We got an absolute mass of press blurb with this one, readers. Loads of sheets of paper detailing all the different TV channels around the world showing the series. (Quick news flash for our Icelandic readers - Potsworth starts its second run on Channel 2 on June 15th, in a new regular 10:30am spot on Saturdays! Good news, huh?)
Amongst all this is the slightly dubious claim that the series has attracted 5.1 million viewers on the BBC, making it the number one cartoon series in Britain. So how come neither your reviewer's ten year-old sister, nor any of her mates, have ever heard of it? Maybe we're being too suspicious-minded. After all, who could really gain from exaggerating the popularity of a cartoon dog? [Hmmm, any chance of a game review sometime soon? - Ed]
Okay, Potsworth is a platform game of five levels. There is a basic game concept, with each level offering a slight variation on that theme. The game is very big, graphics are pretty good, though not the sort of thing you'll want to look at after eating a smoked kipper [What? - Ed], and the sound does the job.
It is a fairly difficult little venture, especially considering the tough time limits, but the cheat mode isn't that hard to find, and just check out that tape-disk price differential. Why can't all the softies follow this example?
With no password system, Potsworth might get repetitive after a while, and mapping is to be recommended. The scrolling is smooth, the action can get frantic, and the sheer size of the game for the price wins it a Mastergame award and loads of jelly tots.
But we'll have to save one bag of jelly tots to give to Maryanne for drawing and colouring in all the characters on this page. We'll even forgive her for sticking flower petals all over our copy of Machine Guns Illustrated (probably).
Level One: ROSIE
The first level features the "girl with an attitude" (i.e. stroppy) Rosie, who has been hurled into the Cave Zone. This is a Blues Brothers style explore-'em-up, with lifts that need to be triggered by pushing boxes onto the big buttons alongside. Use a similar technique to start conveyor belts. As with most of the levels, there are six objects to collect (in this case, the parts of a ghetto blaster). Very big and very tricky. A baptism of fire, most definitely.
Level Two: NICK
Nick considers himself a superhero of some sort, the nerd. Oh hang on, he is a super hero, and the second level of Potsworth & Co features Nick's attempt to get up a tall building, collecting a magic poppy (ooer!) on the way. There are swings to set in motion, pipes to zoom up, and lots of platform leaps that don't seem possible (but pressing Fire again and again in mid-air will enable Nick to fly higher). Tricky.
Level Three: POTSWORTH
Woof, woof, cartoon fans, it's the star of the show himself. Unfortunately, the Candy Zone level is pretty crap, featuring as it does nightmaringly garish colour-clash graphics from hell. Potty has to collect six cocoa beans whilst travelling around a zone full of candy canes, sherbet fountains, dripping ice lollies and the like. The whole shabang starts to get a bit boring and repetitive around this point, but fortunately the game picks up again on the following level.
Level Four: CARTER
The easiest level of all, with Jim Bob and Fruitbat [Er no, it's not that Carter actually - Ed] travelling the Rainbow Zone. This level is just like Rainbow Islands. Carter paints ledges and then jumps on them (sounds familiar?) and he has to collect six pieces of a painting to finish the level. There are trampolines to jump on and clouds to leap from, but what's the point when you can just paint ledges instead?
Level Five: KEIKO
Yo Skateboard dudette Keiko, time to take to the fun and funky Carnival Zone. There are five mystical arrows and a dollar bill to collect. Stars give Keiko's skateboard the power of flight, and there are fairground rides that need to be turned off for safe passage. Hesitate on a couple of the star-aided sections and you could end up stuck at the bottom of a big pit with no stars in it and no way to get back up. Left there to rot till the time runs out. It's a hard life, eh, gamesters?
Very colourful with nice big sprites, but not much in the way of animation.
Fairly spanky effects. Tune is more irritating than a Bruce Springsteen song.
Grab Factor 88%
Familiar opening level, and a challenge just waiting to be met.
Staying Power 92%
Some variety in the levels and it's big, but perhaps a bit difficult.