1986 : Aadvark (C64)

Steve Kellett // Bug-Byte

posted 10-2017 // author: raam0

This is part of 2 of "a tale of two f#$%@ing aardvarks," joint-review. This version of Aardvark might just be on the top 10 (at least) for the MOST AGGRAVATING GAMES OF ALL-TIME. For the other counterpart review/spotlight, see Ardy the Aardvark (1983, Datamost) file: 1983-ardy-the-aardvark.html in @CODEX. Both these games crawl up my skin, put antz in my pantz, yet worm their way into my playtime on occasion, regardless of just how completely aggravating and frustating they may be... and nevertheless both should ideally be attempted in virginal tandem. By end your nerves may be frazzled like mine, with nightmares of crazed ants crawling all over your skin. This second version, simply entitled 'Aardvark' was released in 1986 by Bug-Byte (Steve Kellett) and is FAR more challenging... scratch that.. FRUSTRATING than the original. The graphics, sound and all elements are firmly polished mid-era C64, but my initial impression after playing is that this version is flawed to the point of aggravation: the ants appear perhaps too frequently (especially on first levels!), giving you little chance to progress. And given the aforementioned, the random nature of their appearance to boot is positively sure to kill old Ardy in a brutal and untimely manner... or is it sons of Ardy now? BUT, let me be clear: YOU SHOULD PLAY THIS.

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The controls regarding being able to swiftly delve your tongue accurately into holes -in both versions- can be a little tricky or finicky, although to its credit, this is probably realistic ;p But the hyper-speed of enemy critters kind of makes this a -sure- ballbuster. That said, there is a classic c64 aesthetic charm that makes me want to play regardless. I can tell you though, that this might just fray your nerves, and I don't think that in my particular case it was the -drugs- aka large cup of coffee I just downed before playing. Aggravation-city. As an AARDVARK SIMULATOR, to its credit again, I imagine this is accurate & worthy of high praise, who knows? The life of an aardvark probably ain't that easy. And as far as the more relaxed older version, 'Ardy the Aardvark,' the key word being 'older,' things seemed to be better paced and smoother 'in times of old' regarding all stations of life, thus there must be a higher metaphor and purpose of this re-make of 1987. Lastly, I am sure that we as humans along with our aardvark brothers and sisters can all agree - ants suck, worms are a pain the stomach (or nose). Alles ende.

The aesthetic here is so strong and it is certainly debatable, which version is actually better. This is likely much more challenging overall than the original version, has better colors and graphics and is "expert"-level out of the box. A final word, both versions are worthy trade-offs and no reason not to have and play both! PS. will have to check out all the cracked versions, and [#WISHLIST] it would be totally worthy to fine-tune this game or make an alternative crack or even re-working, reboot or new version...

Updated Instructions (relating to original release):

  • The player can only eat ants with the tip of the anteater's tongue. If an ant bites the tongue at any other location, then the player loses a life.
  • Pressing the second button will quickly retract the anteater's tongue.
  • Worms will not harm the anteater unless eaten head first, in which case the player loses a life. Worms can be safely eaten from behind.
  • Eating queen ants at the very bottom of the nest will temporarily clear all ants and worms from the screen.
  • Once the sun has traveled across the screen and night falls, a spider will appear. The spider climbs down the anteater's tongue, taking a life if it touches the tip.
  • The object is to eat all of the larvae before time runs out, clearing the screen.
  • Each larva is worth 10 points.
  • Each ant is worth 100 points, while eating a worm is worth 200 and multiplies the score from eating ants by 1x (Ex. eating 5 ants +2 worms = 500 x 2 = 1000).
  • Queen ants are worth 1,000.