The Rocky Horror Show / CRL 1985
Screenshots: play/stop



"It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right..." Ah, if only games were that easy!

Richard o'Brien's The Rocky Horrow Show (Original TV Game!) is another film tie-in, but thanks to the zany film, the authors had a lot more scope to make it a more enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, this idea doesn't particularly pay off.

At the start of the game, you can choose to be Brad or Janet (the two unfortunate victims of the film), and the idea is for the character you choose to save their spouse, by picking up pieces of the sonic De-Medusa and dropping them off at the main stage, in order to stop your spouse from turning into stone. You can only pick up one piece of the De-Medusa at a time, so there will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing while you try and build the De-Medusa. The stage's curtains are always down when you enter the stage screen, so you also have to wait for them to be opened (which happens when you walk up to them).

These puzzle pieces are strewn around randomly in Frank N Furter's mansion, which is laid out in flip-screen style. Each room or area gets it's own static screen, and you control your character, moving off-screen to move onto another part of the mansion.

Hindering your progress are such film characters as Riff-Raff and Eddie (who can kill you instantly), other characters who spurt lines from the film at you, and Magenta who steals your clothes from you.

If you lose your clothes, your arms are too busy covering your modesty, so you can't pick any De-Medusa pieces up (in fact, you can't do much of anything!). Time to go looking for your clothes! They are also placed randomly about the mansion (as a heap on the floor). Move over them and press fire, and you're clothed again.

Also around the mansion are keys, which are used to open up doors that are otherwise locked and stop you from collecting parts of the De-Medusa. You start off with one key already in your posession and – guess what? – that's right, you can only carry one key at a time!

There's also a temperature gauge on the right. If it gets too hot then Eddie escapes from the Deep Freeze. Find the freezer room and press fire over the red switch to bring the temperature down.

There are lasers in a couple of the rooms, which require you to climb up a ladder, press a switch, and then run down the ladder and get by the laser before it switches on again.

On top of all this, there's a time limit. If it reaches zero, then your spouse turns to stone and Frank N Furter's mansion – which is actually a disguised spaceship – takes off.

The game itself – if you strip the Rocky Horror element from it – is basically of the "run around and collect the puzzle" type, which can tend to get repetitive after a while. Added to this is the rather sluggish game play, that gets slower if there's a laser on the screen or the elevator is moving.

The graphics themselves are quite good; single-color backdrops with multicolor sprites on top, which helps to keep the two elements deparate so you don't get lost in the background. The sound, however, gets very annoying, with its endless loop of The Time Warp sawing its way through your brain after a while.

The Rocky Horror Show has a cult following with some people, and this game would probably appeal to them, but normal C64 gamers will find that, after a while, the relatively mundane idea of the game will have them rebooting without ever trying to finish the game.

Unfortunately, another film tie-in that misses the mark.

Reviewed by Boz.

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