Three Weeks in Paradise (ZX Spectrum)
I only played one Wally Week game on the Commodore 64, that being Pyjamarama. I enjoyed that game a lot... it was very silly, and basically used a platform game to link together minigames. I had no idea what I was doing in the game itself, but I had quite a lot of fun just pottering about, and the variety of the minigames was appealing.
For some reason I've always seen this as a Spectrum series of games, but out of the five, four of them made it across to the Commodore 64. The only one that wasn't converted was the last one, Three Weeks in Paradise. How convenient that it ties in with my advent calendar!
If you're feeling froggy, jump!
Three Weeks in Paradise sees Wally take his wife and son on holiday, but being a tight bastard he arranges the travel himself and sees the family lost on a desert island. That might not have been so bad... in fact, for many it would be an ideal holiday. Unfortunately for Wally, though, his wife and child are kidnapped by hungry cannibals. So instead of lounging on the beach and catching some rays, Wally has to explore the island and look for ways to set the Weeks free.
That's a bit silly. You should wear shoes with covered toes if you're going crabbing.
If you owned an 8-bit computer, you'd know what to expect from this type of game, and Three Weeks in Paradise is no different. It's a flick-screen platform adventure (although there's actually very little platforming in this one), and there are a number of really obscure puzzles to solve. You need to find the right item for each puzzle, and once you use the item correctly, you're allowed to progress.
This can lead to frustration in some games, but fortunately in Three Weeks in Paradise the items are never too far from the puzzles in question, and you can't actually get into certain areas until certain puzzles are solved, so in effect the playing area is reduced until you've figured out what to do. There's still plenty of head-scratching and trial and error (even the first puzzle will make you shout, "Whaaaat?), but at least it's kept down to a reasonable degree.
"Doctor, I've got a bad chest." "Piss off."
The cannibals obviously aren't that hungry as there's no time limit, and there are just a few dangerous enemies, so you can take your time in figuring out what needs to be done. To be honest, you'd think they would have just taken Wally for the pot... he's a bit of a fat bloke. He actually looks just like an Englishman on holiday, complete with knotted hankie on the head, which is pretty endearing.
Son, stop messing around in that pot and get down here, now!
I have to say, I've got a bit of a soft spot for games like this. I played and completed a good number of them in my time on the Commodore 64, and even managed to try a fair few of the Speccy's. I would rate Three Weeks in Paradise as a pretty good example, although it's a bit on the short side (I played the 48K version... I would imagine the available 128K version would add more screens, but don't quote me on that). This was the last game in the Wally Week series... I wonder what he's up to now...?