Amstrad Action1st December 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #15
It's A Knockout
Remember the maniacal laugh of Smart Hall and the aimless banter of Eddie Waring? Well, sadly, this computer version wouldn't even raise a chuckle out of Stuart let alone Eddie. Frankly I think it ought to be re-named It's A Cock-up and given away as a booby prize on Blankety Blank.
There are six mini-games based on the TV series with six countries taking part in the competition. Up to six players can compete or just one player against the computer. Interspersed with five events is the marathon, where one country takes a turn at it between rounds. The other five all happen at once. All the events are just a single screen, except for the last one, the obstacle race.
The marathon game is called Bronte Bash where you have to move a weight above six holes and drop it on the brontosaurus that appears before it ducks back down again. As with most of the games it's a matter of hitting as many as possible within a time limit.
The first game is Flying Flans. You stand on the right of a wall while flans are thrown over it for you to catch. If you miss them they land on the floor and make you skid about while trying to catch more flans. Harlem Hoppers is next: you control a character attached to a piece of elastic. He has to run across the screen to catch balls rolling off a camel's back. This one takes very careful timing and a good deal of luck.
The Titanic Drop is one of those entertaining water events where everybody gets wet. Four contestants will one at a time slide down a rope and you have to drop them into the water at the right time to pass through a ring in the water. The rings have varying points values that change as the game goes along. After Titanic comes the Diet of Worms, where you control a bird that has to peck up as many worms as possible. They wriggle up and down while another bird also tries to eat them.
The last event is the obstacle race. It's a scrolling decathlon type game where you have to waggle to move along and jump over obstacles like a water ditch, log and ball. Each event scores six points for the winner down to one for last place. The grand total of all events determines the winner.
The graphics for all the events are really quite dreadful. It wouldn't surprise me if it had been written in Basic. The events rely a lot on random chance and have very repetitive gameplay anyway. As a silly party game for six players it might have some entertainment value, but otherwise it's very disappointing.
First Day Target Score
15 points against computer opponents
P. Multi-player games may be fun.
N. Control is jerky and the game pace slow.
N. Simple repetitive tasks.
N. It isn't even funny.
Green Screen View
I couldn't bear to look.
I must say it's good to see Ocean keeping up standards and producing utter rubbish such as It's A Knockout. It has to stop! Software houses must realise that big advertisement campaigns and a lot of hype are not the only factors necessary to sell a game.
It's A Cock-up has pathetic square-looking graphics, raspberry-like sound effects (with the occasional beep thrown in) and amateurish programming. All this for £9! What a bargain!