31
Mar
14

Skunny: Back to the Forest for DOS

Skunny and Rosie

Skunny and Rosie

Skunny: Back to the Forest is a platform game released by Copysoft back in 1993. It was their attempt at making a Sonic like game for the PC. The main character is of course Skunny Hardnut, who is basically the mascot for the company and appears in all the titles made by Copysoft. This game also includes his “supermodel girlfriend” Rosie. Whilst doing research I found that many of their games are famously bad. I have played one of the Skunny games before and have vague memories of them as I didn’t play them very much.

Yummy items!

Yummy items!

The game boasts 256 colour VGA graphics with parallax scrolling backgrounds, but the artwork is sort of middle of the road. It’s not bad by any sense, but there could have been more frames for animations. Whilst the game boasts speedy parallax scrolling you need quite a powerful DOS machine to get the game to run smoothly. It certainly wouldn’t run well on a 386sx like we had back in the day. Other games such as Hocus Pocus managed faster scrolling on older systems like that.

Spiders!

Spiders!

The sound support basically supports only the Sound Blaster or PC speaker for sound effects, and Adlib/Sound Blaster for music. Sound effects consist of Skunny making noises such as screaming when hurt or saying “oh d-d-d-dear” when on a ledge. The effects sound fine, but you’ll likely find them annoying after a while as there is little variation and they are played frequently in a game session. There is such little variation that Rosie sounds exactly the same as Skunny does. Music wise I only heard one tune play during my brief play session, and well it was kind of annoying as it is short and always looping.

Huge ass Toad

Huge ass Toad

The idea for the gameplay is an interesting one that could be good, but the implementation unfortunately lets it down. The controls feel awkward somehow, making it difficult to make precision jumps. Skunny and Rosie are quick and have momentum, so it’s very easy to overshoot many of the small platforms and fall off spiders or insects that carry you around. The levels seem to be designed with a slower and more precise Skunny in mind making things worse than they really should be. I was so frustrated with the controls and movement that I stopped playing after having difficulty with the second level.

Super Skunny

Super Skunny

This is one of the earlier Skunny games in the series, so it’s not surprising the game is lacking polish. It also seems to me that the developers were pushed to meet a list of features regardless of their effect on game play. Perhaps the game was quite different in an earlier development version and then ‘spiced up’ for marketing purposes. Whatever the case, this could have been a good game had the controls been a little better and the levels designed to better suite the mechanics.

 

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