Potsworth & Co.

by Visual Impact: Dave Thompson, Mark Wallace, Richard Morton, Mark Cooksey
Hi-Tec Software Ltd
Crash Issue 97, March 1992   page(s) 60,61


Imagine a cuddly springer spaniel standing on its hind legs, speaking in an upper-class English accent. Now what does that remind you of? The nightmare you had last night? Getting drunk down the local disco? Nope, it should remind of this squillerilliant Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Potsworth!

In real life he's just the family pet and friend to a bunch of kids: Rosie, Nick, Carter and Keiko. But when they go to sleep they become the Midnight Patrol and all enter the Dream Zone to become super human (dee-dee dah-dah, dee-dee dahdah...)!

To stay in the Dream Zone the Grand Dozer must be asleep, a fact the evil Nightmare Prince is only too aware of. He tries anything in his power to wake up the snoozing bloke and it's the Midnight Patrol's job to find the Potion of Slumberand stop him.

The powers held by each character correspond to their characteristics in real life. Rosey's a bit of a loud mouth so she stuns the nasties by shouting at them. Nick's a big fan of comic book superheroes so he becomes Super Duper Man. Carter's a great artist so anything he draws comes to life, and Kelio, a skateboard freak, rides the only flying 'board in existence! Between them - and Postworth, of course - they have to battle against Midnight Prince's minions in six zones of arcade mayhem.

odn gamezone has a style to suit its player character. The Cave, Super, Candy, Rainbow and Carnival Zones are packed with brilliant touches that keep you addicted for ages.

Remote switches control lifts, Conveyor dodgems, pirate ship and log flume, they're all packed in - it's the nearest thing to visiting a theme perk without leaving the house!

You collect certain objects from each zone to keep the Dozer asleep. You can guarantee some of them are hidden away in some far-reaching corner of the vast zones so you have to work hard at finding them.

Touching any of the horrible things out to munch our heroes causes an energy bar to drop. Toy robots, pigmy bats, nosey parkers, chocolate mice, wellington men, hot dogs and mutant candy floss are just some of the monsters inhabiting the zones.

If the energy reaches zero, guess whet happens? Yup, the character loses a life, but luckily restarts where they left off.

A feature you don't see very often on the Speccy these days is a continue option. This is available several times before the Midnight Patrol has to start from the beginning again so should reduce the frustration many game's high difficulty produces.

Visual Impact have done a great job in programming our pouchy pal (complete with marrowbone!). Each zone has something new to offer, In terms of both graphics and playability.

The backgrounds and sprites have all been painstakingly converted from the cartoons and look great. Fans of the series certainly won't be disappointed with the results.

Unfortunately, Potsworth's a multi-load, each level loaded separately. All the levels are stored on one side of the tape, though, so it's less confusing than many multi-loads I've come across.

Potsworth & Co Is another excellent cartoon series from H-B and it's been converted into a fan-dabby-dozy game you can't afford to miss - especially as it's on the new Premier label at only £6.99!

NICK … 91%

'Dogs get a raw deal, don't they?? Cigarette butts are 'dog ends', if you're having a bad time it's a 'dog's life', if you're selfish you're a 'dog in a manger'. The list is endless. Fortunately for Potsworth, he's probably the most cosetted canine this side of the equator, and as for the computer game, well, we're talking doggy treats galore. Bearing in mind I'm a Sonic freak (I'd take him home and have his babies given half the chance) and this could be called the Speccy version of said small prickly creature, need I say morel Yes? Okay. I like it. The sprites are all very detailed and instantly recognisable from the cartoon. Each level's totally different from the last and the gameplay keeps getting better and better from level to level. The first zone looks a bit budgety but later levels are quality stuff which would be well worth the £10.99 many software houses charge for abysmal full-pricers. Hi-Tec should be well proud of themselves for turning Potsworth & Co out for £8.99 and if the rest of their Premier range is as good as this, they're onto a winner.'
LUCY ... 89%

Presentation: 88%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 89%
Playability: 93%
Addictivity: 90%
Overall: 90%

Summary: A fun, addictive conversion of the blockbusting cartoon.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 77, May 1992   page(s) 10,11

Dreams, eh? The source of ideas for authors, the source of inspiration for poets, the source of a truly awful song for Captain Sensible. The best bit about dreaming is that you do it when you're asleep, so you don't waste any time. The worst bit is that you only know you've been dreaming when you wake up unexpectedly and completely forget all the best parts. The other worst bit is having a nightmare, which is where Potsworth comes in.

