Danger Mouse was a fantastic cartoon series from the UK that spoofed spy stuff like James Bond with its animal characters who took on the same roles. The title character was an anthropomorphic mouse who wore an eyepatch and was a brilliant, action ready spy who regularly saved the world from a variety of bizarre plots with the help of his somewhat cowardly assistant, Penfold. The main villain was Baron Greenback, a well dressed toad whose wheezy voice commanded an army of thugs in his supervillainy.
It was also a long lived series starting in 1981 all the way up to 1992, but it was always great fun to watch. Though it poked fun at spy films and series, it took itself seriously in its own cartoony way with a great theme song, action packed adventures, and memorable characters. Even with its distinctly British humor, it only helped to make it stand out from the rest of the cartoon fare that made up North America’s market in those years.
Creative Sparks over in the UK also banked on its popularity with the first of two games that they would base around the heroic mouse. Released in 1984 on the Commodore 64, MSX, and the ZX Spectrum, Double Trouble pit Danger Mouse against Baron Greenback to stop him from completing his “32K RAM DMOS ROM electrically erasable mega micro-mouse hardware unit”. That translated to the Robot Artificial Mechanism (RAM), Danger Mouse Operating System (DMOS), Really ‘Orrible Mouse (ROM).
It wasn’t a very long game, but it involved a number of clever action sequences to tie everything together into one arcade adventure. After picking a difficulty level, the first stage was to pilot a flying car to the jungle where the machine is located.
The top of the screen had a side view of the flying car and the robot “things” flying at it from the right. The bottom right corner had a windsheld view of the oncoming danger (complete with animated reactions from Penfold and Danger Mouse who matched their cartoon personalities perfectly). The bottom left was the indicator needed to tune the “note” you would fire from the car to hit the matched enemy. The robots would stop you from flying, but didn’t necessarily kill you — you could still shoot them.
The second stage was when you hit the jungle in a sort of 2D Pitfall variation. You needed to jump over swampy pits with gators in them, but the goal was to climb a giant tree in the next screen to have Danger Mouse do his jungle call to summon a horde of elephants to stomp down a dangerous puma blocking the way. Penfold also follows along, more as decoration for the screen, but completely fitting in with the cartoon’s portrayal of him as hanging at a discrete distance behind him well out of danger.
Finally, the game finishes off in an isometric screen as Penfold is chased around by Greenback’s pet caterpillar, Nero, while Danger Mouse hops on his hands to tap a sequence of buttons to change the lights on a grid of flashing bulbs apparently called the On-Off Electrical Control Key (the “OO ECK” which is one of the trademark sayings of Penfold).
The game didn’t look half bad, especially on the Commodore 64, and it even had the opening theme of the cartoon down pat. The sprite animations and reactions of the characters also appear to be lifted straight from the cartoon. Altogether, Creative Sparks really did their homework in making this a really great treat for fans and a decent tie-in to the Mouse’s cartoon career.