Olli and Lissa

by Ionis Software International, Jerry Astley, Roger Danison
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 34, Nov 1986   page(s) 135

Producer: Firebird
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Roger Danison

Those dawgawn Yankies are at it again. Trying to buy up our ancestral heritage and ship it back to their homeland to give it a dollop o' culch.

This time they're after one of our lesser known historical monuments, Shilmore Castle. Hidden amongst the craggy peaks of the highlands of Scotland the castle is home to no-one but a couple of strange creatures called Olli and Lissa - who kiss each other a lot - and a crabby old ghost called Sir Humphrey.

As ghosts are destined always to haunt their own abode, the migration to the US of A means that Sir Humphrey will have to scoot off there too. How will he cope with the culture shock? No green and pleasant land over there, only a lot of smog, the odd mugger or two and plenty of noise in an LA suburb. Olli and Lissa are naturally worried about losing their spooky friend so they set about hatching a plan to scare off Eugene Port-Cullis III (Jnr) away.

Sir Humphrey decides that people nowadays don't take ghosties and ghoulies very seriously. All that jangling of chains and going 'Whooo' is very old hat. What is needed is an unseen presence to scare the living daylights out of Eugene P and dissuade him from buying the castle. Unfortunately, Sir Humphrey isn't one of those sophisticated ghosts who can materialise when and where he pleases. In order to make himself invisible he needs a special potion which must be simmered in a moderately hot cauldron for a couple of hours. So this is where Olli and Lissa come in.

Olli must scamper around Shilmore Castle collecting the vital ingredients while Sir Humphrey stirs the pot and shouts instructions and Lissa provides moral support - as well as the odd smackerooni for Olli. The only problem is that Shilmore Castle has more than one ghost. Sir Humphrey may be a grumpy old so-and-so, but he's a decent snake at heart. The other ghosts in the castle are a snooty crowd and are rather looking forward to a sojourn in sunny America for a while, out of the way of all those nasty Scottish draughts. They set out to make Olli's task ever more difficult by appearing in his path and dazing the poor mite into losing precious time.

There's a strict time limit for each object to be collected shown by a meter at the bottom of the screen. Olli must avoid the obstacles in his path and collect the required ingredient as Sir Humphrey demands. If Olli doesn't make it to the cauldron in time then the game is over and it's back to square one.

Each time a nasty ghosty makes contact with Olli he falls over and it takes him some time to recover, meanwhile the clock is being eaten away. However, once Olli manages to get the correct object and put it in Sir Humphrey's pot then he gets a huge girlie kiss from Lissa (eugh!) and progresses to the next screen. There are eight objects in all and once these have been added to Sir H's secret recipe he can down it in true Heeland style and become invisible. Then hopefully Eugene Port-Cullis III (Jnr) will take himself and his horrid entourage back to the States, leaving Olli and Lissa to carry on doing yucky things to each other and Sir Humphrey to get on with some serious spooking.


Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Protek/AGF
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very competent
Graphics: good, if cute
Sound: jolly little tune at the beginning
Skill levels: one
Screens: eight

Yet another great budget title from FIREBIRD. What's happening? At first it looks like a game for 'younger' people, as it contains cartoon-like characters and the idea behind the game is simple. After a few goes I reckon that if this was given to me when I was younger I'd have been tearing out my hair and screaming with frustration. Gameplay is fast - you really have to get a move on to complete the first level - and it's incredibly tricky. Timing has to be exact if you're going to jump that nasty. It looks pretty, has excellent sound effects and is compelling and playable too.

Olli and Lissa is driving me mad. And what's more, I don't mind; its great fun! The music on the title screen is remarkable, but even this aural havoc pales into insignificance when compared to the game. The graphics are horribly cute and the whole game reeks of being 'nice'. I really hated the so-called reward on the title screen; who wants a picture of Olli sneaking a sly one with Lissa while nobody's looking? Olli and Lissa is probably one of the best games I've seen from FIREBIRD for a long time. (Hang on, that's not saying much, is it!) Well worth that awkward two quid lying in the bottom of your pocket. Definitely one of the better budget games around.

