Straight from the morque's makeupdepartment comes

Nicky Boum 1 logo

MICROIDS * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Platform games are all very much alike, you know. Actually, you've probably worked this out for yourselves by now, haven't you? Dashing madly through garish landscapes, jumping on strange creatures of varying size and nastiness to either save a loved one or to collect the bits of some all-important machine seems to be about the sum of most platform plots.

It doesn't stop them selling by the bucketload though, so perhaps I should just stop moaning and get on with doing what I'm paid for.

Nicky Boom has jumped well and truly on to the bandwagon of dull plots )there I go again) as we are informed by the manual - though not in those exact words obviously.

Nicky is just your average six-year-old French boy, spending his days doing what ever French boys do (make your lewd comments at this point). But shock horror! Nicky's grandad has been kidnapped by a wicked witch who is keeping him locked in her dungeon until he spills the beans about the secrets of the Forest People, of whom he is custodian.

On hearing the news, Nicky immediately let's go of the kitten he was torturing and sets off into the (probably enchanted) forest to rescue the senior male patriarch of the Boom extended family unit. Why he just didn't tell his dad I don't know, but anyway...

The usually friendly and cute forest beasties have been turned by the witch intro her snarling protectors, so Nicky must - surprise, surprise - jump on their heads to eliminate them. Sweets and cakes are littered around to give our hero extra strength, and bombs can be found from time to time.

On progressing through a number of the levels, I was surprised by the depth and skilful mapping of the game. There is actually quite a large, if simple, puzzle element to the whole affair that I found very addictive.

Sound FX are well above average - there's even what I think is some French sampled speech in there - and the animation, while over-cute, is unarguably colourful and detailed.

Nicky Boom is unlikely to be remembered as an all-time Amiga great, but having said that, it does possess that certain addictive and fun quality that many games in the genre lack.

Nicky Boum 1 logo

Microids * £29.99

Bouncy, cutey, platforms and power-ups galore. Although the eponymous Nicky looks as if he has been stretched and battered so his features are a bleeding mass, you get the idea he is supposed to be cute. Basically, here is a pleasantly executed, very playable bounce-around with a few neat puzzles chucked in.

Nick has a quest - don't we all? And to complete it, he has to make his way through eight levels of rumbustious, rib-tickling bugs, spiders, killer snails, birds and an assortment of other icky devils. At the off, Nicky is armed with an array of weaponry; he chucks little red keys at chaps. Of course, there are power-ups, and explody things such as orange (cherry?) bombs and spiky brown bombs. Use of these opens up hidden elements to each level.

There was a rumour that Nicky is aimed at young female children because he gets to pick up rolling pins and other kitcheny-type things along the way. Blatant sexist talk if you ask me. It is fun, it is light, it is fab.

Dicky Nicky

Nicky Boum 1 logo

Nachdem der französische Hersteller Microids mit "Killerball" und "Super Ski II" zuletzt die Sportler bediente, kommen nun alle lauf- und springfreudigen Fußgänger auf ihre Kosten.

Das Spiel nimmt zwar unübersehbare Anleihen bei "Magic Pockets", dennoch kann man ihm eine gewisse Originalität nicht absprechen. Nein, die dösige Hintergrundstory um einen bösen Magier, der nicht nur der Helden-Opi entführt, sondern der Einfachheit halber gleich noch sämtliche Bewohner des Fantasy-Landes in garstige Schnecken, Heuschrecken und ähnliches Ungeziefer verwandelt hat, ist damit nicht gemeint...

Freund und Feind verteilen sich auf vier Level, die jeweils fünf Screens hoch und satte 40 breit sind. Hier tummeln sich neben den garstigen Gegnern auch Leitern, Plattformen, Tunnels, Schalter, Teleporter, Geheimräume und Extras in rauhen Mengen.

Speziell die letzteren verleihen dem Game den nötigen Pfiff: Normalerweise schaltet der pummelige Nicky seine Kontrahenten aus, indem er auf sie draufhüpft oder ihnen Apfelbutzen hinterwirft; doch wenn er fleißig sammelt, kann er den Widersachern auch mit Holzstämmen oder gar Bomben auf den Leib rücken, außerdem eignen sich manche Extras auch zum Bau von Brücken, Leitern und Plattformen.

