Friday, 26 August 2011

Classic Telly: The Detectives

Detective Constables David Briggs (Robert Powell) and Bob Louis (Jasper Carrott) are hapless (and hopeless) at their job. Under the scrutiny of their boss, Chief Superintendant Cottom (George Sewell), they bumble their way through the cases they are given, ranging from a murder at a converted stately home belonging to the Earl of Lisson (What The Butler Saw), to a murder at a medieval reenactment, whilst trying to find out the last 19 names of Football Teams, but not including non-league (Fur Coat, No Knickers), to being consultants for a cop drama (Acting Constables). In each episode, they manage to enrage their boss, fumble through evidence, and eventually come up smelling of roses by catching the criminals by accident.

The series first started off as 5-minute segments in Jasper Carott's BBC comedy show 'Canned Carrott', along with Wiggy (think of Mr. Bean with Jasper and a wig) and Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt. The segments proved so popular, the series was given the go ahead, and I'm glad it did. Powell and Carrott bounce off of each other well, with many funny lines, like when Briggs is brandishing a bra and says to Louis "These don't look like jelly moulds to you any more!", and Louis says back "I was 17 by the time I had my hands inside my first bra. Even then, it was hanging on a washing line!".

The show also had a special guest star in every episode (Jerry Hall in What the Butler Saw, Don Henderson in Silent Witness and Leslie Grantham in Strangers in Paradise), as either a villain, a victim or a witness, and every one as funny as the last. Steve Knight and Mike Whitehill can certainly write some funny stuff, and in my eyes, could give todays comedy writers a run for their money. But it's the two leads that add chemistry and laughs to the show, and it's one of the funniest I've ever seen. Comedy gold.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Oh my god, it's Crap Game Corner: Captain Planet & The Planeteers (Mindscape - Amiga)

A cartoon from the 90's, Captain Planet saw 5 youngsters from different parts of the world get given magic rings (no dirty jokes, please) which gave them power to control the elements which, when combined, summon Captain Planet and thwart the plans of the Eco Villains causing destruction to Earth for power or money (sometimes both). The cartoon was ok, being based on morals on why waste is bad and stuff. Mindscape (what, you mean, Ocean didn't snap this up????) decided that they could make a game out of this and had a stab. The results were less than great. They were even less than bad. So, in the name of the song 'where do I begin?'.

The first level sees you playing as Wheeler (using the element of Fire), and clearing toxic waste and mutated, erm, 'things' (I have no clue what they are!) which, when you defeat them, they turn into smaller versions that follow you around. Once you've cleared the platform part, you head upwards towards a small plane which will help you to repair the ozone layer and lead seals which are sitting on clouds (yeah, yeah, I know) and are waiting for you to lead them to safety. Once you've done that, it's onto level two and you play as Mai-Ti, and the power of heart. Again, this sees you again destroying toxic waste. I never progressed far into this one, as this is when the difficulty level spikes up very sharply. So, shall we list the other faults, then?

First off, the graphics aren't that bad if I'm honest. Yeah, the backgrounds are sparse, and there's not much variety throughout the level you're playing, and that's a bit of a let down. The music is ok as well, but gets really repetitive and you'll soon be reaching for mute. Gameplaywise, this is where it lets it down big time. The characters jump with all the gracefulness of a brick, and their responsiveness is awful. The level layouts have no thought put into them at all (seals above clouds? Oh, come on!). Exhibit A is the first level as mentioned. Exhibit B is the Heart level. You've no clue where to go, and just end up aimlessly wondering around looking for something to do. It's just crap.

30% good ideas, 70% crud. That's not a good percentage. Not good at all. Do yourself a favor. Load up Lemmings. Or Walker. Or Speedball II. Anything. Just not this. Captain Planet? More like CRaptain Planet!