Title Top Hat Willy Category Platform Compatibility 1 MB required Players 1 HD Installable Yes Submission Joona Palaste (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Top Hat Willy is a perfect example of why computer games don't need gigabytes' worth of fancy presentation to be addictive - just a simple, well-thought-out formula is enough. This is one of those games in which you can have a quick game in less time than it takes your average Quake LXVIII shoot-'em-up to even fully load itself on a 5 GHz PC. While some games require several paragraphs of text to describe, Top Hat Willy can be sufficiently described in six words: Jet Set Willy for the Amiga. Serious Commodore 64 fans will recognise, and fondly remember, the classic game Jet Set Willy, dating back from the early days of the Commodore 64. Top Hat Willy retains the same style and gameplay, but updates the graphics, sounds and the level map. Normally this would be where I would sum up the game's plot. With the case of Top Hat Willy though, I simply have to paraphrase the game's author, T.Heikkinen: Top Hat Willy has the same plot as Jet Set Willy had, whatever that was. You are in a world of 10*10 screens, and there are 160 items scattered there. Get them. That's basically all of the plot that's mentioned in the game or its documentation. So how do you play this game then? Since not everyone in the world is familiar with Jet Set Willy (any more!), let's give a brief run-down. As mentioned above, the world is made of 10*10 screens in a standard Cartesian array. Each of these screens takes up exactly one Amiga-screen-ful, so there will be no scrolling of any kind in sight. These screens are made up of all kinds of platforms, and most have items and/or enemies. It is the job of the game's hero, Willy (called Wally in the original Commodore 64 game), to traverse these screens, collecting the items and avoiding the enemies. That's right, avoiding. Willy is entirely devoid of any kind of offensive manoeuvres. Every enemy in the game is immortal. Luckily all they do is move around on preset paths, only killing Willy if he's unfortunate enough to cross their path. So you see, they're not that bad. The enemies can be basically divided into three groups: Those that stay still, those that move at the same speed as Willy, and those that move faster than Willy. Sometimes those that stand still can be the hardest to avoid! The enemies are not the only things to look out for, as long falls will also kill poor old Willy. And this leads to one particular thing which is more annoying than Britney Spears appearing in a 36-hour Teletubbies TV marathon: If you are killed in a screen, you automatically re-enter through the same route as you previously entered the screen. Guess what this means when you fall too far when you enter the screen? Yes, that's right. You get locked in a cycle of killing yourself, resurrecting only to die again, without being able to even budge an eyebrow about it. Falling too far when entering a screen means instant Game Over. In the game's defense, the original Commodore 64 game had the same problem too. The main element of Top Hat Willy is, of course, the gameplay, but the graphics and sounds aren't bad either. The graphic style is wonderfully simple and cartoony, and the sounds consist of one jolly music piece and simple, but effective sound effects. And this all works on less processing power and memory than your average modern PC has in its video card. If you are serious about playing Top Hat Willy, it will keep you playing for months, nay, years. Make no mistake - this game is DIFFICULT. It is so difficult that the author, T.Heikkinen, hasn't managed to complete it himself! His personal best is 100 items or something, mine is 64 items. So far, in the recorded history of mankind, Top Hat Willy is reported to have been completed exactly once. Compare and contrast this to Twinworld, one of my other favourite platformers. Twinworld can't be exactly called "easy" either, but I could complete it on any given day within one hour, having just been woken up, with my left arm tied behind my back. Not even close with Top Hat Willy. Top Hat Willy is freely available from AmiNet to all who want it. The documentation includes a promise of a sequel to appear within 1995, with more features on the screens. Sadly, nothing ever became of this sequel. This is a crying shame, because Top Hat Willy is truly an excellent game, and deserved continuing development.