Once A year, Milton wrote, all the devils of Hell are rendered powerless. This happens on the anniversary of the fall of Adam and is to show them who is boss (God). Gremlin has er, re-written this scenario in the can-do spirit of the '90s.
Hell, in the Gremlin version, is like a student flat. Everyone hangs around, enslaved by monotony, and there is always an argument about whose turn it is to go for the pizza. The difference is that in Hell it isn't always the boring ppe student who has to go. The devils are democratic; they draw straws. The problem is that no one they've sent out has ever returned. This doesn't mean that, like the ppe student, he's got mugged or spent it all in the pub. To get to the pizza the devil has first to navigate the Labyrinth Of Chaos which is full of traps for the wary and unwary alike.
In this game you play Mutt, a lazy devil who has drawn the short straw this year. Armed with nothing but a grudge against the world, you must find your way through the labyrinth, defeat allcomers, solve all the puzzles and reach the world above to collect the Mystic Pizza Of Plenty.
The labyrinth has long, mazey corridors connecting a series of rooms, each with its own horror. The corridors are littered with hazards. There are pits, electric shocks, heads that spout fire and dungeons, the inhabitants of which will punch you in the face as you pass. Negotiating all this saps your energy and you must replenish it with food that's littered about.
If your energy gets below a certain level, the entity gets you. The entity is a sort of guardian of the whole complex. He hasi got all the previous devils and will try to get you. This ends in a session in the torture chamber. A bad idea, unless you're a Tory mp keen on that sort of thing.
The labyrinth has five levels and there are 40 rooms in all. Each room'will either be a challenge to combat or a puzzle. The combat will need you to be fast with the joystick, and some of the puzzles are really just a matter of timing and reflexes. Most of the puzzles revolve around doing things in a certain order. For example, in the room with the anvil, the arrows on a row of disks must be set in a certain sequence whilst kicking off the worm which tries to re-arrange them. In the room with the cauldron, you must select the potions in the right order to shrink. To rescue the girl from certain death under the pendulum you need to pull the ropes sequence. Some puzzles you can guess others need lateral thinking or dogged persistence.
Often you will need certain items - insecticide for the spider, a bucket for the fire-breather - and these are in the shop. There is one of these on each level and money is dotted around the corridors. Buying is easy - just toggle through the items and press fire.
When you solve the puzzle or defeat the enemy in a room, the room disappears from your map. At the end of each level is an imprisoned devil - one of your predecessors in I the quest. You release him with the items you've won; anvil, gem, or whatever. Then it's on to the next level. Each has a guardian at the entrance which you must defeat before you enter.
Remember there are five levels and about 40 rooms in all. The rooms aren't evenly distributed; level three is almost a pure maze and levels four and five have most rooms. There is a shop and a 'save' room on each level. The latter is the only place you can save a game.
The story may sound fairly grim but what sets litil Divil apart is its humour. I like games of this sort but I hate cutesy characters. Mutt is definitely not cute. He is grouchy. It's almost worth letting him fall down a pit to watch his reaction. There are parts of the game where you laugh out loud.
Control is easy with a joystick or the keyboard and there is an auto-mapping feature. Even so, you might want to use the supplied graph paper to map the levels. Food, especially, becomes a problem as you wander about. Although you can try each puzzle any number of times, each lot of three attempts saps your energy.
The graphics are very good and scroll well, although they are sometimes slow to load. A view down the corridor, seen from just behind Mutt, takes up over half the screen. Top left hand corner I is the map, and top centre is the amount of gold you have. Along the bottom is your health bar. To the right is the number of keys you've collected and a cauldron. The smoke from the cauldron changes colour as the entity approaches and, if you're unlucky, he'll appear in person at the top right just before he drags you away.
Litil Divil runs perfectly well on a 386. The soundcard set-up screen tests your hardware, although the game demands 100% compatibility. The sound is excellent, with good background music and sound effects. It may take up a large chunk of your hard disk, but Gremlin has followed the success of Zool with another winner.
Download Litil Divil
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP