Computer game writers have fertile imaginations. It never ceases to amaze me how a similar concept in a game can be presented in so many different ways. Take Dare Devil Dennis for example. It represents a novel approach to getting from one end of a screen to another while jumping over or ducking under various objects en route - a Killer Gorilla type of game, but with some original effects.
The object is to manipulate Dennis, a stuntman, around three scenarios. These are land, where Dennis rides a motorcycle, sea, where he controls a wetbike (a James Bond contraption), and snow, in which Dennis dons his skis. The screen display consists of four evenly spaced horizontal lines, representing the landscape, and Dennis rides (or skis) along the landscape from the top line to the bottom.
Dennis' progress can be controlled from three keys: Space bar to jump, Shift to accelerate and RETURN to stop. There are six skill levels, ranging from Novice through Oscar Nominee to Ace, within each of which there are six intermediate stages.
Among the original effects is the 'Dennis The Stuntman' theme, which holds it all together. This is carried through even to the high score table, which shows your achievement in terms of wages earned. Each new life (there are three) is announced with the slam of a clapper-board closing (This is a film set, after all!) and a new 'take'.
But there are irritating things about the software. Although the sprites are well defined, and there are thirty of them, the screen has an empty look. The graphics can be unpredictable when there is a crash and this can detract from the realism of the game. On the plus side, however, the BREAK key is disabled, including CTRL-BREAK. The sound effects are good, especially those when Dennis is on skis. The graphics are smooth during a jump, and a crash is fun to watch at first as Dennis is thrown from his vehicle and lands upside-down flailing his legs.
Dare Devil Dennis seems to have been written with a sprite-making package, yet despite its well-defined characters the screen display is a disappointment. Nevertheless I found the game quite challenging and the higher skill levels proved difficult. A pity the screen isn't more fully utilised.