Stir Crazy featuring Bobo

by Probe Software Ltd: Brian Beuken, Drew Northcott
Crash Issue 72, January 1990   (1989-12-14)   page(s) 50

For 17 years BoBo has been in a prison called Inzeeslammer. He keeps trying to escape but is always recaptured. Up to five people can play Stir Crazy, and the first decision is whether to play each of the five levels separately or all together. Then enter the name of the players and prepare to go Stir Crazy. Level one is a slice of prison life with BoBo in the canteen feeding fellow inmates as they appear. Equipped with a ladle and saucepan full of soup, he must make sure no plate is empty if he wants to avoid extreme nastiness!

Next it's into the kitchen to peel potatoes. BoBo is seated on a stool in front of an ever growing pile of spuds. As he picks one up a representation of it appears bottom right of the screen to check it is peeled properly, if not it is thrown back. The level ends when BoBo either peels all the spuds in the pile, or he is burled by them. Level three coincides with warders' break time, and the inmates of Inzeeslammer take the opportunity to go over the wall - with BoBo's help of course. As each Inmate leaps from a window our hero pushes a trampoline under them in an attempt to propel them over the wall until all including BoBo escape. Level four has BoBo running along three electrical wires avoiding sparks and electrocution!

Unfortunately the final level sees BoBo recaptured and back in his cosy prison cell with five bunk mates. They snore loud enough to wake the dead, and BoBo creeps around the cell gently trying to poke each offender into silence. He must watch the chamberpot, If It's kicked over too often the noise wakes the sleepers.

Stir Crazy with its cartoon style graphics is fun to play for a while, but sadly there is really very little to do, so tedium soon sets in. My favourite section is the spud peeling, the look on BoBo's face as an unpeeled potato is hurled back at him is a classic. Each section contains some fun, but the action is limited, ultimately leading to boredom. Snore.

MARK ... 62%

'Games from across the water (France to the rest of you) have often not been too hot, and Stir Crazy featuring Bobo falls into this category. Apparently Bobo is a big cartoon star in the land of garlic, snails and frogs' legs: all I can say is I hope they never show it over here. Various cartoon scenes have Bobo performing comic capers to get a high score. These wizard japes include riveting things as peeling potatoes and poking prisoners. Not exactly hysterical. The strange thing about this game is that even if you don't do well and complete a stage, you go on to the next anyway. This takes away any surprises the game might have had in store. Downright daft! Stir Crazy featuring Bobo is graphically very good but has hardly any playability. Disappointing.'
NICK ... 63%

Presentation: 70%
Graphics: 73%
Sound: 37%
Playability: 60%
Addictivity: 62%
Overall: 63%

Summary: Comic capers do not a game make: adieu Bobo...

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 50, February 1990   page(s) 69

You've heard it before, and no doubt you'll hear it again! Ze French are blimmin' WEIRD! Hem hem, don't get me wrong, I mean I happen to like France a lot, what with all their lovely Citroen DS's, stripey pullovers, baguettes and brie (not too keen on the toilets though). But that having been said, their computer games, without fail, always seem to have that unmistakable hallmark of weirdness about them.

Weirdness isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course - sometimes it can make for an original and amusing game. Here's the latest and it registers a hardy nine point nine on the YS Weird-O-Meter. It's called Stir razy, it's the latest release from Infogrames, and it's been programmed by our old chums Probe Software. In France this game is simply called Bobo, after a well-known Belgian cartoon character. Since we've never heard of him over here the game's names has been changed, but keeps the subtitle 'Featuring Bobo'.

Anyway, Bobo is in prison - what crime he's committed has not been made clear - but the game is based upon his escapades 'inside'. There are five separate sections based on his prison life, which, apart from trying to escape, include the mundane activity of 'doing time'. Yep, there's one whole sub-game here devoted to serving porridge! Its single screen represents the canteen, where Bobo has the job of serving grub up to his fellow inmates. You start with just one prisoner beating his plate on the table and one pot of porridge in the serving hatch. Fetch this and dish it out. Eventually, more prisoners will appear making your task more tricky as you jog between then and then back to the serving hatch for fresh porridge. Weird, eh? But wait...

Next we have the Preparing Potatoes section! It's a waggler based on (wait for it) peeling potatoes! Bobo sits on a stool at the bottom of a chute and peels. Press Down to pick up a tattie, wiggle left and right to peel (check your potato status on the sprite in the bottom right hand corder!) and fire to toss it over your shoulder. If you shirk on the peeling you'll get your spud thrown back! Add this to the fact that copious quantities of these potatoes keep tumbling down the chute and you'll realise that this is one big waggle against time. Eeek! Peel as many as you can before you get swamped!

