Monty on the Run

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Monty on the Run
Monty on the Run Coverart.png
Commodore 64 cover art
Developer(s)Peter Harrap
Composer(s)Rob Hubbard
Kazuo Sawa (Famicom Disk System)
Platform(s)Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 16, ZX Spectrum, Famicom Disk System
July 1985
  • Commodore 64
    • EU: July 1985
    ZX Spectrum
    Amstrad CPC
    Commodore 16
    Famicom Disk System
    • JP: July 31, 1987

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 16, written by Peter Harrap for the ZX Spectrum with the iconic in-game music on the Commodore 64 provided by Rob Hubbard. It is the third game in the Monty Mole series.


Commodore 64 version screenshot

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.[1] 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.[1] 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.


The Commodore 64 version was produced by Micro Projects Ltd, joint owned by Anthony Clarke and Jason Perkins, with graphical input by Mark Rodgers and music by Rob Hubbard. 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 #2 in Hardcore Gaming 101's Top 100 Western Video Game Music of all time.[2]

A remake, titled Monty's Great Heart-pounding Escape (モンティのドキドキ大脱走, Monti no Doki Doki Dai Dassō) was created for the Famicom Disk System in 1987 by Jaleco. The game bears very little resemblance to the original version. For instance, Monty Mole has been replaced with a human 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 Japan as the game was never ported to cartridge for a Western NES release.


The game was critically and commercially successful in the UK. The Commodore 64 version was given a 90% overall rating by the reviewers of Zzap!64,[1] while Crash magazine gave the Spectrum version an overall score of 94%.[3]

The game entered the Spectrum charts at number one[4] and reached 14th place in the all-format charts with sales for the Spectrum and Commodore 64 versions combined.[5]

The game was voted second best platform game in the 1985 Computer Gamer Game of the Year Awards behind Impossible Mission.[6] In 1991, Commodore Format listed the game as one of the 100 best Commodore 64 games.[7] In 2007, the game was placed in 20th position in Retro Gamer's readers poll of the Top 25 Platformers Of All Time.[8]

In 1989 the game was re-released on US Gold's Kixx budget label with ACE calling it an "all-time platform classic"[9] and Crash describing the game as "still busting with playability" despite its age.[10]

In 1990, Patricia Hartley and Kirk Lesser attempted to review the game for the Dragon role-playing game magazine when it was released as part of Mastertronic's "MEGA Pack" of 10 games previously released in Europe. They stated "It crashed every time we tried to play it"[11] and awarded the game an "X" for "Not recommended" rather than a normal rating from 1 to 5 stars.


  1. ^ a b c d Rignall, Julian; Penn, Gary (October 1985). "Monty on the Run". Zzap!64. No. 6. Newsfield Publications. pp. 16–17. ISSN 0954-867X.
  2. ^ Kalata, Kurt (December 23, 2011). "Best Western Video Game Music of All Time - 2011". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Harrap, Peter (September 1985). "Monty on the Run". Crash. No. 20. Newsfield Publications. pp. 12–13. ISSN 0954-8661.
  4. ^ "The Hit List". Your Sinclair. No. 2. Sportscene Specialist Press. February 1986. p. 13. ISSN 0269-6983.
  5. ^ "Gallup Top 30 All Formats". Computer and Video Games. No. 52. EMAP. 16 January 1986. p. 64. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ "1985 Game of the Year Awards". Computer Gamer. No. 11. Argus Specialist Publications. February 1986. p. 14. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  7. ^ "A to Z of Classic Games". Commodore Format. No. 7. Future Publishing. April 1991. p. 49. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Top 25 Platformers Of All Time". Retro Gamer. No. 37. Imagine. 26 April 2007. p. 54.
  9. ^ "Monty on the Run (Kixx)". ACE. No. 26. Future Publishing. November 1989. p. 115. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Monty on the Run (Kixx)". Crash. No. 70. Newsfield. November 1989. p. 49. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (June 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon. No. 158. TSR. p. 52. ISSN 0279-6848.

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