Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum
Publisher: Softstone Ltd/ Firebird
Developer: Perfection Software
Submitted by: Andrew Hunt
As far as I'm concerned there were four big 'names' in ZX Spectrum platforming. Miner Willy, Monty Mole, Dynamite Dan and Technician Ted. I suppose these last two might not have quite the cachet of the miners, but as a kid those were the games that were at the top of the pile. And yet there was another…
He had no name, but he single-handedly stopped the desolation of Winfrith Heath becoming even more desolate. He was the man who shut down the Dragon reactor core. He had weird little legs, but boy could he jump! And he was crippled by an almost complete lack of upper body movement due to the ridiculous amount of gas in his abdominal cavity which gave him the capacity to bounce off walls. And not only did he shut down the Dragon reactor core, but when it turned out that there was an actual dragon involved he went through the whole bloody reactor once more so that he could finish off the beast as well. What a hero!
Now it is true that Fahrenheit 3000 doesn't look as pretty as Monty Mole or Dynamite Dan, and he doesn't jump as smoothly or have as nice music as the other guys (no music at all except for the marvellous rendition of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor in the title screen) and it has that slightly annoying random element when it comes to 'operating the pressure valves', but what Fahrenheit 3000 does have in contrast to all those other games is this – I could finish it.
That's not to say that I did finish it, not back in 1985, don't be ridiculous! 25 years later and with snapshots I finished it. But having finished it I know that I could have finished it if I'd really persisted. And that's not something I could say for Jet Set Willy, Dynamite Dan, Monty Mole (maybe I could have finished Wanted: Monty Mole but not the other games) and abso-positively-lutely not bloody Technician Ted.
Why am I so sure of this? Because I bloody loved Fahrenheit 3000, for all its graphical uselessness and terrible sound effects. And I loved it because it's map was a square grid that I could understand and know that I'd visited most of its rooms, because it gave you about half a billion lives to play with (give or take, let's say 63 lives if we're being accurate here), because I liked the way it used the FLASH attribute as an object you could stand on, because I liked the dissolving fences (which I liked to believe were uranium piles, but in the context of the game that makes no sense at all) and because I liked that you could bounce off walls. It gave a slightly different play mechanic to the other games. Sure there were platforms and you had to jump over things, but in order to get to some items you had to bounce around a bit. The room that I've shown here is a really good example of this (and I notice that it's also the room that is shown in the World of Spectrum archive) and because of that it's also probably a good example of why some people didn't like the game because bouncing off walls isn't what people are used to – I know some couldn't even get off the first screen and I can only guess it's because they couldn't get their heads round this. That, or they were rubbish and I am brilliant.
Yeah, it's definitely that.