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Scribbler Mythos - 'Monty on the Run'

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MontyAs this is a furry themed publication, I will be reviewing games that star or prominently feature anthropomorphic characters. Since this is my first review, let's go back to one of the earliest furry video games I can think of: Monty on the Run.

Monty on the Run is a 1985 Commodore 64 platform game created by Peter Harrap, a game which is so bloody complicated it would make a savant cringe. You play the role of Monty Mole, being chased by the police for intervening in the 1984-85 miners strike. It follows up from one of the previous games if the Wikipedia articles are to be believed. Though for some strange reason you never actually encounter any police for the duration of the game, but rather a plethora of bizarre, surrealistic enemies. Monty must now find a boat to cross the English Channel so that he can flee from Thatcher's Britain. Novel, isn't it?

In a similar tradition to classics such as Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy and Technician Ted, your character is a seemingly defenceless hero wandering around non-linear 2d flick-screen maps, collecting treasure and avoiding death traps. As previously mentioned, just like Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner, Monty on the Run is full of some of the strangest and most random baddies I've ever seen in a video game. Ghosts, giant wasps, flying clocks and smiley heads, just to name just a few. I had to stop for a brief second to ponder how much LSD was used in the making of this game.

The enemies patrol a pre-determined path and will kill Monty instantly on contact. But that's not all he has to worry about. Crushers, booby trap lifts, ubiquitous sewerage abattoirs and deadly power-ups will all become the bane of your nightmares for as long as you play this game. This, coupled with only five lives makes this one of the hardest games in the history of gaming in my opinion. So much so that after only getting a little way into it, I had to swallow my gamer and reviewer integrity and go watch a speed-run on YouTube. At least now I was able to see the rest of the game. There are around seven different locations which I'll define as the levels. From the looks of it, what little I've played so far is child's play by comparison. The game features no shortage of interesting looking features, such as a sequence where you use a jetpack to escape from the sewers and a scene where you steal car and drive to the final location. Each location has decent graphics, for the time of course; they're an improvement over Jet Set Willy in the sense that things actually look like what they're supposed to be.

There is also a scene in the beginning in which you pick five objects out of a series of twenty-one. Apparently, unless you pick the right objects, you won't be able to progress past certain areas. I never got far enough to see this for myself, but it's definitely a stupid design decision nevertheless. It's kind of like saying "Go ahead, take a wild stab in the dark. Play through half of the game just so we can laugh in your face when you're banging your head on the desk in frustration." I mean, how sadistic were these developers? From what I've read, I believe it's an anti-piracy measure. But even with the manual at your side, still requires an element of guesswork.

For any bad things I could say about this game, one part that's absolutely fabulous is the music. Composed by the famous C64 composer, Rob Hubbard, it destroyed my notion that C64 music couldn't sound this good. In fact it's so good, that I downloaded an MP3 of it just so I could listen to it outside of the game.

Overall, this game is a classic. Even if the majority of us who play it are just going die, die and die some more, you should still give this one a go. If the long loading times of the original C64 don't appeal to you, you could always download an emulator or play a remake. So for all the hours spent watching the little bastard splatter, burn and drown, everyone raise your glasses and toast to Monty "I have a serious death wish" Mole.
Final Rating: 4/5

Scythe "Angry" ScribblerScythe "Angry" Scribbler is a student from Chester, currently studying politics, theology and English literature at his local high school's sixth form. When he's not chasing morons, online or off, Scribbler likes playing obscure retro games and reviewing them.

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