User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries (Windows 3.x)

Genre
Perspective
Theme
...
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Mr. Eight-Three-One (1507)
Written on  :  Aug 04, 2014
Platform  :  Windows 3.x
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

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Summary

One of the weakest, most dreadful Junior Arcades

The Good

Previous review: Freddi Fish and Luther's Maze Madness

Info and discussion: http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,5/dgm,197698/

I just don't understand. I don't understand how you could go from such a fantastic and amazing game like Maze Madness to this. Did they just exhaust all their resources on Maze Madness and forget to provide a bit of focus on this one? I dunno, but Water Worries falls flat in so many ways and is easily the most bland, most forgettable Junior Arcade. It feels somewhat akin to a rejected minigame from a main series game that got slightly spiffed up for a full game release. Even spiffing it up couldn't have saved it though.

The plot in this game is that Freddi and Luther are about to have a picnic in some caves, when Luther gets sucked into a whirlpool. In order to find his way out, he has to make it through some other caves filled with bubbles.

This time the game doesn't directly take inspiration from any one game. You could say it pays homage to 2D shooters, but that's a bit of a stretch. You control Luther with a slingshot, and bubbles will rise from the bottom of the screen. If enough bubbles make it to the surface, the water level will start to lower. Popping the bubbles prevents this from happening... Somehow... So you must do so. You also cannot fire if you get caught in a giant bubble for a while. All the while, a worm doodle will occasionally be riding on top of a bubble. To advance to the next level, you have to collect the designated amount.

In an attempt to change things up, they added in a few extra things. Just to name one, there are red bubbles that will contain enemies, and this game probably has the greatest variety of them. Unfortunately, that's not such a positive when most of them hardly even do anything. The only ones I can think of that gave me trouble were the jellyfish, which stun you if you hit them and block ammo, and anglerfish, who will steal worm doodles if you aren't quick. The rest of them are just a minor distraction at best. There's an octopus that simply covers a small area of the screen, seaweed that will stun you if you hit it (first off, don't the jellyfish already cover that role? Secondly, it falls a lot faster than the jellyfish), dynamite that will cause a rock to fall if hit (which only bonks you on the head and prevents fire for about a second, compared to getting sick or stung which immobilizes you for a considerable length), and a few others that are pretty forgettable. There are also power-ups, such as an extra life and a super-ammo one that makes it so that you won't tire if you hold the fire button down.

There are 100 levels total, but unfortunately even though this one is the hardest one to explain and probably one of the more unique ones, it also commits the cardinal mistake of being incredibly long and BORING. This is, without any doubts or hesitation, the easiest Junior Arcade of them all. It's also one of the longest, taking about three hours on average to complete. The fact that this game even has a Junior Helper at all is almost an insult; unless it was purposeful, I've never died in this game one time. Ever. No amount of "it's a kid's game" can excuse how painfully easy this one is, especially considering the other arcades challenged me as a teenager. Part of that problem is that, for the water level to be considered too low, it needs to reach Luther's height. It's rare for me to even get the water level to the halfway mark. If they had made the losing condition a lot less lax, I could have seen myself enjoying and getting engulfed in this game a lot more, but being that generous made it impossible for me to enjoy this game. This isn't at all helped by the fact that the backgrounds aren't very fun to look at. They have a blue tint when the water is over them, and since that's how it is most of the time, it ends up being hard to remember any of them. This was one of the few games where I wasn't excited to see what was next at each ten-level set.

There is also a two-player mode included in the game, where the game is played in a hot-seat fashion with the second player playing as Freddi. The first player plays a level, and the second player plays the same one. Since that effectively doubles the length of the game though, you're probably going to be hard pressed to find somebody who will willingly do it. There is also a Melee Mode, which is essentially survival. No thanks to the lax losing condition though, you better be sure to have a lot of time on your hands if you're even going to attempt it. The game doesn't include a level creator either, so that's just one less replay value aspect.

If there is one thing this game got right though, it's Jeremy Soule's soundtrack. It's easily one of my favorites for how catchy and memorable it is. While I wasn't so invested in the environments, I was sure as heck invested in what I was hearing. Even the intro music is beautiful and relaxing. It's such a shame that such great talent went into a game with so little substance.

The Bad

(MobyGames, get a better review format)

The Bottom Line

I don't even know what else to say. It's bland, it's boring, it's too easy, it drags out way too long, and it's repetitive beyond all belief. If it had been tweaked a little more before it was released, I may have enjoyed it, but all in all it's just a bad game. It's not the worst, but I will go out on a limb and say it's probably the first big Humongous dud and a definite skip. Unless you find this game on a Super Duper Arcade 2 disc or a dollar in a thrift store, it's not worth your time.

Now that we're finally out of Junior Arcade land, we'll finally get a breath of fresh air back on the Junior Adventure territories. For some, it would be the beginning of the best.

(Up next: Pajama Sam in No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside)