Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Slimey's Mine (Commodore 64)


Right now, you're on They Were Our Gods.  Back then, you were in Slimey's Mine, and you'd just picked up a map.  You knew that, because the game shouted it at you.  It shouted a lot of things at you, did Slimey's Mine.

If you've never played Slimey's Mine, you probably should.  I guarantee that you'll crack a smile, at the very least.  It's a completely bonkers game, the sort of concept that was realised regularly in the Eighties and went sadly missing for a long time, but is (thankfully) coming back with a vengeance in this day and age.

There he goes!

Slimey is a frog-like creature, who has somehow managed to get himself trapped in an asteroid belt far, far from home.  All he wants to do is make it back home.  Home is where Slimey's heart is.  Unfortunately, the only way off the asteroid belt comes in the form of a giant balloon... which is on the other side of a yawning chasm.  Slimey's only hope is to venture into the mines in the asteroids and collect frogs, which he can spit into the hole to fill it up, thereby creating a bridge to the balloon, freedom, and home!

If you're wondering what kind of game could possibly be spawned from a storyline like that, then let me tell you: it's a shoot 'em up.  Of course it is.  Each asteroid contains a number of caverns which Slimey must negotiate to get to the frogs.  As you'd expect, it's not as easy as that...

I'm forever blasting bubbles...

The asteroids feature a number of indigenous life forms, and guess what?  They're not friendly.  Some will actively attack Slimey, while others will wander about minding their own business.  Contact with all creatures is harmful to Slimey, though... he'll dry out, and eventually expire!  Fortunately, Slimey can collect water jars, which although not giving him any direct benefit, will turn bubbles to water that Slimey can collect.

There are other benefits to be found, too.  Apples will clear a screen of dirt, leaving you free to wander its entire area.  Banana bombs can be used to attack a number of enemies at once... useful.  A map will appear every so often, which will give you a reminder of the asteroid's internal layout.  And then there are the diamonds...

Eeek!  Get away!  Get away!

Now, don't get me wrong.  Slimey's not a greedy Gertie, Bertie.  But Slimey's only way off a screen is to collect enough diamonds to make a red diamond appear.  Once he collects the red diamond, all the critters disappear, leaving Slimey free to leave the screen.  Well, if he can avoid the death-dealing lasers, that is...

I'm sure that if you haven't played Slimey's Mine, you're probably shaking your head right now.  And you have a good right to be... it sounds ludicrous.  And it is ludicrous... but in that fantastic, imaginative way that fills you with a certain kind of joy.  It's loud and obnoxious, with hilarious sampled screams, gulps and utterances constantly brightening proceedings.   And although it eventually gets repetitive, it's great fun.  This was a terrific purchase back in the day.

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