Potsworth, y'see, is a dog with a difference. He is uncommonly intelligent, speaks with an upper-crust accent, leads the nightmare-busting Midnight Patrol and has three dots on the end of his nose. The character came into being when two slightly eccentric Brits looked at their mad spaniel and thought people would enjoy reading about his ludicrous adventures. Amazingly they were right, and Potsworth became a minor success. The slightly eccentric Brits then set their sights substantially higher, and sidled up to Hanna-Barbera with an idea for a weekly cartoon show.

After making a few adjustments, such as changing the title, fiddling with the format and bunging a load of Americans into the cast, the H-B machine swung into action and Potsworth and Co bounded onto BBC 1. Attracting five million viewers, the show leapt to the top of the charts, and the canny canine has never looked back. Except to see whets happening behind him.

From all this talk about dreams and nightmares, you've probably guessed that the plot to the game is pointedly strange. It seems that the ruler of the dream zones, the Grand Dozer, has been stricken with insomnia. Instead of prescribing a glass of warm milk and a quiet sit-down with the latest issue of Chat magazine, the powers that be call upon Potsy and the gang to fetch back the spooky Potion of Slumber. The magical equivalent of a Mickey Finn, its a special mix of five snoozesome ingredients, and paint my left earlobe an unsuitable shade of maroon if these haven't been scattered around the dream zones by the wicked Nightmare Prince.

On each of the five levels you play one of the members of the Midnight Patrol, and their special abilities subtly affect the gameplay. Skip down to the helpful boxout for more info if you like. For those of you who prefer to keep your reading in a sensible, orderly fashion, each level is built around an enormous search-'em-out platformer.


Commendably eager to sweep away the memory of such horrible games as Top Cat and Hong Kong Phooey, Hi Tec have come up with a game of startling playability and addictiveness. The funny thing is, there's really nothing new in the game - it's just that all the parts click together to form a satisfyingly chunky whole. The gameplay borrows elements of everything from Manic Miner to Switchblade, with loads of secret passages, unexpected monsters and hidden bonuses. Best of all, the game isn't linear - you can go wandering off pretty much where the fancy takes you.

Each level is made up of five or six big areas, connected by such devices as lifts, swinging girders and fairground rides. As you're not strong enough to set off these by yourself, you need to find heavy objects and shift them around 'til you can drop them on the control buttons. Needless to say, some objects are cunningly concealed and require mucho questing from our heroes. There's even less need to say that the levels are crawling with baddies, but I will because it's only polite to do so. The levels are crawling with baddies. (Ahem.) Some are susceptible to a quick blast of firepower, while others are indestructible. How do you know which type is which? Thats right, you don't. Get the idea?

Potsworth is an ace game. The fact that you aren't noticeably inhibited as you scuttle around adds to the attraction - rather than being led on by the programmers, you can choose your own routes around the levels. Its not an easy game, but certainly not so difficult as to put you off. If you've got a fairly good memory and a razor-sharp trigger reflex you'll have no probs getting around. TaIng a leaf from the Japanese console games, Hi Tec have kept the same basic gameplay for each level, but bolted on extra features to keep interest from flagging. The graphics are tip-top, with excellent detail and smooth animation. The sound's also pretty good, with plenty of 128K effects and ditties.

