Wriggler (Romantic Robot) Review | Crash - Everygamegoing

Crash


Wriggler
By Romantic Robot
Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Crash #15

The Wriggler

Wriggler is a maze game, or it could be an arcade game - well it might even qualify as an adventure of sorts. The simple truth is that Wriggler is all of these, and in some respects resembles Antics, the insectoidal game by Bug-Byte. The opening screen shows four maggots at the start of a race, and you are one of them - you know it's a race because of the ant with the starting pistol, but you are not racing against the other maggots as they disappear soon after the race starts to become your extra lives.

The game seems simple enough to play, all that's required is for you to guide your maggot down pathways until you find your way out of the maze and into the next, and the next, and the next.... In fact there are four main mazes, the first one being the Garden, followed by the Scrublands, the Underground (or Hell if life is rotten to you as well), and finally the Mansion with the lift shaft that should take you to the planet surface. There are a few other areas but if you find yourself in any of these then you goofed and life can only get worse.

If this all sounds pretty straightforward, the fine print begins to make being a maggot sound less attractive. The first problem you will have to cope with is your diet; as maggot winds his way around the maze he uses up energy. This can be replenished by consuming many of the snacks le around. The menu includes such gourmet delights as milk shakes, bowls of cherries and cups of tea; should you be fairly well stocked with energy (a fact which is indicated by a bar code at the top of the screen) you can always pick up a snack and eat it later.

As well as food there are a few other objects that you will need in order to penetrate the mazes and these include tins of ant spray, keys, extra lives and a parachute. All these are essential for dealing with one situation or another, but you are only allowed to carry one object at a time, so you can imagine your despair as you fall the 1000 feet to the Underworld when you remember that you swapped your parachute for a bag of money.

Finding you way out of the mazes is one thing, getting past all the nasties in there is another. Your first encounter will be with the black or blue ants - fairly timid creatures these, if you stay out of their way they won't harm you, collide with them and you lose energy which may be fatal. The white ants are a lot more unpleasant as they will chase you and any encounter nearly always ends badly for you. The only way of getting past them successfully is to use the ant spray. Other creatures generally have the same effect as the coloured ants, all except for the spider, a wonderfully animated creature but very deadly. Death itself is followed by a quickie funeral conducted on the spot. Should you have any lives left, resumption is from the same spot.

Wriggler takes place across 256 playing screens as you fight for survival in the Maggot Marathon to end them all, with the final object being to reach the planet surface. Points are awarded for picking up objects and eating food. When your energy level reaches a critical point on the bar at the top, the computer emits anxious beeps to remind you.

Comments

Control keys: Q/W or O/P left/right, K/M or Q/A up/down, L,M,T or zero to pick up drop, alternatively QWERT or the cursors
Joystick: Sinclair 2, Kempston, cursor type, Micro Power add-on
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: lively, well drawn, superbly animated and smooth
Sound: good tunes, reasonable spot effects
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4 with possibility of finding extra ones
Screens: over 250

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