Fnaar, fnaar! Right, that's got the gratuitous Viz references out of the way - now, is it any good?
Hyped as 'The biggest rip off of them all' and coming complete with the promise that 'You'll never play a bigger load of crap', Viz: The Game clearly has a lot to live up to. Programmers Probe have got off to a good start by setting out to produce a game that's unashamedly Not For Sale To Children - it's packed to bursting with steaming great lumps of rude language and toilet humour. Thus we get some highly impressive graphic renditions of many of the comic's most popular characters and some deeply crap music, slapped into a horizontally scrolling race game featuring Johnny Fartpants, Buster Gonad and Biffa Bacon.
Your task, as one of the three, is to race through five areas of Fulchester (the beach, the park, the disco and so on), hindered by the entire Viz collection of characters (with the extraordinary exception of Billy The Fish). To improve your chances, you can utilise your own special 'gifts' (Johnny farts, Biffa fights, and Buster bounces on his unfeasbily large testicles) to clear obstacles or avoid a particularly 'sticky' patch - but only a limited number of times per level, the number determines by how well you do in a couple of sub-games. These are nearly all of the joystick waggler variety (well, what did you expect?) and feature events like Biffa drinking or Buster bouncing. But what's that, I hear you cry? ("Never mind all the bloody waffle, is it any good?" it sounded a bit like). Ahem.
Well now. Viz: The Game is a funny old kettle of hatstands. It's very, very simple indeed but - well, actually there isn't a "but". It's probably one of the shallowest games ever seen on a 16-bit computer. You run from left to right, you avoid baddies, and, um, you fart occasionally.
The game compensates for this lack of depth with a very high difficulty setting (which would be fine if it wasn't for the long wait between games) and of course the irreverent (to understate things just a touch) humour. This is generally well in keeping with the Viz style (especially the Top Tips), but you get a couple of problems transferring them to a computer game. One is that after you've seen all the jokes once (which doesn't take long) they aren't funny anymore, but the other is that what works on scrappy, throwaway, fanzine-style bog paper looks too calculating and out of place in this high-tech setting.
All this probably makes the game sound completely crap, but Viz is actually the kind of thing that you'll find yourself coming back to, simply because it's fun to play. It's an irritating kind of fun, because how you do in the race can depend simply on which lane you get put in at the start, but fun it nonetheless is.
And, frankly, that's about all there is to say about it.
Viz: The Game is as two-dimensional as its paper counterpart, and if £25 seems to you like a lot of money to pay for a simple game featuring much the same jokes every time you play it, well yes, you're probably right.
Good fun, and succeeds in capturing the comic's feel to a large degree, but that doesn't stop it being undemanding and overpriced. You'll enjoy it loads (I did anyway), but you'll probably end up feeling cheated in the long-term.