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Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Turtles watch out! The latest fearless TV hero to make it to the computer screen is small, yellow, has a green Mohican haircut and a nice line in wise-quacks (groan). It's Edd the Duck, best "friend" of Andi Peters, all-round media personality and star of Childrens BBC, starring in the first licensed game title written by Zeppelin (though the game actually appears on the fun price, Impulze label).

As you'd expect, Edd the Duck, the game, isn't a blood-spatteringly violent exercise in slaughtering aliens,; it's a cutesy Mario Brothers-style platforms game in which the worst that can happen to anyone is that they get a bop on the head with one of Edd's magic snowballs, or an unexpected dip in the lake.

In his quest for TV stardom, Edd has to collect 20 stars hidden all over each of nine levels before he can progress to the next. Each level represents a different episode of his TV series. He starts off at the bottom of the screen, and can leap high into the air and flap left and right. As he ascends the background changes to a winter landscape with snowmen, Christmas trees and puffs of wind, provided by the boffins of the Special Visual Effects department.

The background graphics are very colourful but not very detailed, though things are livened up by some of the moving baddies, which include the grasping hand of Wilson the butler, evil teddy bears, fish wearing sunglasses, flapping umbrellas, and bumble bees.

The trick is to leap around the platforms collecting stars without bumping into these baddies; if you do, you take a tumble right back to the beginning of the level. You have four lives (or 'takes' in filming parlance), and each time you lose one, you spin drunkenly through the air, then sink downwards in flashing-on-and-off mode. If you steer carefully, you can land on a platform as you solidify, saving you the trouble of clambering up all the way from the bottom again.

All Edd has to help him on his journey are his magic snowballs which he can fling at baddies to stop them in their tracks for a few moments, so that he can leap over them without danger. Those of us hoping to find nuclear rocket launchers, armour-piercing grenades or ninja stars on later levels will, I feel sure, disappointed but the pacifists amongst us will be quite happy.

Edd the Duck is a very standard arcade-adventure which will probably keep you entertained for a few hours. But it's generally too derivative - the Beeb have proved many times in the past that they know nothing about computer games (they're still trying to push the BBC B micro, for goodness' sake), and Edd the Duck looks more like the product of a committee meeting than an inspired programming effort. Quack quack indeed.

Label: Impulze
Price: £9.99 48K
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

He's cute, he's cuddly he's bound in BBC tape and will appeal only to true Ed fans.