AND HIS DROID (1986)
In the future, dogs aren't man's best friend anymore - Droids are! You take the part of a shepherd's droid, and must herd all kinds of strange creatures back into their pen by utilising all the functions available to you as a futuristic farming dog. There's only one catch - you have to herd them into the pen in the right order!
Each level is separated into two sections. The first involves you passing through rows and rows of the creatures that alternate between horizontal movement to vertical descent. If you get caught in the traffic of creatures, you'll quickly be pushed into the sides of the room where you will fall to the bottom and have to start your ascent all over again. The only way through is to zigzag through gaps in the lines of creatures and trying not to get stuck and dragged to the bottom of the level again. Once past that frustrating section, you will get into the fun part of the game - herding the creatures.
A random selection of each of the seven different creatures appears on the left-hand side of your display. Each creature that enters the pen will appear in the right-hand display from top to bottom. To gain access to the next level you must catch at least four of the creatures in the correct order displayed. A time limit counts down and the game will end if you haven't successfully captured at least four correct aliens. Subsequent levels each have their own passwords, which can be entered at the beginning of the game, allowing you to skip previously completed stages.
Herding the creatures will seem difficult at first, and slightly frustrating, but gets easier the more you play. Each creature has simple A.I. and will merely follow the course of the level unless it hits another creature or obstacle, such as your droid and will then reverse its course. Getting used to the druid's three separate functions (flying, burrowing, and drilling through walls), which are selected via the fire button will help in your struggle, but using all three is not completely necessary. In fact drilling through particular walls or all the walls can make a level impossible to complete.
The game's music is initially fun to hear, but plays throughout the game and irritatingly cannot be turned off, except by reaching for that Mute button on the TV! Sound effects are basic and used sparingly, while the graphics are simple, but work well. However, the odd assortment of creatures makes me wonder what kind of farm the shepherd is running!?
This game was always a favourite of mine when I was young. I think I was attracted by the strange looking coloured creatures and enjoyed the game's shepherding aspect. Its unique look and game play is what makes it stand out and there isn't really any other game like it. Frustrating and difficult at first, but once mastered this game is a very rewarding and fun game.
Braving the Stampede
Getting past the first section is probably the most difficult and frustrating part of the whole game. Reaching near the top, only to get knocked down to the start again can be frustrating, especially after the eighth time it's happened!
The trick is to find large open gaps. Always try to stay in the middle of the whole field, this will make it less likely you'll get knocked to the side and back to the start. The herd moves in two different ways - either each row is moving left or right, or the whole herd is moving down towards the bottom. When moving your way up, and the rows are moving left or right, watch the one above and move in the opposite direction, find a gap preferably two creatures wide, and slip through it. You need to watch a few rows above you and plan ahead. You'll know when the creatures are moving down because it looks like they've all stopped moving. When this happens, keep moving up, always trying to find a gap. Most likely you'll get taken to the bottom, but if you're lucky, you can find a gap all the way to the top of the field.
Once you reach the top, move through one of the gates, and right down the corridor, and drop down the long hole that goes down. You'll be taken down to the next section.
Now that you are in the second section and the creatures are loose, you move differently. You have three functions - flying, digging, and tunnelling. You cycle through the three functions with the fire button. By default, you start in flying move.
When in flying mode, you can move freely in all directions, can fly up and down the holes, and can stop in mid-air. You must be set on this, otherwise you cannot move up holes, and when you move over the top of a hole, you will drop to the bottom.
Pulling down on the joystick in dig mode, will allow you to burrow down into the earth. The creatures can then move freely over your head. Move up again to burrow out.
Selecting tunnelling mode and pushing into a wall will drill through and create a new tunnel, which allows both your droid and aliens through.
You'll spend most
of the time in flying mode, as you'll nearly always need to be tracking and
herding the creatures up, down and over holes. Holding down the joystick button
will pause the game briefly and show in the turn, the location of all the aliens.
The first important thing to know is the order of the creatures. There are seven of them, and they are shown in order, starting from the top, in the left bar. The right bar shows the creatures you've already herded into the pen, starting from the top. At the beginning of the section you'll be told the minimum amount of creatures you'll need to capture to move onto the next level. This is usually four, so make sure that you have at least 4 creatures captured in the displayed order.
The second important thing before you start herding is to get used to the level layout. You'll need to plan ahead when herding creatures, and you'll need to know where they're going to go, and where you want them to go. Usually the route to it is simple and is a single route with no turns offs. Once you've found where the pen is, you'll need to find the point where the single route ends, so that if any creatures are redirected into it, you can follow them and know where they're going without any fear of losing them.
Redirecting creatures is as simple as standing in their way. If you're standing underneath a hole, just to the side, any creatures that are heading your way will then move up the hole once they reach you. The same goes for standing above a hole. If you don't want a creature moving up a tunnel, simply block it with your droid and if you don't want a creature moving down a tunnel, block it again, making sure the droid's head is level with the ground so the creature moves over it.
Plan the route ahead. Once you found the creature that you want, follow it to your route, blocking it off and redirecting it until it goes the way you want it to. Once you get it into the route you want, follow it, and make sure that it doesn't come back down. Check to make sure that it goes into the tunnels correctly, otherwise, once it hits the wall it'll come back down, and once it reaches the top of a hole, it'll come back down after. You'll get used to this after the first few creatures.
It is hard at first to make sure the right creature goes into the route, but it's unlikely that the wrong creature will go into the pen, unless you drill through a wall next to the pen where the creatures normally move, or you herd a creature up there.
Master the herding,
and you're away. Once you have seven creatures, providing you get them in the
right order, you'll move onto the next level. If you've got them in the wrong
order, you'll be taken back to the first section of the same level, and will
have to work your way through the stampede again. However, the timer will still
be ticking down!
Levels 01 and 02
|Level 01 - NONE
Level 02 - BUBBLE
Level 03 - ATARI
Level 04 - FINDERS
Level 05 - GENETIC
Level 06 - ZAPPED
Level 07 - MEGASONIC
Level 08 - TIMEWARP
Level 09 - ECTOPLASM
Level 10 - GORGEOUS
11 - SEASIDE
Level 12 - GIZMO
Level 13 - KINGKONG
Level 14 - HOLOGRAM
Level 15 - CURRYRICE
Level 16 - COFFEE
Level 17 - CASSETTE
Level 18 - TELESCOPE
Level 19 - COMPUTER
Level 20 - EDACRAEDA
The original version
of One Man and his Droid was programmed by Clive Brooker for the ZX Spectrum,
but was the only game of his to be converted to the Atari 8-Bit format. An unpublished
sequel called One Man and his Droid II can be downloaded from Clive Brooker's
official website (weblink below) for use in a Spectrum Emulator.
One Man and his
(Clive Brooker's unpublished sequel - screenshots, manual and Spectrum download)
and the Making of One Man and his Droid
(From concept to release of One Man and his Droid in Clive Brooker's own words!)
(The magazine of the International Sheep Dog Society)
BBC NEWS - Cancellation
of 'One Man and His Dog' TV programme
(The 1999 NEWS that had sheepdog fans up in arms!)