Peanuts has been around for so long it's a wonder some enterprising software company hasn't snapped it up before. I mean, it's a natural! Bung in all the characters, connect all their odd little foibles to a plot, and before you can say "It was a dark and stormy night" you've got a fiendish little arcade adventure, chock full of puzzles and playability.
And, amazingly enough, that's just what those Edge folks have come up with. After years of sulking over the way U2's guitarist blagged their name they've now returned to form with a vengeance. Snoopy is cleverly constructed, accurate and, for fans of the comic strip, an essential purchase.
Beginning at the back of Charlie Brown's house, by his doghouse, Snoopy has to wander through the usual network of screens and solve the problem of where Linus' security blanket is. Getting it, of course, involves solving a number of rather tricky puzzles, such as...
1) What do you do with the catapult? 2) What's the frog for? 3) How do you get the kite down from the tree? 4) Why are the keyboard controls different to the ones printed on the inlay card?
Well, they were on mine, but that's just part of the overall puzliness of this wacky little game. Once you've got used to the controls, of course, they're easily manipulated, but it can be a little hard to start with.
As with Garfield, the programmers have taken the whole notion of 'monochrome' graphics seriously and gone for just that - black and white, just as you'd see the strip in the newspaper. Even the border is grey. Colour freaks may moan at this but I find it rather refreshing.
As you wander around you find objects which Snoopy can pick up and take elsewhere, and when he gets where he needs to be he can 'use' them. Try 'using' a few things as you pick them up - what happens then may give you a clue as to what they actually need to be 'used' for. Some things, in fact, can be used more than once. Look in that jar of cookies, for instance. Now it doesn't take an enormous brain to work out one thing the jar of cookies can be used for (SCRUNCH SCRUNCH SCRUNCH BURP), but when it's empty - what then...?
The actual game is, I gather, slightly smaller in structure (and so a little easier) than in the bumper 16-bit versions. Even so, that never makes it a doddle. One conundrum has been puzzling me more than most recently - Lucy holds something, and you can happily take it off her. (I even know where it has to go). But when you put it down, whether in the right place or the wrong place, it sits in the middle of the screen, in the same position that Lucy held it, rather than on the ground. Is this a bug, or have I missed something here?
Let's be generous though and assume that this little wrinkle has been ironed out by the time you come to play the game. If so, you'll find it ruthlessly logical in its puzzles and dependent to a great extent on how much of a Peanuts expert you are. (Our little captions on this page should be useful if you know nowt, but it does help if you've actually read the strip before you play...)
My only quibble is that Snoopy himself, who's perhaps the most interesting character in the strip, is not really very interesting in the game. There's no World War 1 piloting, no Joe Cool, no nothing very much. It's a sad loss.
But on the main counts, both as a game and as a recreation of the comic strip, Snoopy's fab. As Marcie would say, "You're weird, sir..."
Excellent rendition of the comic strip, with one or two gameplay glitches but loads of good puzzles. Arcade adventurers will lap it up.