Automania


by Chris Hinsley
Mikro-Gen Ltd
1984
Crash Issue 07, August 1984   (1984-07-26)   page(s) 7

Meet a new hero - your average British Worker by the name of Wally Week. Wally Week is destined for big things - like a three percent wage rise next month. Wally works on a car assembly line, in fact he is the assembly line. In this highly original platform type game you must help Wally build a series of cars.


The game has two basic screens, starting off in the stock room. There are three platforms with a single ladder to the first level and two at either end from the second to the third. On the two upper levels are situated the six parts of a car. What you do is walk Wally along the floor, up the ladders and collect the parts, one at a time and then take them down and through the door to the assembly room. This contains a large hydraulic lift, and on its first level are some of the already assembled bits of a car. When Wally walks his collected stock part over the appropriate area of the vehicle the carried part is automatically deposited in its correct position. Then it's back to the stock room for the next bit. Each piece has a time limit.

Sounds simple enough, even for your average British workman. But then, this is a computer game so nothing is as it looks! The factory is populated with robots and bouncing tyres which kill on contact, and from the overhead gantries in the assembly room, falling air cooling blades cause problems. Fortunately, Wally can jump. To add to his problems the gantries in the stock room keep moving in and out and in difficult positions are various static objects which are designed to tempt an honest man away from his work like teapots (mind the oil cans as well).

When (if) all six parts are correctly assembled, the car is driven off to be replaced by the rudiments of the next one. In all there are ten cars to build starting off with a humble 2CV and ending up with... ah, well that's up to you.

COMMENTS
Control keys: preset - Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, M to jump, but all keys may be user-defined
Joystick: ZX 2, Kempston, and almost any other via UDK
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: superb, with excellent animation
Sound: great tune (continuous) with well used sound effects - sound may be switched off
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: 2 but with 10 cars to build in each
Originality: very original use of traditional game components


'Automania is a game about Wally - the game itself is far from being a wally game. In fact it's a superb game with excellent graphics and animation. I really enjoyed it. This will be a game of the month I'm sure. I found the choice of the first car very appropriate for Wally - you know, the upturned pram on wheels vegetarian mobile. This is probably the best game yet from Mikrogen.'

'Automania has some of the best animation and realistic graphics that I have ever seen. All the graphics are large and colourful, and needless to say they move smoothly. There is much more to this game than just building a car - it's a race against time - a very fast ticking clock. Colour and sound is well used with a continuous 'manic' style tune throughout, which may be stopped if it drives you mad. The best game that Mikrogen have ever produced and worth buying.'

'Great colour, great sound, amazing graphics. The animation of Wally is just superb. Not only is he a large, highly detailed caricature (rather Andy Capp like) but he is beautifully animated with plenty of neat touches from his flat cap and beer paunch to the cheeky way he turns to look out at you after completing some particularly difficult task well. On top of that comes a game which has been well planned and implemented to provide just the right combination of temptingness with skill difficulties. Timing jumps in two directions over a static obstacle where you must land or take off from a constantly moving platform is very tricky. Automania is highly playable and extremely addictive - don't be put off by what at first appears to be a rather plodding speed, a bit Bear Bovver-like, Wally walks faster than some of the obstacles, slower than others and all in all it makes for a properly paced game of high entertainment value.'

Use of Computer: 92%
Graphics: 89%
Playability: 86%
Getting Started: 83%
Addictive Qualities: 88%
Value For Money: 91%
Overall: 88%

Summary: General rating: Very good to excellent, playable and addictive.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 09, November 1984   page(s) 60

Ron: Wally, the manic mechanic, has got to build 10 cars. What could be simpler? Well, after playing this game for a while, the answer's got to be 'just about anything!'

Wally's first job is to go along to the stores and collect the first part he needs - however, this is no ordinary storeroom. Most of the spare parts have taken on a life of their own, rolling about menacingly (if you can call a gentle rolling movement 'menacing' that is). Anyway, avoiding these, Wally must climb the ladders and jump across holes in the crumbling floors until he finds the part he's looking for; once he's got it, it's back to where he started. Thus, the game continues until the first car's built... and then it's on to the next car. Whew!

