REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

They Call Me Trooper
by Colin Ajayi-Obe
CRL Group PLC
1987
Crash Issue 36, Christmas Special 1986/87   (1986-12-10)   page(s) 30

A conference between all the super powers is being held on the planet Therop. However, the sneaky Theropi, have plans for Galactic domination and have subjected the Earth Members to the Theropi's irreversible Brain Drain machine. They have been turned from loyal Earthlings into lethal exterminators working for the Theropi. However, there is one survivor from the Theropi's dastardly plans. Major R A Trooper, Squad Captain, has somehow avoided the Theropi, and now stands alone in a bid to stop their evil plans.

The Major, must exterminate the brainwashed Members, and escape from the planet alive. The parts of his spaceship have been scattered all over the planet's surface, so before he can even contemplate waving bye-bye to Therop, he must collect all these pieces and assemble his craft again. There are a certain number of pieces of the ship per sector. Each piece must be collected before he progresses to the next.

If Major Trooper encounters one of the green Members, he must fight them at unarmed combat, the screen automatically flips into combat mode. The action zooms in on the two fighters, and shows them greatly enlarged and in much finer detail on the screen. Using the relevant keys or joystick positions, Major Trooper has to highkick and punch his way to victory by draining his opponent's energy and stamina. However, the Major has to watch out for his own reserves. There are two bars on the Combat screen. The blue one showing the Major's energy and the magenta one showing his stamina. The idea is to get the opponent's energy and stamina down to zero. However, if the Member gets the better of the Major, then he loses one of his lives. These lives are displayed at the bottom of the screen as hearts, and are gradually eaten away as the Major's energy is lost. When a Member has been destroyed, the Major can then progress in the game. The screen then returns to the normal view, showing the characters and background in quite small detail.

Apart from the Members, the Major also has to fight against the Theropi, natives of this strange planet. These small yellow blob like creatures can only be destroyed by shooting them. They knock over our hero and drain his energy. The planet Therop is composed of sheer cliffs and large drops into huge valleys. The Major does possess quite good jumping abilities, but some of the cliffs are just too much for him. When he comes across one of these he must find some rope and tackle. Other objects can be picked up and put into the Major's pockets. These can then be used by selecting the relevant pocket.

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable; up, down, left, right, fire/punch, jump, flying kick/hold, high kick/pick up
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair
Keyboard play: hard to get the hang of at first
Use of colour: uninspired
Graphics: not much detail
Sound: nice tune at the beginning with spot effects throughout
Skill levels: one
Screens: 200


'I really do wish CRL would make their mind up. Academy is, without doubt, superb, but Dr. What and this one, well, a different matter entirely! The graphics of the fighting characters are excellent, big and well animated. There is no doubt in my mind that the game would be vastly improved if the wasted arcade adventure part was scrapped, and the memory used was put towards improvement of the combat section. Overall, the combat section has potential, but the other part is a disaster.'

'This is the first 128K only Speccy game that I've seen, if the rest are of the same quality as this then I'll take back my oldie rusty 16K door stop Sinclair any day. C'mon CRL surely a +2 can do a little more than this. Graphically the overall effect is shoddy small undetailed badly animated characters and a garish use of colour. The sound too is well below average for the 128K, there are a few average tunes and minimal use of sound effects. The game at first seems as if it could be fun but after a few plays it does get very boring.'

'I was bemused with this game at first, but after some help from a colleague I got well into the game - I would have been stuck without him! As a game designed specifically for the +2 I was amazed to see that there is no Sinclair joystick option - you have to define the keys for the joystick - is this why it didn't get a Sinclair Quality Control sticker? The game contains some good features; such as throwing the rope and the dying effects.'

Use of Computer54%
Graphics47%
Playability47%
Getting Started53%
Addictive Qualities46%
Value for Money42%
Overall46%
Summary: General Rating: Most 48k games are better than this.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 13, January 1987   page(s) 49

...and they call me Rachael. Fancy a drink?

No chance, because Trooper is a real party pooper. He's got lots of macho-type action ahead of him. Why, I bet he eats four Shredded Wheat for breakfast!

Trooper arrived without a letter of introduction, which is why I'm a little hazy on what his exploits are all about. Probably too totally top secret to reveal to a girlie like me. Luckily some mole dropped the cassette into my dayglo handbag and whispered. "Take a look at this. It's... hot off the presses!"

The loading screen gave me a hint. There was good ol' Troop aiming a balletic high kick at some Commie type. And he was wearing army boots. I mean, worra man. Makes John Wayne look like a cissy. A shiver ran down my spine... a shiver of boredom. It looked like another... punch 'em up.

But a surprise lay in store. Once loaded, this so-macho guardian of the free world turned out to be a tiny little fella in a sort of oriental Jet Set Willy world. Way of the Exploding Pixel, anybody?

I sent Troop to do a little investigating, but as he encountered a wall going up, who should he run into but a guard, coming down. He scarcely had time to introduce himself when the scene changed... and Trooper just grew on me!

Suddenly Fist-size combatants were aiming the usual range of vicious kicks, jabs and leaps at each other, as East fought West in a bout of free-for-all thumping. Now I've seen enough GBH games to give me a lifetime of bruises, but this one had a certain urgency, because the outcome of the arcade adventure screens (and so the fate of the free world... etc, etc) depended on it. It's got nicely animated graphics and the various eye gouging options seemed comprehensive enough.

