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

Dan Dare III: The Escape, ZX Spectrum

One of Dave Perry‘s early commercial games, the third Dan Dan Spectrum game was developed by Probe Software, instead of Gang of Five (who did the first two Dan Dare games), and published by Virgin Games in 1990.

The natural shelf life of the Spectrum was coming to an end when Dan Dare III was released, but the game did at least push the machine quite hard. Graphically, The Escape is very nice, with fast, scrolling backgrounds and very large, impressive characters (The Mekon himself looks great), although Dan himself is quite stylised (ie. doesn’t look much like the Dan Dare we know and love).

The gameplay is pretty good, though. Arguably even the best out of all three Dan Dare games. And that mostly comes from using the jet pack, and the gravity and inertia associated with it. And, of course, shooting with the guns.

Dan Dare III – like the other Dan Dare games – is just a tad too simple to be anything more than an interesting licensed curiosity.

Also on The King of Grabs:
Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future and Dan Dare II: Mekon’s Revenge

More: Dan Dare III: The Escape on World of Spectrum