Oooh, I love Monty on the Run. It’s still one of my favourite C64 games ever, and I’ll often load it up for a run through… or at least, as far as I can get, anyway. It’s really hard! Still, the leaping and collecting is always fun and it’s backed by one of the best pieces of computer game music you will ever hear. Awesome stuff.
I wonder how it is, then, that I’ve never played its sequel, Auf Wiedersehen Monty, before now?
Actually, it’s not that hard to fathom out… ZZAP! 64 put me off. Their review was less than kind, which made me less than inclined to actually play it. So I never did. I am surprised that I never bought it on budget or a compilation, but there we are.
And now, here we are. Time to see what it’s like after all these years.
The first thing I noticed and which saddened me is that Monty no longer somersaults. I miss that! It didn’t just look cool, it felt right and I was always able to judge a jump pretty well as a result. In this game, Monty performs more of a forward flop, which is nowhere near as satisfying to pull off. I can do that myself! I want to feel awesome when I’m playing a game! Flopping around is not awesome.
Everything else feels nicely familiar though. You’ll still find platforms interconnected by ropes and pipes, with big gaps to jump across and odd creatures and other… things getting in the way. There are still objects to be collected too, although the game’s storyline means that they do feel as though there’s more purpose to collecting them this time around.
After a short time, though, things start to go off the rails a little. You soon find that a couple of new gameplay mechanics have been introduced and they throw you off at first. It’s a little confusing when you try to jump from a platform only to find Monty springing up and down on the spot, trampolining his way higher and higher until either he reaches the next screen or bangs his head on something.
Another, less obvious addition is Monty’s ability to walk upside down on the underside of some platforms (although I imagine this was accounted for in the original game’s instructions). I thought I was stuck at one early point in the game and it took a YouTube video to point me in the right direction. I wonder how many pirates figured this put back in the day without the benefit of video longplays?
With these things accounted for, the business of exploring Europe became somewhat easier. It does have a very classic platformy feel to it, which counted against it in the eyes of the ZZAP! lads as they felt the game was dated, but it is what it is and sometimes that’s just fine. You don’t really need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a classic formula.
That said, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy Monty on the Run. Maybe it’s not classic enough. Maybe the small changes were enough to spoil it for me a little. There are other irritations, too. Jumping to some areas can be quite fiddly, and that soon annoys. Then there are the bottles of alcohol lying around the place… great to have when on holiday but picking them up messes with your controls temporarily and I hate things that stop you from playing the game. There’s nothing worse than dying in a game because of something the program does to you, rather than your own lack of skill.
At least it’s very good musically… it doesn’t match up to Monty on the Run, but the collaboration between Rob Hubbard and Ben Daglish bore some very tasty musical fruit nonetheless. In fact, it’s stuck in my head as I write this… always a good sign. It looks perfectly fine, too… all the expected weird obstacles are present and correct.
I would also say that, despite the irritations I’ve mentioned, it’s easier than Monty on the Run. I certainly managed to get pretty far into the game and that’s not because I have ninja skills. That’s not a criticism of the game either… when you have a game based on exploration, it’s frustrating if it’s too difficult to actually explore.
All in all, then, I’d say that Auf Wiedersehen Monty is a pretty good platformer in the classic vein, which is marred slightly by attempts to make it different to its predecessor. It’s still definitely worth a go though… in fact, it may be the easiest way to get around Europe once Brexit goes through, so be sure to give it a go! I’ll certainly be playing it again.