Sysiphus, you will remember, (those of you who have read your Bullfinch, that is) is doomed to spend eternity in Hades pushing a rock up a mountain only to have it roll all the way down to the bottom so he has to start the whole thankless task over again. In Bristles, Peter the Painter has to paint a house. At certain levels, Brenda the Brat, a rude little girl, comes along and leaves her chubby handprints all over the walls so that he has to go back and paint those all over again. In this way, your task in Bristles is a lot like Sysiphus' task only slightly less rewarding.
There are six levels to Bristles, each with eight houses which get progressively larger. You've got to paint all the rooms in each house while avoiding Flying Half-Pints, Dumb Buckets and Bucket Chuckers who will rob you of your paint brushes. Lose all ten and you're out of a job. Four people can play. Each gets a name that starts with a "P" so that the integrity of the alliteration remains intact.
Each house has several storeys which you move between using elevators or stairs. You run across each floor, leaving a trail of paint behind you as you go. You've got to time your split-level dash properly though, or you'll end up falling down an elevator shaft. At some levels, this costs you a brush. At others, it doesn't. The choice is yours. Other choices that are yours include painting the house with a real color or simply going over the wall with clear varnish and seeing the house you're painting or painting an invisible house. After each house is completed, words flash on the screen. These are part of a secret message. Your ultimate goal is to complete all eight houses on all six levels to find out what it says.
Bonus points are earned by collecting paint rollers before the Bucket Chucker carts them away to his private collection. Although Brenda is no threat to you, Flying Half-Pints will knock you into the basement if you don't duck or jump at the right time and the Bucket Chucker will push you down. All of these result in the loss of a brush. According to the directions, there are safe rooms into which the Bucket Chucker won't come. Half-Pints and Dumb Buckets can, however, wander in. This, to me, is not safe.
There are a number of ways to defeat the Bucket Chucker which involve paint mixers and entrapment in basements and such but they're too silly to go into here. In fact, the whole game is too silly, filled as it is with steampipes and chimneys and candy canes and what not. It makes you want to live in a cave.
Half-Pints always bounce for a while at the side of the screen before they come flying out. Use your peripheral vision.