Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends

by David Bland, Jeff Coetzee, Orb
Alternative Software Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 68, Aug 1991   page(s) 35

Reviewer: Rich Pelley

Thomas The Tank Engine And Friends costs £2.99, and comes from Alternative. (As you'd probably gathered, of course.)

So then, if you walked into WH Smiths with three pounds and bought a copy, you'd come out with one penny change. Providing you weren't fiddled by the cashier, that is. Or they'd run out of one pees. One pees, eh? Now that's and interesting topic for conversation. Did you know that (Just get on with it. Ed).

All right then, I'll come clean. The thing is, you see, well, it's just, erm, well that this game isn't really any good. Just take everything that I say about Sooty and Sweep over on page 57 and it applies here as well, only even more so.

Problems start with the more than restricting gameplay. The idea is for you, as Tom, to get from the far left to the far right of the track, picking up a coach halfway along. And that's it. The track splits and joins (as shown in the screenshot) so you have to stay on the correct line as the rest are dead ends, or go back on yourself if you take a wrong turning. The 'easy' mode really is pathetic a you're almost guaranteed to polish off each of the six available tracks within fractions of a minute - the only hazards are other trains which appear from nowhere and collide with you. In 'hard' mode on the other hand we're talking practically impossible as unavoidable trains appear all over the place (causing you to go back miles), things appear on the track to kill you, and sometimes, believe it or not, you fall off.

I'm beginning to get to the stage that I'm frightened to leave the house at night for fear of being mugged by someone from Alternative or Hi-Tec, as I'm always so nasty about their games. The software charts do tend to reflect what I've said though, so I can't be too wrong. But this game hasn't got one thing going for it. (Apart from the beepy rendition of the theme music at the beginning perhaps.) I'm sorry, but not saying this game is a complete waste of time would be a bit of a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Or whatever.)

Life Expectancy: 26%
Graphics: 60%
Addictiveness: 32%
Instant Appeal: 35%
Overall: 32%

Summary: Possibly one of the only budget games which is equally entertaining regardless of whether you load it or not.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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