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Review of Herdy Gerdy
Interesting title. Now where have I ‘herd’ of this before? Back in the sixties the Hurdy Gurdy Man was someone who psychedelic hippies sang folk songs about. It’s also one of Europe’s longest surviving instruments, the theme of numerous Victorian poems, the subject of several children’s stories and there’s even a hybrid rose variety named Hurdy-Gurdy. The clue to the significance of this long awaited release from Eidos is in the deliberate misspelling of the title. Hopefully the following story will help explain.
Every few years on a magical island a herding tournament is held to determine the person who fully understands the true balance of nature and proves capable of controlling the islands varied species. The reward for the winner is a five-year contract to maintain harmony across the land (a bit like President Bush I suppose). Only this year the evil Sadorf has sent the one man whom the islanders are pinning their hopes upon into a deep sleep. Thankfully the Master Herder has a son. A boy named Gerdy… whom you must train to be a herder. Gerdy Herdy! Simple... huh? Oh well… on with the game.
Following a cute cartoon intro the player takes control of young Gerdy who must traverse a fully 3D environment in order to unveil the mystery of his father’s deep snooze. Clues are offered by various interactive characters along the way in a sort of RPG format, but the main focus of gameplay involves young Gerdy learning to herd together a selection of the islands weird creatures. Progress through the game is dependant on how successful these ‘creatures’ can be herded into a pen. I stress ‘creatures’ because although some of them may look familiar, they are usually named after the wacky noise they make.
It all begins with the “Doops”, “Honks” and “Beeps”. So although the Doop bares remarkable similarities to a chicken, it is called such because it “Doop! Doop! Doops!” instead of “Cluck! Cluck! Clucks!” To make life harder each area is infested with ‘bear size’ “Gromps” who’s favorite meal just happen to be the creatures that Gerdy is currently attempting to Herdy. Should a Gromp be allowed to get too close to the herd then it will rush in and start eating them. However if Gerdy can first get the Gromp to chase him, then it can be lead to a bear trap and remain snared for the rest of the level. Once more creatures have been penned than eaten by the Gromps new levels become accessible. There are several puzzles to solve and obstacles to cross during your quest, with various gadgets to collect, such as a magical stick that gives you Pied-Piper type skills! This all adds to the fun and originality of the gameplay.
The cartoon style graphical appearance may appear as lush to some, but lame to others. In fact this could split opinion 50/50 as many gamers would expect cartoons to be vibrant in color and rich in texture. While I found the low resolution to be quite acceptable it does leave the overall effect of being slightly ‘washed out’. The lack of real-time effects such as lighting and shadows slightly affect gameplay, but certainly not as much as the awful camera system. Lacking any intelligence or sensible automatic control the player is left to manually shift the angle away from trees, hills or building that spring into view, which is usually just at the wrong time.
The sound effects possibly save this title from slipping over the edge. The voice acting is splendid and adds so much character to the animations. There is a pleasant ambiance that sets the mood for each location, such as birds singing, owls hooting, and the gentle trickle of the many steams that inhabit the magical island.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Herdy Gerdy' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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