Mikro-Gen's worn out working class hero Wally is back again - well he's almost back again in this new adventurish arcade game. Wally's actually asleep in bed and in danger of not hearing the alarm clock which ought to wake him up in time to get back to work in that appalling car factory. But Wally's having a terrible nightmare.
You star as Wally Week's sleeping alter ego, wandering around a vast house as a pint-sized figure in pyjamas and night cap. As this is a nightmare, nothing is as it should be in the dreamscape. Apparitions waltz about the place, hands snatch at your feet from beneath the floorboards, axes fly through the air, there's even a floor which gives you that feeling that you're trying hard but getting nowhere. The object is to find the key that winds the alarm clock and get it to wake Wally up. You are allowed to collect objects littered ail over the place which have various inter-related uses, but only two may be carried at a time.
The controls are simple, left, right and jump. Being hit by a nasty isn't the end; above the playing screen is a glass of 'Snooze Energy' milk, which is drained a little bit every time you are hit and goes down steadily throughout the life. Finding some food to snack on is as important as finding the key and alarm clock. Scoring is quite a novel process - you are told how many paces Wally has walked and what percentage of the adventure has been solved.
There seems to be a move afoot from software houses to repeat use of successful heroes, and Pyjamarama is a sequel to Automania - is it as good?
Control keys: O/P left/right and M to jump, but also user-definable
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, but almost any via UDK
Keyboard play: very simple key use and responsive
Use of colour: marvellous, painterly use of colour although it risks some attribute problems
Graphics: excellent, large, fast and smooth, well drawn
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3 (watch out for Snooze Energy)
'Pyjamarama' has some of the best animation and realistic graphics I have ever seen. All the graphics are large, neat and smooth. As in Automania Wally is superbly done with his night cap even moving as he slides down the bannister. The game itself is very well thought out especially when it comes to finding and carrying the things that help you in your quest to find the alarm clock. Beware of the 'Video Room'. I could not pull myself away from it for about six waves. I'll be surprised if this isn't a CRASH SMASH. I think it should be as it's a lot better even than the last one from Mikro-Gen, and definitely worth getting.'
'Okay Wally, don't just sit there suffering from your nightmare - do something about it! Yes, this is the sequel to Automania, the manic car game. You control a sleepy Wally in his quest for the clock. If you liked Automania you will love Pyjamarama. The graphics are superb and the sound is very good. Pyjamarama is a hit in anyone's book - it's got everything you could ask for from a game and more - the only way I can describe it is a sort of Manic Jet Set Wally - it's really an excellent game. You don't score as such, you are given a percentage and how many paces you took - I suppose it's better to have a high percentage with not having taken many paces. Quite a good idea really. The animation is a continuation of that found in Automania but with much more going on. The program's full of neat touches and I especially like the room behind a door marked Video Games where you can play a good game of Space Invaders - so you're really getting two games for the price of one! It's highly playable and just a bit too addictive. Buy it - you won't regret it!'
'As a simple combination of imaginative graphics, large characters and humour, Pyjamarama is unbeatable, and a fine sequel to Automania. I thought it had just the right amount of frustration and play-again qualities to drive you mad - and make sure you do play again. Wally is in fine jumping form again even though he's shrunk down to the point where tomorrow's chicken dinner becomes a serious threat. There are surprises everywhere like the prat-fall boxing gloves which knock you down when you're not expecting it, and it takes an experienced hand to spot the difference between a lift seen from the side and an ordinary door. Mikro-Gen have been thoughtful enough to provide a large switch, however, marked lift on/off! (But that's in a different location). Undoubtedly an addict's dream hit.'
Ross: Pyjamarama is the second of Mikro-Gen's games to feature the infamous 'Wally'. This time, our Wal' is having a nightmare (He'd dreamt he'd just bought a CBM 64? Ed.) and the only way he's going to be able to wake himself up is to find the key to his alarm clock and wind it into action. The setting for the game is Wally's home, each screen representing one room and each filled with beautifully drawn and coloured furniture. In a way that's similar to Atic Atac, you guide our sleeping hero through the rooms - this time seen from the side; just like Jet Set Willy, you can move left, right or jump. Only a few screens have things for Wally to jump on - chairs, tables or staircase.
