You boy! Stand still. What's that in your pocket? Come on, you miserable little creature, show me. Grange Hill? Computer game? Right, this is confiscated. Gel it back at the end of term. No huts. On your way, boy.
Grange Hill is a classic of children's television. It's been running for ten years now. An ideal candidate for a computer game. I would have thought. Argus Press Software obviously think so, too.
At the time of writing I've only seen a pre-production Spectrum and Amstrad version. So a full review will follow later This is what you might call a half term report.
Strictly speaking this is an arcade advcnlure, the type of game Keith Campbell raises his eycbrows at when it goes into the adventure section.
The storyline is based on the book Grange Hill After Hours, written by the programmed creator Phil Redmond, and centres on two characters, Luke "Conch" Gardner and Paul "Hollo" Holloway.
Gonch has a problem. His stereo walkman has been confiscated.
If he goes home without it. his mum will not be pleased. Gonch "s last walkman was stolen from the staffroom when it was also confiscated. Mum now demands to see his new one ever} time he goes home.
Unless Gonch can get his walkman back, he's in danger of getting a severe case of the verbals from mum and probably a few backhands. Not a pleasant prospect.
There's only one answer—: get the walkman back. Gonch gets Hollo to accompany him on his hazardous task.
The intrepid duo must find a way into the school, find their way through a maze of heating pipes, avoid getting caught, get the stereo and get out all before midnight strikes.
The top half of the screen is taken up with a window on the action.
You control Gonch with the joystick. Hitting the fire button will bring up a menu with various options PICK UP. DROP, USE, EXAMINE, etc. When you meet other characters you can also talk to them and get a response.
There's even a drug pusher in the game. One tip — never
say anything but "No" to him. It'll get you extra points.
There are lots of items to collect — fishing rods, bone (useful for luring a dog which keeps savaging Gonch), and lots more.
The Amstrad version has some decent digitised pictures of Hollo, Gonch and Griffiths the school's caretaker, but the graphics of the rest of the game don't really impress.
The puzzles, however. I found very intriguing and entertaining.
The text for the adventure contains some really annoying mistakes. Just take a look at the screen shots on this page. One contains 'TEAS READY" instead of "TEA'S READY" and another SUES A RIGHT NUT-JOB" instead of "SHE'S A RIGHT NUT-JOB".
And again, there's a space missing, between TIPPINGYOUR. Annoying.
Okay, I accept these mistakes don't really affect the game but they do grate.
Grange Hill was designed by Colin Jones, whose past games have never been different. Deus ex Machine and iD probably being the best known. The programming is by Binary Design.
Final judgement must wait until we receive a finished version so there are no scores. But if pressed for an opinion it would have to be "Hmmmmm" Will it be a hit? I can definitely say: "Please. Sir. I don't know."
Computer & Video Games - Issue #66 (1987)