Personal Computer News


Hover Bovver

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: Llamasoft
Machine: Commodore 64

 
Published in Personal Computer News #027

One Man And A Dog

You'll just give the lawn a quick once-over with neighbour Jim's hover mower. Off you go with faithful mutt Rover trotting gently at your heels. A Sunday afternoon, calm and peaceful. But wait! Here comes Jim, wanting his mower back. Rover barks and chases him. Whoops! You've just mown a prize flower bed and the gardener is after you.

Objectives

Having borrowed Jim's Air-Mo, you start to tackle 16 different lawns. The first swathe is barely cut when Jim decides he wants his mower back. Mowing like fury, you must dodge round flower beds and hedges to avoid him. Being a bit nervous, Jim always keeps his distance from Rover. If he gets close, set Rover on him to drive him back. Unlike Lassie, Rover becomes disobedient when the noise of the mower gets on his nerves. He'll try to bite the machine and you may end up mowing Rover.

If you mow too fast, the mower cuts out and you're forced to wait while it cools. While your mower is not powerful enough to drive through a hedge, it happily ploughs up flower beds.

Hover Bovver

Naturally, this offends the sensibilities of a nearby gardener who, believing you to be all kinds of a lunatic, rushes to grab the mower from you. Although Rover won't chase him, the gardener will flee if Rover barks.

Jim is no respecter of gardens either and will trample across the flower beds to get at his mower. Rover and the gardener are nature lovers - they will only cross flower beds on any path you may have ploughed through the beds. If Jim or the gardener catch you, they stride off with the mower, but you can always nip over and borrow Tom's and then Alf's.

In Play

The game opens with an animated title page, accompanied by an impressive 'English Country Garden' type tune. This merrily burbles away throughout the game but you can turn it off by pressing the Commodore logo key and M. Pressing these keys again brings back the music.

Hover Bovver

The game starts showing you ambling up to Jim's house to filch his mower from the garage. The garden is then displayed complete with you, mower and Rover but Jim soon appears on the scene and the fun begins.

Your joystick controls the mower speed and movement; pressing the fire button causes Rover to start barking and chasing Jim and the gardener will head for the horizon when Rover barks. Mowing over Rover causes the poor thing to run yelping away.

The sound and graphics are superb. Any of the first seven gardens are selectable by pressing the F1 key. Progress to the 16th garden depends on your skill, each garden becoming more difficult to mow. Gardens 9-16 force you to mow across a flower bed, incurring the gardener's wrath.

Hover Bovver

Speeds also increase but there are compensations - Rover goes after the neighbour like a bullet. You finally remain in garden 16 but with everything getting faster each time.

A freeze-action facility is provided and you can have one or two player games; the latter can be with two joysticks. The top five scores, with players' initials, are kept.

Verdict

Playing this game is like taking part in a Keystone Kops movie. Easily the funniest game I've ever seen and what's more it's original, compulsive and nobody gets killed. Irresistible!

Bob Chappell

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