• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatSinclair Spectrum
DeveloperJonathan Cauldwell
PublisherMinigame Competition
ReviewDoug and Gordon

Main review

Big Baps is a rather perky little number, a cover of the arcade game Burgertime but in this instance it’s a fully formed 4k version for the 2007 Minigame Competition. While the name conjures up images of humongous melons… the idea goes something like this – you, playing the part of Chris P. Bacon, the owner of the “Big Baps” burger restaurant, need to satisfy your customers orders while avoiding a couple of killer sausages which are the result of placing his establishment between a nuclear power plant and a genetically-modified foodstuff laboratory.

As with all the best games, playing Big Baps is simplicity itself, using four direction keys to run left and right over burger ingredients in order to drop them down to the level below or up and down to climb the ladders and avoid the sausages. What really makes this 4k cover are the additional details that have been included where other authors might not bother. For a start, on completing each level there is a simple game of “hunt the pea” where four time bonuses of differing lengths are shuffled before your eyes and it’s then your job to remember where the biggest one was.

While playing the game, bonus items such as mushrooms and other foodstuffs will randomly appear. Collecting all nine will give you an extra life (you can always tell it’s a proper game when you get things like extra lives!) Even this isn’t enough though, because further detail is added with the grid-shot feature! If you collect a ketchup bottle you can attempt to quickly select an empty part of the 3×3 grid. Get it wrong and you lose one of your collected items. The most satisfying part of the game, is timing the release of the burger ingredients so that they fall on a sausage, giving you a euphoric feeling of freedom and relief for just a few seconds until the sausage appears from the bottom of the screen again!

The difficulty level was set just right, hitting the “just one more go” sweet-spot very nicely. When I sat down to write this review, I decided it would be wise to have another go to make sure the experience was fresh in my mind. The next thing I know is that it was time for dinner! There’s nothing like the panic and despair of knowing that you’ve been cornered by a couple of mutant sausages and it’s only a matter of seconds before your inevitable doom! And if that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is.

In-game, (and there is only in-game) the graphics and sound perform their functions well with all the right noises being produced at all the right times. The graphics and animation are simple and effective, doing their job admirably given the memory restrictions of a 4k game. The chef looks a little odd as he shuffles left and right, but the sausages have plenty of personality given the limited number of animation frames.

Quite rightly, presentation has been lost in the interests of delivering a full-rounded gaming experience, something that many of today’s producers of commercial games could do well to remember. Here you will find the plump quivering mounds of gaming crammed into the tightest of undergarments. Given the title, anyone looking for handfuls of mammary action are going to be disappointed, the rest of us will find a healthy diversion for a while.

Second opinion

The Burgertime-styled screen that appeared in Jonathan Cauldwell’s Egghead Entertains was so well executed that it would have been hard for any programmer to resist giving it a stage of its own, especially with the upcoming 2007 minigame competition providing the right platform. So here it is then, all sexed-up, and not just because he’s renamed it Big Baps. The cramming in of different levels, a bonus life sub-plot and a “find the pea” minigame inside 4K will impress his rivals in that division, while the game’s simple, raw addictiveness will appeal to everyone else.

The graphics and sound are functional, but there’s still a bit of colour in there, and everything moves smoothly with only a hint of flicker on the baddie sprites. Control is slick and reliable, with none of the “sticky ladder syndrome” problems that affect so many of these games. In this respect, I found it more playable than the sometimes frustrating arcade original on MAME. A layer of depth is added by the items you collect to gain extra lives. They act as a “tempter”, often diverting you from completing a stage as you greedily chase another bonus life and get killed in the process. For its size, this is an involving game that has no real down points – the only boobs are in the title.

If Jonathan Cauldwell was a rock band, he would be ELO, and that’s not an insult. His ideas aren’t wholly original (the “find the pea” sequence is clearly lifted from the bottle swapping stage in Tapper), but the skill with which he combines these old riffs to make something new is undeniable, and the end product rarely disappoints. So if you’re bored at the office and the boss isn’t looking, then I suggest you download this, er, tit-bit.