Wanted: Monty Mole

by Peter M. Harrap
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Your Spectrum Issue 09, November 1984   page(s) 44,45,47

Monty Mole is probably the most similar to Manic Miner but there are many similarities to Quicksilva's Fred as well.

This time, you get to play a mile whose graphic is on four cursors, thus avoiding any confusion that this game is based on Manic Minder. Your task is to guide the mole around a series of caverns - about 21 in all - until your eventual escape. This package received a lot of media attention a few weeks ago due to its supposed connections with the miner's strike and its inclusion of an Arthur Scargill character. How Gremlin Graphics conned the TV companies into believing this, I'll never know - I've been through the whole game and can find no real links at all with the current industrial situation.

Anyway, back to the game. On the first screen you guide Monty over a river to collect a coal bucket in which to steal your coal - but the owner's not too happy about this and starts chasing you down the nearest available mine shaft. Once there, you can start collecting the twinkling pieces of coal. (For all you bug-hunters, try carrying on running towards the house and jumping just before you reach it - with any luck you'll find yourself in the coal-miner's house and he can't do a thing about it.)

The caverns are, in essence, very similar to those found in Manic Miner, with platforms and graphics characters trollying along, and up and down. Ropes have also been added for Monty to climb up and down (a la Fred), and extending platforms are also used quite effectively. You'll also come to hate the Coal Crushers that appear in most screens - they are totally unpredictable, except for the fact that you can assure yourself that whenever you decide to walk under them you'll be crushed! Another nice feature is the Antics-like technique of being able to change events by dong certain things; carrying certain objects around with you makes various walls disappear when you enter the screen, allowing you to explore still more of the caverns.

The program has a number of slightly off-putting characteristics which don't enhance its playability - for example: the graphics routine allows you to stand on any INKed pixel; you can get Monty actually standing in a graphic and still not have the fact that you've collected it registered; and if you die in a room having just caused a wall to disappear, that wall will appear with your new life and there's no way you can get past it!

Despite all this though, I still thought Monty Mole the most challenging of the three - even though it's the most blatant clone of Matthew's Manic Miner.

Use of Graphics: 9/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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