The theme's original (although jumping over moving objects and climbing ladders certainly isn't!) and graphics, colour and speed arc all used to good advantage. The presentation and execution of the game are excellent. 4/5 HIT

David: The graphics in this game are quite superb, which is a shame because the game isn't. Basically just another 'climb the ladder' game, I'm look forward to the sequel. 4/5 HIT

Roger: As games go, this ain't bad at all. Shame they called the hero of the game Wally, as that's exactly how he acted with me at the controls! I'd give it the thumbs up... 5/5 HIT


Roger: 5/5
Ron: 4/5
David: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Crashback Issue 17, June 1985   (1985-05-30)   page(s) 108

Use of Computer: 92%
Graphics: 89%
Playability: 86%
Getting Started: 83%
Addictive Qualities: 88%
Value for Money: 91%
Overall: 88%

Automania heralded the coming of WALLY WEEK and of the HYPER load. Basically the aim of the game was to collect the pieces of the various cars and put them together. The problem with this was that your a WALLY so nothing is simple even the BP cans have turned against him and Wally must beware of the malevolent tyres. The game is played over two screens, one screen where you get the various parts of the car and the other where you assemble it all. As more and more cars are assembled the first screen gets increasingly difficult. There are ten cars to be built the first a 2CV and the last being a Rolls Royce.

Automania is a straightforward platform game, which even by today's standards is pretty good. The graphics have never really been bettered by any other platform game, they are big and clear, though there are a couple of attribute problems. The sound was pretty good with a continuous tune throughout the whole of the game. Probably one of the best features of the game were the credits that rolled up the screen at the beginning of the game. Automania is still one of the best platform games around and worth buying.
RC

Automania still outshines many of today's software. Its graphics are well animated and there are few attribute problems, which still corrupt many new games. I think it's a little less playable and addictive than it was eight months ago. Nobody has, as yet, tried to copy the idea behind Automania and if they do they will have to try very hard to better it. If you want a good game to start off your software collection BUY Automania.
BS

(Rob) The ratings for Automania still stand really, in fact it may have been a bit underrated.

(Ben) I wouldn't argue much with the ratings perhaps 2% off playability and addictive qualities, and I'd knock a couple of % off the value as well.


Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 31, October 1984   page(s) 43

AUTO-CUE FOR WALLY

MANIC MINER has set a standard which is very hard to beat and there are by now many variants on the split-level hazard avoidance game. Automania produced by Mikro-Gen, is one respectable version.

The scenario is a garage workshop where Wally, the rather untidy mechanic, is attempting to assemble cars. Wally must negotiate suitably automobile hazards to leave the workshop and enter the stock room to collect the next part for the car he is putting together.

On the ground floor tyres bounce along and must be jumped over to avoid instant termination. Ladders lead to the two other tiers. Those platforms have moving gaps. If Wally falls he is killed. There are also various items littered about which must be hurdled. The hazards change after each car is completed and become progressively more difficult, though the format is essentially the same. That results in a repetitive quality which, if you're not overkeen on the scenario, can seem monotonous after a while.

The graphics are bold and colourful and Wally responds well to the controls, though he strolls along at a leisurely pace to make jumping more hazardous. There is a full demo mode, high score facility and timer. Mikro-Gen also offer a £100 prize for the month's highest score. Although the alternative title on the insert is 'Manic Mechanic' this program, whilst difficult and well-made, does not have the range of screens of Miner Willy's nightmare world and loses out by inviting comparisons.

Richard Price

Memory: 48K
Price: £6.95
Joystick: Kempston, Interface Two


Gilbert Factor: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 24, October 1984   page(s) 29

The screen shows lots of levels, connected by ladders with obstacles to trip over, and holes to fall through. You control a character who moves around the screen, collecting objects to assemble on the other screen. No, wait; this time the character you move is an endearing cartoon of a garage mechanic. No, of course you haven't seen it before. You have to assemble a car, you see, and the program plays a Laurel and Hardy theme and... why are you looking so bored?

For those of you who have not seen variants on this game a thousand times before Automania is produced by Mikrogen, 44 The Broadway, Bracknell, Berkshire and costs £6.95.


Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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