The green guard was vanquished and left as a crumpled corpse on the floor. Trooper found a way up the wall, picked up a rope and hook, and then he could assail the unassailable. And pretty soon he'd acquired a gun. so he could assault the unassaultable too.

Onward, ever onward, and into the evil jungle lair of whatever evil oriental type we were battling. There lurked further nasties. Some, which looked like lemons with legs, had firepower of their own. And of course, the labyrinthine layout contained all sorts of useful objects, traps and tricks. But Trooper had to keep on his toes (not easy in the aforementioned army boots) because danger lurked round every corner.

A happy surprise then. An original sort of hybrid, grafting two rather aged games together to create a sum greater than its parts. There's a real sense of adventure and exploration about this mission and the result is far more unified than Beach Head, for example, which is merely a series of interlinked sequences. If I have any reservations, perhaps it could have looked just a little more sophisticated, but basically, I'm damn glad I was introduced to Trooper, whatever they call him.


Graphics8/10
Playability8/10
Value For Money8/10
Addictiveness9/10
Overall8/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 60, March 1987   page(s) 62,63

What do you get if you cross Jet Set Willy with Way of the Exploding Fist? Way of the Exploding...? Whatever you call it, this hybrid approach is CRL's solution to the 128K problem.

128K problem? Well. yes, because as all that memory becomes the standard, you have to fill it with something. Call on Trooper and he'll do the stuff. Stuck out on the planet Therop in the year 2108, he's sure to have enough problems to use up all those extra bytes.

Brainwashing forms the Theropi plot to take over the universe. Their first step has been to turn the earth representatives at an intergalactic conference into mindless zombies. But they didn't allow for Trooper who avoided the brainwashing on account of him being tough but also incredibly dumb!

As Trooper sets out, he must have that feeling that they're all out to get him. He yomps off across Therop, searching for the bits of his missing spacecraft and renegade Earthlings. There's lots of cliff faces, ledges and an overwhelming feeling of deja vu as he pits himself against the massed perils of the planet.

Despite his mighty muscles, even Trooper can't climb sheer walls, so the first thing he'll require is a rope. Luckily there's one not too far from the start - but there's also a marauding Earthling, which is a definite case of 'Ill met by moonlight'!

Suddenly the scene flips and we're into Fist country as Trooper takes on traitor! If you've not seen enough bash- 'em-ups to last a lifetime in the ring, this is a pretty good one. The figures are large and well animated and you're given a good selection of blows and leaps.

Enemy eradicated, it's back to the long shot as the lone hero scales that cliff to find out what lies beyond.

And what lies beyond shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to arcade-adventure addicts. There are things to dodge, including the Teropi, who resemble flying lemons, and ladders to climb.

Trooper wasn't a particularly bad idea - but it wasn't a particularly good one, either. While the two levels of play manage to give the.combat a narrative, and add a tougher touch to a collect-and-dodge game, it's frustrating to be sent back to the start because you fail in one of the battles.

There's also a discrepancy in style between the parts, so that while the fights are rather nice, the graphics of the planet are a bit disappointing, with their tiny figures.

Any company which tries to exploit the larger memory deserves some praise, but this is surely only the first faltering step towards much more sophisticated adventures. Sadly, Trooper belongs in the ranks and not among the officers.

Label: CRL
Author:
Price: £8.95
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jerry Muir

***


Overall3/5
Summary: Arcade adventure meets martial arts and falls between two stools in an interesting experiment.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 64, February 1987   page(s) 46

MACHINE: Spectrum 128
SUPPLIER: CRL
PRICE: £9.95

This is one of the few new games written exclusively for the Spectrum 128. But don't get too excited. This sprawling arcade adventure won't be making 48K machine owners jealous. In fact they might be glad that they stuck with their regular machine.

Trooper takes an absolute age to load and when it's done you end up wondering why you bothered to take the time anyway. It doesn't appear to take advantage of the 128's extra capabilities - not even the superior sound.

Here's a quick look at the plot. You play the part of the one they call trooper. Your mission is to escape the planet where earth politicians captured by treacherous aliens, have been transformed into killers by a nasty bit of alien machinery.

You have to find a way off the planet by battling your way across it, finding useful objects along the way and dabbling in a bit of unarmed combat as well.

If you've seen Asterix you'll remember how a little window appears when you encounter a Roman soldier and you have to indulge in a bit of Fist type punching and kicking.

This is what happens here except the whole screen changes and presents you with an enlarged view of your trooper and his opponent. If you're in two player mode you take a fighter each.

Once you've KO'd the enemy it's back to exploring the planet.

But climbing isn't easy despite the instructions which tell you that by simply moving against a low stone you'll be able to climb it. I couldn't make it happen.

You can pick up things like a gun, rope - useful for climbing higher cliffs - and stones to build steps.

Graphics are crude and tiny - apart from the "close-up" fight screens. And sound - well, I can't recall actually hearing any.

Trooper isn't a game that will make you want to rush out and get a 128 for. Save your cash and get hold of CRL's Academy - it shows they are capable of MUCH better things.


Graphics5/10
Sound4/10
Value3/10
Playability3/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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