The sequel to Sweevo’s World. I loaded it up on my 128k ZX spectrum expecting a fab title tune but all I got was the same old 48k Beeper music from the previous game. Gutted. Still, when you actually start the game the real soundtrack kicks in – and what a soundtrack. Rob Hubbard is back once again with a very vibrant and watery track that completely suits the game. It’s a joy to listen to.

The Game

“SWEEVO” said the kindly Robo-Master, gnashing his metallic teeth, “I didn’t expect you back so soon… so, go and clean out the DEATHBOWL!” Warily, Sweevo reached for his copy of the GALACTIC AQUARIST and read:

“The gigantic planetary aquarium called DEATHBOWL is now so polluted that the only remedy is to complettly empty it of water by pulling each of the four main plugs. Each plug is activated by special objects, indicated by the surrounding floor-plates. These objects may be just lying around, although guarded, or they may be part of one of the inhabitants, which must therefore be eliminated – luckily, weapons, with limited ammo, may be found in abundance. The Deathbowl is constructed of several levels – downward access is by whirlpools, upward access by bubbles – some bubbles burst early, which is useful!

Critical Reaction

Crash – 90/100

“Some game formats can stand cloning by their creators, and what made Sweevo’s World was the content more than the look — which is saying a lot because it looked great. SoHydrofool survives less for its originality than because it’s still a highly enjoyable romp, packed with loads of puzzles, a need for dexterity and plenty of atmosphere — the first time you see a sea serpent pop up from the floor ranks as quite a shock. The feel of the game relies heavily on the high quality graphics — Sweevo really does seem to be swimming under water. With the large number of screens, and the intricately woven Greg Follis puzzles, Hydrofool should hold its appeal for quite some time.”

Your Sinclair – 8/10

All great fun. The graphics and sprites are all wonderfully clear and well thought out, and as usual with Gargoyle/FTL, the design’s immaculate. If it’s not a megagame, it’s only because in gameplay terms it’s just a little too similar toSweevo. But I love it, and if you went a bundle over the original, I’m sure you will too.

My Thoughts

I never really got into Sweevo’s World as the control system for isometric 3-d games tended to drive me mental. Still, after playing a lot of isometric games I eventually got to grips with where up was and could orientate myself correctly and quite happily paid the £7.95 and purchased Hydrofool one Saturday afternoon.

As I mentioned in my opening I was rather disappointed that the title screen music was the same title screen music from Sweevo’s World so I wasn’t expecting to hear the in-game track  but when I did i was really pleased as it’s a tune that will bring a smile to anyone’s face – it’s just a happy piece that features some great atmospheric touches and it really helps to make it feel aquatic.

So what was the actual game like?

Tricky – some rather devious puzzles, screen layouts, randomly appearing enemies and the fact you had to do each level in a specific order made this one hard game and another one I failed to complete. Still, I enjoyed playing Hydrofool and swimming around Deathbowl with Sweevo is just great fun as the watery graphical touches and the enemies are great.

The Music

About Phendrena

Father, Retro Gamer, PC Gamer.

2 responses »

  1. You forgot Sinclair User – the game was awarded a Classic there.

    Personally I never plunged myself deep (no pun intended) into Sweevo’s antics back in the day, since they seemed me a bit shallow (again, no pun intended) when compared with epic Ultimate titles like Knight Lore or Alien 8, or with complex adventures like Jon Ritman’s Batman and Head Over Heels. But maybe the time has come to reconsider that and give them a much more close and persistent look.

    Hydrofool in particular, with its fascinating underwater setting, always looked quite inviting to me although I had almost no clue of what I was actually supposed to do!

    • Phendrena says:

      It’s a really tricky game as learning what order you need to pull the plugs in is a nightmare. Pull the wrong plug and you loose access to areas that you need to complete the game. Lots of frustration!

      Your right Alessandro, I did indeed forget to mention the SU Classic! I’ll edit the post once this week of Speccy specials is over and add in the SU stuff.

      Glad you like the blog and thanks for visiting!!

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