Have You Played… Flood?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

If somebody were to remake Flood, as a spiritual successor or otherwise, and give it something of Spelunky’s feel, it might well end up being my game of the year.

Flood is one of the odder titles in Bullfrog’s back catalogue. It’s not all tycoon and god games in there, but even among the likes of Hi-Octane, Flood stands out as unexpected. It’s a platform game that simultaneously feels like it was twenty years ahead of its time (1990) and a few years behind the curve.

I think it’s so out of time and place because it’s a genuinely odd game. The player character, Quiffy, is a slimy, green quadruped who can stick to walls and ceilings. That makes the actual running and jumping that defines most platformers an afterthoughts. Instead, this is a game about navigating complex areas – sewers mostly – by crawling through pipes and hanging upside down to find a route to the next lever.

As if that wall-crawling weren’t gimmick enough, Flood also played with water, as the title suggests. Taps let forth a flow of water, which slowly filled the level. Quiffy can swim on the surface but can’t breathe underwater, so there’s a time limit. What’s neat is that the water has some basic physics. It doesn’t splash or spill properly, but it does fill up areas more or less rapidly depending how many streams are combining.

Flood probably isn’t a very good game but I loved it. And I’d love to see a remake with the fluid physics, and interactions between fluid types, of Pixeljunk Shooter or Vessel, and perhaps with the procedural chaos of Spelunky.



  1. Harlander says:

    I’m pretty sure I actually managed to finish Flood.

    The ending is comically harsh.

    • Dirk says:

      Yeah, that ending had me genuinely upset. After all those levels. You finally made it! And then squish. :(

      • GeoX says:

        Oog–I just watched that ending on youtube. I’m pretty sure that would have genuinely traumatized me had I experienced it as a young’un.

      • phlebas says:

        Hmm. I’m sure there was a Spectrum platform game with a similar ending, but I can’t think what it was called…

  2. fragglerock says:

    Sometimes when you pulled out your gun you would get a chicken! Now THAT is gameplay!

    • BuboNulus says:

      On Amiga, it was a fish actually. :)
      Still, it happed when you least needed it.

    • spectone says:

      First shot, second shot, third shot…fifteenth shot, chicken.

  3. Rikard Peterson says:

    Sounds interesting. If someone is inspired by this to make the spiritual successor Adam wants, let me know if you want me to make music for it! (I might also be interested in doing graphics, if you want.)

  4. Anti-Skub says:

    The sound effects from this game are seared into my brain. The flushing sound, that gulp/burp noise when you picked up a can, the level complete jingle that sounded like someone throwing a handful of springs down some stairs, “LETS GO!”. They were all so pleasing when I was 7.

    Now do an article on Llamatron please. OOOOOH YEEEAH!

  5. Addie says:

    Did this come out on the PC as well? I remember playing it on the Amiga.

    It belongs to that slightly unfortunate age of gaming which favoured style over gameplay, and while at the time the fact it looked amazing made up for the slightly dodgy controls, it’s nothing special now. Which just leaves the really dodgy jumping physics and unfair platforming to contend with.

    Would agree that I love the concept, but the actual execution leaves me cold – see also BloodNet, of a similar age. A modern execution of it, with all the things we’ve learned in games-making since, would be awesome.

  6. Shazbut says:

    Now this is a real nostalgia trip for me. I was about 6 when I played this.

    Adam, if you remembered the player character’s name and didn’t have to look it up, I will eat my hat.

  7. BuboNulus says:

    I’m missing the part about the damn ghost that was following all your footsteps but just a bit faster than you were. Not as nasty as the Spelunky-ghost, but if you were stuck, oh dear.

    And you always happened to fall into it from the ceiling, because you overlooked a slippery surface.

    Or misjumped with your bouncing snail.

  8. PostieDoc says:

    I loved this game, played it to death on the mighty Amiga.

  9. Killy_V says:

    YES YES ! Spent so much hours playing FLOOD, this game was so fun. Favorite weapons : grenades and flamethrowers

  10. Maxheadroom says:

    I worked in a computer shop when this came out. The day after release our basement storeroom flooded and ruined every copy (along with a few grands worth of other stuff).

    Fun times

    • Shazbut says:

      That’s amazing. When ‘It Came From The Desert’ came out, did the storeroom get overrun by ants?

  11. Lampshade says:

    Couldn’t you throw grenades in this game? I remember when I was a child I loved this game so much just because how wonderful “realistic” the grenades bounced. But maybe it was a different game.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      There were different weapons scattered around the place, usually only one or two choices on a level, and yes – there were grenades which bounced before exploding!

  12. noom says:

    I never did play Flood, but it sticks in my mind as I wanted to get it so, so badly as a child. New games were a rare thing at that age though, and I didn’t get it.