If you've ever wondered whether you would make a good barman, now's your chance to find out with unbreakable glasses (well almost unbreakable). Tapper puts you in charge of several different types of bar, all filled with thirsty and rather over-demonstrative customers. The general object is to serve them drinks of soda Western style (ie slide the glasses along the length of the bar) and collect the glasses which they sling back at you. This sounds kinda easy, pardner, but it ain't.
Each location contains four bars, and on the wall opposite the end of each is a soda dispenser. The customers come in through doors at the other end of each bar and proceed to waltz towards your barman. Should a customer get to the end of the bar before being served, the barman gets chucked out by being slid the length of the bar. Serving a customer means taking the barman to the appropriate soda dispenser and pressing fire. Pressing fire a second time sends the glass sailing along the bartop. Customers thus served retire to drink and may leave, or hang on for a refill. Once emptied, the glasses are slid back along the bartop towards the barman who must collect them before they fall right off the end (and end a life)! It's important, however, in your enthusiasm, that you only send the required number of drinks along any bar, because extra ones will be ignored by the customers and slide off the end, thus losing you a life.
If you succeed in satisfying enough customers quickly enough then you can progress via the bonus screen to the next bar. The bonus screen consists of one of those 'spot the tumbler' puzzles. The Soda Bandit stands behind seven cans lined up on the bar and then shakes six of them before jumbling them up. You have to pick the unshaken one to get the bonus score.
Another form of bonus may be scored by picking up any tips which customers leave behind them on the bartop, at which point a duo of dancing girls come on stage to entertain you for a short while. Unfortunately this also entertains the customers who may look round and thus miss their drinks and let them sail off the bar.
The barman can be moved up or down the bars, and he wraps around top to bottom as well. He may also advance along the bars to collect mugs more quickly. With each bar advanced through, the pace hots up, with more customers per bar, and some of the later bars are split level to make life even more difficult. Tapper has three skill levels and it all adds up to a game which goes to prove whether a man can hold his drink - literally!
Control keys: user definable, four directional plus fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, Cursor type
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: sensibly used within a screen, and varied throuhout
Graphics: well sized, not very gainly but lively and amusing
Sound: continuous tune
Skill levels: 3
Screens: 4 bar screens and the bonus screen
Special features: 2 player games
'I must admit that I haven't seen the arcade version of this, but the Spectrum game looks somewhat unusual. The graphics aren't impressive but functional, which is to say that they do their job. I feel sorry for the barman you control, who dashes about madly fulfilling an endless stream of customers' needs, and the faster you do it, the quicker you get off a screen. It's nice to have a break between frenzies when you are asked to guess the correct tumbler (you know the trick). This game gets extremely difficult as you progress and there are more and more people trying to quench their thirst through the varied bar layouts. Tapper is very playable, and its addictive qualities improve enormously when it's played in a group, everyone egging you on. I haven't worked so hard on a joystick since Decathlon!'
'Phew! As office high-score champ on Tapper (45,000, on easy level admittedly) I have to admit I liked the game which was suitably panic-inducing at times when glasses were about to topple off the end of two or three bars at virtually the same time. After a while I found I could get into a rhythm, serving and collecting glasses - and although I discovered you could go down the bar, towards the approaching empties to collect them I only managed to get into trouble when I employed this tactic. Overall an amusing and addictive game, offering good arcade action entertainment without graphical frills. The attitude of the customers to the barman reminded me of last orders in my local - murderous if service isn't instantaneous! Perhaps I should ask for a job....'
'Tapper's graphics are not instantly appealing, but as you play on, you realise that there is more going on that you first suppose, loads of amusing little details which all add to the general sense of fun. And fun is the key word in this game, a frenzied mad-cap dash to save your reputation as a barman, which requires a strong joystick wrist and unfailing fire finger. It's useful, if not essential, that after walking along a bar to collect mugs, a single joystick press will take you straight to your station at the end of another bar. Within minutes, I found Tapper to be hugely playable, and the game has just the right mix of ingredients, pace and skills needed to make it highly addictive. No, it's not a complex thinking game, it's just fun to play and well worth having!'
Roger: Five different frothy, gargling, screens of panic-stricken swilling have to be attacked, as you desperately try to get the bevvies in for different classes of rowdy customer. Four bars, catering for Cowboys. Jocks, Punks and Aliens have to be served, but overall behaviour suggests they must all be football supporters...
Thirsty yobboes constantly shuffle up the bars towards you and can be only kept at bay by swift delivery of glasses of the amber nectar. Serve one too many and you get lumbered with a smashed glass. Serve one too few and the irate punter, raving with thirst, sends you for a nasty nose-first trip down the bar. What's more, the wretches chuck their empty glasses at you, and these have to be deftly caught.
And if that ain't enough to put you off hostelry employment for life, there's another transitional screen in which lurks a bandit who shakes up some of the tinnies you're about to open - get a can overdosing on fizziness and you'll be wearing the contents...
