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The following are reviews for the game Jonny Quest in Doctor Zin's Underworld.

Overall

Publication Version Date Score
Commodore Format Commodore 64 April 1992 66%
Crash Sinclair ZX Spectrum March 1992 73%
Sinclair User Sinclair ZX Spectrum April 1992 76%
Your Sinclair Sinclair ZX Spectrum March 1992 84%
ZZap! 64 Commodore 64 February 1992 78%
Bit February 1993 53%

Commodore Format

The following review was printed in the April 1992 issue of Commodore Format magazine:[1]

Commodore Format issue 19, April 1992, page 36

Jonny Quest is another Hanna Barbera character from the huge Hi-Tec pool of cartoon people. Basically, he's not your knockabout Scooby Doo type idiot, but an intelligent kid whose scientific-genius dad has mysteriously been kidnapped by the frightening Dr Zin. Thus. Jonny must go on all sorts of quests to find him (well with a surname like Quest, what did you expect?).

As well as his dad, Dr Zin has kidnapped Jonny's chum, Hadji; his bodyguard, Race Bannon; and even his dog, Bandit. Hmm. Something tells me this evil Dr Zin chappie is rather a fan of the old kidnap ploy. Jonny must set off to rescue this veritable football stadium-full of friends and relatives. Being a brave lad, this doesn't worry him too much. So on one beautiful spring day, when he hasn't got anything better to do, he decides to take the plunge and get rescuing.

Yep, you've guessed it - we've got a plat- form-style adventure on our hands. There are 133 screens to explore, over 100 frames of animation for the main sprite, and dozens of collectables, baddies, and other, er, things to find, fight and be killed by.

The thing about the Jonny Quest cartoon on TV is that it's pretty realistic. People don't drop anvils on each other's heads, or fall thousands of feet on to roads. This realism is reflected in the game. Hi-Tec could have gone for the wacky, brightly coloured world of Scooby or Top Cat, but instead went for smooth animations, lifelike backdrops and decent-looking sprites.

As you play, you'll soon realise the way the quest has been constructed. You'll come across either a door or a key. Keep going and you'll find the matching key/door. Not too difficult, I think you'll find.

But by far the worst thing about Jonny Quest is that you only get one life. There's a health bar that runs along the top of the screen's info section, but once that gets to zero, you're dead and must start again. That's it. Finito. Hasta la vista.

Jumping on and off things (which is obviously something you have to do a lot) uses up health from your bar, and getting into fights with the malevolent Dr Zin's henchmen completely destroys it. So much so that even if you manage to find a weapon to use against them, they'll still kill Jonny stone dead. The only thing to do is rush past them, jumping as high as you can, and hope that they don't hit you.

The game's roughly divided into six levels. There's a scuba-diving section later in the game, and various electric doors, lifts and robots to overcome. Yes, JQ is a biggie all right. Hi-Tec really seem to have sorted out how to cram a lot of data into the 64.

If you haven't seen the TV show, you might not care less about Jonny, his dad Benton or his bloomin' dog, Bandit. It's a pity because there's a big adventure waiting here (if you can just hang on to your one life).

But overall, although JQ looks nice and the characters move beautifully, it's a bit lifeless. Many screens don't have much interactive stuff in them, and you spend a lot of time just rushing from side to side. Still, for three quid it'll keep you out of mischief for ages.

JAMES LEACH

Game - Jonny Quest
Publisher - Hi-Tec
Cassette - £2.99
Disk - Not available
Release - Out now
Contact - 0742 58 7555

POWER RATING

66%

THE DOWNERS...

■ Slightly empty screens give the game a sort of hollow feel
■ Only one blimmin' life!
■ Jonny's realistic inertia and momentum can sometimes be a real pain in the bum.
■ Sound effects are rather poor.

...AND THE UPPERS

■ Well observed animation makes Jonny a joy to watch.
■ Six big levels, all with unique characteristics.
■ Backgrounds are nicely drawn and add atmosphere.
■ Everything runs smoothly with no irritating delays.
■ The best computer rabbits yet seen.
■ Fans of the show may recognize the characters.

