Words: Stuart Hunt
How can you not at least be a little curious at a title called Gregory Loses His Clock? We lose things every day, but the last time I misplaced my keys the resulting search wasn’t quite exciting enough to warrant a video game.
The title tells you all you need to know right there in those four words. That’s right, you play a scientist who travels back in time, hopping into degenerates’ bodies and helping them prevent those regrettable decisions in their lives. No wait, that’s Quantum Leap.
Now there is some confusion to be had immediately from Gregory Loses His Clock. One that will have many of the less thinking-out-of-the-box gamers out there scratching their heads, swearing at their CPC monitors and generally trying to determine whether the game is actually the shortest and easiest game ever created. Our hero, Gregory, blatantly starts out on his adventure with the treasured timepiece right in his hands.
Yep, it’s there for you to see, pick up, put down, pick up, put down. As Gregory’s world, at that point in time, consists of one screen, his bedroom, decorated with gaudy wallpaper of goggle eyed freaks, a single bed and a chest of drawers. It is at this point one might ask themself how Gregory could actually lose such a item, especially as it’s the size of his head…and it’s bright red.
Gregory frets over whether his head will fit in a single bed
So with this in mind the easiest way for you to complete the game is to slot the cassette into your CPC, do the key press malarkey, wait forty minutes, hit ‘S’ to start the game, pat yourself on the back, and if you’re that way inclined; waggle your CPC by the monitor handle as if you are shaking its hand, and then turn him off.
You see, this is first of many confusing parts in Gregory Loses His Watch. You start the whole adventure from the very beginning, so it’s up to you to help the Gregmeister lose his watch before you can actually make a start on helping him reclaim it.
Does this sound pointless? Probably, but hold those horses because the pay-off is actually a pretty enjoyable experience – as far a purposely losing things and then trying to find them again go.
So after four hours of picking up the clock, putting down the clock and staring at Gregory’s perplexed yellow head for answers, I accidentally hit up on my joystick at the point he was standing in front of his drawers, sparking him to place his red timer on top of the furniture.
As I had meticulously dropped the clock onto every other conceivable pixel on the entire screen, I felt it might be worth leaving it there for a while and allow Gregory to break away from the pressures of clock carrying to stroll around his bedroom unfettered.
Realising that the only other object in Greg’s life was a bed, I thought I would investigate it and by pressing down on my joystick, without the clock in my pocket inventory, the lemon headed one hopped inside.
Now, no sooner has our poor Greg nodded off, then one of those nasty Predators sneaks into his room, using that weird transparent camouflage trick, and loots his all his stuff. He makes off with his alarm clock, his strange wallpaper, his bed and even his body, leaving his large garish dome to float down into a strange dream world were it eventually gets reunited with its old pals: neck, torso, left leg and right leg. This is where the real adventure begins.
It’s a real struggle to brand Gregory Loses His Watch with any particular game genre. The beast is certainly a puzzler but it’s also a platformer with odd shooting elements. Doing the random, the odd and basically ignoring everything your brain screams at you is usually the key to success in the game.
The underlining mission is to collect the pieces of clock, which have been smashed up and scattered around the levels, and put them back together to return to your one-screen-world. To find each part, Gregory must collect objects and place them in certain areas to open up more screens and more objects to…place in certain areas.
The enemies that Gregory faces include infinite egg-pooing birds, demonic imp-looking monkeys and crocodile pits aplenty. By way of armament, Gregory can collect power-ups, which include a sausage that blesses him with a gravity ignoring jump, and a gun which looks and fires like one of those cup and ball toys.
Gregory waits patiently for the pipes to finish with the shower
Both of these power-ups are a puzzle in themselves. Some jumps require leaping before looking. Greg must prepare for take-off a screen before the one he wants to land on. One of the shooting tasks requires picking-off all but two hovering shurikens (if you destroy them all, they regenerate). Such things are what we at SBTK lap up; puzzles that require complete detraction from brain and just random joystick jolts, fire-button slapping and tears – yes, there must be plenty of salty tears.
Now, while this adventure may sound like the creation of a sadist, it’s actually a cracking puzzler that holds much enjoyment. Sure, nine times out of ten, progressing will be thanks to complete fluke, but hey, you never see a gutted lottery winner – even one who’s bright yellow and clockless.
The game was programmed by Trap Door and Popeye creator Don Priestley, who was the don when it came to big and bright graphics. Gregory Loses His Watch is no different. You should also check out Trap Door, another CPC fave of mine. Anyways, check this out, it’s an enjoyable puzzler that you should really try and make time for.
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