■ Basil: The Great Mouse Detective by Gremlin Graphics on Commodore 64
Released in 1987, it was a far cry from your lavish Playstation or X-Box games of today. This was during the days when platforms like Atari 2600 and ColecoVision reigned supreme, and Nintendo was just beginning to come out with its memorable games such as Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and my personal favorite, The Legend of Zelda.
First off, this game cannot be found anywhere in stores, hence my usage of a Commodore64 emulator. An emulator is a program you install on your computer to play video games of various platforms. My usage for this emulator was to sample this game and give my reviews for this site. I have no intentions of selling the game to an outside user or make any other profit off of it. Images are used with permission and the screencaps are from the emulator when playing the game.
Box cover, main title, credits and helpful instructions:
Now for my reviews. This game is considered Action/Adventure/Puzzle/Pain-in-the-Rear and plays in standard arcade left to right or up and down directions. You are Basil (no surprise). Your goal is to save Dawson who has been kidnapped by Ratigan and holding him prisoner in his domain. There are three levels to conquer, and while that might not seem like a lot, what you need to do in each one is just as challenging. You roam around looking for clues and click on items to search them. They could be cans, jars, carpet bags, or suitcases, anything that looks suspicious.
Once inspected, you have the option to drop the object or keep it in one of your five spaces, or five coat pockets. If you find something with all the spaces full, you have to discard an item to switch it with the new one. Ratigan's Henchmen will also strip you of your energy if you walk past them. You have to find pieces of cheese in order to keep your energy intact and set mousetraps on them to make the walkway clear. Oh, and another fun endeavor: you're timed! Better hurry!
Level One (London shops and docks) Screen Caps:
To complete the level, you have to find the five correct objects, and, thanks to Ratigan, there are more objects in the level to confuse you. If you get stuck, you can push a button (it's the ? key for this emulator, very appropriate) to get a hint to see a number that tells you how many right objects you have in your pocket. It took me a few games to realize those weird brown objects I was collecting were not sacks or pouches, but mousetraps! I once carried mousetraps in all five pockets and the number came up 0. Now, I get it. Basil can collect mousetraps to set on the Henchmen and they are added to his pockets.
Since this emulator has unlimited energy, I can walk past the goons without them stripping my life force. Helps me to focus on collecting the correct objects. In due time, I will figure out which ones are the correct clues and which are false. Wow, does this sound like the Swordquest series or what? Never mind, that's a whole other ridiculous puzzle of a game from Atari!
Level Two (London sewers and the Rat Trap pub) Screen Caps:
My struggles with the game were natural for a beginner. First was getting the hang of the correct functions of the emulator itself. Once I got the game going, I ran into another problem. I forgot to set the keyboard controls so that Basil could physically move and jump across the screen! Didn't get far and the Henchmen latch onto him like magnets. Figured out the keyboard settings, back to playing the game, but not quite. No sound! Had to find the correct sound device and change it. Sound is important too. There are different bleeps when collecting a found object. I'm almost certain the type of bleep depends on a right or wrong object. Or maybe not. And just when I thought I was finding good objects and coming close to solving the level, there were glitches, meaning poor Basil freezes on the screen and can't move to save his life. I got trapped on a ladder or jumping through a mail slot of a door and there's nothing I could do. It's the end of the game; have to start all over again.
Level Three (Ratigan's dungeon), Failed Mission, and High Scores Screen Caps:
This particular download I found of the game has all three levels saved in different parts. The downside? Only Level One allows the player unlimited energy and time. Although, remember those glitches I mentioned? I've come to realize Basil freezes only on Level One, and it's due to an invisible time ticking away. It's as if the game automatically stops even though the timer has been disabled. Level Two and Three only have unlimited energy, allowing you to freely roam about from the Henchmen, but the time is ticking visibly! I failed both missions naturally when the time ran out. Unless I can obtain better clues to which objects to keep and in a record time, Dawson is doomed to be a prisoner forever! Poor fellow. Hopefully, that will change and I will succeed in conquering Ratigan just as Basil did in the film. Before I end, here's some magazine articles for the game. Thanks Nick!
And since I'm feeling a little sheepish that you may not get to play this game (after all the trouble I went through downloading it!), here are some quizzes to play with. They're quite fun...and a challenge!
■ Fun Trivia-- There are three different quizzes to take. Two are Average and one is Tough. Don't be fooled by that title, they really are tough questions!
■ Personality Quiz-- by Hotohori. To determine which Great Mouse Detective character fits you the most.
■ Knowledge Quizzes-- To test your brains on how well you know each character. They are True or False and ask the same questions from the Personality Quiz.
■ QuizMoz-- Twelve easy questions about the movie, multiple choice.
■ Fanpop!-- You actually have to be a member to answer all of the questions, and why not? Looks like a fun little gathering for GMD fans!