a be-wigged and servile flunky at Buckingham Palace whose job is to wait on assorted royals and complete the various loopy tasks they set for you. Flunky is written by Don Trap Door Priestley, the games authorship shows in its crazy puzzles, which often don't seem to have any logical solution.

Each royal has a specific task for you that must be completed within a time limit of approximately 500 seconds. Prince Andrew is taking a bath and wants a boat to play with. Fergie wants some freckles, Di wants a wig (for some reason she's bald); Charles is on his rocking horse and wants his polo balls, the Queen wants her Corgis.

Fail to complete the task within the time limit and the guard will kill you. Offering the wrong object will have the same effect.

Graphics are very distinctive, with big bold sprites and little or no attribute clash Your actual view of each room is through a window, the size of which depends upon the size of the room. A large room will fill the screen whereas a staircase will only fill about one fifth. The caricatures of the various royals are all very humorous. They're not particularly flattering, but they're not particularly savage either.

Flunky is certainly a strange game. The tasks sound easy but are excruciatingly difficult to solve since the various parts of the solution seem to be totally unconnected with each other. Trial and error - and lots of it - is the only way to crack the game.

Reviewer: Andy Wilton

RELEASE BOX
Spectrum £9.95cs, Imminent
Amstrad £9.95cs, £14.95 dk, Imminent
C64/128 £9.95cs, £14.95 dk, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 5/10
1 hour: 5.5/10
1 day: 4/10
1 week: 5/10
1 month: 2/10
1 year: 0/10


Visual Effects: 4/7
Audio: 2/7
IQ Factor: 2/7
Fun Factor: 2/7
Ace Rating: 616/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 72, October 1987   page(s) 22

MACHINES: Spectrum/CBM 64/Amstrad
PRICE: £9.95
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum

What did your last servant die of, then? Was he shot or blown up by a bomb? Didn't think so.

But as Flunky to the Royals - yes, those Royals - that could be your fate as you slave away around the corridors of Buck House.

Most of the famous family are here - The Queen, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince Andrew and Fergie. And you're at the beck and call of all of them. Woe betide you if you don't complete your task.

This is Don Priestley's follow up to the highly praised Trapdoor and both games have a lot in common, excellent cartoon graphics, large and extremely stylish, and problem solving.

The first problem I found was how to switch from keyboard to joystick control. I must admit that I did have a copy without the full instructions but didn't expect it to be so difficult. (You do it by getting Flunky to push a select level to the required choice and then ring a bell.

Flunky is first ordered to light the fires. He sets off at a sedate pace clutching a box of matches and an autograph book. And in the second item lies the clue to what the game is all about.

You must collect the Flunk autographs of all the members of the Royal family. But they will only sign when you have completed the task they set you.

For instance, in the first apartment you find Prince Andrew and Fergie. Prince Andrew, who is in the bath, asks you to get him a boat to play with. Now if you've been keeping an eye out, you'll have noticed various boats in the rooms you pass through. The obvious one to get the Prince is a purple boat on a table. But it's not the one he wants. In fact it's the one high up on a shelf way out of Flunky's reach. I know how he can get it but that's a problem for you to solve. And the game carries on in much the same way.

Fail in your task and you soon find a guardsman in hot pursuit ready to shoot you. I tried running away, disappearing through different doors but he always managed to find me.

If and when you get Andrew's boat, you then have to provide Fergie with freckles.

It then off to Charles and Di's apartment, again hunting for those rare autographs and then on to H. M. - The Queen herself.

All the cartoon Royals are instantly recognisable. Their looks and features are precisely captured and exaggerated to the point of cruelty. Just take a look a curvey Fergie, Andrew's giant choppers - teeth, that is, not helicopters - and Charles' ears. They could put an elephant to shame.

Don Priestly will get a lot of praise for Flunkey, but no knighthood.

Flunky is a thoroughly entertaining game in the tradition of Trapdoor. It's not overly difficult and it may lack enough action for the more energetic player.


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 1, October 1987   page(s) 80

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.95
Commodore 64 Cassette: 9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: 9.95, Diskette: £14.95

AT YOUR SERVICE M'AM

Since the days of Minder and Popeye for DK'tronics, Don Priestley's games for Piranha have involved minions. Trapdoor was decidedly dogsbody-orientated as, no doubt, Through The Trapdoor will be when it subserviently creeps into the shops.

Don's latest offering Flunky also features a servant - a Royal manservant at that. His job is to complete menial tasks within an allotted time whilst not upsetting the residents of the household - the Royal Family. The place of work is no less than Buckingham Palace itself.

This 'solve the puzzle' style of game with its high standard of meaty graphics is becoming Don Priestley's trade mark. In this case Flunky, the footman, moves around the different locations with a definite air of 'you rang M'lady?,' performing his tasks with a certain degree of pride even though some of the allocated jobs are a little obscure.

BOATING

At one point you come across Andrew in the bath who demands that you fetch him a boat to play with. The obvious choice of vessel is the wrong one, and more thought has to go into this problem before a solution is found. However, logical thinking is not recommended if progress is to be made some of the errands Flunky is expected to perform are unusual to say the least. Finding freckles for Fergie, retrieving Di's wig and collecting Charles' bouncing Polo balls are among this minions tasks.

Errors are rewarded with a visitation from the Palace guard, who causes your demise unless you can avoid his bullets. Once the task is completed for a member of the family, Flunky is rewarded with an autograph, and when everyone's autograph is in your little red book it's time to meet The Queen and the ultimate challenge...

PRACTICE

Options are chosen at the start of play (joystick, redefinable keys, English or Deutsch and so on) by Flunky himself, who presses buttons and pulls bars under your control in the first room. This little exercise also acts as a crash course on how to activate objects encountered later in the game.

There is no music while you work, but the sound effects are perfectly acceptable. The animation, as might be expected from a Don Priestley game, is first rate, and plenty of colour is splashed around to please the eye.


Overall: 81%

Summary: Marching around Buckingham Palace doing all the dirty work for Charles and friends may not sound appealing, but with the way the game has been implemented, the scenario soon becomes quite acceptable, enjoyable even! Flunky carries out his orders with hardly the flicker of an eyebrow. The only time he looks hot under the collar is when the Guardsman shoots him for doing something wrong. Movement is quite neat, with a suitable strut to Flunky's gait and several little touches have been included, such as the wiggling of Andy's toes and an owl's watching eyes. The sound effects are apt if not particularly stimulating, although with the number of puzzles to solve and the lack of time in which to crack them, who's got time to listen?

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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