She's going to kill you… there you are, on the other side of town, your motorbike 's been stolen, you have only till 7.30 to get your girlfriend to a concert for which you don't even have the tickets yet. It never rains but it pours.
So find the parts of your bike, pick up your girlfriend, get the tickets and everything is sure to be hunky-dory - but fate throws plenty of pavement problems at you in Sidewalk, a rare Spectrum release from French software house Infogrames.
Progress through the town is shown on a horizontally-split screen. (The upper half shows the mean streets through which you walk and the shops you can go in; the lower halt is given over to icons.)
These streets are full of dropouts and thugs. You can ask the dropouts if they know where your bike is, or how to get tickets to the concert, but meeting a thug will almost certainty result in a fight.
In a fight you can punch, kick and head-butt. The pint of beer to the right side of the upper screen, which represents your energy, is matched by another pint pot displaying your opponent's strength. Both are drained by fighting, and refilling can only be done at a bar.
If you win a fight with a thug, any bike part that he's carrying is transferred to you - along with any money you can grab from him.
A clock ticks away, increasing the tension. Fail to complete your tasks, and your bike's gone for good, you won't get to the concert and your girl probably won't accept your excuses.
Sidewalk is an excellent cartoon adventure-type game. The characters, backgrounds and objects are all excellently defined, and the detail is amazing! On the 128K machine you get the added luxury of almost nonstop groovy music. The idea Is relatively simple, but presented this way and with these brill graphics, Sidewalk will go far.
Sidewalk makes a pleasant change from shoot-'em-ups and complex adventures. The monochromatic graphics are very well drawn, almost cartoon-like, and the sound is some of the best on the 48K Spectrum for a long time. It doesn't take long to learn how to deal with the thugs; the real enjoyment of Sidewalk derived from actually trying to recover the bits of the motorbike by visiting buildings and interacting with other characters. There's enough depth and puzzles to keep you coming back more, and with the clock clicking away you have to be quick your toes.
Sidewalk has some of the best graphics of the year, and the atmosphere created by them is so strong it's difficult to leave. And all the characters come over very realistically. The aim of the game is simple but extremely effective - much time is spent running around in a panic to avoid that final blow which will finish you off. And when you do die you've just got to have that one more go! Sidewalk is an exciting change from the usual type of game.