- Not to be confused with the Ocean 1993 Comic Relief game of the same name, this is Zeppelin’s winter 1992 budget release.
As wonderful as pocket-money priced games were, the budget scene didn’t often break any boundaries. A platformer here, a sideways shooter there. Maybe a Dizzy-lite adventure now and then. It’s not exactly surprising: these things were being programmed in a matter of weeks and turned out for a few pounds a time. Not much room for thinking.
Somebody somewhere clearly had Sleepwalker bubbling away in their brains for a long time, though. It is wonderfully original and full of the sort of neat little touches more at home in premium priced software.
You and your Uncle Silas live in a knackered old mansion. Silas is always sleepwalking, and it’s your job to get him back into bed and keep him away from anything that might wake him up. The house is full of lethal stuff: drawing pins, live electrical cables and even radios turned up to full volume. If you can’t steer your Uncle away from these things, you have to set them off yourself. That means you’re forever getting electrocuted, pierced in the foot, covered in water and blown up with dynamite.
The little bits of slapstick humour and the brilliant animations that go along with being blown up, deafened or electrocuted are what really make this game. It is genuinely funny, and rather like Grand Theft Auto today you’ll find yourself getting killed for the comic value. The only thing you could say is at fault here is the lack of a map: the house is huge, which is a good thing. Lots of places to play! But if you lose your Uncle it can take ages to find him. A map or scanner would’ve helped loads.
For a few quid though, it’s ace. One final thought: on top of the polished programming and good humour, we wonder if the game’s Uncle Silas is inspired by the gothic novel of the same name? Games – and gamers – could benefit from more software being as thoughtful as this. CF
CF SAID: “A bit weird, but still lots of laughs.”
WE SAY: Everything that’s wonderful about budget games.