[Review] Pssst


REVIEW # 00000000 00110001

Spray the bugs

PSSST was one of the best selling games of the year for ZX Spectrum. It was also one of the few games available in ROM format in order to speed up the loading time that at time was quite long (even a few minutes).

My heart says…


I have hyper fond memories of this game. I remember when I was 4-5 years old that sometimes (very few times actually) my father used to get from my uncle his ramshackle ZX Spectrum. So try to figure this out: be me, without any kind of computer or console. You step through the door, you start to hear the noise of the tape, and suddendly in front of your eyes you see that Speccy hooked up to our stone age TV.

Then you wait for those endless minutes waiting for the game to be loaded and finally you have your reward when you hear the sounds of the games.I think you can imagine my overwhelming joy.

There wer only two games that ran on “my” Spectrum: Pssst and Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. I think my uncle bought that machine used (badly used), since it looked older that the solar system; and the tape recorder wasn’t in better conditions: it seemd that a caveman threw it down by a cliff just to crack a coconut. But that beautiful rattletap still represent my very first gaming experience, even before than Super Mario Bros. on NES, since I got it for Christmas in 1990.

So, I could be very biased (and so I will be in the rest of the revire, I warn you), but try to understand me and try to figure out why my grade cannot be less that 10…

Splash screen


Those Speccy loading screens are engraved in my memories and cannot be deleted. For me, even if it was 1989, this screen was the top of the top of the graphics back then, even though actually  the game was already 6 years old (and older than me).


But the words cannot describe the sounds (a.k.a horrible noises) of the recorder loading the game. This was even better than the splash screen itself. It was something like this:

A noise so horrible and so fascinating at the same time that can be compared only to the buzz of a 56k modem.

Pure archaeology.




PSSST didn’t have revolutionary graphics, but it was largely praised as being colourful and dynamic. Actually the visuals are quite bright and even considering the black background the first thing that comes to the eye is the red and violet flower growing in the middle of the screen. Despite the vivid array of colors the game runs very smooth so in the end the graphics were fairly balanced.



As you may foresee, the story behind PSSST is not one to hand down for generations. So a 6/10 as an encouragement.




The goal of the game is to let fhe flower bloom preventing all the fleas, bees and worms to attack it and drain its sap. In order to do it our protagonist Robbie Robot using the sprays full of pesticides he finds on the two sides of the screen. sometimes on the screen can be found some bonuses and “power-ups” such as fertilizers and spades that contributes to speed up the plant growth and increase the player score.


Once the level is clear, anoter one will be displayed on the screen, with the same set but increased speed and number of the enemies so Robbie’s task will become more difficult. The three pesticides dispalyed on the screen are effectve only against the same colored insects; if the colors doesn’t match they will be paralyzed or nothing will happen.

As for most of the old games, the real goal is to score as many point as possible.



PSSST features only a few very simple sound. We can even tell that the game has virtually no sound, except the “beep” of the spray to kill the bugs. By the way when you finally clear the level the silly symphony you hear is a great, great reward for your ears and for your spirit, even more than the score.



PSSST is addictive. It was a drug back then and you couldn’t help but keep playing and playing. Even if it was easy and let’s say it, a bit stupid, you could play thousand times without pause. If only “my” Spectrum were still alive, I think I could play it even now…

Final score 81/100


Year: 1983

Developer: Rare (Tim & Chris Stamper)

Publisher: Ultimate Play the Game

Genre: Action

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: ZX Spectrum

From same developers:

  • Beetlejuice (1991)
  • Battletoads (1991)
  • Diddy Kong Racing (1997)
  • GoldenEye 007 (1997)
  • Banjo-Kazooie (1998)
  • Jet Force Gemini (1999)
  • Donkey Kong 64 (1999)
  • Sabre Wulf (2004)

From the same publisher:

  • Jetpac (1983)
  • Atic Atac (1983)
  • Alien 8 (1985)
  • Entombed (1985)
  • Outlaws (1985)
  • Cyberun (1986)

Inspired to:

  • Bug Attack (1981)
  • Pic Nic (1982)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • The Birds and the Bees (1983)
  • Lunar Jetman (1983)

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. hundstrasse says:

    😊… Sounds very similar to some of my own earliest memories of gaming! It was never explicitly stated, but the similarly in the title screen and the Botanical theme always struck me as being essentially a game about the film ‘Silent Running’…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Unfortunately I’ve never seen Silent Running, but I will have a look and check! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not heard of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thought I was fairly knowledgeable on Ultimate Play the Game!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. benez256 says:

        So I’m glad I gave yoy some infos you didn’t know! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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