By the time Trenton Webb arrived on Commodore Format in the Spring of 1992, the full priced games were beginning to dry up. Filling the pages wasn’t the big problem it would eventually be a couple of years down the line, though. Because for now, the budget softies had stepped up and were knocking out some of their best ever games. Plenty of them could hold their own against the premium titles. Those that could were held back from Roger Frames’ budget section and given the full-page Power Test treatment, which is exactly what happened with Reckless Rufus.

The box-out at the end of this review didn’t last long. It replaced Steve Jarratt’s original “uppers and downers” barometer for presumably well-intended reasons, but was dropped after reader complaints. 

Yorkshire-based publishers Alternative Software had a sketchy track record on the 8-bits, largely famed for buying the rights to kid’s TV stuff like Postman Pat and Huxley Pig and then churning out mediocre platformer interpretations for a few quid a time.

Rufus, though, was different.

Our hero is a walking ball of green glob, and you’ve got to help him clear 130 screens of puzzle action. To finish each stage, you must collect all the diamonds. Marsh land gets in your way, though, and if you touch it you get sucked down into a pit and lose a life. To navigate the marshes, you use the numbered blocks strewn around each level. They allow you to build your own rocks for safe passage, but only up to the number that’s written on the side. That means you have to think super-carefully about where you stick your slabs! Making things even tougher are the alien meanies trolling up and down the marshes. You can kill them with a laser, but you only have limited shots.

The only major flaw with the game comes from that very thing. You can work out how to get through a level safely, only to have an enemy come at you from out of nowhere. If you’re fresh out of ammunition you have no chance. It’s blatantly unfair, and the enemies pointlessly ruin what would otherwise be a thoughtful, well-paced and original game. CF

EDIT, AUGUST 2016: In August 2016, programmer Mike Berry (who’s also left a message in our comment section below!) found the original level 1 design for Reckless Rufus, which had the working title Awesome Dude. He’s kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. Thanks, Mike!


CF SAID: “Rufus has the makings of the ultimate puzzler, but blows it.”

WE SAY: It’d make a few quid as an iPhone app today, for sure. An addictive little puzzler. 


  1. The author here.

    Yep, I agree that the aliens were a pain in the backside. At one point at the final stages of getting the game ready for release, I did mention to Alternative that I thought that the games needed to be made a little easier with regards to the baddies. They seemed to think it was fine and would give the game a little more longevity. So, I’m pointing the finger at them!


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