Retail Price: £7.95
The good life is over for Monty the chubby mole. Having escaped from prison to a hideaway in Gibraltar, the villainous burrower from Monty on the Run finds that he's no longer safe from the attentions of Intermole, the international crime fighting organisation.
Monty's only hope of salvation lies on a Greek island, but only if he can acquire sufficient monies to buy it. Before he can do that the rascally digger must pass through Europe, performing at least one task in each of its nations. The continent consists of 80 platform-filled screens. These can be slippery or sticky; disappear beneath the mole's paws; blow him into the air or allow him to go walkabout on their undersides.
Monty moves left and right, and travels upwards by bouncing or using ladders. As he progresses, the scratching scoundrel comes across items to help him to complete the required tasks, these include airline tickets and even the Mona Lisa. Such objects must be picked up (by walking into them) and taken to the right place before they can be of use. Up to four of these articles can be carried at any one time, with these displayed at the bottom left of the screen.
Money is gathered in the form of lost Eurocheques, or earned whenever Monty completes a dodgy bit of business. Points are also scored, and a further six lives acquired, by picking up objects. Mr Mole's account is displayed at the bottom centre of the screen, with the points total to its left.
If this excavating escapee is ever to possess his Greek molehill, there are hazards which he must overcome or avoid. Monty isn't a good swimmer, and can drown in water, ball bouncing beasts brain him, flying hamburgers finish him off, and bottles of drink intoxicate him. Initially the mole has six lives, with those remaining displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Air tickets let you into the Air Terminals, from here you can fly to another location and straight into a dog-fight with the Intermole airforce. Clock up the points and broken baddies by shearing off the Intermole tailplanes.
Only when every task in the game has been completed, every Eurocheque collected and Monty's Swiss bank account number discovered, can the money be called safe and the island purchased. That done, our hero can toast his future and look out for a gangster's mole.
Control keys: Q left, W right, P up, L down
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interlace 2
Use of colour: a multitude of colours with few clashes
Graphics: familiar Monty Mole style
Sound: a happy title tune and adequate spot effects - 128 version contains nice music throughout
Skill levels: one
Auf Weidersehen Monty is written in Pete Harrap's usual style, instantly recognisable from the graphics and the infuriating puzzles. As usual, it's a case of learning how to complete each screen in the best way before progressing - it isn't always possible to return to a screen below the present one. A planned route is essential if you're going to get anywhere as just launching into a screen and hoping to do well is rarely effective. I'm quite happy with this, and wouldn't object to paying out the eight quid asking.
It's been a long time coming, but the latest in the Monty series contains all the attractive points of its predecessors. Monty has had some great moves added to his repertoire - the diving is especially superb. The countries contain distinctive scenic elements (such as the Eiffel Tower), but the screens don't possess any real individual characteristics - for instance there's no Spaniards walking around the place or oranges on the trees in the Spanish section. Auf Weidersehen Monty is very playable - basically more of the same with a few extra screens.
It's been quite a while since there's been a platform game of this quality bouncing around, so it makes a pleasant change from the continuous flow of arcade adventures and shoot 'em ups that seem to be filling the review pages recently. Some may moan that it's the same as the rest of the series, but I think that it's a good buy; colourful, smooth, attractive graphics, lots of different screens, and an interesting and addictive game design.
What? Auf Wiedersehen? Or is this merely Au Revoir? Whichever the case, it's certainly not Bog Off, 'cos Gremlin has kept up the Monty tradition and put together a really top hole multi-screen platform game.
So what's the latest? As you may remember from our preview in the March issue, Monty's done a runner and has holed himself up in Gibraltar. But Intermole are on his trail, so unless he finds a solution quick, serious chokey is 3-1 on as his likely fate. Monty's no mug - all he wants out of life are peace and quiet plus a steady income and a harem of luscious molettes obeying his every whim. What blue-blooded mole wouldn't? Monty's only chance is to rush around Europe blagging enough money to let him buy the legendary Greek island of Montoss, where he can settle down far away from Plod and extradition treaties. And he needs your help...
Of course Europe's changed a bit since you went on holiday last year. Then it had streets, towns, rivers, that kind of thing. Now it's chock full of platforms and ladders, which is just as well for Monty since this is the environment he knows and loves best. As well as picking up travellers cheques along the way (people are so careless), Monty also finds all sorts of items that will help him get out of all sorts of bother. Italy in particular is a very dangerous place to venture if you don't go prepared. At Pisa Juliet is far from being the sensitive flower she's always been painted as - she'll need mollifying with a suitable gift. And talking about paintings, remember what happens to you if you don't give de Mafia what dey want. Piaow!! Thud. And a concrete coffin.
