Three Weeks in Paradise, ZX Spectrum

The fifth and final Wally Week game, Three Weeks in Paradise was published by Mikro-Gen in 1986, for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC.

As the title suggests: this time there are three members of the Week family on this particular graphic adventure – specifically: Wally, Wilma and Herbert, trapped on a tropical island inhabited by cannibals.

Unfortunately Chris Hinsley – the guy who wrote this (and all the previous Wally Week games – except Herbert’s Dummy Run) – decided that only Wally would be playable. Wilma and Herbert remain only as motivation – you don’t get to play as them.

Three Weeks in Paradise plays similarly to Pyjamarama in that you can only carry two items at once, and that certain items do specific things (the bow and arrows let you fire an arrow, for example), which means having to think quite hard about what to carry and to where.

The tune that plays during the main game is quite jolly – a blatant rip-off of the theme from The Addams Family. And when the game slows down (which is quite often) the tune also slows down, which makes it sound unintentionally funny. Thankfully it can be switched on/off with a press of the ‘5’ key.

Something else that can be switched on or off is Wally’s infamous colour clash. The yellow attribute box that used to follow him around can now be switched off by pressing ‘3’. Funny that this feature would come at the end of the series. Oh well.

There were 48K and 128K versions of Three Weeks in Paradise made available. The 128K version had a small number of extra screens and an extra AY chip tune on the title screen. These grabs are from the 128K version.

The Wally Week series:
Automania (1984)
Pyjamarama (1984)
Everyone’s A Wally (1985)
Herbert’s Dummy Run (1985)
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)

More: Three Weeks in Paradise on Wikipedia

Herbert’s Dummy Run, ZX Spectrum

Herbert’s Dummy Run is the fourth game in the Wally Week series and was published by Mikro-Gen in 1985. It was written by Dave Perry and features Herbert Week – Wally’s baby son.

Gameplay-wise, Herbert’s Dummy Run is similar to Pyjamarama, although it is bigger and more refined than its predecessor. In this, though, you are Herbert – lost inside a department store – and must find the “Lost Children Office” where Wally and Wilma Week are waiting for you.

The graphics are colourful and appealing, although they also have the same colour clash problems of earlier Wally Week games. There are some interesting shoot ’em up sections where you have to blast away to a timer, and survive until it reaches the end (otherwise you get kicked out and have to try again from scratch). Complete a wave and you are usually awarded an important item. There’s also a Bomber type minigame, where you drop bombs on buildings until you’ve levelled them all and can land, and a Breakout-style minigame in there too. These little games at least add variety and are better executed than those seen in Pyjamarama.

Frustration can set in, though, as you juggle items in your limited (two slot) inventory, but that’s what these games are all about: finding out what the key items are, and using them appropriately.

Wally’s only appearance in the game is at the very end, but Herbert’s Dummy Run does still count as a Wally Week game. It’s not a bad game at all, although it’s not really what I would call a classic.

The Wally Week series:
Automania (1984)
Pyjamarama (1984)
Everyone’s A Wally (1985)
Herbert’s Dummy Run (1985)
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)

More: Herbert’s Dummy Run on World of Spectrum

Pyjamarama, ZX Spectrum

Pyjamarama is the 1984 follow-up to Automania, and features the same lead character – Wally Week. Which makes it the second game in the Wally Week series.

Wally, in this one, has forgotten to wind his alarm clock and is in danger of overlaying, and you play his subconscious on a quest to wake him up. And to do that you have to find his alarm clock key. None of which makes any sense whatsoever, but that doesn’t really matter because Pyjamarama is still a very good game.

Pyjamarama is basically a flick-screen adventure/puzzle game, with each screen representing one room in Wally’s house. Scattered throughout the rooms are various items, and some of these items have specific uses. Discovering what the items do is a key part of the game – as is item-juggling, because Wally can only hold two items at a time.

Graphically, Pyjamarama is iconic – it really does capture a distinct look and feel of ZX Spectrum games of the time; in particular the colour clash, which – while being pretty horrendous – doesn’t seem to mar the game in any way.

