Thursday, 8 August 2013

Obscure Retro Gems - Nipper vs The Katz (Amiga)

His Master's Voice

Nipper vs The Katz is a freeware Amiga game that was given away with issue 32 of Amiga Power magazine. It was developed by Graftgold for the high street music store HMV as part of a competition to win £1000 worth of stuff from the shop. Little did I realise at the time that it would be so addictive that I would be sitting here playing it now, trying to better my score, despite the fact that the competition ended 20 years ago.

Starting outside his local branch of HMV (where else?), Nipper sets off to kick a bunch of thieving cats - sorry, Katz - to death to reclaim the stolen merchandise and return it to the store he works at. Actually, I made that up, but it's pretty much what's going on here. Jumping on a Kat will temporarily stun the thieving bastard, giving Nipper time to put the canine boot in - launching them across the screen as their ill gotten gains spill all over the pavement. Along with the stolen CDs, disks and records, points are also awarded for collecting the iconic HMV gramophones that are scattered around the levels. Returning to the HMV store will drop off the collected items and award you with big bonuses.

So that's pretty much it. Nipper has 3 minutes to get as many points as possible. You can explore the city at ground level, the rooftops above, the underground train station and caves deeper below that. There are a few power-ups dotted around the fairly small world, such as an invincibility potion and a clock which adds precious seconds to the time limit. The game is basically a speed run - dash around, bouncing off Katz heads, then kicking them and hoovering up the goodies they drop. The trick to this game is to follow a path without retracing your steps, so that is a constant supply of enemies to get items from, and don't get hit as this wastes valuable seconds as Nipper regains his composure.

It's very addictive and will keep you returning to best your score, thanks to the colourful and charming graphics, classic Amiga rave music, and enjoyable gameplay. There may not be much to it, and there may no longer be any prize incentive to make you master it, but it's extremely enjoyable and will keep score chasers and platformer fans coming back for more.

Title : Nipper vs The Katz
Developer : Graftgold Ltd
Year : 1993
System : Amiga 

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