Each room of Wally's house has a number of doors. Some can be opened just by jumping at the handle but to get through others you need to be carrying certain 'objects'.
You also have a limited amount of energy per life which decreases each time a moving graphic hits you... so watch out for the hands which burst from the floor and grab you! Touches like this make Pyjamarama a humourous and enjoyable game. 4.5/5 HIT
Dave: Mikro-Gen says you'll never dream a program could be this good, and for once the advert is right. It's worth buying for the games room. 5/5 HIT
Roger: It's hard to play but easy to watch. Wally's nightmare won't put you to sleep - just the opposite. It's both pretty and pretty funny, err, if you know what I mean... 4/5 HIT
MAKING THE BEST OF A BAD NIGHT
YOU ARE a Wally, trapped in a nightmare in which familiar objects turn on you as you desperately try to escape from the manic dreamscape. All you have to do to wake up is find the alarm clock.
According to Pyjamarama, an hilarious arcade adventure with stunning sprite graphics, a Wally's idea of a nightmare means being hit by roast chickens, bowled over by spinning dinner plates, attacked by an astral machete, or buzzed by revolving saws. After all, that is what makes a Wally.
In order to reach the alarm clock you have to travel through rooms in which your wildest fantasies are acted out. The ceiling in one room is made up of a gigantic space invader game in which you must blast the invading aliens.
On your travels you must take time to pick up objects which may or may not be useful in the completion of your quest.
A variety of objects dog your movement but the secret passages, found on the ground floor within barrels, should speed you on your way. Bouncing upstairs and sliding down the bannisters will also bring the object of your quest nearer.
Once you have dodged the chicken bombardment, the flying scissors and the falling books you are beset by ghosts in the cellar. Some of the objects are not so familiar - not even Wally could expect a magnet under the table or a rocket in the hall.
The action, plot and graphics of Pyjamarama from MikroGen are great. This Wally is a winner.
MACHINE: Spectrum/joystick or keyboard
It's no joke being a Wally. You get these strange nightmares, you see - about being unable wake up to go to work and being trapped in a house where everything has grown to an enormous size. Either that or you've been shrunk. Whichever - it still means you are in for a hard time!
Pyjamarama must be Micro-Gen's best game so far. The graphics are great and the playability unquestioned. You take on the role of Wally Week, the hero of several Micro-Gen games.
This time Wally is fast asleep and dreaming horrible dreams. Your job, as Wally's miniaturised spirit form, is to take him up in time for work. To this, you must find Wally's alarm clock and wind it up. Easy, eh? No!
You have to travel around a maze of beautifully drawn rooms full of strange hazards - like snapping scissors and roast chickens out for vengeance on the person who stuffed them. It would unfair to compare this game to Jet Set Willy - but as people will inevitably do this, I'd like to say I think it is better.
Wally moves about his nightmare world collecting - and dropping - objects. Just as in an Adventure, he needs certain objects at certain times to complete the various tasks he needs to complete before reaching the final goal - waking the deeply sleeping real Wally up in time for work.
In many cases, you'll need to collect one object in order to succeed in picking up another - and Wally's spirit form can only carry two things at a time. To swap objects, Wally simply moves over the one he wants - and the one he drops is left behind. Getting exactly the right combination will take some time - longer than I had to get this review to you that's for sure!
There are many rooms in the house - my favourite is the video games room. Enter it and you are confronted with a bunch of hostile scissors which descend from the ceiling space, invader style. Wally can blast them. If he gets all the scissors, some more roast chickens - or are they turkeys? - appear to plague him.
At the top of the screen there's a glass of milk which displays your snooze energy. You can replenish the glass by picking up items of food which appear at various places around Wally's dream house.
You get three lives to play with. Use them all up and you get an encouraging message from the management plus a percentage score and the number of paces Wally has walked.
Pyjamarama is a little gem which will keep you amused for weeks if not months. Here at C&VG we liked it so much that we're sticking it in our Hall of Fame. Make sure Santa sticks one in your stocking this Christmas!
There are occasional bright moments in a games reviewers life, very occasional, not always too bright, and definitely momentary. Pyjamarama is a positive ray of sunshine. It may however have detrimental effects on your Central Nervous system. I was hauled away forcibly from the screen by a kindly colleague, mumbling 'No, no, don't let the oven-ready chickens get me'.
