When Lode Runner was launched in the early eighties, the simplicity and genius of the game immediately sparked widespread cloning, something which also happened with PacMan, Tetris and so on. One of these clones was concealed, probably in Canada, (get to level 10 and you will understand why I think so! :-) ) in 1983. I must admit that neither Kris Hatlelid nor Gregor Larson have contributed to any other games that have at least made such an impact that I noted the creators (tomorrow they'll read this, and subsequently bomb my e-mail with lists of what they did later). But that's a different kettle of fish.
This game is a "Lode Runner" clone, no doubt about it. And when you remember all the dubious clones running around, such as "SuperCuda" and not at least "Dr. Mario" (YUCK!), this does not raise your hopes. But let me get this right straight away: Frantic Freddie is ONE GREAT - and I mean really, really GREAT - C64 game. Although I have some experience with this game before, playing it now really has opened my eyes.
This game is based around Freddie, who runs around on different screens (or levels), while picking up buckets of gold, and all possible bonus items (4 at each level, including Ice Creams, Dollar Bills, Christmas Trees and other imaginable things), all this while trying to avoid a gradually increasing number of unsympathetical, not to say lethal monsters. While the "Lode Runner" was equipped with his "hole-making device", your best weapon in this game are good, old-fashioned tactics. Your foes, the various (and well-created) monsters, all run in certain patterns, which enable you to estimate their coming moves. In addition, two ladder-rules also help: You may not run through ladders (this rule infact frustrated one of my friends so much six years ago, that he still refuses to play this game), and the monsters may only turn when in or directly overhead ladders.
While other clones often are nothing more than a bleak replica of the original, this game has been taken a bit, not to say lightyears, further than its ancestor. Some people, who like their games really fast and furious, and don't have the patience to get to the levels in which F.F. gets fast and furious (because it does), will perhaps don't fall as completely in love with this game is I have. Other people, that are dependent on shooting in their games, may not like it at all. But I will say it now, and don't be surprised if it's said again: This is a great Commodore game, a game with Time Warp potential (Example: You sit down to play for fifteen minutes, and suddenly three hours have passed), a sadly underestimated classic, a game to lose yourself in, and a game to be enjoyed for a long long time ahead.
|GRAPHICS - 9/10|
|You can't expect the world from a game like this, but it
sure beats the living shit out of any other game I have
seen in this genre, including it's predecessor "Lode
Runner." Extra points awarded for the fantasy used when
it comes to creating monsters and bonus items. Who on
earth would have thought about using a Christmas tree
as a bonus item?|
|SOUND - 9/10|
|There's a lot of Joplin-ragtime here, but also other
music, including a orchestration of Beethoven's fifth,
which makes you wonder where A-Plus got their idea from.
Great music that is very well orchestrated, but sadly,
it doesn't always run flawlessly under all emulators.
Sound FX are few, but nice.|
|PLAYABILITY - 10/10|
|What can I say? A rush of adrenalin, a continuous and
increasingly difficult challenge when it comes to
tactics, manoeuvring (try running between two monsters
on level 15!), and pace. It's enormous. Just enormous.|
|OVERALL - 9/10|
|This is the best rating I have awarded to any game so
far, and I'm willing to stand up and defend it any time.
There might very well be other great games out there,
waiting to be played and evaluated, but they will have
to be extremely good to beat this one. This one should
be downloaded. You deserve it. |