The Wally Week series:
Automania (1984)
Pyjamarama (1984)
Everyone’s A Wally (1985)
Herbert’s Dummy Run (1985)
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)

More: Pyjamarama on Wikipedia

Star Trek, ZX Spectrum

Star Trek, released by Mikro-Gen in 1983, is designer and programmer Derek Brewster‘s first commercial game.

It’s not a particularly good game – it has to be said – and is basically a copy of the infamous mainframe ‘Star Trek‘ games of the 1970s. Plus: it is highly unlikely Mikro-Gen actually took the trouble to get [ie. buy] an official license to use the Star Trek name (not to mention the use of USS Enterprise graphics), so the link to Star Trek in this game is highly dubious.

That said: if you can be bothered to learn how to play the game, it does hold some entertainment for a short while.

All games in Star Trek are randomly-generated, so are different each time, and are controlled using typed in keyboard functions. Without any instructions I managed to work out how to the play the game, and even blast a few Klingons. The commands IMPULSE, WARP, PHOTON and STATUS pretty much did it for me. And also: working out the 360 direction thing is crucial. It’s simple enough…

More: Star Trek on World of Spectrum

Star Trek by Derek Brewster – ZX Spectrum Commands

Movement:
IMPULSE (then a number)
WARP (then a number)

Attack:
PHOTON (then a direction, 0-360)

STATUS (to return type SHIP)

Everyone’s A Wally, ZX Spectrum

Chris Hinsley‘s 1985 follow-up to Pyjamarama sees the return – once again – of Wally Week. The mechanic turned mundane video game hero.

The unique thing about Everyone’s A Wally is that you can switch between five different characters and go about your adventuring business – two years before Maniac Mansion.

There’s big, yellow, colour-clashing Wally Week himself, who you start as. There’s Wilma, Wally’s cyan wife. And their friends Tom (the green punk), Dick (a magenta plumber) and Harry (a grey hippy electrician).

The aim of the game is to do a full day’s work for each character by picking up objects and solving puzzles. I don’t know about that. Seems like much too hard work for my liking…

Everyone’s A Wally even came with a promotional single by Mike Berry upon release. It might have even charted.

The game is well-remembered though, if a little bit archaic by today’s standards. The graphics and characterisation are pretty classic though.

The Wally Week series:
Automania (1984)
Pyjamarama (1984)
Everyone’s A Wally (1985)
Herbert’s Dummy Run (1985)
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everyone’s_A_Wally

Sir Fred, ZX Spectrum

Sir Fred is a wonderful little platform game originating from Spain and first released on the ZX Spectrum way back in 1986.

Graphically the game is colourful and characterful, with excellent animation on the main character. Gameplay-wise, Sir Fred is quite tough. Getting the timing of jumps correct is not easy, and it can take a while to get used to the feel of the game.

Sir Fred is also quite small, in terms of the total number of screens in the game, although getting through them and completing the game is a real challenge.

Definitely one of the better games to come from our European cousins, and one that is well worth playing, even now.

Automania, ZX Spectrum

Automania – developed by Chris Hinsley for Mikro-Gen in 1984 – is the first ever appearance of the character Wally Week.

Wally Week went on to star in a series of games after this (Pyjamarama, Everyone’s A Wally, Three Weeks In Paradise, etc.), but this first encounter with the yellow Wally is a simple game of collecting car parts and assembling them, and avoiding contact with various moving meanies.

Although Automania was not a massive hit (I must admit I did buy it back in 1984, and really enjoyed it), it did set up both Wally Week as an interesting character, and Chris Hinsley, as a developer to look out for. And Chris’s next Wally Week game – Pyjamarama (also released in 1984) – was the big hit that really put Wally Week on the map.

And now: some 30 years plus, after release, Wally Week is all but forgotten. A footnote in video game history. Unless someone’s attempted to bring him back via the magic of “homebrew”. You never know these days. Anything is possible.

The Wally Week series:
Automania (1984)
Pyjamarama (1984)
Everyone’s A Wally (1985)
Herbert’s Dummy Run (1985)
Three Weeks in Paradise (1986)

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikro-Gen