So, after buying that lovely Spectrum, I finally got to properly explore bits of the amazing Hobbit text adventure, got impressed by Winter Sports, tried solving Waxworks, avoided more than a few sub-par arcade conversions and -eventually- decided to give Tynesoft's Super Gran a try. It is, you see, an arcade game based on the 80s kids friendly TV series of the same name; a series I fondly, though admittedly vaguely, still seem to remember.
The first thing that actually struck me after loading the game was just how dreadful everything looked. I mean, come on Tynesoft, we all know the Speccy is a graphically limited machine, but at least it always managed to output some decently detailed graphics that didn't horribly flicker. Not so with Super Gran, despite it being a 1985 release. Everything is ridiculously blocky and badly drawn, moves sluggishly and flickers like there's no tomorrow. What's more, the only redeeming feature of the thing's graphics, the admittedly decent looking sprites' size, only contributes in reducing the game's playability and making for a horribly crammed playing area.
Then again, graphics don't make a game, do they? Of course they don't and that's where Super Gran spectacularly fails. The controls are shockingly unresponsive, the first three levels (ranging from a horrid shmup-like thing to a top down racing affair) I managed to see are dull, short and ridiculously tough and -adding insult to injury- the game has even managed to age horribly, making sure nobody will actually dare to find out if it really sported the 10 levels/screens the devs promised. Then again, the first level should be all you need subject yourselves too. It impressively manages to encompass all that is wrong with Super Gran in just one screen!
As for the sound, well, at least it can be easily turned off.
(Find out more about Super Gran and -god forbid- download a copy of the thing via World of Spectrum. It will be a most enlightening experience let me assure you.)
Related @ Gnome's Lair: