Head Over Heels (Ocean) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Head Over Heels
By Ocean
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #20


Head Over Heels

Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond are without doubt the masters of Amstrad arcade adventures. First they produced Batman, the biggest breakthrough in 3D arcade adventures since Knight Lore, and now comes a new dynamic duo, Head and Heels. They are the characters in Head Over Heels, which has twice as many locations as Batman, many original features, and gameplay even more devastatingly addictive.

The game is set in the Blacktooth Empire. Head and his partner Heels are two spies from neighbouring star systems. They are trying to destroy the tyrannical Blacktooth rulers, but have been imprisoned. Your task is to guide them to escape and find the crowns of the five worlds in the Blacktooth Empire, which will spark off a revolution.

Searching for the five crowns is similar to trying to get the seven pieces of the Batmobile in Batman. But the game is a good deal tougher because of twice as many rooms, many more puzzles and the complication of having two characters to control.

Head Over Heels

Head and Heels are the key element that prevents this being Batman II. They are cute little things; Head having a big hooter nose and Heels looking like a dog. You control them both and can switch to the other at any time. Head is able to jump quite high but walks slowly; Heels moves faster but can't jump far. Head also has stubby wings, allowing him to move while he falls.

At the start of the game you have to find crucial objects. Head has to get a hooter and Heels a bag. With the hooter Head can shoot doughnuts, which also have to be picked up, and with the bag Heels can carry objects. Doughnuts are limited in supply but very useful weapons for freezing the nasty moving dangers that you face.

The early screens contain a few fundamental tests that will get you into the action. Head has to learn how to climb ladders, a crucial skill - and the game will spring the first of its many surprises. You'll need to tread carefully wherever you are: Ritman and Drummond know just when to catch you unaware with a sneaky trap.

Head Over Heels

Before long you'll get both characters out into a marketplace where they can meet. Once together Head and Heels can do something amazing. Just jump Head onto Heels and they combine to make a single unit. You now have the skills of both of them: speed, large jumps, carrying and shooting.

You'd think there would be no reason to break this formidable partnership apart. The programmers have concocted a harder game than that. On a ladder, Head has to go it alone. Heels, on the other hand, is the only one that can use "Hush Puppies". These dogs that never move are quite happy to let Heels leap all over them like a staircase, but the trouble is they disappear at the sight of Head!

Other obstacles to Head and Heels as a pair will require a variety of skills and combinations. Sometimes a character will have to go it alone; in other situations they will have to be combined; and to complete tasks in some rooms you'll even have to alternate between them. This is the essence of the game and tests your powers of logic, imagination and the ability to get inside the warped minds of the programmers.

Head Over Heels

After more exploration you will discover the teleport terminals that take you to the four other worlds. Each is large and has a theme represented in the graphics: Egyptus, Penitentiary, Safari and Book World. You have to find a crown or each of them before returning to get the final crown on Blacktooth. The planets are where you'll encounter the toughest puzzles that will test you to the limit.

The graphics are even more stunning than Batman. There's tremendous variety, plenty of great colour schemes, attention to every detail - and humour. Musical ditties pop up all the time and there are many jolly sound-effects.

Throughout the game are many enjoyable features that provide both variety and humour to the action. Cuddly stuffed white rabbits give extra lives, extra speed, extra jump or invulnerability. Reincarnation fish allow you to restart in a position after dying. And there are also teleports, springs, switches and conveyor belts.

Head Over Heels

There's an unhealthy dose of dangers as well. They range from the static but deadly through the random movers and the patterned movers to those that home in on you. Getting around is done by walking, jumping, teleporting, using lifting platforms and by letting others lake the strain too.

Despite the similarities to Batman I really can't praise the game highly enough. It's so easy to start playing and you just can't put it down as you discover new features, new rooms and puzzles that you just have to solve. The 300-odd locations will take a lot more exploring and solving than Batman. I defy you not to love this game.

Second Opinion

What a tremendous game! The graphics are superbly designed, the characters perfectly animated, the gameplay so addictive you'll never want to switch off. There is plenty of variety and an abundance of humour. Head Over Heels is set to become a classic.

First Day Target Score


Green Screen View

Screens look stunning, even in green.


Graphics 96%
P. Excellent attention to detail and colour.
P. Great characters, animation and effects.

Sonics 68%
P. Good ditties throughout game.

Grab Factor 95%
P. Easy puzzles to get you started.
P. Fun characters and combination feature.

Staying Power 96%
P. Over 300 rooms.
P. Some extremely devious and testing puzzles.
P. Enormous variety.

Overall 95% P. Obviously similar to Batman.
N. But yon can't call that bad news, and it's packed with originality anyway. Nuff said.


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