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DoctorSpuds Reviews Things - Squirrel (Bit Corporation)


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This game has been on the docket for a very, very, long time, but for the longest time I was completely stumped by it. I simply couldn’t play this game properly, until recently when I sat down and just played it, and looked up the manual on Atarimania but that isn’t important, what is important is that this is one of the strangest and most unique titles on the 2600, whilst having one of the most unique titles on the 2600. Snail Vs Squirrel or Snail Against Squirrel, or just Squirrel, it doesn’t matter how you say it, all you need to know is that this is one of Bit Corp. /CCE’s mysterious legendary titles that only existed for the longest time in the PAL format with NTSC copies rumored to exist somewhere, thank goodness for whoever made those Taiwan Cooper carts since they released the only version of this game in the NTSC format and I think we should all be grateful, since this is one heck of a weird game. So, let’s stop lollygagging and just jump right into it.

To call this game colorful would be an understatement, when you power on the game your eyes are assaulted with primary colors. As soon as you put your hand down from shielding your eyes you’ll see that the game is rather competently constructed. As with most 2600 games, you’ll need to use your imagination quite a bit, especially right off the bat since that strange structure is actually meant to be… uh… well actually I don’t know, none of the manuals I’ve read actually say what your climbing, all I really know is the weird face thing at the top is meant to be your ‘cave’ (do squirrels live in caves?). The creature you control does not, in fact, look like a squirrel; it looks more like a bear wearing a muumuu than anything. Overall the game looks colorful but still fairly basic, it has very few moving parts with which things can be spiced up, it’s all very static.

This game has more sounds than most but still manages to disappoint. All you’ll be hearing is the ‘walking’ sound which is a basic three note progression; there is a light ‘beep-beep’ when a nut is ready to be collected and a deep ‘beep-beep’ when a nut is about to expire (or run away). The strangest thing though is when you complete a stage a piece of music will play but it’s in reverse, I actually recorded the music and played it in reverse and it actually sounded worse than when it was reversed (how does that work?).

This game has a simple premise; get the nuts to the top of the screen, get five to the top and you go to the next screen. This game’s main problem is the ‘huh?’ factor, you’ll start the game and immediately go ‘huh?’ when you just start losing lives for apparently no reason, but thankfully I’ve figured it out. Each nut is on a timer, if the nut runs out of time it will fall to the ground, if the nut is on the ground for too long it will disappear and you’ll lose a life, you reset the timer whenever you pick up the nut, the problem is that you can only hold one nut at a time and there are two nuts to deal with. This all leads you to moving each nut a little bit at a time, and you have to have a ‘leading nut’ since if they cross paths with one another you’ll automatically drop them and they’ll start sliding away from you. Your next big obstacles are the snails, they’ll appear from the sides of each available platform and steamroll their way across them, if they encounter a nut they’ll push it along the platform until it falls off, if you make contact with them whilst holding a nut they will eat the nut, and if you aren’t holding a nut they will drop you all the way back down to the bottom of the screen. There is a way to destroy these pesky snails though and it’s quite simple, instead of attacking their soft fleshy fronts you assault their armored backsides to destroy them, basically you walk into their backs and they die, don’t do it while holding a nut or it will be consumed.

Overall this is a frustrating, but ultimately fun puzzle game, it tests your problem solving skills as well as your reflexes when catching those nuts as well as prioritizing a strategic and methodical approach. The problem though is that this is a fairly uncommon game, and I haven’t seen a Taiwan Copper version on Ebay since I bought my copy. It seems the well has begun to dry up with the more unique Taiwan Cooper titles, so my recommendation to you is to grab a copy if you can find one but don’t pay too much for it, anything less than 20$ for a boxed copy is enough.

As is customary with these Taiwan Cooper boxes the description of the game is absolutely hilarious so I’ll take a moment to transcribe the description.

The little squirrel will keep some walnuts
on the hole. The ripe walnuts will fall
down and make loud special sound. If the
little squirrel gets 5 walnuts on hole, the
screen will run into the next. To press
the button, to take or set the walnut. The
snail will eat the walnut, so the squirrel
should avoid the snail’s attacking, and
destroy the snail on back. The walnut on
hole can not be put too long, or it will
fall down.

Absolute gold…

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