Choccy world. Cake land. Toy realm. Biscuit planet. Teddy Bear city. Do any of these places ring a bell? I doubt it. Well, let me tell you - I've been there. It's a nightmare: one Salvador Dali believed 'too weird' to put on canvas, one Jeff Minter would have 'trouble with'. Yellow and mauve backgrounds, cycling through crimson and fluorescent orange. Mounds of footballs and suspended bars of chocolate overhanging floors made of raisins and bananas, topped with fluffy rhino walls, bubbles, and playing cards, plus a few lego bricks and sand castles (for good measure). When faced with such a landscape, plan A is obviously: drink a lot of mineral water and lie down in a dark room. Plan B. unfortunately, is: take control of Robocod (aka James Pond Underwater Agent: Licence to Gill) and direct him through 85 rather 'loud' levels.
The levels make up the sections of (cough - embarrassed voice) Santa's toy factory, containing a year's supply of toys for all the good boys and girls around the world. Doctor Maybe has taken over the factory (or Schnooky-dom as we like to call it) and has turned all the toys, elves, and stuff into manic killing machines. Even more heinously, the Doc has planted loads of (squeamishly) penguin bombs on each level which are primed to blow up and destroy the entire factory. 'Good,' you think. 'It'll stop all those want-want spoiled little middle class brats from revelling in Christmas.' Ah. I reply, it's just a game and it won't really end Christmas. It's up to the best agent of F.1.5.H to traverse the nine platform maze 'worlds', based around the different types of kids' entertainment (Circus, Toyland, Teddy Bears. Bathtime. Clip Round The Ear etc.).
Robocod is aptly suited for this environment. His immense jumpy-jumpy skills enable him to span huge gaps and spike pits to reach those high-flying choccy platforms and ledges. Bouncing up and landing on naughties (such as snakes, birds, gingerbread men) slaps their botties. Fluffies often need to be slapped botty several times before they explode into stars. Also, jumpy-jumpy allows you to reach yum-yums. These provide bonus points (sweets, hamburgers, lollies), or special abilities (wings for flying, shields etc.) or extra lives (ankhs). Dotted around are mystery squares which may contain anything from extra naughties (bad) to cars, planes and bathtubs (good). Drive cars to double your speed and slap botty power; planes for flying and reach secret bits: and bathtubs to just float around, minus gravity.
Robocod also has an amazing telescopic body which can be sent upwards (a la Inspector Gadget) so you can grab a platform or ceiling and then monkey-bar across. Another heavensent ability is the bomb effect, where 'Cod can crawl into his metal 'shell' to protect him from long falls and double his slap-botty rating.
I know this all sounds ridiculous and embarrassing. It is ridiculous and embarrassing - can you imagine a 40 year old man/woman entering Schnooky Niggy World to slappy botty some fluffies to reach some choccy yum-yums. But while the graphics may be a low 'U' rating, the gameplay is definitely an '18'. It's an addictive blend of'Argh. I missed that platform and died on the spikes again/ ' frustration and, 'Cor. I wonder what the next level's got to offer' style longevity. The gameplay is plumped up with excellent scrolling (easily as good as the MegaDrive's hardware equivalent), huge levels riddled with secret passages and yum-yum rooms, well-staged easy levels leading to 'mutha-bast' later ones, and a very shiny polish to the whole game. The Fisher-Price soundtrack is a little grating and the schnookyness will bring green flourescent bile to your throat, but at least it's fun.