Head over Heels (video game)
|Head Over Heels|
Cover art of Head Over Heels
|Designer(s)||Jon Ritman (programming)
Bernie Drummond (graphics)
Guy Stevens (sound)
F. David Thorpe (loading screen)
|Release date(s)||1987, 1988, 1989|
|Genre(s)||Platform game, Puzzle game, Arcade adventure|
|Distribution||Cassette, Floppy disk|
Head Over Heels is an arcade adventure video game, released in 1987 for several 8-bit home computers, and subsequently ported to a wide range of formats. Originally, the working title for the game was Foot and Mouth.
Visually, Head Over Heels bears a number of similarities to Ultimate Play The Game's Knight Lore and Alien 8. It uses an isometric engine that is similar to the Filmation technique first developed by Ultimate. Head Over Heels is the second isometric game by Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond, after the Batman computer game.
The game introduces an original concept: the player controls two characters instead of just one. The two characters have different abilities. Head can jump higher than Heels, control himself in the air, and fire doughnuts from a hooter to paralyze enemies; while Heels can run twice as fast as Head, climb certain staircases that Head cannot, and carry objects around a room in a bag. These abilities become complementary when the player combines them together after completing roughly a sixth of the game. Compared to its predecessors, the game offers unique and revolutionary gameplay, complex puzzles, and more than 300 rooms to explore.
Drummond contributed some famously surreal touches, including robots (controlled by push switches) that bore a remarkable resemblance to the head of Prince Charles on the body of a Dalek. Other surreal touches include enemies with the heads of elephants and staircases made of dogs that teleport themselves away as soon as Head enters the room.
The game had short bursts of fanfare-like music, including a version of Greensleeves.
Headus Mouthion (Head) and Footus Underium (Heels) are two spies from the planet Freedom. They are sent to Blacktooth to liberate the enslaved planets of Penitentiary, Safari, Book World and Egyptus, and then to defeat the Emperor to prevent further planets falling under his rule. Captured and separated, the spies are placed in the prison headquarters of Castle Blacktooth and must first escape, then break through the market to the orbiting Moonbase where they can teleport down to the planets to locate and reobtain the stolen crowns. Liberation of the planets and defeat of the Emperor will allow Head and Heels to return to Freedom as heroes.
Ritman admits that the storyline lacked real connection to the gameplay. In an interview for Edge, he stated that he "made the whole game up and then added the bullshit in the last ten minutes."
Conversions and remakes
Head Over Heels was first released in 1987 for Z80-microprocessor-based home computers (ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX). Due to its huge success, it was later ported to other platforms including the Atari XL/XE and ST, Amstrad PCW, Commodore 64 and the Commodore Amiga.
The latest remake of Head Over Heels (for Windows, PowerPC Mac OS, Linux and BeOS) by Retrospec is available as freeware on their website. It was recently[vague] voted the second best remake ever by PC Zone magazine.
- Your Sinclair awarded Head over Heels 9/10 in the June 1987 issue and the game was placed at number 5 in the Your Sinclair official top 100. Sinclair User also awarded 9/10.
- Crash magazine gave Head over Heels 97% and called the game "The best fun you're likely to have with a Spectrum for quite some time".
- Zzap!64 gave the Commodore 64 conversion of the game 98%: enough for its coveted Gold Medal Award; the joint highest score in the magazine's history; and the first Gold Medal of the year - in its August 1987 issue. It was described as "An all time classic - not to be missed for any reason"
- This game is parodied in the DVD release of The IT Crowd series one. In the DVD menu system, a game very similar to Head Over Heels, but with characters from the TV show, is played while you choose an episode.
- Head over Heels at everything2.com
- Goring, Graham. "Head over Heels". The Big Wobbly Speccy Game Review Page. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
- Ritman, Jon. "Monster Max information at Jon Ritman's website". Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- Head Over Heels
- CRASH 39 - Head over Heels
- Sinclair User review
- Amstrad Action magazine, issue 20, Future Publishing
- Zzap! 64 (28). August 1987. pp. 14–16.
- Amiga Power magazine issue 49, Future Publishing, May 1995
- Head Over Heels on the Amiga at the Hall of Light (HOL)
- Head Over Heels at World of Spectrum
- Head Over Heels at Lemon 64
- CRASH review from 1987
- Your Sinclair review from 1987
- "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" - analysis and dissertation of Head Over Heels at gamestudies.org
- Head Over Heels at MobyGames
- Head over Heels platforms a Windows/Macintosh/Linux remake of the game