Neatly tying everything up, the inevitable multiload is offset by the fact you've got oodles of credits. Yes siree, ol' Potsy has got himself a winner here. In a shocking break with tradition Hi Tec have done the licence proud, producing a fiercely playable biggie. It'll take ages to complete, and even after you've done so there are plenty of nooks and crannies to go back and explore. In fact, I'll dispense with the customary payoff line, and just urge you to rush out and swap seven grubby coins for this sponkadicious computer game. You'll have hours of fun and be supporting full-price Speccy software at the same time. And you can't do better than that.

Life Expectancy: 90%
Instant Appeal: 90%
Graphics: 95%
Addictiveness: 95%
Overall: 92%

Summary: Loopier than a twist of peel, and stormingly playable. Get it. Now.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 123, May 1992   page(s) 30,31

Have you've ever been watching Potsworth and Company on the TV and have thought "Yes, I believe I would like to step into the Dream Zone", like it says in that song at the end of the program? Well, now's your chance to do so, and without having to get completely hyperactive on six gallons of Lucozade either!

The cheeky teenagers and their inseparable talking dog, Potsworth are in a bit of a fix. The guardian of the Dream Zone, the Grand Dozer, is having a rather bad attack of insomnia. Now normally, staying awake would be a fine trait in a king but sadly the longer the Grand Dozer stays awake, the less substantial the Dream Zone becomes, until it eventually dissipates, leaving people with nothing but nightmares for the rest of their lives! Aggh!

Luckily, there is some hope. Certain mystical sleep-inducing objects (such as the Holy Les Dennis Laughter Show tape) are dotted around the landscape of the Dream Zone, and should the kids bring these back to old Dozer he'll more than likely drift off into a peaceful slumber and all will be well again.

Sadly, the Nightmare Prince (Mr. bad guy) is quite happy about this miserable downturn in affairs, after all. It means increased responsibility for him. and so he has dispatched truck loads of his minions to stop the gang.

This is where you come in. The Dream Team has split up and are each searching for one object. You must guide each of them around their selected zone, avoiding (or blasting) nasties, solving all the puzzles you may chance across and getting back to the Grand Dozer before the Dream Zone breaks up.

Each zone is a basic platform environment, filled with the usual sort of hazards such as collapsing walkways, spikey pits and tricky ledge-jumps all of which must be negotiated, as well as a number of other heinous hindrances specific to each level. For example, on level one, lifts and conveyor belts must be activated by dropping blocks onto the right switches. Unfortunately, this can mean pushing a crate halfway around the level before you reach the right pad!

Each character has their own powers and modes of attack which must be mastered to combat each level, giving the game plenty of variety. Controls are simple enough; Up to jump, left and right for directions and fire to activate your special power. Each character is pretty maneuverable too, which is just as well as some of the situations they get into can get rather sticky. A lot of Olympic gymnasts would surely love to be able to run whilst crouching, but it's all in a days work for the Dream Team.

Potsworth and Co is a playable platform/puzzle hybrid with decent graphics and sound, quick responsiveness and spot-on collision detection. But at the end of the day, the Spectrum has already got plenty of playable platform games, so what's in this that makes it stand out? Well, for starters, the puzzle element is more evident than in most games of this ilk, and the levels are laid out in such complex patterns that completing even level one is no easy task! It certainly helps to make a map... If you've got the patience for that kind of thing.

The one real problem with Potsworth (and Company) is that there is very little challenge to your reflexes, so once you've completed a level, next time you play you've simply got to repeat what you've done before. This can lead to the early levels getting very repetitive, and thus you'll need a great deal of patience to reach the end. Still, Potsworth and Co is a playable, funny title, and certainly one which brain-use-fans would do well to try out.

Label: Hi-Tec
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £6.99 Tape
Reviewer: Ed Lawrence

ALAN: Potsworth and Co. will probably last a while as it's quite challenging and good fun to play. Still, there are a lot more action games out there which provide that extra bit of excitement. If you're looking for something a little more cranially-inclined though this is one to look out for.

Graphics: 79%
Sound: 75%
Playability: 83%
Lastability: 82%
Overall: 81%

Summary: Challenging game variety, but traipsing through early levels again soon becomes a chore. Still, it remains accurate to the original and would certainly be a good buy for puzzle fans.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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