Sunday, August 28, 2016


Cute & Cuddly Gaming

Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe is a planet called Blot. Much like early Eden, this is a wonderful place; everything is perfect and everyone is happy. The inhabitants are little creatures called the Blotians. However, for some peculiar reason, these guys got bored with their paradise and wanted something better so came up with the daft notion of a brand new identity - on a different planet. They're now called Fuzzy Wuzzies!!

Creatures was released in 1992 by Thalamus and programmed by Philip Watts of WJS Design. Yes, he of Leander and Ork, two decent scrolling games you should check out.

What these sad creatures didn't realise was that evil demons already lived on this new planet. And are a very bad-tempered bunch too! Needless to say, they should have been happy where they were because everyone has been captured and awaited a cruel and bloody fate. You are Clyde Radcliffe, your breath stinks terribly but it is your job to rescue all of your simple-minded friends from these vicious fiends! So good luck - you'll need it.

This sounds simply insane and I love that!! So let's view an authentic screenshot taken with my phone...

Actually, this is quite sadistic!

Clyde is the cutest thing and is equipped with a rapid-firing weapon, which is handy because many of the baddies annoyingly take numerous. Power-ups are available, I love the 'wriggler' effect the most but there are many others to choose from. However, your superpower is the funniest weapon of all, press and hold the fire button to breathe bad breath over anything that gets too close. A bad-breathed hero must surely be a first?

A good tip for Creatures is to not rush it. The enemies can take more than a few hits which is a little weird and can often feel a little OTT. Try to kill what's already on the screen before moving on and being overrun by evil cute critters. Okay, that's a simple and obvious tip, but there ya' go. Take it or leave it!

Controlling Clyde is a cinch thanks to great joystick controls and fantastic level designs which are fun to navigate. The monsters come in all sorts and always manage to bring a smile to this ugly mug of mine thanks to great attention to detail and cruel personalities. End-of-level scenes are particularly cruel (but funny) but employ a harsh time limit before a fellow Fuzzy Wuzzy meets their bloody death at the hands of a sadistic demon!

Wait! It's not screenshot time. Oh, no let's jazz this up with a video recording...

Sexy Pixels & Smooth Audio?

I love the lush aesthetics with beautiful colours and stunning artwork - the attention to detail is amazing. Wow, the sprites are as cute as they are evil, this game looks the part alright and never fails to impress. However, everything might look nice, but is spoiled by rubbish push-scrolling! Sure, that method works fine for games like Rick Dangerous, but not here.

The audio is excellent with a cool theme tune that has you bobbing away to its funky beats. I love it. Also, the sound effects are making use of the DMA hardware - if you're lucky enough to own an Atari STe? If so, they are ace!!!

Righto, let's break up the silence! The shock of that push scrolling means we have another screenshot...

The CryptO'pinion?

Creatures is very enjoyable with well-balanced gameplay and a fantastic (and sadistic) sense of humour. However, it was originally designed as a scrolling platformer and a scrolling platformer needs to SCROLL. So, it sadly falls short of the mark compared to other versions as it's hampered by what appears a rushed port. Maybe I'm too fussy? Tell me!

Don't get me wrong, Creatures is worth downloading because it is a good game with a superb theme, humour, controls and audio. However, it's a massive shame they didn't make full use of the Atari STe or even push the STfm like so many other companies did with their platformers already out by 1992. The list is near endless so what was stopping Thalamus?

Help Clyde now and grab it on floppy & hard drive.

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