Chimps are peculiar creatures. They spend all day eating bananas, scratching their bums and picking - fleas out of each other's heads. Ian Osborne's completely bananas and partial to a bit of flea pie, so he got to do the review...
Forget what you've been told in lesser publications, Biffs not a frog, he's an APE - and a rather cheeky one at that. He never tidies his room, is rude to his mother and wouldn't even join his family in a tea commercial!
Unsurprisingly, Mum's had enough - Biff's been booted out of his treehouse and left to fend for himself in the cold, cruel jungle (all together now-aaahhh!). Your task's to get Biff back into his mum's good books by performing a series of tasks in a Dizzy-style arcade adventure.
Those who've played the aforementioned Codies classics will instantly recognise Biff's gameplay -guide the main sprite through umpteen rooms of platforms and ladders, solving problems to progress (or smashing your Speccy with a large lump-hammer if you can't).
Like any jungle, Biff's backyard's a dark and dangerous place - there's all manner of flora and fauna conspiring to keep him from appeasing Mumsie. Flowers uproot themselves and attack, birds do far more than crap on your head, and those baby dragons aren't as cute as they look!
Most baddies move aimlessly, just trundling back and forth (rather like Ian after a night on the town - Ed), but the puzzles and scenery are varied enough to prevent monotony.
You get one life and your apparently huge energy rating depletes at an alarming rate on contact with baddies - don't be tempted to ignore them for speed's sake!
SUPERB! SPIFFING! SPECTACULAR!
Biffs technically superb! The cheeky chimp features an amazing sixteen frames of animation, and the other sprites move well, too.
Clever use of shading makes brilliant use of the Speccy's limited palette. With far too many programmers taking the easy monochrome option, it's great to see a budget house stretching the Speccy to its limits. The presentation's pretty spiffing, with spectacular pre-game effects and a neat, efficiently laid out control panel.
Although the problems aren't as involved as those in the Dizzy games, they're far from boring - the game's off-beat sense of humour and huge dollops of character win through in the end!
After each problem's solved you're presented with an onscreen hint and the required object flashes, so you won't be left scratching your head too often.
On the minus side, Biff depends too heavily on energy-depleting baddies, and I could've done without the comments culled from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Everywhere you go these days some pillock's saying 'Bodacious', or 'Most excellent' - it's getting on my nerves! Not that this stops Biff from being an excellent game!
It's great to see an arcade adventure that isn't a piddle-poor imitation of Dizzy - Biff has character and atmosphere all its own and is easily the best Beyond Belief release to date. Hopefully ol' monkey features will appear in more of their games and become a hero in the Dizzy/Blinky mould.
I must admit the first few words while playing Biff aren't suitable for publication. Most either rhymed with duck or hinted at dubious parentage. But after kicking Ian around the room a few times, the puzzles made sense and progress was rapidly forthcoming. What the programmer was on when he drew the character sprite I dread to think - it's supposed to be an ape but looks more like a large toad! The sprites and scenery are very colourful and this leads to a small amount of colour clash. On the minus side, the evil creatures take their jobs a bit too seriously. Biff's attacked with great enthusiasm and for many games he's brown-breaded within a few seconds, but practice soon sees you collecting the correct items and gaining Brownie points for a job well done. Biff will appeal to puzzle fans rather than 'blast anything whether it moves or not' freaks, but it's worth a look in either case.
It must be difficult coming up with fabby new ideas for games, and even more difficult trying to create a new character that the gamesplaying public will take to their hearts and embrace with great fervour. We've already got eggs, moles, mice dragons and slugs - which only goes to show how under-represented fish and bison are. Beyond Belief, however, have completely ignored this sorry state of affairs and chosen a chimp as their new flag bearer.
Okay, so there aren't many games that have chimps wandering around but that's only 'cos nobody's picked up the PG Tips licence. When they do we'll have chimps in racing cars and chimps in shoot-'em-ups. But for now there's only one chimp that matters. He's called Biff and he's pretty darn cute!