Daneben fehlen natürlich auch die obligaten Schlüssel, energiespendenden Zaubertränke, Schutzschilde, Apfelbutzen-Verstärker und Zusatzleben nicht.

Die eingestreuten Puzzles sind logisch aufgebaut, und die leicht beherrschbare Sticksteuerung garantiert frustfreies Spiel. Die putzige Grafik, das Vier-Weg-Scrolling und die unaufdringliche Begleitmusik gehen ebenfalls in Ordnung - also nicht gerade der Plattform-Überhammer, aber allemal ein netter Hüpfer für zwischendurch. (C. Borgmeier)

Nicky Boum 1 logo

Scrolling platform games are ten a penny, but this one costs 26 quid. So is it worth it?

Nicky Boom. That cannot be his real name. I think it must have something to do with his penchant for all things explosive. Quite why he spits apple cores and other assorted fruits is beyond me. Perhaps it is a funny French joke.

No. You do not want to know the story. Fine. Nicky's granddad's being held by a wicked witch. She is forcing him to show her his special secrets, but he won't. Nicky must find the witch's den and save the old fella pronto. There. What did I tell you?

Nicky Boom is pretty - sorry, ugly - standard fare. Platforms + Ladders + Monsters + Special Scenery + Shooting + Jumping = Nothing New. And the bombs do not even play much of a part!

Alain Lambin must be a member of the Burning Pants Club, for they are surely on fire after his claim to be an artist and a musician. The man has been given a lot of colour to play with and he obviously not afraid to use it. Extraneous detail abounds, too, and it does not make for a pretty picture. The music is bland and unsuitable, and the spot effects are not special.

It does not make for a pretty picture

To its credit, there are many hidden features. Digging through the mud to discover ladders and bonus points is alright. There is little else worth discovering though. Nicky Boom is the sort of average fare played by the likes of Mean General Ordinary who lives at Mundane MiddleOfTheRoad.

The eight lengthy levels each come with a code, so you do not have to endure previously completed ones lest you fluff it, but there is little chance of that anyway. The difficulty curve must have come free with a packet of Cornflakes. My dog, Stumpy, finished it in half a day.

There are only two taxing aspects of Nicky Boom's playability. One is the tedious task of having to fall into unknown territory only to find an inch of deadly water below. The other is some of the enemy characters shooting bullets in Nicky's direction. Now they at least present a challenge. Otherwise, it is pretty much like talking a leisurely stroll through the countryside, throwing old fruit at anything animate.

Nicky Boom won't blow anyone away, that is for sure. I cannot help feeling sorry for it, like something the car's brought in which has to be put it out of misery.

When Nicky picks up any of these he says "Bobalob!" or "Oh god!", I am not quite sure.

Nicky Boum 1 MEGABOMB
Thow it in the air where it explodes, killing everything on screen and destroying weak platforms in the process. It can sometimes act like a bomb.

Nicky Boum 1 BOMB
Blows open certain areas of scenery and creates new ladders from Wobbly Up Things.

Nicky Boum 1 KEY
It - no! - opens doors! Sometimes though, Nicky has to tweak special knobs to open a door.

Nicky Boum 1 HEART
Takes a sicky Nicky's energy to the max.

Nicky Boum 1 LOG
Nicky shoots logs when he picks up one of these. Logs are used to create bridges in special places.

Dreary looking jewels and food mainly. Yawn.

You cannot pick them up but you can blow 'em up so a ladder pops up.

No! Transports Nicky to a new area of the landscape!

Nicky Boum 1 logo

Microids £25.99

Fancy playing a game that 'will overhaul you with its humour and animation'? Apparently that's what Nicky Boum, from French coders Microids, will do for you. Playing Nicky, the character from the title, you have to try and rescue your grandfather from the clutches of an evil witch who has kidnapped him and turned all the peaceful forest creatures into carnivorous freaks after your blood.

You can see from the screenshot that it's a platform game. It's also a very basic platform game, and one that seems extremely dated when placed alongside titles like Zool and Robocod. All the standard inclusions are there, such as smart bombs and hidden rooms, but that's it. Microids don't seem to have added anything in order to make the game stand out, so it doesn't.

It's quite fun to play for a while, and the controls are tight enough to make it enjoyable at times, but there is so much better around.