Monty on the Run
|Monty on the Run|
Commodore 64 cover art
Monty on the Run is a computer game created by the software house Gremlin Graphics and released in 1985 for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore Plus/4, written by Peter Harrap for the ZX Spectrum with music by Rob Hubbard.
On the run from the authorities after his intervention in the Miners' strike, Monty the mole must escape from his house and head for the English Channel and freedom in Europe. In traditional platform game fashion, along the way he needs to collect various objects and solve puzzles to complete his escape. Before the game, five objects must be chosen to form Monty's Freedom Kit. Choosing the wrong items will leave the player unable to pass certain screens. This also acted as an anti-piracy measure, since the objects were only given numbers onscreen meaning the player had to refer to the accompanying manual. The final screen sees Monty boarding a ferry to France. This was then the starting point for the follow-up Auf Wiedersehen Monty.
The game has a sense of British surrealness similar to Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy - in gameplay it is more similar to the latter. Enemies patrol every screen, water is deadly to the touch and Monty runs the risk of being squashed by the many pistons.
Commodore 64 version
The music for the Commodore 64 version is regarded as one of the best computer game scores for that platform. The main game theme was, according to Hubbard, inspired by "Devil's Galop", the theme tune to the radio serial Dick Barton. It was rated #1 on Skytopia's list of The All-Time Top C64 Game Tunes  and was also rated #2 in Hardcore Gaming 101's Top 100 Western Video Game Music of all time.
Family Computer Disk System version
Jaleco's remake of the game bears very little resemblance to the original version, for instance, Monty Mole has been replaced with a human (who bears a striking resemblance to Peter Sutcliffe) on the run from prison and now has to escape through various Aztec-like temples. The only real association the game does have with the original is Gremlin's copyright and the familiar "in-game" theme playing on the title screen.
Like many Famicom Disk System titles, Monty's Great Heart-pounding Escape is little known outside of Japan as the game was never ported to cartridge for a Western NES release.
The game was reviewed in 1990 in Dragon #158 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column, as part of the Mastertronic MEGA Pack of 10 games previously released in Europe. The reviewers normally gave a game a rating from 1 to 5 stars, but they gave this game an "X" for "Not recommended", stating "It crashed every time we tried to play it". The game was a bestseller in the UK Spectrum charts. Crash magazine gave the Spectrum version 94/100.
|UK number-one Spectrum game
- Skytopia : Greatest Commodore 64 games music - Reviews
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (June 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (158): 47–54.
- Monty on the Run theme (MP3) [broken link]
- Monty on the Run theme song on Youtube
- TGWTG's Video Retrospective on the series which contains footage of the Famicom version.
- Monty on the Run gameplay video
- Monty on the Run at World of Spectrum
- Monty on the Run longplay in Internet Archive