Escape From The Sewers

Author: Dave E
Publisher: Matra
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Escape From The Sewers

Jerry Seinfeld once opined: "I'm getting a little bit sick of having to celebrate somebody's birthday. All you did was not die for one more year!" A ripple of laughter followed. In much the same vein, I'm personally getting a little bit sick of having to review yet another La Churrera-created platform game. All you did was produce the exact same game with different graphics!

What makes the whole reviewing process even harder is that, although the La Churrera game creator has its fans, I'm not one of them. In fact ever since I encountered Zombie Calavera some four years ago, I've harboured a real hatred for many aspects of the platform games created with it. My biggest irk is when you collide with a bad guy - I'd rather be immediately killed off than flung hither and thither around the screen, potentially coming to rest in even more danger! Now Escape From The Sewers might not have the frustration factor of Zombie, but it's still extremely hard to find anything encouraging to say about it.

The story, such as it is, is that you are a paper-based magazine which somehow has life, consciousness, arms and legs. Blah, really?! I'd even prefer the whole robot struck by lightning scenario to something so palpably stupid as that. But anyway, said bundle of papers has fallen into a sewer. A bit of a futuristic one, too, in that it's the only sewer I've ever heard of which has sections protected by keycard entry. Your task is to move around the sewers collecting the keycards, opening the doors and escaping to freedom. You have ten lives and you'll lose a life on contact with the poisonous snakes and spiders that inhabit your new home, or if you fall into the pools of acid (Yeah, this sewer also has acidic pools. Go figure!) liberally scattered around. So far, so blah.

Escape From The Sewers

The screens are dull and unexciting fare, with small, indistinct sprites that hark back to the very early days of computing. The 128K version of the game does at least have some atmospheric music (on both the title screen and throughout the game) but the tedium of actually playing the game itself tends to make you dismiss it. Collision detection is harsh, with the loss of a life occurring even when you could have sworn you didn't touch the enemy. The animated intro screens do little to elevate the game because of the totally ridiculous plot.

To give it a fair hearing, and to try and get my money's worth, I persevered with Escape From The Sewers for a good hour or so and managed to get almost to the end of the game. That probably means La Churrera fans will see it off within less than 30 minutes - which begs the question why Matra felt that this was in any way worthy of a physical release at all. Quite honestly, I'd hoped that the Los 4 Churros compilation it released last year might have signalled a move away from releasing La Churrera games as standalone cassettes. And the game copyright message even reads 2015, begging not only the question "Why?" but "Why now?"

Unless you've never played a platform game before, I suspect you'll have seen everything Escape From The Sewers does done better elsewhere a hundred times before.

People may still laughing at Jerry Seinfeld's jokes but I suspect no-one's even slightly amused by this effort.

Dave E

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