The 3 Stooges logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £29.95

Picture a quiet day in Stoogeville (if such a thing is possible). Our intrepid troublesome threesome are out for a stroll when the ever alert Moe (the own with the bowl-head) hears the sound of someone crying. The Stooges soon trace the sound to its source, a sweet kind old dear who runs the home for misplaced children. She explains: "It is Mr Fleecem (boo, hiss), he holds the lease to the Orphanage and unless I pay him everything I owe him he will tear the place down in 30 days". The Stooges think. The Stooges decide. "We will raise the money for you!" they tell her. Ma's three daughters then say that they will marry a Stooge each if they can raise enough cash to pay Mr Fleecem (hiss, boo), repair the Orphanage and then have enough left over for the weddings!

WARNING, when this game is first loaded all is not as it seems. The Defender of the Crown title screen comes up with music. Ah, you think, but what has this to do with Moe, Larry and Curly? Well, after a short time they come swaggering on to the screen and stop in the centre to look at the Defender logo. Then the digitised voice of Moe says, "This is kids stuff". There is the sound of a record needle being lifted, the music changes to something more light hearted and a picture of the Stooges appears. So do not take back your copy of the Stooges thinking it is Defender of the Crown, will you?

The map for Stooges is set out like a board game. The three 'squares' either side of you are displayed, and as you move to a new location, the corresponding squares to the right of you are shown. The squares are shown against a wall with Moes' hand pointing at one at random. You have nine seconds to select a location or Moe loses a finger. If you select a mouse trap by accident, it snaps down and also removes one of this fingers. When all of Moe's fingers have been decapitated then he can no longer guide the Stooges and the game is over.

There are a number of tasks that Moe can select for the Stooges in order to raise cash for the Orphanage. If you select the Prize Fight Curly has to knock out Killer Killduff in six rounds. This is no mean feat as when Curly hears the fetoid strains of to Pop Goes The Weasel he changes into a mean, lean, mauling machine.

Just before the start of the fight disaster strikes. Larry (the one with the hair) sits on his Stratovarius (a violin, Philistines) and breaks it. Moe orders him out to get a new one - but the fight has started!

The screen on this stage is divided into three scenes; the top left corner showing the fight, the right corner showing time remaining. The bottom half of the screen is controlled by you.

My favourite task is the Cracker Eating Contest. Curly is sat down behind a bowl of soup, and you have to control his spoon to scoop up the crackers while avoiding the manic cracker-eating oyster which is there also. The graphics on this stage, needless to say, are soup-erb.

After a while Moe's selector hand starts to move very fast, so to slow this down you need to select the Slap Fight. When this has been selected your Stooges march onto an empty screen. On arrival Moe starts on the other two for leading him to an empty area and in best Stooges tradition starts slapping them around. You have all the moves like ear twist and eye jab but the other Stooges have their own defences. In reply to the eye jab Larry might put one hand on the bridge of his nose to protect himself. Curly might avoid a head slap by putting his hands on his head and ducking. All this is accompanied by slapping and bashing noises. Occasionally, after you have raised a fake first at one of the Stooges Moe might say "watch this" then you can slap them around the side of the side of the head.

The benefits of this section come when you score a load of direct hits. A gauge shows how fast the pointer hand will be moving, and indicates faster when you miss or are hit and slower when you score a hit.

As well as all this your Stooges can get a job in the hospital, driving around in mini cars. Masochists will obviously knocking people off their crunches and off of trolleys.

You can take a Chance but this can be pretty hazardous. In one instance the Stooges can end up outside an ice delivery company and a block of ice containing money falls from the building onto Curly's head; hand this in and claim $210 reward. Another time the Stooges might find a safe; Curly will try to open it by giving it a kick and end up with a broken foot and a bill for $200.

But where would a Stooges game be without a pie-fight? Yup for just 25 quid you get a pie fight thrown in for free. Take the job as a waiter and you will find yourself serving pies to the rich and elite, in one of the worlds most prestigious 'eateries' in the world.

Out of all the games I have played on the Amiga so far I enjoyed The Stooges the best; the graphics are wicked, with loadsadigitisation. The Stooges in the street scenes are well defined and it is easy to identify their facial expressions. The digitised sound is used to great effect on all the scenes and really does capture the slapstick brand of their classic comedy.

Most of the scenes are based around separate short Stooge films and are brilliantly exectured. This is probably the only game on any computer that has intentionally set out to make people laugh, and worked.