It's set in the nightmares of one Wally, a little man, but with big problems. He's trying to wake up for work, but o do this he needs to find his alarm clock and wind it up. Unfortunately this must be done in dream reality, and everything's come alive or got bigger. Hands come out of the floor, library books acquire aggressive instincts, and nothing is quite what it seems.
The result is a large and very entertaining graphic adventure. Wally can walk right or left, or jump over things. This is under keyboard or joystick control. There are plenty of obstacles strewn about the rooms to be picked up, which is done by just walking over them. It isn't always clear what they're for however, and while you're figuring that out, Wally's 'snooze energy' is running down. It's also depleted by contact with the sinister hands, roast chickens et al, so the simple everyday act of winding up a clock becomes a full-scale quest.
The graphics are beautifully realised, so each new location is a joy to discover. But can anyone out there figure out a use for the beach-ball?
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
CONTROL: Keys, Kemp, Sinc
FROM: Mikro-Gen, £6.95
WALLY'S PYJAMA NIGHTMARE
To get anywhere with this brilliant new game, you'll have to do a lot of thinking, so to get you in the mood, here's a teasing little riddle. This month has seen the launch of four major Spectrum arcade-adventures: Psytraxx, Strange Loop, Avalon and Pyjamarama.
The first three have over 200 locations (Psytraxx has 1,000), Pyjamarama has around 30. So how can we justify making this tiny pipsqueak of a program game-of-the-month?
Well, it's not just the graphics although these are outstanding: very large, very colourful, very clear, lots of variety. It's not just the fact that the game is the most playable of the four, requiring just three controls - left, right and jump.
The real point about Pyjamarama is that it's the first arcade adventure which is a real adventure.
Let me explain. This year's rush of arcade-adventures was started when Ultimate brought out Atic Atac last Christmas. That game and those which followed - were adventures in the sense that different locations had to be explored. But the other aspect of adventure games - using objects to solve problemswas barely touched on.
This game changes all that. OK, there are only about 30 locations, but each contains a different object and each object presents a teasing puzzle which you, the player must solve.
What is more, the puzzles are all inter-related. Example: a bucket in room A, might have to be filled with water in room B, and taken to room C where it renders harmless the inhabitant man-eating plants. This might allow you to pick up a fuel can in room C which (if you can find some fuel in room D) just might allow you to power a rocket stashed away in room E and reach the moon. So it goes on.
The story is that Wally Week, the lovable idiot first seen in Automania, is now having a nightmare and wants to wake himself up. So he wanders around his house and elsewhere dodging strange aliens and trying to figure out a way of setting off his alarm clock. The instructions give you no clue on how to go about this, it's all down to brain power.
The objects lying around (they're all larger than life since it's a dream) include a door-handle, radio, towel, library book, plant pot, conveyor belt controller, hammer, fire extinguisher, joystick, pound coin, power pack, crystal orb, various keys, driving licence and cooking bowl.
Mikrogen assure me that hardly any are red herrings. They each have a role to play in helping Wally to wake up.
A major point is that Wally can carry only two objects at a time. This apparent limitation in fact gives the game enormous added interest because of the tactical problems it raises. You can't just go round collecting everything. You must try to form a plan and then pick up the exact combination of objects needed to try it out.
When you get stuck, you can take time off to enjoy the game's humour. Ghostly hands appear from the floor and disappear. If Wally mistimes his jump to a stairway, he may end up sliding down the bannisters. Occasionally, when he goes to exit a door, a huge boxing glove appears and knocks him to the ground. Another enjoyable thing is the lift which, once sussed, allows you into a new series of rooms.
These features coupled with the game's superb graphics and easy playability mean that most people will fall in love with it straightaway. Playing it will give hours of teasing frustration, interrupted just often enough by exhilarating breakthroughs which open up new sections of the game.
Of course the big question is: how long will interest last? Will the game be solved in a few days and then be left idle on the shelf? Or will it prove impossible and be given up in frustration?
Our feeling is that Mikrogen have pitched the game at just the right level. It's solvable, but it'll take ages. For example, after a weekend's entertaining play, I still have no clue what to do with some 75 per cent of the objects (I'm mad keen to find out!)
