Wednesday 30 July 2014

Henry's House (Atari 8-bit review)

Developer: Chris Murray
Publisher: Mastertronic
Released: 1987

Henry's House is an eight level platform game that was originally released on the C64 and then ported to Atari 8-bit machines.

You play as Little Henry who has shrunk to only six inches tall after playing around in his Father's laboratory. Worse still, he's managed to lock himself in the clothes cupboard, as you do! To get Little Henry back to full size you have to collect all the objects in each level, pick up the key that appears and then head for the exit. The eight levels are varied ranging from kitchens, bathrooms, basements and toy rooms. The main thing that sets this game apart is the imagination from programmer Chris Murray. For example, once you collect the key in the bathroom level you might think it's an easy stroll to the exit. However, out comes a killer toothbrush that blocks your path by brushing up and down against a pair of false teeth!

The game has lots of nice touches like this to keep things interesting for the player. You only have three lives but once you've lost them all you can return to the last level you were on by pressing the fire button.

The Atari port is better than the C64 version as it has more precise controls (especially when going up and down ladders) and a more fleshed out musical theme in the intro. Either version is a blast to play through though and Henry's House still holds up as one of the finest games to be released in the 8-bit computer era.

Random trivia: According to programmer Chris Murray, "Henry's House was originally called Home Sweet Home. The publisher (English Software) of the C64 version wanted to take advantage of the fact Charles and Di had just had Prince Harry so they renamed it."

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