Crash

The following review was printed in the March 1992 issue of Crash magazine:[2]

Crash no. 97 March 1992 pg063.jpg

Jonny Quest
Hi-Tec • £3.99

Jonny Quest? Sounds like a trip down to the chemist (how rude!). But no. It's the name of our hero in the latest budget blast. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon star is a disgustingly cute little blonde-haired, blue-eyed do-gooder. Being the son of the fantastically clever and important Dr Benton Quest (a top boffin in the US government), little Jonny is constantly getting involved in galactically important matters, saving the world and so forth {as one does).

Jonny's dad is such a blinkin big wig that evil conspirators are forever out to kidnap the little blighter to use as a pawn in their games of global domination. In fact, Jonny is so nabbable the government have given him a full-time rock-'ard bodyguard — a hunk known as Race Bannon.

RANSOM NOTES, AHOY!

In this particular episode, it's not our Jonny in trouble but Dr Quest himself! Captured by the evil Dr Zin (you'd never guess he was a baddy with a name like that, would you?}, he's being forced to design a deadly laser to serve Zin's cunning plans to rule the world.

Unsurprisingly, our hero sets off on a mission to rescue his dad, along with his henchman, his mystical Indian pal Hadji, and his pet dog Bandit (aah!). But oh no... wouldn't you know it his pals all get captured too, leaving Jonny to do heroic deeds single-handed (selfish swines).

And that's where you come in as you guide the little fella across platforms, over lakes, down rabbit warrens and so on. There are robots to punch, blue lobsters to jump (oo-er!) and all sorts of other nasties hindering him, but there's the odd useful item lying around — keys, dynamite, torch etc —which aid progress.

SUPER BOWL?

Possibly the most striking feature of Jonny himself is the incredible bowl- cut hairstyle Hi-Tec have given the poor boy (almost as bad as Nicko's —Ed). Admittedly the little chap in the cartoon has got a bit of a basin but his graphic depiction here is unflattering in the extreme. Other than this small gripe, it's quite a pretty game, with the odd bouncing bunny and other cutesy snippets of animation (mmm... lovely).

The baddies, on the other hand, are more menacing. Apart from Dr Zin's evil faceless robots, there's a whole host of small, brown, dog turd-like creatures (which you certainly want to avoid landing upon) plus abnormally aggressive fish and other bizarre nasties.

Can't say much about accompanying sound FX — there aren't any.

At the end of the day, it's a jolly little game for a cheapy. Bouncing Jonny around the screens gets more addictive as you play (don't let the dog turds put you off) and there's plenty to keep the old grey matter functioning... yes, that's a good point, you lazy lot! I just hope he eventually gets his Jonny (shut up, Alan! -Ed)

• 77%

NICK

Hands up if you've ever heard of Jonny Quest. No one at CRASH Towers has a clue who this mysterious cartoon character is. All we know is he's a Hanna-Barbera cartoon and software heroes Hi-Tec (praise indeed, bloody creep —Ed) have produced this game about him! This is your usual arcade adventure with detailed and colourful graphics everywhere. What I can never understand about such games is why they always have a black background. All the Dizzy games are the same. What's wrong with a nice tight blue sky for a change? Apparently the Jonny Quest cartoon had a strange drawing style; the game's the same. The villains have no detail in the top half of their bodies, for example — strange! Collecting objects tike keys and torches and using them in the correct places is what's needed, as well as bopping the nasty blokes to keep them out of the way. The way they fall to the ground is great One second they're standing up, the next they're on the ground — how's that for a power-punch t Jonny Quest is a reasonable budget arcade game but nothing to go over the top about. • 68%

Rating
A nice little platform game with more depth than many.
Presentation 70%
Graphics 74%
Sound N/A
Playability 70%
Addictivity 72%
Overall 73%

Sinclair User

The following review was printed in the April 1992 issue of Sinclair User magazine:[3]

Sinclair User, issue 122, April 1992, pages 018-019

JONNY QUEST
LABEL: Hi-Tec MEMORY: 48K/128K TAPE: £3.99

Reviewer: Steve Keen

If you've never heard of Jonny Quest before, don't worry, you're not alone. However, Hanna-Barbera assure us that in America this youngster is as famous as the Doggy hero Scooby Doo and his anemic, Garth-like side-kick, Shaggy.

