Creepers. (Psygnosis computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
Like an undercooked dish pulled from the back burner, there's something suspiciously unpalatable about this Psygnosis offering. Though eminently playable, the game lacks the spice and polish we've come to expect from Britain's premier software publisher.
Gameplay offers a potentially interesting blend of puzzle-solving strategy and realtime arcade skills. Your job is to herd creepers - caterpillars - from one section of the screen to another, dropping them into a bowl to turn into butterflies. Naturally, the path is strewn with pitfalls, ranging from lethal to simply annoying. To help the little critters along, you're given a limited number of creeper tools: swatters, girders, fans, bombs, magnets, and trampolines. Tools can be placed and removed as needed, but each action drains energy from your limited supply. Run out of energy, and the game ends. You must rescue the required number of bugs to advance through 73 levels, arranged in four stages of increasing difficulty.
The game invites obvious comparisons to Sierra's Incredible Machine and Psygnosis's own Lemmings series. Unfortunately, the puzzles lack the variety and creative flair of the hit Sierra title. The creepers also fail to evoke the lively personality and wacky sense of humor of their Lemmings counterparts.
Graphics are extremely bright and colorful, but drawn with an almost demeaning childlike quality. The game's best innovation is the Creeper Peeper, a pop-up video window that can be set to follow the lead creeper or focus on a particular area of the screen. This handy multitasking tool would've been ideal for Lemmings 2 with its large virtual play screens. Here, the feature's wasted on levels that rarely extend beyond three screens wide.
Creepers plays well, but it lacks the zest and individuality needed to stand out in this popular genre.