The Amstrad's improved resolution and colour palette, compared with the Spectrum's, promised some very high quality games. But, with only a couple of exceptions, these have not materialised. Fruity Frank may be showing the way towards true arcade style programs on this machine.
A lot of effort has gone into the presentation which starts with a multi-coloured apple as a logo and includes, once loaded, a nicely animated title screen, instructions and a demo.
The game itself is of the Mr. Do and Mr. Ee variety, where you dig your way around collecting fruit, while avoiding monsters and falling apples. The apples may be dislodged by monsters passing directly under them, but may also be pushed by Frank to drop on unsuspecting hostiles. There are three main screens and three speeds of play. If you get through the first three, the speed is automatically increased and extra hazards added.
Frank and the monsters are all well drawn and smoothly animated, with four separate views of each. They disintegrate well when hit, and even the apples split up on impact. The screen collapses at the end of each phase rather like a TV picture when you turn the set off. Frank even has a ball which may be thrown to bounce around the tunnels until it hits a monster. All in all, very well executed.
The background music is well matched to the graphics and makes use of a number of traditional folk tunes - a largely untapped area of non-copyright material. On top of these are some varied sound effects which all makes for a lively game. All can be turned off if required and the game may be paused to quaff another glass of root beer and plunge the smoking fingertips into a bowl of iced water.
Fruity Frank ranks in the top five Amstrad originals.