These days it seems every major gaming company has some sort of mascot. Sega has Sonic, Nintendo has Mario, and Sony has various failed attempts at ripping off both. Commodore never had such a luxury marketing behemoth for its machines, and the C64 is no exception. However, the Rowlands brothers came the closest to creating such an icon for the C64 with their Creatures games, featuring the charismatic fur ball Clyde Radcliffe. And like every other mascot-oriented game, it was a platformer!
Creatures, which actually stands for Clyde Radcliffe Exterminates All The Unfriendly Repulsive Earth-ridden Slime, begins on a tranquil desert island that Clyde and his Fuzzy Wuzzy clan decide to call their home after arriving from outer-space. Unfortunately, some demons already call it home and are somewhat annoyed by all the late-night partying Fuzzy Wuzzies, so they decide to kidnap them all. Your job, as Clyde, is to save them.
The game mostly takes the form of a sideways scrolling platform shoot-em-up with various cartoon-like demons in your way for you to kill with your flame breath. On your way there are various magic mushrooms to collect, which can be swapped for extra weapons in the shops that appear at the end of each sub-stage. Then, at the end of each full stage, there is a section that would never have appeared in any Sonic game, and would surely make Mario’s moustache curl: a torture screen! In these single-screen sections, one of Clyde’s clan is being held in a rather precarious position and it’s your job to free them. If you don’t they’re for the chop, or slice, or hack (you get the idea), all shown in gruesome Technicolor!
The graphics in Creatures are pretty good. Even though some of the demons are made from dodgy expando-sprites, the fact that the whole thing is very cartoon-like means they don’t distract. The backgrounds are nicely detailed; especially the torture screens, and as per usual Steve Rowlands provides an aural treat with his funky choonz. If there is any complaint it’s unfortunately with the gameplay. Although the torture screens are great, and the real highlights of the game, some of the platform sections are needlessly tough in later levels. Also, Clyde is hardly Mr. Speedy and consequently the ‘action’ is often a little plodding.
So, overall, this is quite a good game, but not without its faults.
Eh? What’s that? Clyde… no… keep away… okay, I liked it… honest… don’t breathe on me… arrgh!
CIA Score 8/10
Reviewer: Craig Grannell