Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Platform Game
Authors : David Woodhouse and T. Racine
Standalone Release(s) : 1984: KISSIN' KOUSINS, English, £7.95
Compilation Release(s) : 1987: 10 COMPUTER HITS 2, Beau Jolly, £9.95
Stated compatibility : Electron Side A, BBC Side B
Actual compatibility : As stated
Supplier : ENGLISH, Box 43, MANCHESTER M60 3AD. Tel: 061-835 1358
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00
A jaunty multi-screen arcade game from ENGLISH SOFTWARE featuring Bombers, Caterpillars, Kangaroos, Bats, Rubber Frogs, Toadstools, Gogglers and Pogopoppers. KISSIN' KOUSINS features Hi-Resolution Graphics, Music and an option to use the FIRST-BYTE JOYSTICK INTERFACE on the ELECTRON version.
Z - Left, X - Right, <SHIFT> - Jump, <RETURN> - Fire
Q/S - Sound Off/On, <SPACE> - Pause On/Off
Instructions' Source : 10 COMPUTER HITS 2 (Beau Jolly) Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User)
This is a good old fashioned arcade game containing two vital ingredients for success - it's addictive and it's fun. The aim of the game seems to be to navigate the male cousin past all manner of hazards until he meets his female counterpart.
It all looks very simple. You move the little chap straight across the screen on a road, jumping him over the odd bush and post box. The quality of the background graphics is so good that you may find your mind wandering from the task in hand.
Another problem is the severe shortage of time. You lose a life if you don't cross the screen quickly enough. Not only that, you are being bombed as well.
It won't be long before you manage screen one with confidence and can then tackle screen two. Success here leads you on to the bouncing kangaroos, and by shooting these defenceless beasts you can obtain bonus points.
By now the road has led to the wooded countryside, and you encounter bats and moving mushrooms. These are pretty taxing, and avoiding them requires a lot of practice.
Screen six brings you to some rather cute frogs, but also to a long, dissolving bridge. This one defeats me so I don't know what happens next.
I have two criticisms. Firstly, a multi-screen game like this should give you the option of starting on any screen. Secondly, the game lacks a high score table, merely keeping a record of the highest score.
Those points apart though, this is an entertaining family game. The graphics and the animation are of a superb standard and the sound is adequate.
An extra bonus is that the tape contains both BBC and Electron versions of the game (Make sure you load the right one!) and supports a First Byte joystick interface. Recommended for arcade addicts of all ages.
Rog Frost, ELECTRON USER 3. 6
Downtown and countryside environs of Electron land are weird and very deadly places in this brilliant arcade game from D. Woodhouse and T. Racine. The three sentence instructions on the back cover don't do it justice at all!
Its most impressive feature, although there are many, is its use of colour and graphics. Most of the action happens on just a small level; the width of the screen but only around 32 pixels in height. But above this, and covering the majority of your screen, are intrinsically detailed backdrops of buildings, shops, a zoo, forests and trees. Nicely presented red and white score-, screen- and lives- bars also give a very smart appearance to the whole display making the small playing area virtually unnoticeable.
The gameplay is deceptively simple. You must guide a little boy from left to right over ten hazardous screens and there are always a number of obstacles, stationary and moving, to negotiate (in a pixel-perfect fashion) en route. On reaching the right hand edge, the background neatly scrolls onto the next screen.
Contact with anything and your man disintegrates with a suitable fizz and crackle and each time you jump you are treated to a bounce noise while a quick scale of notes denotes a successful passage from screen x to y. The opening screen plays a short rendition of 'Clemantine' and also introduces you to the little boy's other half who is patiently waiting for a smooch at the end of the tenth screen!
The characters on screen relate to the background in a very clever way. In town (the first few screens), brick walls, post boxes and trash cans (with raising and lowering lids) call for some deft finger or joystick action. As you progress into the forests, the baddies become more territorial bugs, worms and toadstools. There's a "Wonderland" feel to the game too in some respects; the 'Americanised' town has a shop selling two-bit micros, high rise traffic lights and arms borne by your cute hero but the countryside screens feel very 'English'. As if this wasn't enough, and necessitating the gun, you come under attack from overhead planes, an Australian kangaroo and a flying mutant crab!
There are just four keys: Z, X, <SHIFT> to jump and <RETURN> to fire and a First Byte Joystick Interface option can be enabled before loading. The playability is good and the interest level remains even when you manage to complete the screens only to be rewarded with having a chance to do it all over again...
This lastability factor, however, is probably related to a high level of randomness that operates in the game. As mentioned, from the third screen you are under threat from a bouncing kangaroo which comes from either the left or the right of the screen. He bounds over the territory and, surrounded by obstacles (as you invariably are), he can sometimes be impossible to avoid. He and the crab occasionally appear from the right JUST as you touch the right yourself meaning you carefully execute your plan to pass the screen, make it...and the hero disintegrates as you expect to hear the zip of a successful passage! Very frustrating.
This aside though, and it's a feature, not a bug [Where have we heard that one before? - Ed], KISSIN' KOUSINS is one of those games that does the Electron proud. Although loading is lengthy from tape, the speed of the game itself is superb and is improved still further with a Master RAM Board. An undocumented feature, or bug, is that the user can slow the speed down by holding down <SPACE> and playing as normal. <SPACE> is designated as both pause on and off and holding it bizarrely allows you to move your character pixel by pixel, making jumping those prickly bushes
just a little bit easier!
KISSIN' KOUSINS is tricky, fast, frustrating, colourful, amusing, entertaining, wonderfully presented and difficult to master - although not impossible. It's everything you could want from an arcade game and is probably still worth every penny of its cover price.
Dave Edwards, EUG #48