Mr Hair and The Fly - Florinthedwarf takes a look at a new homebrew ZX Spectrum game! [UPDATE]

There's nothing worse than getting a hair in your fly.

He's back and he's bigger and badder than ever! Well, he's the same size and still one of the nice guys, but you know what I mean. Mr Hair, fresh from completing his last adventure and after having a bit of rest is now off seeking another one and this time he's got a bit of a surprise for us. Being just a mere hair is not nearly enough for Mr H, he wants more, he wants to be able to get into places that he can't reach (being a hair has its downsides) and so with the help of technology he can now become another thing that you don't particularly want to find in your food. By that of course, I mean he can transform into a fly. Let's see how Mr Hair shapes up in this second incarnation.

Time to power up and jump on out. If it's too scary, can I jump back in again?

Mr Hair isn't just putting himself in danger for no good reason, of course - he's bravely putting his life on the line to recover the magical chalice that's been stolen from his once happy and affluent world by an ancient alien race (it's always the aliens, isn't it?). His job now is to take on the aliens, reclaim the chalice and bring peace back to his land. To do this, he must delve into the mysterious alien world, collecting power cells that open doors around this realm, which not only aid your progress but will ultimately unlock the chamber holding the chalice of which you need to retrieve. 

A few things that you will notice different this time around is that Mr Hair has beefed himself up a little bit since the last game. I don't mean that he's gone all Arnie on us but, he has now managed to build himself up some strength. Gone are the days where one touch would kill him instantly, he can now take quite a bit of a beating from the enemies he finds himself surrounded by in this unforgiving world. Plus, should your energy get a little on the low side from getting a little too close to his enemies, he can jump into an energy chamber (as you can see above) where his energy can be restored. Very handy.

There seems to be a lot of eyes in here. The most worrying this is that they all seem to be looking at me. Argh!

The energy chambers are a welcome addition though that said, there are not a lot of them around. You start off inside one of them but the next one is quite a few screens away. That said, once you know where one is, you can always navigate back to top up and make your way back to where you've just come from. Should you not be lucky enough to make it back before your energy is totally depleted, the game does save any progress you may have made in the meantime, meaning that you don't have to put yourself at risk trying to re-collect the energy cells which indeed may have led to your demise in the first place. It's not too forgiving though as losing a life will put you back to the first screen (in the first section of the game at least) so I guess it's not that much of an easy ride.

That looks like a spider. And a scorpion. And OMG, is that an eyeball firing lasers? You can keep the chalice! I'm out of here!

There's been quite the development going on in this sequel, especially in terms of enemies. We've moved on from the enemies moving up and down, left and right and etc- now we have, giant laser shooting eyeballs, furry (though still evil) bouncing aliens and probably the most terrifying, face hugger style alien eggs. *shudder* And just like those eggs, you won't know when or what will jump out of there before it's too late. It seems Mr Hair has really dropped himself in it, this time. This will definitely be no walk in park.

Also in terms of development, Mr Hair can also scale up and down towers and poles should he require it, which is a welcome addition and alternative to just jumping off a platform and hoping for the best. Sure, it's always jumping into what seems like oblivion (come on, we all love it) but it can also be a little terrifying and not so great if you want to make any real progress. There's a whole new feel to the game style now and it feels more rounded. The addition of gates that need to be opened to progress is a welcome one, not only to add a bit more challenge in collecting key cards but also making for a more complex game. It would be easier to make just another platformer here but, these are the details that help Mr Hair and The Fly stand out against the original and its counterparts. And of course, there is another thing that makes this game a little more special...

'Molecular Transporter' - that sounds like a safe method for transportation. Just jump in and press the button, is it? Will do. What's that buzzing? Too late.

Yes! This is what I'm talking about! You can turn into fly! This makes it a breeze to get to those hard to reach places, a bit like a vacuum cleaner with a special attachment, but in fly form. Should you be lucky enough to reach the Molecular Transporter, you can indeed transform from your hairy structure into, well, another hairy structure I guess, but with wings and a lot more eyes and legs. This then takes you to another part of the alien base where you will have to use your newly acquired flying skills to reach higher platforms, avoid aliens and collect those all important power cells. I never thought I would ever dream of being a fly, mainly given the fact that you would get eaten by a spider, but here I am excited by the prospect over flying over mystical alien scenery, avoiding evil aliens that the scenery holds and getting my sticky hands (legs? feet?) onto the magical chalice to free my hairy world and live happily ever after. Or if not, guess I could just land on people's food to annoy them. The possibilities are endless.

I heard there's a bit of a buzz in this area. Oh, it's just a fly.

Mr Hair and The Fly is a joy to look at and play. It's come on leaps and bounds since the first game and has so many great elements to it - the evidence speaks for itself. Another brilliant loading screen from pixel genius Andy Green, a brilliant soundtrack by Pedro Pimenta and with bright, well designed rooms (all 43 of them!) and sprites, it has everything you look for in this type of game. With regards the aural side of things Mr Pimenta has done an outstanding job here - starting with a slow eerie build up at inception and then building up to a delightful tune as you shuffle around the alien world. There's also a change in music when your transformation into a fly takes place, shifting to a more upbeat ditty as you float around the lower realms of the planet. Plus, should you lose all of your lives (unlikely, I know) you'll have the additional treat of Pedro's lovely rendition of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees which brought a little snigger to my face indeed!

Mr Hair and The Fly is available to pre-order from Bitmap Soft here with all money made from the game going to the Cystic Fibrosis Charity. So get your order in and not only will you have in your hands a fantastic game, but you would have also helped a great cause too. What more could you want? 😀

Right, I'm off to go take on some aliens and attempt to transform into a fly. I might have another go at this game too, at some point.

Link Update 1) Website (Now available to download for FREE)

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