Sunday, December 18, 2016

Potsworth & Co

Here we have a cute platformer released in 1992 by Hi-Tec Software which is based on an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon (which I'd never heard off until a sneaky google). Okay, so I've learned that Potsworth is a dog who happens to have a group of kiddy friends called The Midnight Patrol. Well, someone bad has stolen a sleep potion and conveniently placed the pieces within silly five worlds. It's now up to the kids to find these and return it to the Grand Dozer, whatever that is!!

This means we get to be each of these kiddy characters from the tv show. First up is a rather stroppy looking girl who's adventure oddly places her underground in a place that reminds me of Rick Dangerous. A wide range of baddies are aimlessly walking back and forth doing their best to make life troublesome but it appears our heroine only has to open her mouth to kill (most of) them.

There are also numerous puzzles to solve along the way but don't worry yourself too much because rocket scientists need not apply. They are simple and might require dropping a heavy block (or teddy bear!) onto a push-switch. These tasks add a spark of interest and offer a variety I thought was enjoyable. Each new level sees us change into a new character and I especially enjoyed the third where we are the dog in candy land. It's bursting with interesting mechanics, many awkward platforms to learn, and is overall positively interesting to explore. (displayed above)

The one thing which remains a constant throughout is the superb controls which are precise, responsive and never feel laggy. The visuals are also truly superb with fantastic locations, awesome sprites, and loads of colour with scrolling that is both fast and fluent. Audio is sadly the mirror opposite and appears to be nothing more than an afterthought with only a few spot effects and no background chiptune. The theme tune is even worse and should be skipped as quickly as is possible, just like in Alien World which is another humongous disaster of audio waste!

    

Potsworth and Co has great controls, huge levels and gorgeous graphics which all make for a fantastic experience. Each map is very different from the other with mechanics that help to keep the gameplay exciting and interesting. What I don't like are the limited number of lives and awkward with finicky jumps but it's the audio which disappointed me the most because it's mostly silent which is a shame on a computer with massive chiptune potential...

Overall, there might be the odd frustrating quirk but I still feel Potsworth & Co is one of the best platformers I've played on any computer and is a testament to the power of the Atari ST. Get ready for an incredible venture through immensely interesting worlds, I'm sure all platformer fans will love this hidden GEM as much as I have.

LINKS

 - Peter Putnik from 8BitChip is addicted to this game!! Download his hard drive adapted version.
 - Those who require the floppy disk version should check out Old Games Finder.
 - I recorded a youtube video a long time ago which features me struggling along on level one.