Egghead Goes To Town (Fusion Retro Books) Review | - Everygamegoing


Egghead Goes To Town
By Fusion Retro Books
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Egghead Goes To Town

Egghead is a Jonathan Cauldwell creation - yes, it comes from the man who was writing new Spectrum games long before it was fashionable. As with other famous eggs, if you've played one of Egghead's adventures, you pretty much know what to expect from any of the others. In short, you get to play a cartoony-looking egg with feet, and indulge in some flick-screen collect-'em-up antics. I'll say one thing for Egghead too... he's certainly the most controllable egg in town!

The back-story, such as it is, is that Egghead is collecting up the pages of a manuscript. Indeed, the pages of a new issue of Crash, that favourite of many an Eighties' Spectrum-owning schoolboy. Why Crash? Well, last year, a Crash annual appeared, having been successfully crowdfunded by all those afore mentioned schoolboys. Indeed, Egghead Goes To Town was initially only released on a physical cassette and given away free to all those who pledged a certain amount towards the Crash Annual. (As you might have guessed, I was one of them!) Hence the back-story is a tenuous connection to the crowdfunding campaign. There's another connection to another crowdfunding campaign hiding within the game too, but I think the less said about that one, the better!

Initially I was a bit loathe to give Egghead Goes To Town a chance. I think that's because I have played all of its prequels. All steadily improved upon one another, culminating in fifth outing Egghead Round The Med which is quite definitely one of the biggest and best Spectrum platformers ever produced. The Med was always going to be a hard act to follow, but, unfortunately, Cronosoft did so... with a rather pitiful follow-up in the form of Egghead's Cracking Day Out. And, yes, before you all say Egghead's Cracking Day Out was actually written a long time before Egghead Round The Med, I do know that. But it was nevertheless a massive step backwards after the awesome Mediterranean jaunt. Cracking Day Out was also produced at the behest of a third party (a museum) rather than springing forth from Cauldwell's fertile imagination. Indeed, there's a temptation, when you know of the creativity that runs through Cauldwell's veins, that if his latest release is "just another Egghead game", that fact alone immediately feels a little disappointing. This is, after all, the man behind Telly Addicts, Gamex, Mr. Fruity and Quantum Gardening! (And see for even more).

Egghead Goes To Town

When I did load it up, however, I was quite pleasantly surprised. As is usual with these "room-by-room" games, you don't really need a great deal of skill to play it and, quite often, you won't really try to "win" it as much as "try to see a bit more of it". Wandering through the screens (which are all named "Jet Set Willy"-style), you'll encounter those which you merely cross (such as the grain store) and those which you need to carefully plot a route over in order to avoid the roaming nasties and collect up those flashing manuscript pages. I quite liked some of the "unexpectedly fast" patterns of the roaming nasties in the game too - these range from spikes coming out of the ground, or stalactites stabbing down from the ceiling, to the rising and falling pods you must duck under. Many of them rise at one speed, but fall at a much faster one. This is an interesting quirk. It's almost like a jump scare when it happens, and when it's combined with Egghead's rather unique way of dying, the effect is magnified.

That's not to say this game is unfair to play though - unlike many other platformers, all of the Egghead games only rarely call for pixel perfect accuracy! - and the graphics are the usual "colourful monochrome" style that cleverly avoid colour clash. There's even a handy summary of how far you got when it's game over. There are a few cultural inclusions too (I recognised the Rentaghost theme in the haunted house), as well as an "arc" over certain screens like the battlements area. There are some nice touches like ropes that you can swing from (a first for Egghead) and waterfalls that you can pass behind (They seem pointless, but they're aesthetically pleasing). Yerzmyey fans take note too - this game has a fantastic thumping bass sound by the man himself on the intro page.

There's nothing really to criticize about the game itself other than to say Egghead does seem to have passed his best by this stage. I also thought the instructions let the game down a little too - they don't detail the fact that it's a lot bigger than it may at first appear, and that the telephone box-looking sprites scattered about the screens are actually teleporters. And it's a bit of a shame that you can't have that Yerzmyey masterpiece play throughout the game itself (You could in previous Egghead games) - the in-game riffs when you collect items are a lot less pleasing to the ears.

But all things considered, Egghead Goes To Town is a fine return to form for Egghead and his adventures. It may not be as good as Round The Med but it is a very imaginative offering and, if you've never played an Egghead game before, it's at least as good as the other five.

Dave E

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