Review: Viz (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 21)

Equipment Used/Recommended

  • MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator.
  • Automation 453
  • Speedlink USB Joystick or a mouse (recommend mouse)

My Review

Moving on from racing games we now find ourselves engaged in more athletic pursuits – this time racing on foot. The game is split into multiple events, mirroring the format of a typical olympics game in many ways, with races on foot interspersed with events like trying to jet-propel yourself as high as possible using only the power of beans and methane. Yes methane. If that surprises you then perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Viz.

I should perhaps begin by explaining a little bit about what Viz is. Viz is some good old-fashioned British filth. It’s full of toilet humour and swearing, a comic for grown-ups started in the late 70s featuring such characters as the Fat Slags (who predictably were generally busy trying to hump everything), Buster Gonad and his unfeasibly large testicles, Biffa Bacon and his love of violence, Roger Mellie the (sweary) man on the telly and my personal favourite Johnny Fartpants whose skills can probably be guessed.

So we find these loveable characters transposed from the comic to our computer screens, and they look wonderful. The sprites are beautifully drawn, colourful and decently-animated. Indeed graphics throughout the game are excellent.

So to the events. The race is conducted over 5 levels with different sets of obstacles, and if you stray out of your lane a bloke throws bricks at you. Each character can use his special powers to help complete the course, and they each get two bonus levels to gain tokens for later use. For Johnny Fartpants those events include the previously-mentioned jet-propelled high jump where waggling your stick propels your man and inflating balloons with his anus. Buster Gonad flattens pancakes with his balls and then uses them as space hoppers to bounce as high as possible, and Biffa Bacon punches the shit out of people and drinks pints.

Now these tokens gained from mini-games are essential if you’re to progress in the race. Biffa punches people out of the way with a single fire-tap, or a long press sends him into a frenzy as someone has spilled his pint. These powers cost tokens, and thus it is clear one must obtain as many tokens as possible in the minigames before race segments.

Verdict

So is it any good? Well, it looks great and runs fairly smoothly, in part due to a small scrolling area, but in truth the difficulty is insane. Getting enough tokens to really make any progress is impossible and the game rarely responds in a timely manner to pressing the fire button to perform your character’s main tasks. It’s not a bad game, just one that could have done with a bit more time in the oven to balance it a bit.

Resources

Manual: https://hol.abime.net/1591/manual

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