Format reviewed: Commodore 64
Submitted by: Matthew Aston
You know, there’s something about 8bit games that I just love, and that’s the innocence of them. Heck, even the most violent 8bit games pale in comparison today’s blood spattered gore fests on Xbox and PlayStation 3. Where has all the innocence from games gone?
Of course the graphical prowess of the Commodore, Speccy and Amstrad was extremely limited, so realistic violence wasn’t ever going to be an issue back in those early days. Sure, we’ve got still our Mario’s and Sonic’s after all these years, but there tends to be far more violent games now than there were back in the golden age of computer and video games.
Mikie is an excellent example of an innocent computer game. The Commodore 64 version was ported from the arcade original by Imagine in 1986. Mikie differs slightly from the arcade original in that Mikie no longer has a head butt move. Perhaps in an effort to make the computer ports more child friendly Mikie instead has a shout attack. However, unlike his arcade counterpart this attack can only be used oddly to obtain hearts inside lockers and on tables, it can’t be used to attack enemies.
Mikie is at school and his girlfriend has hidden a message for him inside heart shaped objects that must be collected from each of the five levels. This would be straightforward if it wasn’t for the people chasing him, including his teacher, the janitor and the school chef! Colliding with any of these people will claim a life from Mikie. Also if Mikie’s teacher can’t catch him he will attempt to fell our protagonist by throwing his false teeth, ouch!
There are five levels, including the classroom, the locker room, the canteen, the gymnasium, and finally the playground. On first level Mikie must push his peers from off their chairs in order to obtain the hearts underneath, whilst also avoiding his teacher (and his teeth). Collecting all of the hearts opens the door to corridor. In the corridor he must avoid his pursuers and enter the next level. Mikie is aided by some extras during his quest; in the locker room he can temporarily stun some of the enemies by picking up and throwing basketballs at them. While in the canteen he can throw cooked chickens. Once Mikie has collected the last of the hearts, the game ends with Mikie and his girlfriend at the playground gates. The game then loops back to the start again.
I have fond memories of this when I was a nipper, although back then it wasn’t my favourite game, but I remember my older brother played it loads. The controls are good, the graphics aren’t the best, but are colourful and well defined. The sound is excellent and there are two Beatles tunes ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ that have been faithfully reproduced by Martin Galway.
Due to the lack of the head butt attack, I think the C64 version is considerably harder than the arcade original, but it’s by no means less fun to play. Still, as one of my early Commodore games, it will always be a bit of a classic to me.
Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum
Developer: Jonathan Smith
Submitted by: Gavin Eke
It was a Hard days night as famously sung by some pop outfit from Liverpool & apparently this was true for Mikie as well. I had never seen or heard of this game until Crash Magazine gave it glowing praise in it's hallowed pages. Essentially, played like a schoolyard version of Pac-Man, Mikie had to gather hearts for his girlfriend that spelt out various messages before he could leave the area, be it a classroom, changing rooms or the cheerleading class. Of course it was never going to be plain sailing with an assortment of Teachers, Janitors & irate chefs keen on nabbing this young upstart in love. However, there were only four or five stages culminating in the schoolyard where Mikie's girlfriend would be waiting for the final message before being returned to the Classroom to repeat the task. Some girls are never satisfied it seems!
The Spectrum version was converted by the very able Jonathan Smith. Graphically, Mikie was very colorful apart from the main character sprites who were uniformly doled out in black. The soundtrack was an excellent reproduction of a Beatles Classic, particulary for the humble Spectrum. Even though the game is short, it has a good replay value & I still return to it today.