Title Bob's Garden Game Type General Action Players 1 or 2 Compatibility All HD Installable With Patch Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer Review Bob's Garden is a conversion of the classic arcade game Mr Do!. It is not a perfect copy, for one thing the original coin-op used a vertical screen, and, short of leaning our monitors on their side, this approach would not have been practical. Bob's Garden actually does very well with levels that have been adjusted to suit a horizontal format. Now the tricky process of attempting to describe the game. The levels are basically like very simple one-screen mazes, much like the Pac-man format. Characters are viewed from the side, but the level itself is apparently viewed from above, assuming that cherries don't grow deep underground, that is - and as daft as that might sound, it all makes perfect sense once you start playing the game. The levels are actually gardens, each with a fair crop of cherries for you to collect, thus earning points. In the centre of each level is an outline of a Dino (the rather cute looking characters that will pursue you), and as play progresses a set number of Dinos will appear from this door. While each level starts with some paths for you to run along, the bulk of the area is solid 'garden'. Unlike the Dinos, you can dig through the solid area, creating paths in the process and collecting the cherries. Of course, the Dinos will happilly use these paths too, once you've made them, so don't relax, because their touch is death. You are far from defenceless however, and are able to despatch the Dinos by throwing a bouncing ball at them. Because the ball bounces along the paths, some care is needed to ensure that it doesn't go off on a detour missing your enemies altogether. Once the ball strikes a Dino, it is killed and a few (often crucial) seconds later your ball is magically returned to you. As well as cherries, suspended in the garden, are apples, and while you can't collect them for points, they actually make an additional weapon. Should your path go underneath an apple, after a moment it will drop downwards, killing pretty much anything it lands on. Additionally, if the apple doesn't drop far it will survive the fall and block the path, providing a potentially useful barrier. You can also push an apple along, and heave it over the edge of a vertical path, sometimes killing multiple assailants. Now while I said the Dinos can't dig themsleves, they can mutate into Diggers; guess what they can do? This mutation usually takes place when a Dino's attempts to get at you are frustrated by an obstruction of some sort. They stop looking cute at this point and become very dangerous. Across the top of the screen are the letters, EXTRA. One of these letters will always be highlighted, and from time to time a kind of Super Dino, known as an Extra, appears and chases after you, sporting the letter that was highlighted at the moment it appeared. The Extra creature is not phased by an apple, it just chews them up. The important thing is that if you kill an Extra, that letter stays highlighted, and if you succed in highlighting all the letters you gain, yes, you guessed it, an extra life. When the last Dino appears on a level the door they emerged from disappears, and is replaced by some form of food. If you collect this you will force an Extra creature to appear, and this enables you to carefully select your moment and work your way through the EXTRA letters, thus gaining a life. The drawback to this is that after eating the food, the Extra creature doesn't simply appear on his own he brings three friends with him, these are know as Mr Crocs and also have no problem eating apples. If you kill the Extra creature though, you also destroy the Mr Crocs, and, happily, during this skirmish the Dinos are frozen. Bobs Garden is a masterpiece. It is just about the perfect 'cute' arcade game. It is a very simple game to play, and yet there is a surprising amount of trickery and tactical skill that can be brought into play. It effectively recreates the Mr Do! arcade game and while it doesn't look identical, for my money, all the fun of the original is here. There are little feature to enjoy in the game like the occasional appearance of the crystal, as well as what I took for a dancing clown, but I've only seen it once. You can carefully throw your ball through walls without actually breaking the wall, and the arcade tunes and sound effects all seem to be here and enhance the atmosphere perfectly. All this in a program that is just 37K in size! Fantastic.