Hungry Horace

aka: Horacio Gloton, Horácio Glutão, Hungry Horace (Remastered Edition)
Moby ID: 16137
ZX Spectrum Specs
Buy on Windows
$0.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

Horace's first outing was a Pac-Man-influenced game, taking place on a quick succession of small levels. The level designs have a lot of complex corridors and side-lines, as well as at least one wrap-around section and one tunnel – the ghosts may well be waiting for you at the end of this. Each level features one power-pill to put to use, and an increasing number of enemies as you progress. Unlike most games of the style, after collecting all the dots you must progress through an exit at the right of the screen, so it might be worth planning your path through the dots so as to finish near this.

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Critics

Average score: 70% (based on 6 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.4 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 2 reviews)

Pac-Man goes exploring in the park

The Good
William Tang, a former programmer at Beam Software, saw how successful Namco’s Pac-Man was and developed his own version of it called Hungry Horace for the ZX Spectrum, starring his own mascot - a crudely-drawn mutant wearing running shoes. But the game is no ordinary clone, it feels as if something was added to the original game mechanics. Its success not only warranted two sequels for the system, but also ports for the Commodore 64 and Dragon 32/64.

Horace has to navigate four sections of a park, collecting flowers and dealing with the guard that chases him around. Each section is more difficult than the last, and it will be even more difficult if Horace takes too long in completing a section as more guards will appear. To deal with them, a ringing bell can be collected and the guards can be killed, causing them to head back to the entrance to each section. From time to time, the guard will drop fruit – including cherries and strawberries – which will award Horace with bonus points if collected.

I am reviewing the C-64 version of Hungry Horace, and in my opinion, it is far superior to the other versions out there. Not only do you experience the game as created on the Speccy, but it even includes an editor where you can design your own mazes and save them to tape. When the game finishes loading, you are greeted with some impressive music on the title screen, and if left idle for some time, an attract mode is run, letting you know what to expect from the game.

The cover for this game looks excellent. Below the stenciled title, there is Horace, drawn exactly as he appears on the front cover of the Speccy version. Next to him is what appears to be a badly-drawn tree. The cassette looks nice as well. Inside the game, the animation of Horace running is excellent. The guards look just as good but don’t have animations; they simply move around the maze. When you get the bell, they turn into Fido Dido-lookalikes and stay that way for quite some time before turning back to their normal selves.

There is background music during the game, as well as specific melodies when you enter a new park section and when you have killed one of the guards. When they turn into Fido-Didos, the sound effect played in on par with Pac-Man’s. Horace’s walking sound is quite nice, too. While you hear the impressive music on the title screen, you also hear snippets of every sound effect.

As I mentioned earlier, included with the game is an editor, where you can customize your own mazes or modify the existing ones, and save your creations to tape. In the editor, you are presented with a grid where you can individually place walls, flowers, entrance/exits, bell, and whether you want to include tunnels. People who are unfamiliar with editing levels may want to choose to edit the existing mazes since it gives them a good idea how each maze was constructed, then create their own once they have a good idea.

Finally, like many games of the game, Hungry Horace can be used as an excuse to "score attack". The game repeats itself after you complete the fourth section and although there is no high score chart in the game, you can always write down your score and try to beat that when you begin your next game.

The Bad
Hungry Horace is a quite difficult game, especially in the later sections. The third section, for example, has only one path you can follow, and you must find some way to outsmart that one guard. From my experience, even though I manage to do just that, out comes another guard to make life hell, at a place where I least expected, and I get annoyed that I unwillingly lost a life.

Also, the background music becomes corrupted as Horace collects the flowers.

The Bottom Line
The Commodore 64 conversion of Hungry Horace improves upon the ZX Spectrum original, by adding music and sound effects that are pleasant to listen to. It also includes a built-in editor that you can use to create your own mazes beyond those four in the game. HH is not a bad game, but the two sequels that follow – Horace Goes Skiing and Horace and the Spiders – are far superior, and I'll will be reviewing those soon.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2019

A mediocre Pacman clone at best…

The Good
Hungry Horace is not the hardest game to get into. Out of the three games in the ‘Horace’ series it’s the simplest and also the first one released. For a quick and mindless gaming session it’s a great game.

The Bad
While the gameplay is good and the controls are excellent, the sound in the game is mediocre at best. The level design also leaves a lot to desire. I am especially talking about the third and the fourth level which in my humble opinion are horrible. They where clearly made by programmers and not gamers.

The Bottom Line
Hungry Horace is often viewed as the Pacman for the ZX-Spectrum. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, you don’t need to collect anything in Hungry Horace, you just need to go to the exit in each level which is open right from the start. Second, in Pacman at least you always had a fair chance, not in Hungry Horace where you could end up in impossible situations where you can’t escape.

If you are between 6 and 11 years old, have never played a video or computer game before and wants to play a simple game to get you started I would recommend Hungry Horace.

ZX Spectrum · by Nakre Nakresson (68) · 2006

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Martin Smith.

Windows, Android added by firefang9212. Timex Sinclair 2068, Commodore 64 added by Kabushi. Antstream added by lights out party. Dragon 32/64 added by Игги Друге.

Additional contributors: karttu, ZeTomes, firefang9212.

Game added January 7, 2005. Last modified October 9, 2023.