Poor Monty Mole has become a fugitive; arrested and imprisoned just for gathering winter fuel. But, being an ingenious mammal and now rather athletic having presumably spent some time in the prison gym, he escapes and goes in search of a one-armed man... not really, the plan is to simply avoid the rozzers. In the long term that'll lead to a manic dash across Europe to Greece (which is documented in the sequel Auf Wiedersehen Monty) but for the moment he hasn't even managed to get out of the country and, with the Old Bill on his metaphorical tail, has been forced to sneak through into a creepy old house to the waiting boat.
The house is "populated" by many weird and wonderful nasties, all of which patrol it's corridors and are fatal to the touch - quite why the monsters moved in after the previous tenants left isn't dealt with, but presumably they scarpered rather sharpish since they've left helpful items and cash lying about. Monty's life is made considerably harder because he must select a "freedom kit" before entering the house, a collection of five items from a possible twenty one to aid him during his escape; pick the wrong items and he'll be trapped in the old house and will soon find himself grabbed by the fuzz!
MOLEY, MOLEY, MOLEY!
The reviews for Monty On The Run were for the most part very favourable, the Spectrum original scored a whopping 94% overall from Crash with a note that it was "one of the very best of multi-screen platform games, with loads of screens, many different situations, gags and double crosses", whilst Gary Penn reckoned it was "a very good and very tough platform derivative with some excellent new touches to it" in issue 6 of Zzap! 64 where the review carried a 90% score.
The results from the Amstrad CPC camp were a little more varied since Amtix decided to dish up a very respectable 91% in issue 9 whilst reviewers writing Amstrad Action's own issue 9 were far more conservative, giving out more a lacklustre 65% - CPC Game Reviews are taking the middle ground with 7/10. Finally, the C16 version garnered 86% from Zzap! 64 again (during their one-off C16 round up in issue 28) which dovetails pretty well with the 7.6/10 that visitors to Plus/4 World have stumped up.
WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF THIS PLACE
The C16 version being the best of the four might come as something of a surprise to some readers, but we're looking primarily at how these games play rather than how they stand as conversions. Yes it does have a smaller map than the Spectrum original, no it doesn't have that amazing Rob Hubbard soundtrack sported by the C64 and Amstrad CPC but there are a few more important omissions - it isn't painfully hard to play and it's the only version that skips over the damned freedom kit!
Because that's a hideous piece of game design that can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to extend the game's lifespan by making it literally impossible to complete without some trial and error testing of items or at least waiting for one of the magazines of the day to report the correct set of objects. Had the difficulty not been set so tortuously high as well it might be possible to forgive, but as it stands Monty On The Run is close to being truly sadistic on the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad CPC.
Those design issues aside, since they all play pretty much the same our placings for the remaining versions are mostly based on aesthetic variations; on that front, the C64 might not be identical as such but it happily replicates the majority of the original's graphics whilst adding in extra background detail to the various screens such as pot plants that the Spectrum wouldn't have been able to manage without some serious colour clash, then accompanies everything with an up-tempo Rob Hubbard classic.