Edd the Duck is cool, and it's a fact. Quite why he's so cool is a bit of a mystery though. I mean, it's not as if he ever really does anything (just looks at the camera between the programmes on kid's TV and quacks really). And there's no real precedent for white ducks with green mohicans becoming media stars either - but cool he somehow is. It's something Orville could never quite manage, but then he was burdened with Keith Harris (so doomed from the start really).
But anyway, my little cherry pies, it's not Edd the TV star we're interested in here, but Edd the computer game. So what's it like? Well, as you've probably already guessed from the screenshots, its very, very similar to Rainbow islands (almost identical in fact). That means that yes, it's a cutie, and yes, it's really rather incredibly playable, but no, it doesn't score any marks at all in the originality stakes. Just my cup of tea, as they say (or it would be if it wasn't such a blatant copy).
So how does it all work? Well, for the few of you who never played Rainbow islands it's a vertical scroller. You, as Edd (who can't fly by the way) have to make your way up screen, platform by platform, collecting stars and avoiding nasties. There are 20 stars per level and you get ten points for each one - the aim of the game is to get them without being thrown back to earth by the baddies or falling off and drowning in the flood of water at the bottom (despite being a duck, Edd can't seem to swim either). You're not allowed to proceed to the next level until you collect all 20 stars.
And that's it really. Let's have a go shall we? Right, on the first level we're in the BBC weather department, where it's summer (hurrah!). The background is bright blue, the sun has got his shades on and the platforms are little bits of sandy beach with buckets and spades scattered about. Edd comes equipped with a snowball shooter-type weapon (knocked up in the special effects department) which will temporarily freeze particularly bothersome baddies (no bloody death sequences here). But bump into an unfrozen object and little Edd tumbles to earth, turning somersaults as he goes (exactly like Bub and Bob in Rainbow islands).
Ah, yes, the baddies. These are suitably cutsie, including teddy bears, umbrellas, wide-eyed pouting fish, busy bees and the giant, disembodied hand of Wilson the Butler, Edd's nemesis at the Beeb. There are quite a lot of them too, and pretty tricky to dodge. About half-way in things suddenly make a change for the worse though - the sand seems to disappear and pretty soon it's winter (oh no!). Don't worry though, this is actually the best bit - packed with snowmen and Christmas trees, icicles, the chill west wind and (a touch of the surreal here) more ogling fish. Very pretty, and rather seasonal don't you think?
From the weather department you move on up to the Special Effects bit of the BBC, and the second level. More fish and some funny little flies to freeze, plus the Arglefrogs (strange beings from the Alpha Centauri star system) for some obscure reason. Oh no, I've just realised - it's not that obscure at all (this is the department where they do all those wobbly Doctor Who spaceship shots after all). Now you're just a step away from the big time - Children's BBC and absolute Super-Stardom. And there we have it really. Simple, and not particularly long, but I really enjoyed Edd The Duck.The colours are bright, the graphics are excellent (I lurve those feesh) and it's fun, fun, fun all the way to the top. Once you've mastered Edds hail flying/half jumping technique (he can be a little unsteady on his wings, poor chap) you can start working out the best way around the platforms and how to pick up the more difficult stars. Because yes, despite the fact that it's obviously aimed at the younger Spec-chum, Edd is actually rather hard. It may be a copy of Rainbow islands but it's a blimmin' good one (not quite as good as the original, but very snazzy nonetheless). I just wish it'd been a bit longer, and a bit more its own game, but that said its a nice little thing, and made me come over all happy and warm inside when I played it. Oh, actually, there is this one other problem - the back of the instructions book, where it reads (and I quote) 'Coming soon... Neighbours'!!
From the duck of the same name comes as slick a clone as I've seen in many a month. Basically it's a beginner's Rainbow Islands which, for those of you who were struck unexpectedly by a bookcase and consequently spent six years living in Leighton Buzzard as a commodities broker named Kim, is a supercute vertically-scrolling platform game. Revolving around the bid for superstardom of Wee Beaky himself, the game has you waddling through three BBC departments (Weather, Special Effects and Children's BBC), filching twenty golden trinkets from each.
Ranged against you are mobs of twee baddies, but luckily you've been armed by the Blue Peter team with a weapon ingeniously constructed from a toilet-roll tube, an old bazooka and lashings of sticky-backed plastic.
Gameplay is unsurprisingly Rainbow Islands-like. There's many a hop, skip and burbling sob cos it's actually rather hard, in a cunningly-designed sort of way. It's the vertical scrolling, y'see - you never quite know if there's going to be a nasty lurking just above.
Still, it's all time-wastingly playable, with brash and colourful graphics (though disappointingly few sound effects).
You may find it a bit short (only three levels, after all) but it's well worth a look. Quack quack quack.
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