Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Games that remind me of my childhood Number 16 : Video Meanies (Commodore Plus 4)

I was going to post something about this mornings The Mirror's ridiculous article about computer games increasing the risk of cancer in children, but instead of just angering myself even more about such utter nonsense I am going to post my next "Games that remind me of my childhood".
Behold...   Video Meanies for the Commodore 16 and Plus 4

Mastertronic games were always hit or miss.  For £1.99 it could either be a turd of a game which you would never play again, or a gem which would keep you entertained for many hours.  Fortunately Video Meanies falls under the former.

The game is yet another classic by Tony Kelly (Squirm, Big Mac) and is in my opinion another fine example of a Commodore 16/Plus 4 game being better than its Commodore 64 counterpart.

Getting to the video on this screen means letting out four meanies.  Not as easy as it looks

Released 27 years ago, the game has you control a robot and you must negotiate 24 rooms of the castle, turning off all the videos whilst avoiding the Meanies that populate each room.  At least, that's what the instructions say.  They don't make games with stories like that anymore!

Avoid the laser beams

Fortunately you can shoot the Meanies, but they re-appear after a few seconds.  Invisible barriers, laser beams and deadly white walls which kill you when you touch them are just some of the dangers within the castle.  Also, you must locate keys which unlock doors, allowing you to explore even further.

As you turn the videos off, a jigsaw puzzle is revealed at the top of the screen. Once you have turned off the videos and collected all of the puzzle pieces, the game is over.

You need to find a key to open the door

One of the things that stood out about this game for me was its sound effects.  The TED chip on the Plus 4 was inferior to the C64's SID chip, but the sounds in this game are amazing.  Even the simple one-voice tune on the start screen is a jolly little ditty which I still hum even to this day!

Interesting fact is that the game was apparently going to be called Video Nasty, as shown by the early screenshots on the back cover of the game inlay.  I guess they never updated them when the game was finally published.

Instructions, complete with cheats hand-written by my Dad!

The tape.

The game map - Click to enlarge

Gosh, I really love this game!

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