by Colin Swinbourne, Jabba Severn, Peter Austin
Players Software
Crash Issue 51, Apr 1988   page(s) 23

Producer: Players
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Colin Swinbourne

The planet of the Dingalingers is under threat of nuclear war. The Ball, representative of the Astral Harmony Council, and his Intergalactic postperson courier, Thing, have been sent to liaise with the Dingalinger Overlord.

On arrival, the Overlord refuses to meet with the Ball until the Thing has completed ten tasks. Equipped with nothing but a telephone book, and accompanied only by his ally the Ball, the Thing is let loose over the planets' 26 levels, all of which are interconnected by a network of teleport booths.

A series of floating capsules contain objects which the Thing must collect and use in the correct combinations. The Dingalingers try to obstruct his work, but the Ball is equipped with a phased-plasma servocannon which has the power to stun.

If all the puzzles are solved in five days, the Overlord dispels his mood and rewards the Ball with an audience. Should Friday pass with the tasks still incomplete, Thing, Ball, Dingalingers and all, are doomed.


Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: the cartoon characters are extremely attractive and cute
Sound: jolly title tune with spot effects

Although arcade adventures are common on the Spectrum, Thing!'s tidy presentation and humorous graphics help it stand out from the crowd. Gameplay is moderately slow, sometimes with periods during which there is nothing to do but plod forwards. The shooting action is also a nuisance, in that Thing frequently runs into the hostile Dingalingers, resulting in some short-lived gamest The strong brain-teasing element was enough to keep me playing, though, and if puzzles are your poison, I would suggest you exchange a couple of coins for Thing!

Thing! is quite nice, graphically, with a couple of rather cute-looking characters fighting off the treacherous Dingalingers, and attempting to complete the tasks set by the Dingalinger Overlord. These puzzles are quite simple, but are challenging all the same, and will probably take several games to solve. Once completed however I feel the game will lose its appeal, but until then, just keep going!

The ridiculous storyline of Thing! warns you not to take this game too seriously, and the cartoon style graphics create an atmosphere of absurdity. Most of the problems are just an excuse to make some very silly jokes (it's easy to work out what to do with an American Express card, but what do you do with a CRASH reviewer…?). Whether you like this sort of thing depends entirely on the depths to which your sense of humour is prepared to sink. £1.99 doesn't seem such a bad deal to me.

Presentation: 74%
Graphics: 79%
Playability: 70%
Addictive Qualities: 80%
Overall: 73%

Summary: General Rating: A very playable and comical budget game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 30, Jun 1988   page(s) 53

Reviewer: Tony Worrall

Add a seriously cute fluffy to a computer game and you'll be laughing all the way to the Building Society, or at least that's what seems to be true of the charts these days. Thing is a seriously cute fluffy, and Thing, the game, is also seriously playable. Partly due to the fluffy. but mostly due to the brilliance of Players programmer, Colin Swinbourne.

To be honest this is nothing that hasn't been seen before - the Magic Knight games come to mind - but the effortless and extremely pleasing way it fits together makes Thing a pretty nifty slice of software.

Thing's mission in life is to deliver a metallic ball with squishy innards to the Dingalinger Overlord in an attempt to avoid all-out nuclear war. Heavy huh? But before Thing can pass on this spherical postcard, the Overlord has demanded the completion of ten rather tricky tasks. The situation is further hindered by the roamings of a bunch of yobo Dingalingors who don't seem to appreciate the fluffy cuteness of Thing. Never fear, your ball converts into a high power servocannon when needed. Very useful when your Thing's in a tight spot (fnar, fnar).

Completion of the ten tasks is achieved by collecting objects (now where have I heard that before), and matching them with other objects where there is a common link. 26 levels must be searched although there is assistance in the form of teleport phone booths. Very handy, but this must be the point where Thing loses its grip on realism. When have you found a phone booth that works?

The top and bottom sections of the screen are occupied by inventory and selection cards, leaving only a tiny strip for actual game play. is this enough? - but of course, the programming excellence of Colin Swinbourne never fails to amaze me. Using only monochromes, stunning scenery and Colin's scrolling sprite movement signature, Thing goes to the top of the class.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: Superb quality budget gear. Thoroughly playable 'collect and connect' game from the author of Joe Blade. A must buy.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 73, Apr 1988   page(s) 76

Label: Players
Author: Colin Swinbourne
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

If there's one thing I maintain above anything else, it's that post people have balls. Not just puny little marbles, but massive black ones that jump up and down in full view of everyone. That's why I like Thing, because it shows everything that I believe in. Stop saying "oo-er" this is a seriously excellent game.

The Thing in question is a postperson (of indeterminate sex). No ordinary postperson, no, but a postperson with a very important letter to deliver. It's addressed to Lord Dingalinger and delivering it is no easy matter.

The big D has hidden himself away until our beloved hero completes 10 tasks. 10 whole tasks, I seem to hear you gasp incredulously, surely that's too much for one man/woman/thing? So, the lurvely people who run the Post Office has given he of the cutesy waddle a political advisor to help him who, as it happens, is a ball. Now no laughing, because this balls packs a mean gun. Why a gun for what sounds like basic postal duties?

Weeell, on the planet, 26 levels (one for every letter of the alphabet, I'll explain later) there are various Dingalingers, which look like huge disembodied heads which fly at you and cause damage which naturally lose you a life, or in this case, time. You have a set time to deliver the letter or ol' LD won't show his face.

The key to solving this game is the tasks, of course, ad the key to tasks is objects. Thing contains a lot of objects (Thing the game, not the person) which add up to quite a few tasks. What they all are exactly I cannot say (Softspeke translation - I dunno) but they usually involve a couple of objects and a little common sense.

Travelling around the 26 scrolling levels is no problem for a letter-worn postie like Thing aided, as he is, by his trusty telephone directory. Using that, in conjunction with the telephone boxes, that lie around, he can teleport simply by typing in a letter. That's why there are 26 levels. Told you I would explain, I always keep my promises, that's why the bear lets me stay.

This game is superior to nearly all budget and full price games currently around. Magic Knight was the king of budget arcade adventure until now, but thanks to the fantastically cute graphics held in this little bundle of cuteness, Thing reigns supreme. Take Berk, please, add Bub and Bob, give that cute smile and you have Thing. Large, well animated, Monochrome (that can't be helped) and lovable.

Not only do I give this game the Sinclair User Wassock, the Cheapo of the Month, Game of the Month and the Oscar for best supporting role. I also award it, the very first game to get it, The Dill Thrill. Well done to those nice people at Players.

Overall: 10/10

Summary: Wonderful Magic Knighty romp with the same sort of cutesy graphics and fabulous animation.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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