Amiga Power

Baby Jo

Author: Matt Bielby
Publisher: Loriciel
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #8

Baby Jo

The French, eh? Sometime they ask us why we're always saying their games are weird, and - to be honest - we've often got very little answer for them. Sure, Alpha Waves and similar show some decidedly spooky ideas about game design, but for the most part their stuff can be decidedly normal - and in many instances increasingly good.

Nobody could have much to complain about as far as the likes of Cruise Of A Corpse, say, are concerned, and if the names of some games (Jupiter's Masterdrive?) or subject matter (the extreme violence of Ranx, the sex in various games) still raise eyebrows, it's increasingly becoming a reflex reaction.

And then we get to something like Baby Jo. On the surface, a cute platform game starring a little baby - pleasantly free of the shades and leather jackets of a Brat or Magic Pockets and really rather endearing - it's underpinned by the most, well, French gameplay touches seen in quite a while.

Baby Jo In Going Home

Take the fact that, as you eat bonus food, Baby Jo's nappy in the top corner of the screen gets darker and darker (thankfully blue, not the more expected colour) until you suffer death by unchanged nappy. Luckily, collectable replacements are scattered around the landscape - including special super-powered ones! - so you shouldn't come a messy cropper too often.

Or take the ultra-loud slurping and burping after Baby Jo quaffs a bottle of milk - such delight in human bodily function! - or the comic way in which he shoots up screaming into the sky if he happens to step in an inconvenient fire, a truly Warner Bros cartoon sort of effect. It's the sort of sensibility that prompted programmmers to include the notorious bottom-prodding option in North And South, and it helps make the game a lot of silly fun.

Unfortunately though, despite some pleasing animation on Baby Jo himself and the various animal baddies out to make his journey home a misery, there's little else to say about the game. It's a very standard horizontally scrolling platform avoid-'em-up sort of thing, very similar to half of Codemasters or Hi-Tec's output but not as well programmed. The scrolling is certainly very jerky, and it's hard to see how the game could really command this sort of price point at all. Still, it's hard to dislike it. (And it's very, very French.)

The Bottom Line

Endearing, full of odd comic touches, and distinctively French - but not really much of a game. For shame.

Matt Bielby

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