From Dennis the Menace to the Perishers, the anarchic scruffy kid has been the mainstay of comics, books and movies for years. Now a similar American incarnation has surfaced in the shape of Ocean’s latest film licence game.

The seven-year-old hero of Dennis is in big trouble, as usual. Not only has he lost all of Mr Wilson’s precious coin collection, but his friends Joey and Margaret have been kidnapped by the evil Switchblade Sam. The aim of this platformer is to explore each of four different worlds, and their associated sub levels, collecting coins and battling baddies as you go. Ho hum.

If the startlingly derivative plot fails to capture your imagination, wait until you start playing the game. Graphically, it looks like a cross between Sleepwalker (Dennis looks suspiciously like the somnambulistic Lee) and Alternative Software’s Sooty and Sweep. It is hideous and certainly not worth £25 of anyone’s money. The gameplay is little better. The nasties keep coming back every time you kill them and your so-called special weapons (a pea-shooter, catapult and water pistol) are virtually useless. There are plenty of power-ups and courage-building sweets but Dennis still dies remarkably often anyway.

By far the worst bits are the appalling soundtrack and teeth-clenchingly bad sound effects. And the CD32 version is little better. Ocean must have paid a lot for this licence, but since the movie was a flop the game is likely to go the same way. Avoid.


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