(Scene: An old dark house in Cornwall, very probably the haunt of smugglers. A door creaks open. Enter Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy, the Famous Five, exploring beyond the confines of the Magnificent Seven tape pages. Enter several gaunt copyright lawyers. Exeunt the Famous Five. Enter Julio, Flan, Dink, Gorge and Tummy, the Fumous Five. Dink wears a sensible pullover, shorts and clumpy shoes. Julio wears a dazzling white suit, a white shirt open to the navel, a gold medallion and mirror shades. Gorge has a fierce expression and an unconvincing false moustache. Flan simpers a lot, and Tummy's just this dog, y'know? They look around)
DINK: Gosh everyone, it looks like an old dark house in Cornwall, very probably the haunt of smugglers. We'd better tread carefully. (He treads carefully on Tummy's tail. Tummy playfully bites his leg)
FLAN: Shhhh! I think there's somebody upstairs.
JULIO: Hey baby, let's blow this scene. I know this great Italian restaurant.
GORGE: Stop kissing me or I'll kill you.
JULIO: I wasn't kissing you. I was licking my lips but missed. (Gorge hits him extremely hard. Suddenly an old man walks down the stairs)
DINK: Great Scott! It's a smuggler!
GORGE: No, it's Flan's Uncle Silas in a nightshirt. And he's sleepwalking. Somebody move that hatstand out of his way! He might do himself a nasty injury.
FLAN (glancing up from her Webster's Pocket Guide to Sleep Disorders with an expression of concern): Gorge is quite right. According to Webby, sleepwalkers can do themselves a great deal of harm if they're woken unexpectedly. What with Uncle Silas's peculiar inner-ear problems that frequently cause him to lose his balance and knock into things, it looks as if the only chance he's got is for us to run around and smash up his house so there's nothing for him to break. Come on chaps!
DINK: I'll bet smugglers are to blame for Uncle Silas's peculiar inner-ear problems that frequently cause him to lose his balance and knock into things. (Exit and exeunt)
(Scene Two: Another part of the house. Uncle Silas is wandering about, fast asleep. The Fumous Five are demolishing his home)
DINK: That's knocked that vase over. Look out Gorge, he's heading for that priceless ornamental statue. Oh well done, you've broken it over Julio's head.
(A sleepy cat wanders into Uncle Silas's path. Quick as a flash, Tummy hurls it through the window)
FLAN: Clever old Tummy. What would we do without you? (She hacks through a frayed cord with her penknife. A priceless eighteenth century cut-glass chandelier smashes into a million bits on the floor) There. Nice house, isn't it? Oh look out, Uncle Silas is getting away.
GORGE: Quick everybody - through this secret passage that I've this minute discovered by casually leaning up against the oak panelling lining the walls. I'll just bet it leads straight back to Uncle Silas's bedroom.
(Tummy barks urgently, but reservedly, showing the proper concern for neighbours who might be sleeping to prepare for a day's honest toil on the morrow)
DINK: Oh corks - he's coming back this way! (Everybody stands dead still and holds their breath. Uncle Silas brushes into them and turns around) Phew, that was close. Watch your step, chaps. Oh dash it all - I seem to have fallen over some barrels labelled 'smuggled merchandise.'
JULIO: There's no time for that, guy, Uncle Old Dude is making a break for it. Shake the dust from your boots.
DINK: They're very sensible shoes actually.
(Scene Three: Uncle Silas's bedroom. The old fellow is still wandering about aimlessly. Sensing the end is in sight, the Five are throwing themselves into their task with renewed vigour. Nary an ornament lies unbroken)
GORGE: I say you fellows - this is awfully tedious, isn't it?
FLAN (jumping with gusto upon a Spode dinner service): I wouldn't say that. Although the lack of variety is a bit galling. There are a jolly lot of interesting chests lying around. What a shame we can't do anything with them. Come to think of it, we can't do anything with anything, except break it. What a shame.
JULIO: I've got to admit that the novelty is, like, kind of wearing off. Running around, hitting things, subtly influencing Uncle Old Dude's movements but mostly hoping that he will head back to bed is not, y'know, the most tremendous thing I can think of doing. (He turns suggestively to Gorge) I'd much prefer being tremendous with you, baby. (Gorge hits him with a bedside table)
DINK: It is good fun for a while though. (Suddenly Uncle Silas climbs into bed) And it's jolly rewarding when you succeed at helping the old gentleman return to Slumberland.
FLAN: (consulting her Webster's): Apparently sleepwalking is a recurring condition I wouldn't be at all surprised if he did it again tomorrow night. Gosh!
(Exeunt, pausing only to conscientiously clean up the mess, tuck Uncle Silas in properly, foil a gang of smugglers and leave the door on the latch so that the postman won't have to disturb the old fellow when he delivers bis Reader's Digest. Curtain)
Old age people can be a bit of a pain can't they? I mean they're always jumping to the front of the bus queue with their special bus pass, leaving their teeth in your favourite mug and nattering on about the old days.
These examples may be bad enough but here's a new one for your delectation - sleepwalking! Yes, Uncle Silas has had a problem with somnambulism for some time now but recently things have got considerably worse. He's now often found wandering the streets of slumberville fast asleep!
As if this isn't bad enough - he also owns a rather large house (wish I did) which is pricey to keep running in his current doddery state of being, what with all the damage he causes.
Poor Silas is getting a bit careless and the house has become an absolute deathtrap.
Under the circumstances it would be a good idea for unc to move out and let some poor unsuspecting mug buy it. But no, he's determined to stay put (typical).
To solve this problem, his kind and caring family have done the next best thing. They've sent along his young nephew Rory (sounds Scottish to me) to keep a watchful eye over the elderly miscreant. Now, whenever the old codger goes off for a wander Rory must guide him back to his bedroom quietly, without waking him up or smashing anything along the way. Which is not the easiest of things to do.
This has somewhat of an RPG feel to it although I wouldn't strictly say it was one (geriatric slumber simulator doesn't really sound right). The graphics are okay - clear and simple seems to have been the watchword and for a change the sound is good with plenty of effects including chandeliers dropping and the like.
The only really bad thing about Sleepwalker is that it's all a bit hit and miss. It can take you quite a while to find the doddering old fool and by the time you do he's nearly popped his clogs. Sometimes you'll be in the room next to him and he'll be mysteriously teleported away somewhere else which, as you can imagine is a touch frustrating.
It would be unfair though to say that this ruins the game, it's still good stuff. It's not going to impress the hell out of anyone but it'll be appreciated for what it is - a decent game marred by a few playability errors, still worth a look.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Paul Anglin
GARTH: RPG? No not really. Fantasy? Not not really. Good? Not really. Okay, so it's not bad but there's just too much aimless wandering for this game to get really exciting. You might like it, but me? Not really.
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