Super Pipeline II - Filling barrels on the ZX Spectrum! (Review)

Only one thing better than a pipeline and that's a super pipeline! (gasps) and there's two of them!!

It's no great secret that plumbers have a tough job. Some people may think it's just a case of tightening the odd stopcock, replacing washers and replacing taps but who do you think fixes those broken (and usually in mid-use) toilets? The toilet fairy?! Nope. It's the trusty old plumber and given how difficult their job is, imagine how tough it would be being chased by some possessed tools and mutant snails in the process? Very, is the answer, and if you ever wanted to see how difficult it would be without having to deal with broken toilets in person, have a crack a Super Pipeline II!

That said, there aren't any toilets for you to deal with here - sorry for misleading you all there, but there are indeed pipes and pipes go into toilets....so that's enough of link, yeah? Besides, did you actually want to play a game where you have to clean toilets? Is there actually a game like that that exists? (If there is, please let me know - genuinely.)

What seems to the problem here? Oh, a massive pipe with two holes gushing with water. I can fix it, but it's gonna cost ya!
So as there are no toilets to fix here, what exactly do you have to do? Well, your job here is to supervise various sizes and complex pipe structures whilst the water falls from the tank, moves around said pipework and fills up the vat waiting at the bottom of the pipe. Why they couldn't just build a straight pipe, I don't know. As with most games, there are some challenges to overcome to get to your required outcome and the challenges here take the shape of crazed power tools, normal tools and the odd terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc. Or 'snail', for short. And what do they pesky things do to stop you from completing your task? Mainly, take lives from you when they touch you (inconvenient) and also certain tools will pick a random spot and drill a hole through the pipe (very inconvenient) or multiple holes, as you can see above.

The only tools that make holes it's worth noting are the ones that have some kind of drill attachment or sharp-looking, so it's always best to get on top of them first. And when I say 'get on top of them', I of course mean you should shoot them first. Shoot them? Oh yes, I forgot to mention you have a gun to shoot things with. Probably should have mentioned that as I would assume most people would think that a normal plumber wouldn't come equipped with a gun, not unless they were from 'round my way anyway.

Uh oh. Does that mean I can only go left? Could be tricky.
Fixing pipes should be easy being a plumber but having to deal with enemies making holes and killing you is slightly hampering - enter your two plumbers' mates to help you out! Not only will your plumber's mate take a hit for you like a president's bodyguard, selflessly throwing themselves in front of a deadly snail (sounds less scary than it is) but they will also fix all the holes for you. That's very kind of them. Simply allow one of them to reach yvou via the pipe network and lead them to the hole that needs fixing, and they'll happily hammer away until it fixed. They will of course need protection from the evil snails and others but keep all these at bay and jobs a good one. Until, of course, another hole crops up. Oops.

Woo hoo! I can almost be a cat!

Aside from gameplay, what does Super Pipeline II have to offer? Firstly, from the main menu, you can choose how many lives you want to start with. Why have one life when you can choose eight? Also, what I love is that at the end of each level you're presented with an animation at the bottom of the screen featuring characters from the game. These vary from someone trying to be flash in their sport's car and having it smashed up by one of the plumber's mates to another mate seeing the lure of a lady more appealing than following the other plumbers, and making a sharp U-turn her way instead.

He was probably bored of that car anyway
The further you get along the game, the more complex the pipes become and on top of this, the number of barrels you have to fill increase too. The programmers here really did want to give the player a challenge and they certainly achieved it. This is by no means an easy game. It's starts off slightly tricky and gets to hard as nails very quickly. When a game gets that hard, you may think to yourself what is going to drive you on to get further? It's without doubt the little animations at the end of each level. They're totally worth losing some hair over.

Possessed spanner? Don't worry, I know a good plumber.

My only niggle with SPII is that sometimes the controls can be a bit of a let down. This is mainly when navigating the pipes, you really have to be in just the right position to move in various directions on the pipe otherwise you're going nowhere. If you're trying to evade any enemies, this can be quite frustrating but this aside, it really is a fun game to play. Very colourful (though quite clashy) with big graphics and nice little ditty and humour thrown in too.

I first discovered this game way back when after finding it on a game compilation and have always been really fond of it. Not a lot of people seem to know what I'm talking about when I mention it but that needs to change! Give this one a go people!

Follow me on Twitter if you want @florinthedwarf

Now... Back to those pipes!

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