Flood (video game)
Cover art for Flood
Flood is a 1990 platform game developed by Bullfrog Productions. It was published for the Amiga and Atari ST by Electronic Arts. The objective is to collect all the litter and find the exit to the level. The game was not a huge commercial success and contained rather experimental styles of gameplay for its time, as well as a quirky sense of humour.
The player controls a character named 'Quiffy', who is the last of his race of small green creatures. He lives underground in a series of sewers and tunnels. His mission is to reach the surface by navigating all the sewers, whilst they are slowly flooding. Quiffy can walk on walls and ceilings.
Quiffy must collect all of the various pieces of litter on the level and then find the exit to complete each level. In general the litter is not particularly hidden, it is just distributed around the level. Quiffy can climb on most walls and ceilings, and swim through water. He has energy which depletes upon touching dangerous objects, but can also die instantly when touching any of the few lethal objects. Although he can swim and has the appearance of an amphibious life-form, he can only breathe above water and will start to drown if he runs out of air.
In each level, you are followed by the ghost of your Aunt Matilda. She copies your movements exactly and starts off about 15 seconds behind you. However, she is very slightly faster than you and will eventually catch up with you. Touching the ghost will hurt Quiffy.
Most of the levels have taps in them, which pour water in to the level. The modelling of the water was quite advanced for a home computer game of its time; the water will flow to the lowest point that it can and when multiple taps are pouring water in one place, it will fill up proportionally fast. A lot of levels feature taps in all areas so the entire level will eventually flood, leaving Quiffy with no available source of air. This aspect is how the game derives its title.
Quiffy starts each level with no weapon, and can pick up any of five available weapons. He can only hold one of these at any time and if he picks up another one, it will swap for the current one.
- Boomerang: This spins in a curve back towards the player.
- Dynamite: This sits for a second and then explodes with a large force. It is easy to injure yourself with this weapon.
- Flamethrower: A horizontal wall of fire shoots out, and extends to unlimited range, and remains until the player lets go of the fire button. This is the most powerful weapon. However at random times a rubber chicken will appear instead of the weapon.
- Grenades: A grenade drops and explodes with a smaller force than the dynamite. It is similarly possible to injure yourself with this weapon.
- Shuriken: A throwing star shoots out diagonally and bounces off walls for a while. This weapon is extremely good at spreading damage over a wide area.
There are various enemies on each level, some of which have special properties. In general the enemies move around in a specific pattern, and when killed will throw a heart up which will return health to Quiffy.
- One enemy resembles a teddy bear, but has a large mouth with a set of teeth in its stomach. It can eat the litter so Quiffy doesn't have to pick it up. They will kill Quiffy with a single touch, though. They are called "Psycho Teddy"
- One enemy looks like a walking squid and will create litter wherever it walks. This makes it slightly harder for the player. They are called "Bulbous-headed Vongs"
- The enemies had curious names such as 'Plonkin Donkin'.
- "Aunt Matilda" is the name of the ghost that follows you around
Obstacles and traps
- Lasers: These appear like a beam of light stretching between two metal gaskets. The light extends from each side to the middle and retracts again at periodic intervals. Unlike a real laser, the light moves very slowly, and Quiffy can walk on top of the beam or stick to the underside. If the extending light hits Quiffy, it will hurt him a small amount and then start to retract.
- Missile launchers: These fire out a barrage of dangerous missiles.
- Lava: This is fatal to Quiffy. The lava does not react to the flood water in any way.
- Warps: These look like exits or other doors, and move you between another similar door elsewhere in the level.
- Land mines: These explode like a grenade and throw up a heart as well as catapulting Quiffy up in the air.
- Switches: You can change parts of the levels with switches, and sometimes the changes can be quite drastic, such as suddenly creating a large group of enemies out of nowhere, or restructuring large parts of the level.
- Crystal: There is also a small crystal which will kill Quiffy instantly, it only appears in two levels of the game.
- Balloons: If Quiffy touches the balloon dispenser, he will get a set of three balloons and float upwards towards the top of the level. He will only fall if the balloons are popped, either by being hit by an enemy or by touching a wall.
- Parachute: This is similar to the balloons, only working downwards instead of upwards.
- Plunger: This stops all taps on the level for a short amount of time.
- Drip: This speeds up all taps on the level, making it roughly the opposite of the plunger item.
- Cocktail: This fills up Quiffy's health to maximum.
- Pint of Guinness: This gives Quiffy an extra life.
- Space hopper: Quiffy can ride this and bounce around the play area, able to reach much greater heights than with regular jumping.
- The ending cutscene featured Quiffy being run over by a car after reaching the surface.
- The flame thrower weapon randomly changes into a rubber chicken at infrequent intervals, with Quiffy responding with a surprised look. The player has to press fire again to use the flame thrower.
- The levels are accessed using four letter passwords, which were all real words. Although passwords for most of the levels exist, the game infrequently gave them out. The final level has the password 'MEEK' which may be a reference to the meek inheriting the Earth.
- Almost all the levels feature a secret bonus area which you can only access by getting Quiffy in to a specific, exact position. When he is in that position, he will instantly appear in the bonus area. Getting him out of the bonus area is similarly done by positioning Quiffy but usually easier because the exits are placed in logical or obvious ways. Finding these areas is notoriously difficult as there are no clues and many possibilities, and they are only likely to be found by chance.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (December 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (164): 47–57.