CU AMIGA 09/91 P.74-75: Magic Pockets

Don't be fooled. The Bitmap Kid may look cute in his shades and baseball cap, but he's as tough as nails. And he needs to be to cope with the frantic antics in Magic Pocket.

On first sight it seems this game is strictly aimed at the kids. Wrong. Is it just kids who play Super Mario Bros? No, the appeal is universal. As the Bitmap Brothers' Sean Griffiths, the game's designer and programmer, says: 'We've taken an extremely "cutesy" format and tried to beef it up so it will appeal to all ages.'

The plot is simple. The Kid has lost his toys when he put them in his pockets. His pockets, rather like Doctor Who's Tardis, are deceptive as there's more room inside than out. The toys have disappeared and the Kid has jumped through a hole in his own pockets to get them back. Erm, yes, quite!

Inside are four crazy worlds, crammed with comical creatures and monsters who pack a devastating punch. In each world he must rescue his lost toy. Easy? You've got to be joking.

The backgrounds for the four levels are pleasingly varied. In the cave section our hero must find his push bike (I said his pockets were roomy!) and in a steamy jungle the Kid has to hunt a lost boxing glove. An underwater helmet is the prize in the lake's section with a space hopper to be found in the mountain's stage. In each case, finding the lost toy will help you and the Kid complete each section. In all, there are thirty levels of play and hundreds of screens.

Besides competing the levels, Magic Pockets is really a game where you can make massive high scores.

In the caves, the Kid literally whips up a storm. Hitting the fire button sends out a stream of mini-whirlwinds to knock-out the nasties. He can also pump up the power to unleash a huge whirlwind. Besides destroying the enemy he can also use the power of the wind to leap levels. All the time he collects sweets galore, bottles, cups, gold and silver stars, cocktails, coins, cool shades and magic potions, and these add to his score. Of course, the nasties also take a toll on the Kid. In fact, there's so much going on, with so many extra points and power-ups to be grabbed that it's hard to keep track of the action.

In the jungle levels the whirlwind is changed for clouds. But he can still use them in the same way. Try whipping up a storm and letting it rain on the nasties. Acid rain, or what? Also, try watering the plants - some grow allowing you to climb to new levels. In the lake levels the cool cat Kid chills out. Hurling ice cubes at the nasties and giving them the cold shoulder. Up the mountains the Kid takes on snowmen, yeti, and eagles galore by pelting them with snowballs.

Unlike many of the current games, where you constantly battle through hordes of monsters, there's no massive encounter at the end of the level. Instead, it's strictly for laughs.

As Sean says: 'We wanted to get away from the big nasty at the end of the level. I find it boring. We wanted to have fun.'

The fun includes a bike race against some stonefaced monsters, a boxing match against a gorilla, and a treasure hunt set against the clock. What we have here is a seemingly simple game superbly executed, complex, challenging and a visual and aural delight. Above all, everything is designed to keep you playing. The music - Betty Boo's hit Doing the Do - is brilliant.

'Wow!' As the Bitmap Kid might say. A star is born.

Paul Boughton

'Stylish, all action thrills and spills - don't miss it.'

Graphics 87%
Sound 85%
Lastability 81%
Playability 87%

OVERALL 85%

BITMAPS BOO-GY ON DOWN

Betty Boo's Doin' the Do was a top-ten chart hit last year and Richard Joseph was the man responsible for sampling the original tapes and converting them for the Amiga version of Magic Pockets. Richard has also composed the music and sound effects for Millennium's The Adventures of Robin Hood. Stablemates of Betty Boo at Rhythm King Records have featured on other Bitmap Brothers games. Bomb the Bass provided the backing track for Xenon2 with Nation 12 taking the musical honours on Gods and
Speedball 2.

Magic Pockets was featured on ITV's Saturday morning children's show Motormouth for ten weeks earlier this year. Viewers phoned in to play a version of the game for prizes. But for some reason the TV chiefs changed the name of the Bitmap Kid to Mighty Mo.

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