Every Monty game introduces some new element to the mole's behaviour and Auf Wiedersehen Monty is no exception. Somersaulting's clearly out of fashion - dahling wahling, ballet's in now. Monty's graceful leap is a marvellous bit of animation, as is his pirouette when he uses one of the new springy platforms. Eat your heart out, Baryshnikov! (Bless you! Ed).
Monty also spends much of his time suspended from suction pads on ceilings - a useful device when there's no floor to speak of and you can't swim. Watch out too for bottles of glug - they give you not only points but a hangover too, and their effect is not always predictable. Vital for success are the air tickets littered around the place - these let Monty fly from one airport to another and cut out many of the more awkward screens. When you're flying you can nibble the backs of the other planes for lots of extra points.
There is of course loads more. Much of the fun of the Monty games is finding it all out for yourself, so I won't tell you about the Danish bacon, Gorbachev's head or the dodgy lift. But as you'd expect, the game's littered with the sort of visual puns and japes the Gremlin gagsters are famous for, and should you get that far, you'll enjoy every one of 'em, it's hard to believe that this is the mole's last outing, but if so this is a worthy send-off. (PS For an early laff, wait a couple of minutes on the options screen before you start and see what the two Montys get up to!)
WHAT A BARG!
Summertime, summertime, summer, summer, summertime! Hurrah - summer is here! And what better way to celebrate the advent of sunny, carefree days than by locking yourself in your bedroom and playing a load of Speccy games? With the seemingly unstoppable spread of budget software, we here at YS thought it would be quite a wheeze to sort out the brass from the dross. So take your seats and upset your neighbour's popcorn as JON PILLAR whisks you with shameless bias through a roundup of the best £3.99ers around.
4. Auf Weidersehn Monty
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
The mighty moles finest hour, this game combines collecting skills with lateral thinking as you leap all over Europe in an attempt to escape the law. Cunningly addictive with a fair spread of incredibly bad puns.
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Monty is back. Never has a mole known such longevity. People expect certain things from Monty games, flying leaps and being squidged by giant steamhammers being two of them.
The good thing about all the Monty games is the way they have managed to take that basic Manic Miner format whilst ringing some fresh changes. In Auf Wiedersehen Monty the novel ingredients are objects to be collected (linked via some excruciating puns to various European landmarks) and a nifty little plan - Monty gets to fly across Europe. Provided, of course he managed to collect a ticket. Within the basic idea of travelling around Europe, collecting the right objects and taking them to the right places there are hundreds and hundreds of bouncing things, platforms (bouncy and non-bouncy, frogs, rabbits, impassable holes, assorted leaps (long, short and ludicrous) in fact everything you'd want in a good platforms and ladders extravaganza.
You want a plot? Oh well, Monty, is still on the run and is trying to earn enough money to buy himself a hideaway - a little island in the sun. Getting that money depends on Monty successfully completing a whole series of tasks in various countries around the world. For example, if Monty should manage to find the odd Mona Lisa knocking around, he might want to earn a bit of cash by taking to a fence. But what sort of fence and where? That's the sort of thing you have to figure out... It is possible to travel around most of Europe by finding your way through it screen by screen but it is sometimes necessary (and quicker) to use a plane. Airports are found in a number of locations - if Monty has an air ticket, The air flight section is fun, the mole dons old-style flying gear and does dog fights over the clouds.
I won't repeat some of the jokes, but you can imagine that, given that there are such puns as the leaning tower of pizza - things aren't too highbrow... The placement of the platforms and the ladders is brilliantly infuriating - half the time it seems impossible and the whole thing is made even more difficult to judge because of Monty's peculiarly Supermanesque style of jumping (a sort of up, up and away leap) at 45 degrees.
I failed to get off the first platform for the first few goes but eventually managed to make my way through the first dozen or so screens. The first thing everyone who played the game did was drink the bottles of wine - this was a big mistake as Monty goes completely erratic and wanders about all over the screen (straight into a passing frog).
Monty is not original in design but is still incredibly inventive - more inventive than half a dozen superficially more original games.
If you ever liked one platform and jumping game - buy this it's one of the best and pretty funny too.
