Personal Computer News

Bouncing Berty Plus Eskimo Capers

Author: Ian Scales
Publisher: PowerSoftware
Machine: Spectrum 16K/48K

Published in Personal Computer News #089


It was inevitable we should get the micro equivalent of the K-TEL all-time greats. Especially as the bumper Christmas season looms large for software houses trying to make a crust. Power Software is not in the K-TEL league but its latest 'Budget Series' illustrates the trend. For 3.50 it can sell two well-proven game types, so what chance do new games have?

The Power Software Budget Series packages Bouncing Bertie and Eskimo Capers on the one cassette for the 16K and 48K Spectrum. Bouncing Bertie is a variation of Q*Bert which was very popular a year or so ago. It's low on excitement and impressive screen action, and is more of a strategy game.

The idea is to jump up and down filling in the tops of the cubes on a pyramidal structure while avoiding the bouncing balls and snakes. You can land on a disk to get back to the top of the structure.

Bouncing Bertie is frustrating to play at first, but becomes more likeable as you get more successful. In Gameplay jargon we could call this the 'familiarity threshold factor'. Resistance to high FTF is probably one of the main reasons derivative games tend to be popular with the game player: when you know how to play a close relative, you can play it with effect more quickly.

Its companion, Eskimo Capers also has a familiar feel to it. A maze of snowmen can be pushed about by the terrified Eskimo to block or eradicate what appear to be cold-resistant pac-men, busy gobbling their way around the maze. The cast of characters become progressively more voracious - hatching snow devil eggs, dancing snowmen, etc.

There are two complaints. Without joysticks, you're expected to manipulate the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0 keys for left, up, down, right and push/crumble respectively. Surely Q and A etc would be easier?

Another drawback concerns the persistent tunes. Even with five they still get tedious - no wonder the hatching snow devil eggs have such nasty personalities.

Two good versions of old games - good value.

Ian Scales

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