The graphics are splendid 3D-ish stuff and the action is blisteringly fast - too fast for poor little me using a keyboard. I got so tired that I just had to go and assault a different barman . 4/5 HIT
Ross: Tapper's a simple little game, but things can get quite hectic and it's extremely addictive. The accompanying graphics and sound are pretty good, but if the dancing girl graphics are meant to attract customers, someone better think again! 4/5 HIT
Dave: I like games that deal with subjects close to my heart - and that means Tapper's got to be a winner. You'll need good co-ordination, though, so there's no slipping away for a quick half before the action starts! 4/5 HIT
THE SODA BAR is as much an American institution as blueberry pie or Grandma Moses. To judge from Tapper, the latest import from US Gold, the only character who hates it is the guy who serves the soda.
Your job in Tapper is to keep the refreshing fizz flowing as the customers queue for more. There are four bars, with several layers of play in each. First it's the turn of the cowboys, a fairly docile lot. Slide a drink along the counter quickly enough and they'll take it and leave, but customer waits too long he'll around for another.
And that's where the trouble starts. Obviously impressed with your skill at delivering drinks, the customers tend to hurl the empties back at you. One mistake - a drink too many served, a glass on the floor, or a customer left unattended and you lose a life.
If you manage to satisfy the cowboys, you move to a duel of wits with the Soda Bandit. He swaps around the cans, after shaking all but one. Find the untampered can and you win. Open one of the others and you get a face full of froth.
Then it's on to the senior prom, with jocks and their girls crowding the marquee. Life gets even more hectic when you graduate to a punk bar, although the balding bespectacled boys look more like fifties college wimps. Nice to see the colony still retains a touching innocence about British mores.
The final sequence involves aliens, just as eager for a slow Sarsparilla as anybody else. A lovely touch is the occasional appearance of a tip. Collect the tip and a pair of dancing girls perform on stage. That can be a blessing, as heads will turn and customers stop bothering you for a while. But serve a drink and they won't notice - so you have to be careful.
Tapper is simply delightful to play. It's surely the most addictive game released this year, and its theme is just right for the summer.
Graphics are clear, humorous and simple so that its easy to see what's going on. Problems can occur if the bar gets too crowded, so that two people in the same place create a blur. For once, that adds to the realism.
The action is extremely well-paced against the demands of the game. Its fast, but not fast enough to be impossible. As usual with US Gold products, the choosing of skill levels, joystick selection and so on is made very friendly. Highly complex arcade-adventures are all the rage at present, and it is good to see such a fine, unpretentious classic arcade game released. If your brain has been completely drained by the mysteries of Shadowfire or Gyron of late, take a trip to the soda fountain. It's a refreshing experience.
Publisher: US Gold
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
SUPPLIER: US Gold
If you're thinking about taking a holiday job as a barman, here's the game to play if you want to check out just how suitable you are for the job.
Basically the idea is to keep up a steady flow of drinks reaching your unruly customers, collecting their empties hurled back along the bar at you, picking up tips and not dropping anything.
The character on the screen needs at least ten pairs of hands and you need extremely quick reactions to keep up with everything that's going on.
Tapper is a fast and furious game with good graphics and average sound. It scores really high on the old C&VG playability meter too!
If you fancy a fast moving game with an original theme then get your boss to give you a break from serving and rush around to your local games store - you'll find the salesmen rushed off their feel getting copies of Tapper for eager Spectrum owners!
For fast and totally furious arcade action on the Spectrum you want Tapper.
The game centres on a bar man who must keep all his customers happy. This means serving them as they walk up the bar, collecting all empty glasses, making sure no drinks are spilt, and collecting tips promptly.
The aim on each screen is to clear the bar, and the slower you are in your bar work the more characters will come crowding in.
There are three levels. Hard starts you off with a huge bonus, but fills your bar to bursting point even on the earlier screens. The other two levels differ in the amount of lives you are allocated, with easy leaving you just enough to get by.
Different levels differ not only in the amount of people in the bar and how much they drink, but also in the bar layout. The length of the bars in later rooms vary, so that some characters will need to be served very quickly. The arrangement also differs and, although your movement is not restricted, it is difficult to keep an eye on what is happening on both sides of the screen.
Where the game is lacking is in the Spectrum's graphics capabilities. Two characters who appear simultaneously will be virtually invisible, while three who arrive in quick succession will be indistinguishable from four or two. This leads to mistakes which are down to the graphics presentation, not the player's ability.
For players with fast fingers on the keyboard Tapper is produced for the 48K Spectrum by US Gold, Unit 10, Parkway Ind. Cent, Heneage Street, Birmingham.
This is a competent arcade game from Bally Midway/Sega, which is a thinly disguised standard action program.
Actually, it is quite absorbing as many simple ideas are; you are a bartender and your job is to serves customers their drink by sliding it along the counters which run towards you. There are four of these counters, in different positions as the difficulty progresses, and the customers move towards you. Quite simply it is a case of moving up and down sliding glasses of drink to the customer. However they come in different groups, and you mustn't put too many drinks down, nor can you miss any empty glasses which a customer may send back.
Should you clear the room by serving all the customers then a "find the lady" type game is played for bonus points. Bonus points can also be gained by collecting tips.
This is a nicely presented game (albeit a little on the expensive side), with some good options at the start such as define playing keys and a request to "sign on", the graphics are pretty good but some movements are a little jerky. Play is nicely graded so that you can start playing quickly and achieve a score and then want to improve it. I didn't like the high score table starting at 10000 as most of my early attempts were just below this, however once I did get in I admit to feeling pleased with my efforts.
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