Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Jack the Nipper'

Rating:4 User: Digital Prawn

This in-depth arcade game with some puzzle elements is great fun to play. It stands out because of the humourous plot, the "Beano" style comic characters and the technically excellent sprite routines. Playing the part of the eponymous Nipper, you must generally explore around your local town, creating all sorts of mischief, whilst avoiding contact with the town's inhabitants. Bumping into adults, pets or ghosts causes Jack's nappy rash to worsen, eventually losing a life when the rash meter fills up, although you start with a generous five nappies to get through.

It's not immediately obvious how to carry out some of the mischieveous tasks, which makes the game so much fun finding out. The first room of the game, Jack's bedroom sets the "naughty" tone quite well as you attempt to retrieve your peashooter, which has deliberately been placed out of your reach. It's also hilarious to see that ghosts and strange creatures infest the family home, but no-one really minds this. You also have to chuckle at the comical gait of the resident pet dog as he scurries around upright.

You'll never see smoother or as flicker-free sprite animation in a speccy game which really is perfect here. The locations whilst being predominantly monochrome do often have objects like posters and signs with different colours. These are often placed higher up than Jack can jump, presumably to avoid parts of Jack from changing colour.

If there is any minor criticism then it is that occasionally you can be very unlucky and lose a life due to Jack being awkwardly stuck right on another moving sprite for a few seconds. This can happen in certain rooms where Jack can get partially obstructed by objects. But, as you become better at the game, you get more adept at avoiding this, or at least escaping it quickly.

Overall, a classic and absorbing speccy game with a good sense of humour that's always fun to spend some time playing. It also spawned an equally enjoyable sequel.