CHOCS ON TREES
Biff's cuteness has no effect on his mother. Despite the fact that he blinks very sweetly, she has still chucked him out of the tree house. Chimps are not known tor their neat ways, as you'll know if you've ever watched them having a tea party, and Biff is no exception. He left his room in such a mess that his mum just flipped. So Biff is wandering around the jungle, trying to think of how he can get back into his mum's good books. And then,.. Eureka! Of course, he'll give her some chocs and chop some firewood. Hurrah!
The only trouble, there's no convenient corner shop in the jungle. So where d'you get your Milk Tray from? Well, they grow on trees. You have to find the chocoLate seeds, plant them and pick up the box of chocs. Smart, eh?
Biff, as you've probably already gathered, is quite similar to a certain series of games that chronicle the adventures of everybody's favourite egg. Like the Dizzy games, Biff has you trotting around a multi-scrolling screen avoiding various nasties and picking up all manner of strange objects. Before too long it becomes obvious what you need the Access card and the old boot for, but at first it can be a tad confusing. As you collect and use more objects, the larger the area you're allowed to walk around in. There are so many odd things lying around that it's difficult to know what to pick up first. Luckily, there are on-screen hints and, here's a hint, you should always pick up the flashing object.
Biff is not the most original of games to drop through the Shed letterbox but it is jolly good fun. As long as you have the patience to blunder through the first couple of screens a few times to work things out, you should have a few rewarding hours ahead of you. The graphics are clear and bright, the controls are smooth and the game itself is interesting enough to keep you playing. The only problem with our copy was that when Biff jumped from the top of a tree, he ended up on the opposite end of the screen than expected. Hopefully, this bug (which isn't actually that bad, or annoying, as bugs go) won't scuttle across your copy. Buy Biff anyway, it's alright!
Ooo luv, fancy a cup o' tea? Tarzan had one, Michael Jackson has one and now it's your chance to partake in the fun and frolics as you guide your very own chimpanzee through the deep and dangerous jungle back into the clutches of his dearest mummy once again.
I am of course referring to Biff, the naughty young chimpanzee who was just far too cheeky to his mother and wouldn't eat his Shredded Wheat. Mothers won't stand for all this sort of nonsense as we all know too well and so she has chucked him out of the family abode, with out so much as a by-your-leave, never to return until he has redeemed himself. Well after a few nights on the town the cheeky young pup has now decided that his beautiful home was indeed a very nice place and certainly wasn't half as bad ass he had made it out to be, well it was certainly better than the cold old jungle anyway. And so he begins the long trek back to the centre of his mother's heart.
Biff is a horizontally scrolling platform/puzzle adventure with lots of areas, some hidden, some not, lots of items to collect and lots of enemies to avoid. Items he can pick up along the way include axes, wire cutters, power cards (which look suspiciously like Access credit cards), a torch etc. All these objects have their uses but only in specific parts of the game. It's up to you to find out which part. You can only carry three objects at any one time but selection is quick.
Biff must face the most ferocious enemies ever known to animal kind. Unfortunately, the first time you see the baddies you are likely to mistake them for goodies as they all look pretty innocuous but mahn, be careful, these suckers can really sap Biff's strength. On the subject of strength Biff starts out with what looks like a lot but it disappears very quickly so don't take too many chances.
The graphics are colourful and make the game fun to watch but unfortunately control of the main sprite leaves a lot to desire. In short he's not very responsive to commands. I also found the scrolling system a little annoying, though it's by no means the worst I've ever seen. On the plus side of things there are a wealth of options for setting up the playing screen, ie. changing colours setting up the position of the status box etc. And all of this does add up to novelty value.
Biff isn't the most exciting game I've ever seen but it does seem as though Beyond Belief, a relatively new budget software house, are beginning to hit the mark as far as game quality is concerned. If you're into puzzle adventures of the Dizzy/Seymour genre then it's worth a look.
Label: Beyond Belief
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Steve Keen
ALAN: Not really my cup of tea, Biff has a lot of potential but you have to get used to the style of gameplay and the presentation of the puzzles before you really get into the game. Unfortunately I have very little patience with puzzle games of this sort, and even less when sprite control is rather suspect too.
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