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Oscar

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Released: 1993

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Amiga CD32

Publisher: Flair Software

Developer: Flair Software

Submitted by: Matt Boyer

Oscar came out in the middle of the mascot platformer boom for Amiga CD32, Amiga, DOS, and SNES. While it doesn’t give Mario or Sonic anything to worry about, it’s a fun game, if a bit frustrating.

From the hub world of a movie theatre, Oscar can enter a number of “Screens” which transport him into levels based on film and TV genres. There are several, ranging from the expected Science Fiction, Horror, and Wild West to the more bizarre Gameshow and Kids’ TV stages. You can tackle them in any order, and all are filled with appropriate enemies and imagery for the genre, Oscar himself wears an outfit to suit each setting.

The object of each stage is to find a set amount of Oscars (tiny versions of our protagonist’s head) and then get to the clapperboard, which is situated somewhere in the stage and acts as an exit.

Standing in your way are numerous enemies that come in many shapes and sizes, and are made difficult to despatch by the fact that you have to hit them three times to kill them. The game is very colourful and vibrant, and the backgrounds are often quite detailed, making enemies difficult to spot. After some play you get used to what things look like and find your adversaries easier to see, but you can still be caught by surprise. A lot of frustration is tempered however thanks to the charming and imaginative nature of the baddies. Throughout the many stages you will face anything from living garden gnomes, to toy fire trucks, to space robots. You even find malevolent CD32 control pads to battle.

The music is great, as is often the case with Amiga games, and coupled with the variety of stages and imaginative ideas help to make Oscar a fun addition to the platform genre. It won’t win any awards for execution, there are quite a few dodgy jumps and collision detection doesn’t always behave, but it’s easy to find on CD32 (in a double pack with Diggers) and well worth a go.