Imagine living in a place called Dewdropland. Where the sun shines brightly every day and people jump out of bed and look forward to the day ahead. A cute land filled with gingerbread houses, with no unpleasantness at all. No wars, unemployment, inflation or trouble. Wouldn't it be great?
The answer is, of course, no. It would be horrible. Just imagine how bored you'd feel. You'd deliberately try and mess things up just to make it interesting.
And one man who has tried to is Professor Fransz Dandruff. He's kidnapped Pearly, Dewdropland's reigning beauty queen. As nothing in Dewdropland remotely approaches ugliness, you can imagine how utterly scrummy young Pearly is.
However, her disappearance has not gone unnoticed: her cute co-habitee Flimbo has vowed to rescue the poor dear from the slimy yet surprisingly strong clutches of Dandruff. To this end, he has set off towards Dandruff Manor, where she's being held (very tightly!).
Before reaching Pearly, Flimbo must negotiate seven levels of baddies. These are the Genetically Undesirable Mutants that the Prof has been breeding in his lab. Rather than pity these poor creatures, Dewdropland's population want to see them exterminated (presumably because they're not beautiful enough to live!). Flimbo has a gun, and gets twenty quid for each mutant he murders. This money is very useful because each level has a shop. The proprietor of these shops is a curious individual known only as Dazz Bazian. He sells various useful items such as Temporary Invulnerability, a better gun, scrolls and an extension to your time limit.
The scrolls are the key to each level. You must collect a certain number. You can get them by killing any flashing mutants, who drop them, or alternatively by saving up your money and buying them in the shops. Usually you'll get all the scrolls you need by a combination of these methods. Collect enough and you'll proceed to the next level.
As you explore each level, you come across unexpected hazards, extra rooms (packed with loot) and other surprises. All the time you'll be slaughtering hordes of mutants and collecting the little piles of dosh they leave behind.
Each level has one of Dazz Bazian's chain-stores (which, like McDonalds, all look the same inside). They also all have a secret room at each end of the playing area. There are one or two new mutants in every new level, but they behave in a very similar way to the ones that they have replaced on the previous level.
A clock ticks down in the bottom right-hand corner. This time limit dissuades you from staying in a safe spot and blasting the mutants until you have enough money to buy all the scrolls you need.
The graphics are, like Dewdropland itself, bright and cheerful. They are smooth, large and cute, but because of the detail on some of the levels, can look rather confusing. Flimbo sometimes merges with the backgrounds on some screens, to become a jumble of colours. The first screen suffers from this more than the others.
Flimbo waddles around wearing a Baby-gro, and with a beanie on his huge head. This hydrocephalic appearance is as cute as any could stand without feeling nauseated. The mutants also look good. One type seems so harmless and pathetic that it's almost a pity to waste them in their droves. But at £20 a head, it's certainly worth it.
Sound is simple, and contrasts rather with the sugary-sweetness of the display. There is a nice, fluffy theme tune, too.
Flimbo's Quest is cutesy, colourful and not too difficult. There are no hard puzzles, and not many split-second leaps. There are two ways to get through the levels; firstly just kill everything on one or two screens until you've enough money to buy your way up; secondly to explore, and to kill the scroll-bearing mutants as and when you find them.
The lack of real challenge means that you generally lose your lives by making silly mistakes, which can get very tedious. This lends the game an infuriating addictiveness. You know that you can get to the next level, bui you scream and shout when you don't make it.
This is a compulsive game. It's very frustrating and you'll keep playing with grim determination. This is totally contradictory to the sweetness oozing out of the program, but it works, and it's fun.
P. Rainbow Islands still has it, but this is close.
N. A wee bit dour.
N. A nice tune, though.
Grab Factor 77%
P. Not too difficult to understand or play.
P. You can't really get lost, either.
Staying Power 66%
N. Can get a bit samey.
N. Each level requires a similar approach.
P. Not too difficult but very frustrating.