If you were paying attention you probably saw Phil's mega scoop preview in the June ish. If you weren't then you deserve a slap on the trotter (slap, squeal). Anyway, there's some good news: the game is now out! Some more good news is that I'm going to try to review it without resorting to the use of countless 'piggy puns.' I wonder if I'll succeed? Here goes (chops away).
As Phil divulged, Psycho Pig is a coin-op conversion of a Jaleco arcade machine called Pigs And Bombers which hasn't actually been imported into this country, so you probably won't have seen it.
As you may have gathered the game is based on the zany antics of everybody's favourite farmyard chums. Yes, pigs. And in this case the pigs are armed and extremely dangerous. Let's have a butchers (groan).
After a brief introductory parade of your fellow constestants, the playing area is revealed and your pig enters from screen left. Also on screen are your porky opponents and loads of bombs with numbers on them. The referee blows his (pig and) whistle and spammo - the game is on.
Moving at the speed of ham (quickly), your opponents zoom about the screen, pick up bombs, zoom about the screen a bit more and then eject their explosive payloads - quite often in your direction. You have to do much the same thing; the object being to turn them into crackling while dodging about and saving your own bacon.
The bombs, when thrown, travel a half screenish distance before coming to rest. If they hit a pig before coming to rest, they explode - taking out anyone in their immediate vicinity. If they hit a wall they bounce back - following Newton's laws.
The action is pretty frantic, but a lot of bombs do tend to come to rest, and this is where the numbers embellished on them (remember?) come into play. On leaving a pig's trotters a bomb will begin to count down towards zero. The seconds tick away visually until at about three seconds (and counting) the bomb will begin to flash. Guess where it isn't a good idea to be standing? (Next to the bomb? An incredibly astute reader) Yes, that's right - unless you want to pop your cork (or, indeed, cop your pork).
"Psycho Pig is a porker of a corker."
As you progress up the levels things get, as you might expect, a lot trickier - the initial countdown number on the bombs get smaller, some of the bombs start counting down without even being picked up and the pigs get harder to kill - requiring more direct hits.
Occasionally a deceased opponent will leave behind a little icon. Helpful little chaps, these, bestowing you with extra powers; throw further, blast protection suit, wider explosion and run faster to name but four.
Every so often, between the levels, there is a sub-game: a section where you can get to fatten up your score. For about one minute pigs will pop their heads up out of holes in the ground. What you have to do is run around planting kisses on their gobs before they pop back down again. The more tongue sarnies you deliver, the more points you get.
The graphics are animated nicely. and there's no colour clash (largely because there's no colour - but this is the kind of game where different coloured sprites would cause horrendous problems). In the sound department it's just spot effects on 48K, but on 128K there's a continuous tune (sort of an Irish jig stroke hillbilly foot stomper). Oh, and by the way, there's a simultaneous two-player option, so you can throw bombs at your best friend as well.
All in all, Psycho Pigs UXB is a porker of a corker. As addictive as bacon and twice as sausagey - especially on 128K.
Anyway - how did I do in the 'not making any awful piggy-pun stakes?' (not very well. Ed). Oh.
A meaty, frantic dashabout the screen and bomb anything that moves 'em-up. Like a bacon sandwich, you'll be coming back for more.