I present to you a candidate for most tenuous licence ever - here’s some of the box description: “As legendary magician Snoopy the Great, you must rescue your assistant Woodstock when his attempt to perform the dangerous Magic Ball Trick goes out of control. Magic balls are on the attack and even Woodstock has been multiplied by the runaway spell.”
What does this actually mean? The Snoopy character you control moves through a screen consisting of a 9x8 grid of blocks, each of which can have destructable barriers, movable barriers, tiles that appear and disappear, immobile barriers, teleporter tiles, tiles that move you in a particular direction, and in each corner (or close to it) a Woodstock you have to collect to complete the stage. Adding to the challenge in achieving this is the fact that there will be a ball (or balls, depending on how far you are into the game) bouncing around the screen, and if it touches you, ka-pow, one life down. Also, some of the destructable blocks can be hiding power ups – getting a P makes you invulnerable for a limited time and getting a clock stops all the balls from moving for a limited time.
Once you finish a screen, you get a free life, and bonus points for however much time is left. Losing all your lives on a screen gives you either the chance to continue, or to get a password for that level, so you can continue from that point in the future.
The game’s great – not overly taxing mentally and enough reflexes required to dodge the Magic Balls to keep you on your toes, but without being difficult enough to put you into a murderous rage. It’s a shame that Kemco felt the game had to be tied to Snoopy to sell, but it doesn’t matter - the game’s still well worth some of your time.
There’s also a two player link up mode where you can compete on each screen to see who finishes it first, but I didn’t have the capability to try it. According to the manual, touching each other causes life loss as well as the bouncing balls, so it could be quite frenetic.. someone come visit me with a second cart and we’ll give it a try!