In the third part we find out that Bobo has had enough of this exciting lifestyle and is bent on escape! Here you get to move left and right in the bottom area of the screen with a trampoline. Your objective is to bounce the convicts over the walls to freedom. They keep leaping out of windows and increase in number as you progres. The fourth segment catches up with him once he's actually escaped. Here he's viewed from behind as he runs along three electrical wires (don't try this one at home, kids). This is again very similar to one of those hand-held games, as you jump from one wire to another as sparks appear. Okay, so Bobo, in the true nature of the cartoon original (so I'm told), obviously gets caught every time he escpaes 'cos the final part finds our cutie-pal back in the slammer, snuggled up in his dormitory bed. You aim here is to sleep (not kill things, not kung fu anyone - just sleep!). The only problem is that your cell mates all snore so much they keep you awake. The only way to silence them is to climb next to their bunk and nudge them. (Don't try this one in prison, kids!) In the middle of the cell is the... er... chamberpot (what did I tell you about French toilets!?). If you trip over this, apart from getting covered in 'horrid beastliness', you'll also wake everyone up! Nudge all the snoring cell mates, hop over the potty, climb back into your bunk and get some shut-eye. You gain points when Bob sleeps

Er, and that's it really - five separte game which you can choose to play individually or together. Although they obviously star the same character the games don't actually represent five levels of the same game, but rather are five different subgames. Apart from the electrical wires section, which is a scroll-into-the-screen game, the others are all based on one screen. The sprites are bery big and some of the animation is great. The way that Bobo scowl when his peeled potatoes are rejected or when he keeps sneeking a spoonful of porridge for himself when he's standing idle in the canteen are nice touches which I assume are true to the original comic character.

The problem is the gameplay. I mean you can play every game in about two minutes flat. Ho hum. I guess this one's aimed at a much younger age group than our usual fare, and is probably quite acceptable as such. It would help a great deal if Bobo had the popularity here that he enjoys in the land of the onion too. Nicely executed but extremely limited seems to be the penultimate bottom line. French games - weired or what!?

Life Expectancy: 50%
Instant Appeal: 60%
Graphics: 70%
Addictiveness: 70%
Overall: 58%

Summary: Five independent sub-games all starring an obscure Belgian comic character. Quite well executed in their way but small and short-lived.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 95, February 1990   page(s) 91

When they really try, the French can come up with the most dismally unfunny game ncepts; Stir Crazy is une example excellente. Nothing to do with the Gene Wilder/Richard Prior fillum, the game's based on a comic featuring a jailbird named Bobo, which means nothing to us since the comic doesn't appear in the English language, so it's hard to donner une toss gigantique.

Anyway, the whole concept's fairly tasteless; Bobo is in the slammer for life, presumably for not paying the French equivalent of the poll tax or something, and between his feeble efforts to escape he has various prison-type tasks to perform. You can choose to play any one of the five sections, but on the cassette version you have to reload the game each time; or you can play all five in order, although why you would want to is another question.

Game One; Serving the Porridge. Bobo runs up and down the refectory between two rows of prisoners, ladling out porridge and returning to the serving hatch to refill his tureen. Game Two; Peeling the Potatoes. Bobo sits in front of a giant mound of spuds, picking them up, peeling them with a wiggle of the joystick and flinging them over his shoulder, before the mound grows big enough to overwhelm him. By now your patience will be waning.

Game Three; The Trampoline. Bobo pushes the trampoline back and fore below the prison windows, attempting to bounce the escaping prisoners over the wall, as in those pocket games that go blip-blip-blip so annoyingly. Game Four; the Electrical Wires. On the run along three electrical cables, Bobo jumps from one wire to another, trying to avoid being electrocuted by stray sparks, tedium a go-go! Game Five; The Dormitory. Bobo runs up and down ladders, nudging snoring prisoners to make them shut up so he can get back to his own bed and stack up some zees. By this time you'll wish you were asleep too.

Although there isn't an original or interesting idea in the whole lot, all this might be mildly entertaining if the graphics were great, or the music outstanding, but, sadly, they aren't and it isn't.

It's not so bad that the guillotine is in order, but everyone connected with this one should get a handful of porridge in le grande slammer.

Label: Infogrames
Author: Bala/Hennebois
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphics: 60%
Sound: 59%
Playability: 50%
Lastability: 45%
Overall: 55%

Summary: About as much fun as a long stretch in the pokey with Lord Longford visiting you.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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