Blimey! FIREBIRD aren't half putting out a lot of budget games at the moment. I just hope that they are all as good as Olli and Lissa. The first thing that strikes you is the way that the screen is laid out. Each screen is either fully monochromatic or splits into monochromatic bits. This gives you lots of colour on the screen but with no clashing. The game keeps very strictly to the storyline and this makes it all the more fun to play. I found it hard to get started, but once I'd got the jumping sorted out the rest was plain sailing. Although the bubbling pot crying out for special items is borrowed from Knight Lore and the monochromatic layout may be a bit old hat, Olli and Lissa is a perfectly acceptable budget game.

Use of Computer: 78%
Graphics: 80%
Playability: 77%
Getting Started: 71%
Addictive Qualities: 77%
Value for Money: 85%
Overall: 78%

Summary: General Rating: Solid, scary, entertainment.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 11, Nov 1986   page(s) 28


When you see a cheapie 'of this calibre you start to wonder if you should've been quite so critical of them in the past...

It's true that I might have dug down deep into my disgusting dictionary of diatribes and found something wrong with this program if it was billed as state-of-the-art and came priced at £9.99. But I'd have had to look hard and besides it's £8.00 cheaper!

Set in Shilmore Castle in the Shcottish Highlands (Someone's been at the Shcotch! Ed) the castle ghost Sir Humphrey gets the hump when he finds that a rich Yank is shipping his new property back to the States brick by brick. Sir Humphrey gets it into his head that if he makes a potion from eight ingredients lying around the castle he can become invisible, the humans will be frightened of him and they'll naff off back to Skyscraperville. I only said the game was good - I didn't say the story made sense!

And there you have the beginnings of an average platform game, with ghosts and ghoulies skilfully positioned to make each jump very difficult. You play Olli, a cross between one of Snow White's seven dwarves and a Smurf.

The graphics are the special event in this game. A look at the start-up screen should convince you...

Movement is smooth, and there's a slight dash of humour. If you don't move Olli around for a few seconds, he stands there tapping his oversized footwear, scratching his head while a cartoon bubble appears with a quivering question mark challenging you to make your mind up quickly and move on.

And there's a cute bit when your energy runs out and you lose your life - the screen goes black and Olli appears, only to be beaten over the head with an old-fashioned broom by Sir Humphrey.

The game is exceptional value for money and a worthy challenge to boot.

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

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 56, Nov 1986   page(s) 77

Label: Firebird Silver
Author: ISI
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

Eugene Port Cullis the third (Jnr), mega millionaire, meanie and well known ghost-gutter, wants Shilmore Castle.

He's determined to kick Sir Humphrey, the castle's only haunting attraction, off his historic seat, but Olli and Lissa, have a plan to scare him off. They just have to collect eight ingredients to make Humpy invisible so he can haunt Eugene out of house and home. (Who writes this tripe?)

Anyway, Lissa stands at the cauldron while Olli runs and jumps past the not-so-friendly castle ghosts in an effort to collect the goodies and pop them in the pot. If he's not careful he could get a nip from the nasties and a deduction from his energy store. With his energy depleted the game ends and angry Humpy beats him over the head with a broom.

The plot is apalling, really. Try this. If he gets an object he collects a kiss from Lissa under the cauldron. Or this: She's a cute little pac-woman who wraps her arms around Olli in an octopus hug at every opportunity.

Olli and Lissa is sure a giggle, and little else. There's a lot of Attributes clash and flickers but, the comedy duo carry off the award for best actors in a budget game. That apart, the game has a predictable, if difficult to complete, set of circumstances.

Don't expect an incredibly complex game from Olli and Lissa, but if you're into cute and cuddly - like the editor - take a gamble on this ghost story.