Jonny's dad, the incredibly important professor Quest, has been kidnapped and it's up to our young friend to rescue 'im. To do this Jonny must trudge through several puzzle, animal, robot and thug infested platform levels. Along the way he will encounter objects which at first will seem to have no importance whatsoever, but as usual with this sort of game, if you leave anything behind it's sure to mean curtains for your character later on.

It doesn't take long for you to get really bogged down in Jonny Quest. Initially it seems like a simplistic adventure ramble, but you soon realise that you'll have to utilise all the cunning of a one-legged fox caught inside Battersea Dogs home to get out alive.

Unfortunately Jonny only has a very meagre supply of energy to start off with, so the sooner you learn to utilise this punching ability or find that handy stun gun, the better.

Jonny Quest is a peasant, smoothly scrolling affair with just enough puzzles to keep the average player entertained. Graphics are meagre, but purposeful, which, unfortunately, is also how I would describe the gameplay.

SCORES

Graphics 70%
Sound 65%
Playability 78%
Lastability 75%
Overall 76%

Nothing new here, Jonny Quest is reminiscent of so many other adventure games it's unbelievable. Nicely presented, and mildly entertaining but no lasting appeal except, perhaps for younger gamesplayers.

ALAN
Keyboard only controls, (though a Kempston joystick option is available) made Jonny Quest a real pain for me. However it is a step above most of the seek out and collect adventures that it's readily reminiscent of.

Your Sinclair

The following review was printed in the March 1992 issue of Your Sinclair magazine:[4]

Your Sinclair issue 75, March 1992, page 16

JONNY QUEST
Hi-Tec/£3.99
0742 587 55

With my encyclopaedic knowledge of Hanna-Barbera cartoons and my endearing way of telling everybody about them at length, there was never any doubt as to who would get to review this game.

Jonny Quest is one of Hanna-Barbera's 'soap opera' cartoons, dealing with realistic characters as opposed to out-and-out slapstick gagsters. Of course, when I say the characters are realistic, I don't mean that they spend their time losing the car keys, or setting the video timer wrongly, or worrying what their mum is going to say about the carpet. This would make for a staggeringly dull cartoon. Actually, their idea of realism is to thwart villainy on a weekly basis. This, of course, is extremely interesting.

Jonny be good!

The basic plot of the show is as follows. Jonny is the only son of Dr Benton Quest, who has bravely overcome the tragedy of being named Benton to become an ace scientist and table tennis supremo. Constantly striving to improve the quality of people's lives with such amazing inventions as the self-assembly jigsaw, the atomic stilt and the neutron bomb, Jonny's pa is the number one target of the eminently hissable Doctor Zin. Consequently the Quests are accompanied at all times by government bodyguard and amateur flautist Race Bannon. However, and I quote, "this does not stop Jonny and his mystical Indian friend Hadji, along with Jonny's pet dog Bandit getting into all sorts of hair-raising adventures." Ahem indeed. As the theme music plays and the cassette inlay unfolds, our diminutive do-gooder is having a startlingly poor day. Taking advantage of a momentary lapse in Race's vigilance, Dr Zin has kidnapped Benton, Hadji, Bandit, a passing librarian named Sue and the bodyguard himself. Undaunted, Jonny sets out to rescue the lot, which is where you come in.

Quelle surprise!

The game's a tasty platform number, with loads of rooms and more than a small hatful of objects to utilise. There's a kind of mini-game at the beginning to ease you into the main part, with Jonny wandering quietly through leafy glades where innocuous and exceptionally fluffy bunnies bobble around harmlessly. The overall effect is to lull you into a horribly false sense of security, cos in the very next screen an enormous blue beetle leaps out at you. This more or less sums up the game as a whole - it might sound hackneyed, but this one really keeps you on your toes!