MACHINES: CBM 64/Spectrum/Amstrad/MSX
SUPPLIER: Gremlin Graphics
PRICE: £9.99/£14.99 (CBM and Amstrad cassette and disk), £7.99 (Spectrum/MSX)
The world's most hunted mole now becomes the most travelled mole as Monty travels Europe, haunted and hunted by the police - Intermole, actually - in a bid to find freedom, peace and quiet.
Yes, Monty's back in another Gremlin escapade, Auf Wiedersehen Monty.
This is Gremlin's fourth Monty game and, if the title is anything to go for, the last. Somehow I don't think that will turn out to be true.
Anyway, for those who have encountered before, here's a brief outline of his history.
Mr Mole was locked up by the law for taking coal to keep warm. He escaped and eventually fled abroad, lying low in Gibraltar. But his safe haven has been blown and he's on the run again. The game's challenge is to take Monty across Europe, raising enough money for him to buy a Greek island by the name of Montos from which there is no chance of extradition.
Basically the game comes down to a real treat for platform freaks as Monty explores screen after screen, solving easy puzzles, difficult puzzles and some puzzles which unless I had been told the answer, I don't think I'd have got in a long, long time.
If you take the time to map out the game, you'll find in turns into something which looks like a map of Europe.
Scattered around the screens are a multitude of objects, some useful, some lethal, others red herrings.
Each country has an apt problem to solve. In France Monty might just come across the Mona Lisa. If he could sell it, the money will be useful. And in Monaco Monty should really try and repair his car so he can compete in the Grand Prix. If he should win, the prize money won't go to waste.
Scattered around the playing screens are plane tickets.
Collect the ticket and get to an airport and Monty can travel to another country.
One piece of advice. It always pays to make Monty jump up and down if he appears to be in an impossible position with nowhere to go. In lots of places he will just bounce straight up, possibly out of trouble.
If you've got all the other Monty games, then you probably be panting to get to grips with this one and won't need much encouragement to this. However, if you want a hugely challenging, addictive and entertaining platform game, then Auf Wiedersehen Monty is the one for you.
GREMLIN GRAPHICS RETURN WITH AN OLD FAVOURITE.
The software industry seems to be getting a bit nostalgic at the moment. First, Imagine and Gremlin came out with updated versions of Breakout (and CRL have got one on the way too). And now Gremlin have brought about the return of the platform game and Monty Mole. What's more, these old games still seem to have a bit of life left in them, and they're giving a lot of the more 'advanced' software titles a run for their money.
Having survived his last couple of adventures, Monty has decided to go off on a bit of 'round the world sightseeing'. The eighty screens of Auf Weidersehn Monty are named after various tourist traps, and the screens are arranged in roughly geographical order to give you a rough idea of how to find your way around. The titles of a lot of the screens are irrelevant really. Though some of them do bear some sort of resemblance to the places they're named after (the Pyrenees screen, for instance, is a bit hilly and the monster-sprites are shaped like bulls), most of the screens are just an excuse for a lot of platforms and ladders, crushers, sprites, and deadly spikey things that have to be avoided at all costs. And it's all good fun, as you might expect (not terribly original, I have to admit, but fun all the same).
Of course, a platform game's not a platform game without a few dozen objects to collect, tucked away ion various awkward corners. In line with the game's globe-trotting theme the main thing that Monty has to collect is a number of Eurocheques which bump up his money score, but there are also a lot of other objects which have different properties, and it's up to you to find out what does what.
This is where the names of the screens can come in useful. For instance, there's a wheel which might not seem like much use on its on, but when you take it to Monaco (for the Grand Prix) you'll gain extra points. And there are also objects which have some effect on Monty himself - extra lives, alcohol which gets him drunk, even a cheat mode if you find the right object.
It doesn't require state of the art programming skills to write a game like this, but it does take a lot of thought to get the design of the screens right. Many a platform game has died a death because it was just too hard to be enjoyable, but Gremlin have gotten the balance just about right here. The game is hard enough to be addictive and a little bit infuriating, but if you can't get at all the object on the screen it's still reasonably easy for you to move on and explore another part of the game so that you don't get bored by dying in the same place over and over.
The graphics are good - all the sprites are quite large and smoothly animated, and Monty responds well to both keyboard and joystick control.
I've always enjoyed platform games and Gremlin's Monty series has provided some of the better examples of the genre. Apart from a few pretty feeble budget titles there hasn't been a decent platform game released for a while, so Monty's return is very welcome. Now, what with the return of Breakout and Monty Mole, the only question is "when does The Return Of Jet Set Willy arrive"?
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