Amstrad Action1st November 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #26
Sidewalk, the latest game from Infogrames, is unusual in that it is in monochrome. Some software houses do this by accident when converting Spectrum games, but this time it's deliberate and indicative of the current innovative nature of French software. But is it any good to play?
In this adventure-type game, you have to recover the parts of your stolen bike and buy some tickets for a concert before your girlfriend goes without you. The screen is split into two areas. The top part shows your view of the part of town that you are in and the bottom shows you how much of the bike you have collected.
If you meet anyone while wandering around town you'll be given a choice of three things to do: fight, talk to them or run. Talking to them gives you a choice of several things to say. These either gain you useful information or insult whoever you are talking to, causing them to attack you. This would seem to be for those who like a good argument to warm them up for a fight.
Parts of the bike have been distributed between the low-lifes in the town. They can be relieved of anything that they are carrying by beating them up - very subtle. Beating people up is done in the same style as most combat games, whereby you can perform a number of fighting moves. These include a head-butt, punch or kick.
When in combat, two beer glasses appear on screen: one yours, the other your opponent's. The level of beer lowers each time you're hit and the one who runs out of beer first, loses. The winner gains whatever the loser was carrying. If you are hit when you have no beer left in the glass then you die and have to start again. Beer can be regained by going to the bar and topping up on your favourite pint which is free! (my kind of pub).
At the start of the game you have £50 and this increases or decreases according to your actions. You must have enough money to buy the tickets for the Band Aid concert which you are going to with your girlfriend, or she's going to be very upset.
At any time you may visit the telephone box to call your girlfriend and reassure her that you will be there soon. It you have not reassembled your bike, picked up the tickets and picked up your girlfriend by 7:30pm then she will have gone with John.
The graphics are black on white and are high-resolution. The detail on the graphics is good, particularly the close-ups that you get of the people you meet. The streets are well-designed too but the animation during combat is not very good. Different tunes are played according to what you do in the game: tunes for winning or losing a light, running away and entering certain locations.
The game is original in many respects and the graphics are good even if they are monochrome. The thing that makes the difference with this game is the music which really does add some atmosphere.
Here we have another French game that is packed with original ideas and concepts. Unfortunately it's still lacking in that crucial element - gameplay. It will certainly keep you amused for a while but the task isn't tough enough. It really needs a bigger playing area and more tasks to make it a better game.
First Day Target Score
Collect three bits of the bike.
Green Screen View
With two colours, what problems could there be?
P. Detailed graphics
N. Only in black and white
P. Great tunes played throughout the game
N. Spot effects are plain.
Grab Factor 73%
P. Original and unusual game.
N. Difficult to play until you know what you are doing.
Staying Power 66%
P. Repetitive gameplay.
N. The town is quite small and there are not many people in it.
An original game, which is a change.