Overall: 4/5

Summary: A graphically good but dull pot boiler with cute characters. Very predictable. Lousy plot. Well executed.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 62, Dec 1986   page(s) 59

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Firebird
PRICE: £1.99

Hoots Mon! There's a ghost loose about this hoose! Could this be the worlds first Scottish game? Who knows - but it's certainly a budget game that thinks it's full-price.

Olli & Lisa set out to help Sir Humphrey, resident ghost in the Shilmore Castle somewhere in the Highlands. This ancient pile is threatened with being shipped stone by stone to the US of A by mega millionaire Eugene Portcullis.

Sir Humph isn't too keen on the idea and enlists Olli and Lisa's help in getting together the ingredients which will make him invisible and therefore more scary. Those Americans have seen so many monster movies with amazingly horrible special effects that they wouldn't be scared by an ordinary old ghost like Humph - or so he reckons.

So he sets old Olli the task of collecting the ingredients for his invisibility brew which are hidden around the castle and protected by the other little gremlins and nestles which inhabit the old pile. Lisa gets to stay by the cauldron and stir the mixture.

There are eight ingredients to collect - and you can only move onto a new screen once the particular ingredient you're after has been collected.

Humph will tell you what to find to put in the cauldron on screen one in his little speech bubble.

If Olli manages to collect an ingredient he gets a big kiss from Lisa in a nicely animated interlude screen.

There's a time limit for each task and if you eventually run out of time and lives another neat animated screen comes up which shows Sir Humphrey's ghostly form approaching Olli and battering him with a broom!

Ollie has to explore the entire castle inside and out for the things he has to get - but he must always bring them back to the cauldron room where Lisa is stirring the brew.

Game play is basic platforms and ladders jumping over nasties - but the nice graphics and humorous little touches make this a really terrific game to play.

Olli and Lisa - and old Sir Humphrey are such nice characters I reckon we could be seeing a few sequels to this brilliant budget game. If not - why not?!

Olli & Lisa is an entertaining and very attractive game. Great value for money and instantly playable. One of the best budget games for ages.

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

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 32, Dec 1986   page(s) 42

Firebird 199 Range

Despite the uninspiring title and the even less inspiring cassette picture, this programme is a gem.

Its a "jump-the-levels-and-moving-creatures, collect-the-objects-and-take-them-to-the-right-place" type of game. In this particular variation you have to collect a single item per screen and take it to Lissa (or go close to where she is) so that she can make a potion to make their friendly ghost invisible. Once the ghost is rendered invisible then he can scare off the American purchaser of the castle, who wants to export it to the US of A.

Loads of political and social comment here! So what, you say, surely it's yet another manic miner clone? I have to agree, but the animation and backgrounds are nothing less than superb and this lifts it into a different league. The animation of your control character is brilliant, the closest I have seen to cartoon quality yet, and the death and success routines are amusing and pure genius. There is a small amount of flicker in certain positions and, with a few sprite encounters but considering the detail of the background and the characters this could have been much worse.

Sound is cleverly used and adds to the game with some recognisable snatches of tunes and the occasional squelch or crunch.

Control is a simple matter of left, right and jump and there are eight screens to complete per game. Each screen must also be completed in a limited time and you have the usual three lives. All in all, this is the kind of game which gives a good name to budget programs.

Overall: Good

Award: ZX Computing Globert

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 11, Nov 1986   page(s) 48

Arcade Adventure

As we all know, the Americans will stop at nothing to destroy what little English heritage remains. Not content with owning London Bridge, which is now somewhere in the West, some American now wants to buy Shilmore Castle and ship it to that land of all things cheap.

In Olli and Lissa, it is your task to prevent that happening. To achieve it you must collect the eight ingredients which will make Sir Humphrey, the castle ghost, invisible.

Olli and Lissa has some good graphics, and a fiendishly difficult task.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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