However, even when it is solved the game won't lose all interest, because following a suggestion by PCG, Mikrogen have incorporated a unique feature. The program actually counts the number of steps that Wally takes, so that even once you've completed the game, you can always try again, this time aiming to do it more efficiently.
And for those who haven't completed it there's a percentage rating which will reveal what proportion of the puzzles you've solved.
I've no doubt that Pyjamarama's going to be a massive hit, and perhaps the first of a new genre of computer games. It's certainly a hundred times better than its predecessor, Automania, and, if Mikrogen's hint-dropping department is to be believed, the program's central character may well be used again in future games in an attempt to create a sort of Wally cult.
Sticking to the present day, one thing at least is clear. After a year's searching, PCG has at last found its Wally of the month.
The editor practically had to drag me away from the game to write this and none too soon either since I was developing nervous twitches.
Recurrent nightmares are the theme of the game and I'm sure trying to solve it will give anybody a few of those. Despite being fiendishly difficult to complete, the game is still very playable for the newcomer with delightfully designed rooms to explore with the cuter-than-ever Wally.
Plucked turkeys, groping hands and various other nasties plague your way in different rooms and there's no help at hand except the use of your own brain (this could be difficult for some of us)!
Anyway, I thought it was a great new idea and certainly old for the old grey matter, so get those keyboard fingers in practice and those joysticks in gear 'cos this one's a goody!
'Sure looks pretty,' thought I, on catching sight of this little number, 'but is it going to keep me playing?'
Four hours later I had to admit defeat - but i shall be back for more. What I enjoyed about the game was the fact that you did have to use a bit of grey matter while you played. Even when you find yourself stuck over a seemingly insoluble problem the graphics succeed in giving the game enough atmosphere to hold your interest.
My only worry about Pyjamarama would be that one I'd completed it I might not want to play again - but I don't expect to face that problem for some time yet.
GAME TYPE: Arcade
Logically, there must come a point when animated graphics are produced throughout a Spectrum game on which no other software manufacturer can improve. Mikrogen, with their new game, Pyjamarama, are fast approaching that point.
Pyjamarama stars Wally, hero of their previous game, Automania. Wally is a large, flicker-free, cartoon-like graphic character. He lives in a world which fills the television screen, and appears to fill the computer, crammed with graphics of the same standard.
In Pyjamarama, Wally is experiencing a nightmare in which mundane objects appear to be out to get him, he can carry only two items at once although he can find any amount of strange things to carry, the house seems to hate him, and the only way to wake up is to find and wind up his alarm clock.
This is made even less easy by the fact that, even when asleep, Wally runs out of energy.
The variety and imaginative quality of the enemies faced by Wally are almost unrivalled by any other piece of Spectrum software.
Pyjamarama is produced for the 48K Spectrum by Mikrogen, 44 The Broadway, Bracknell, Berkshire.
I bought this one because I liked Automania which was the first in the Mikro Gen's series featuring their character "Wally Week" and I thought that even if it was half as good it would be worth the money.
I was amazed to find that instead of being a quick and inferior copy of the first it was even better, and the graphics are fantastic!
This program is one of the wander around and jump over, dodge, jump up and collect things variety, but what makes it one of the best is the large number of detailed graphics. The rooms are not simply areas with platforms in but are fully furnished in great detail.
There is a lot of humour in the game apart from Wally's gormless expression. Try the games for example, where you have to fire knives and forks at descending chickens in space invaders style game.
The plot is quite simple. You are Wally's sleepwalking alter ego and you have to find the alarm clock and wind it up so that Wally will wake up in time for work. Various objects will try and prevent you, and all the time you are running out of "snooze energy" which is represented by a glass of milk. Collect some of the food lying around to restore this energy.
You can only carry two objects at a time and some objects need to be carrying another particular object before you can collect or use them.
The keys are responsive and easy to use and you can also define your own or use Sinclair or Kempston joystick option. The program uses O and P for left/hght and M to jump. Mikro Gen's fast load system loads the program without any problem.
There is a program which I would go so far as to say is a must for any games player and is a classic of it's type. I have some of Mikro Gen's earlier programs and they were pretty ordinary - they really have improved their standards recently. I will be looking out for further releases from them.
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