DJ Puff

by Brian Beuken, Allister Brimble, Michael A. Sanderson
Code Masters Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 88, April 1993   page(s) 13

No, that's wrong. A caper is something like Michael Caine comically robbing the Bank of England with the aid of a gang of lovable London rogues, but getting caught at the end by the clever Inspector In order to show that crime doesn't pay. A caper is not (and I repeat, not) some daft lizard hopping around an unstable mountain in search of his valuable record collection.

The Codies, however, are insisting on clinging to this obviously false premise, so DJ Puff's Volcanic Caper it is. If you cast your mind back about sixty years, you'll remember we previewed the game as a Final Approach in issue eighty. Ha ha! The joke was on us in no uncertain terms. Anyway, the programmer has finally come out of hibernation or been subjected to electroshock therapy or something, so here it is at last. Was it worth the wait? Before I tell you that, I'd just like to say a few words about the unusual texture of wood.

Oh. Right. It appears that DJ Puff is the proud owner of a large collection of records. Captain Krip, the ruler of the island on which our scaly hero lives, has decreed that all music be outlawed, and has confiscated Puff's vinyl. Tch. The green DJ has to leap around a load of platformy levels and recover his precious platters. Well, so much for the plot. Who wrote these nonsensical instructions anyway? (We haven't got any instructions - you're reading from your own ancient preview, you clot. Ed)

DJ Puff looks, sounds, plays, tastes and wears its duffel coat very much like an early version of Stuntman Seymour. You've got the same blocky colour scrolling, the same gameplay and the same bombs. (Actually, Puff uses a boomerang (Natch. Ed) but later on you can pick up some bombs, so there.) The only difference is, whereas Stuntman was a 'tricky platform affair with a fair old amount of playability once you get over the frustration barrier' (as I seem have to said in the December issue). DJ Puff is decidedly crap.

Sorry, but it is. As I said, the prog looks like an early version of the Seymour game, so everything's slower and rough round the edges. You get some horrible colour clash with the scrolling, and when Puff gets blapped by a baddy, he takes a preposterously long time to fall over. The accompanying horribly slowed-down sound effect is a wonder to behold. In its favour, DJ Puff has massive levels - I thought I'd finished number one, and was wondering why the heck I didn't move on to Level Two. when I suddenly fell down a hole and found tonnes of new screens. Lummocks. I did eventually get to the end, by the way. There are no end-of-level guardians, but you do have to have collected all the records along the way, otherwise the exit is locked.

Collision detection is very poor. It's block detection - so if you're in the same character square as a baddy, you've had it. Really annoyingly, some of them, like the snail, are irregularly shaped, which means you have to avoid them like the plague rather than being able to skip skilfully over them. Is this fair? No. (Bit of a rhetorical question, then. Ed) So just to avoid giving you a nasty shock like last time, let me warn you I'm reaching in to my big bag of Disgruntled Reviewer's Terribly Apt Words and I'm producing the phrase (rattle rattle) 'odds', 'stacked', 'against' and 'you'. Okay? Here we go. DJ Puff's Volcanic Caper, eh? The odds are stacked against you and no mistake, matey.

Considering the time spent 'in development' (or possibly 'in a drawer ) it's a wonder that DJ Puff is so bad. The level of playability is about this big (makes very, very small ring with linger and thumb) and lasting appeal is non-existent. You just find yourself sitting and shouting things at the screen - things like 'But I was miles away' and 'My eyes hurt' and 'I bet your records are all by Undercover'. If you want to experience an eight-way scrolling shoot-'em-up, get Turrican or, indeed, Stuntman Seymour. Just look on the latter as a cleaned up, polished and generally reworked version of DJ Puff. Which it probably is. (You scamp, you. Ed)

Overall: 40%

Summary: Uppers: Well, the levels are jolly big. Oh, and the fire-breathing bit is completely ace. Downers: The colour clashes horribly, the collision detection is crap, there's no playability and it keeps slowing down. See DJ Puff? See the word 'crap'? They go well together, don't they?

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 130, December 1992   page(s) 20

That little fire breathing cutie from Code Masters has returned... And he's in just as much trouble as the last time he graced our screens in 'Little Puff. Poor lad, it seems to be his unhappy lot in life to incessantly wander platforms searching for fruit and records while toasting tons of baddies on his way. What a drag (on). Aggh!!!

Puff has come of age and somewhere along the line made a name for himself as a top notch Disk Jockey. Well, well, wonders will never cease! Unfortunately however, Puffs island home has recently been invaded by a marauding bunch of villains who've made off with Puffs pride and joy - his chillin' record collection. Now, with you at the keyboard (or joystick) he must set off armed with boomerangs (I think), bad breath and, occasionally, a sackload of bombs to recover them.

D.J. Puff isn't the most impressive game I've seen recently. Some of the sprites are a little difficult to make out especially when in front of more colourful backgrounds. Having said that, what the game lacks in clarity it makes up for with quite a challenging and interesting layout. The big question though is: Does D.J. Puff throw bananas or boomerangs? Well, whatever they are, they seem to do the job nicely.

Control is somewhat unresponsive so it takes a little while to get used to. However, bear with it, and apart from some guaranteed frustration the game does play better with time. It is a good idea to draw yourself a map. D.J.'s records are hidden all over the gaff so it helps if you know your way around the levels.

At the start of the game you have five lives and five records to collect. Dying can be all too easy however because of the control faults and some suspect sprite collisions. On each of the game's five levels Puff will eventually run into a an end of level guardian. And it's jolly jumping and firing japes from there on in.

I have to say that D.J Puffs Volcanic Capers did not win me over. Maybe I've just got a really short attention span, but I got frustrated far too easily. It's not that our reptilian friend didn't present enough of a challenge, it simply that he doesn't fire the imagination. And that, after all, is what a good dragon should do.

Label: Code Masters
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Philip Lindey

ALAN: One of the best things about D.J. Puff is the way his stumpy little wings flap about when he jumps from platform to platform -It's a really nice touch. I must admit though that Philip had to restrain me once or twice from banging my head on the table out of frustration with this game's controls and playability. A nice enough title, but treat it with caution.

Graphics: 71%
Sound: 61%
Playability: 78%
Lastability: 75%
Overall: 76%

Summary: As platform beat 'em ups go ole' Puff is not the worst. Despite faults in presentation the game itself is well thought out and reasonably enjoyable. My main gripe is with the graphics, which, because of colour clash and some suspect sprite collisions don't really lend atmosphere and limit playability. Don't get this game if you're easily annoyed.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB