Blast nazis and save art
Producer: Electronic Arts
Out of Pocket: £8.95 cass, £14.95 disk
You'd be wrong if you thought this was childs-play - The Train: Escape To Normandy is a serious simulation set in the occupied France of World War II. It's 1944. The Germans have stolen France's most valuable art treasures, and are taking them back to the Fatherland on a train.
You are brave French Resistance leader Pierre Le Feu. Mad, you're going to seize the train and deliver its precious cargo to the Allies in Normandy.
The mission starts at Metz station. Your injured colleague, Le Duc, has to change the points on the track while you give covering fire. Germans appear at windows in the station house and fire at you. Ducking to avoid their bullets, you're equipped with a machine gun to knock the smiles off those Nazi faces.
Time to climb aboard the train itself. A multitude of levers and dials faces you, plus a fumace, which can be opened to shovel in coal from the hopper. From time to time, enemy planes attack from front or rear. Switch to the appropriate view and deal a blast of machine gun death to the swooping planes.
One feature which looks strange for a game set in wartime France, is that with the red ground and blue trees it looks more like the planet Mars. But with attacks from the German troops coming thick and fast, I suppose you haven't really got time to admire the scenery.
A map screen shows the position of the train relative to the various stations and bridges, while the report screen shows the amount of damage sustained by the train and its cargo.
Coming to a halt at bridges results in a battle against enemy gunboats, while on stopping at enemy stations, Pierre must again give covering fire to his partner. Once inside, Le Duc can send messages to the Resistance using Morse code.
The Train isn't all about diligently watching gauges, but contains a fair bit of strategy. The three skill levels should help to preserve its appeal, but it's still a challenge on the easiest one! I will say this only once - I like it!
PHIL … 78%
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: odd-looking red and blue colour scheme for the track, but otherwise effective
Sound: simple spot effects - where's the whistle?
Options: three skill levels to choose from
A few more sound effects would have contributed something to the tension as well - it's a bit disappointing to pull the whistle only to hear... zilch. Still - with three difficulty levels and a strong incentive to get to the end of the journey, this is one iron horse it would be shame to miss.
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