Once you get into Dr Zin's headquarters you face his shadow guards and robot minions. This is where the games one fault shows up. As a collect-'em-up maze game it's hard enough, but as a beat-'em-up it's almost impossible. The guards sap energy when you touch them, and when you punch, you move forward a bit as well. So every time you bash a guard, it also drains your energy. There's a way to avoid this - punch them once, then back off to biff them again - but its really frustrating not to able to get past the minions without losing some energy. Its almost as if the programmers finished the game, then decided to put this in as an afterthought just to make it harder. What bounders!

Quest on!

Don't let this put you off though. Jonny Quest is an exceedingly playable game. The puzzles are of the match-the-object-with-the-barrier sort, but the objects have been distributed with an enviable degree of sneakiness. The graphics are rather marvellous for a barg, with large and smoothly animated sprites plodding around pretty backdrops. Apart from the problemette with the punchy bits, I've got only one reservation with the game and that's that the tie-in element is a bit shaky to say the least. These days, the rescue-your-friends idea is only of interest to Speccy historians. There's a better attempt than usual to fit in the supporting characters (for example, you've only got one life, until you can rescue Hadji and persuade him to bung you some more) but it's a pretty feeble plot. Still, that's only a minor grumble. Jonny Quest is fat and addictive, and well worth shelling out for. Jingle those coins, and get questing.

Final Verdict

Life Expectancy 82%
Graphics 90%
Addictiveness 88%
Instant Appeal 90%
Overall 84%
Diagnosis: Top quality platform fun with one of H-B's lesser-known characters. A stonker.

ZZap! 64

The following review was printed in the February 1992 issue of ZZap! 64 magazine:[5]

Review in ZZap! 64 magazine

JONNY QUEST
Hi-Tec, £3.99

I must confess arcade adventures aren't my favourite type of games, especially ones with titles that Sound like a trip to the chemist for a packet of three! In Jonny Quest, the evil Dr Zin (aargh!) has kidnapped your father, Dr Benton Ouest, and is forcing him to build a laser which he'll use, of course, to take over the world. And how do you set about freeing him? Well you start by exploring a rabbit warren to retrieve a key...(?)

Jonny Quest promises much, but patchy execution makes it only slightly better than average. The graphics are well drawn and animate adequately, but the sound effects leave a lot To be desired. The game is very friendly in its layout, with an option to run rather than walk (nothing worse than a slow arcade adventure), and the system for holding and using objects is fine, but the problems just aren't interesting enough — find a key to open the door, use the torch to light your way, etc etc.

Although your sprite is human, he's capable of performing standing leaps that would tax a very athletic frog. This is all very well, but when you land, your energy bar goes down. WHY? Who can jump high enough to injure themselves on landing?

An on-screen scoring system in percentage form gives you the incentive to continue, as you know exactly how far you've come, how much further you need to go, and whether or not your performance has improved. Even so, with only one life and no game save or password system, you will quickly get bored with the first few screens.

Jonny Quest will appeal to arcade adventure fanatics, but I'm afraid it didn't impress me. It's not bad value at budget price, but think before you buy.

Overall 78%

International reviews

Bit

Bit, February 1993, page 18

Slovak magazine Bit released a review of the game in its February 1993 issue. It gave the game an overall score of 53%.[6]

Graphic design (Grafika) 67%
Gameplay (Hratelnost) 54%
Sound (Zvuk) 22%
Idea (Nápad) 58%
Overall impression (Celkový dojem) 53%

References

  1. Commodore Format, issue 19, April 1992, page 36. (Archived.)
  2. Crash, issue no. 97 from March 1992, page 63. (Archived.)
  3. Sinclair User, issue 122, pages 018-019. Archived, alt archived.
  4. Your Sinclair, issue 75, page 16. Archived.
  5. ZZap! 64, issue from February 1992, page 64. (Archived.)
  6. Bit magazine, February 1993, page 18. (Archived.)
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