Amstrad Action1st November 1992
Published in Amstrad Action #86
Rufus might be a frog. Or he might be a sprout. It really is a bit difficult to tell. One thing's for sure - he really is a prize dweeb.
His first mistake was sneaking aboard a mining ship as a stowaway, trying to save on his fare back to Earth. His second mistake was getting caught. His third mistake was having a body like an overloaded bladder. Which is why, presumably, he has to roll and bounce around instead of using his legs like any other normal person.
All this assumes a rather special significance, because Rufus has been beamed down on the to planet Killey to collect some crystals. Five, in fact. (Huh - easy!) On all 130 levels (Eek!).
The planet surface is a bit treacherous, though. You move from block to block to get to the crystals, but there are gaps to fall through, so watch where you're going. Sometimes there won't be a route round at all - which is why there are special blocks with numbers on. When you step off these into empty space, a new block appears beneath you. The number on the blocks shows how many new blocks you can get out of them.
So there's a bit of strategy involved, then? You bet. Because there are lots of rather tricky blocks you've got to know about, too. They can send you flying over gaps, reverse your controls, give you extra ammo, open up and let you fall through, carry you off on a conveyor belt... crikey, it's all a bit much until you've learned what they do.
And on top of that you've got these pesky aliens which whizz around, threatening to do you in (ah, so that's what the ammo's for!). You can either dodge these nasties or shoot them (press Fire and then aim with the joystick).
Basically, what you've got here is a neat mix of puzzling and arcade action. Sometimes you really do have to think very hard about how you're going to get those crystals. Not easy when you're fighting off horribly alien things that look like mutants from a lego box. Er yes, the graphics are a bit blocky, actually. But they're nice and colourful. It's just a pity they have to chug around as slowly as they do. It makes the whole control method (keyboard or joystick) dodgy and vague, which is the last thing you want when you're trying to dodge/shoot enemies.
The sound is... well, pretty normal really. There's a jolly tune to listen to (which you get a bit tired of after about a million plays) and some OK sound effects. Well, they tell you when you've scored a bonus or shot something, anyway.
Reckless Rufus is a rather good little puzzle game. Fighting off the monsters is frustrating rather than challenging, but it keeps you on your toes. And it's a huge game, too. How huge? Well, there are 130 screens (with passwords every ten levels, just to cut down on the frustration a bit), and between them they take up both sides of the tape (the second half of the game has to be loaded from side 2). That's big.
On top of that, some of those screens are so weird and tough that they're almost games in themselves. In terms of playing time per pound, Reckless Rufus is stupidly good value for money.
Bright 'n' colourful, but they don't exactly rush around. A bit too sluggish for comfort, basically.
A happy little tune sends you bouncing on your way, and various jingles, bleeps and raspberry sounds.
You can see what you've got to do straight away... if only the controls were a bit snappier, though.
Staying Power 92%
Are you joking? With 130 infuriating but addictive screens, you'll be playing this when you're old and grey.
It looks pretty, it sounds good, it's addictive and it's huge. If only it moved a bit faster.