Merry Christmas From Horace, ZX Spectrum

This 2016 homebrew release for the ZX Spectrum is a tribute/sequel to the classic Hungry Horace, Horace Goes Skiing, and Horace and the Spiders games from Psion, originally developed in the early 1980s by Beam Software. It is a Christmas-themed Horace game written by Steve Broad.

The game is a Stop the Express-type side-scroller where Horace must make his way along the top of a row of train carriages, jumping to avoid enemies and to collect twenty presents within the time limit. If he falls between cars or hits an enemy (or snowball or snowflake) he’ll lose one of his three lives.

You can knock enemies down by jumping on top of them for extra points and collect bells to release bonus pickups. The shield power-up protects Horace for a short while; the clock pick-up gives you more time, and the “Mad” pick-up gives you a random “mad” bonus. Whatever that means.

I’d be lying if I said that Merry Christmas From Horace was a great game – as much as I’d like it to be. It’s an okay tribute game for free, but it’s nothing special gameplay or graphics wise. The scrolling is juddery and only happens when Horace pushes the screen on the left or right. There are 49 stages in total, but there’s really not much to it and the game lacks variety. It’s not even very Christmassy… Oh well. Never mind. Happy Christmas anyway.

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