REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Toobin'
by Krisalis Software Ltd: Shaun Hollingworth, Jim Tripp, Mark Potente, Matt Furniss
Domark Ltd
1989
Crash Issue 71, December 1989   (1989-11-16)   page(s) 68

Biff and Jet are the coolest dudes around: just scope their trendy shades and rad swimming trunks. They're searchin' for the most outrageous party around, but they don't go looking for it by bus or by car, they've found a couple of tyre tubes and are about to cruise down some of the baddest rivers in the world to get there. Each river sports its own unfriendly neighborhood standing on the bank to lob weapons at 'em. Fishermen try snagging 'em with their lines, tribesmen fire blowpipes, kamikaze penguins leap at 'em and even the Devil makes an unwelcome adversary in Hell when he throws a huge fork at their tube.

Along with shorebound villains, plenty of waterborne obstacles attempt to pop their tyre. Branches, logs and huge trots just have to be avoided. Biff and Jet ain't helpless though. They's got a limited supply of tin cans (and more can be collected along the way) to be thrown at will at any meanie who's stupid enough to get in the way.

They know just how to collect points bonuses on the way - objects lie around, bonus gates can be navigated (not to be done half heartedly). Natch: loadsa points are on offer when they hit river's end and boogie on down to the party. Parties come to an end though, and the next river awaits: watch the booze!

The arcade game's a rather strange beast in as much as a circle of fire buttons are used to control the cool heroes' path through many dangers. On the computer the control method's a little tricky too at first, but a bit of practice soon has Biff and Jet hurtling down the river in search of a party. Graphically the game is very colourful, but this causes slight problems when trying to hit enemies on the bank, mainly 'cos you can't see 'em - the only way to track 'em is to watch for their projectiles heading at you. That said, the game is a playable conversion of one of the strangest Atari games I've seen for a while.

MARK ... 85%


'This game captures the excitement and addictiveness of the arcade original. It's especially fun if you get a friend to play against you and you keep bashing into each other. The cute characters Biff and Jet sit snugly in their inner tubes while you attempt to control their antics around the wild layout of rocks, logs, waterfalls and mean fishermen. Controls are hard at first (just like the coin ops), but once mastered you can whizz about the screen collecting all sorts of goodies. Toobin' is an instant hit with me and will undoubtedly provide hours of freshwater fun.'
NICK ... 83%

Presentation81%
Graphics77%
Sound75%
Playability82%
Addictivity80%
Overall84%
Summary: If Toobin' piles on the fun for Biff and Jet, then you're surefire gonna get a share too!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 93, October 1991   (1991-09-15)   page(s) 60

Arcade sensation of yesteryear, Toobin' involves two horrendously cool dudes with horrendously short names, Bif and Jet. Being so cool, the guys' favourite pastime is hangin' out on the local river, shootin' rapids and the like in an inner-tube race.

The hazards they brave in their toobs as they progress down the vertically-scrolling waterway include sticks, fishermen and floating logs. Bif and Jet's awesome watercraft are controlled with joystick or keys, up being paddle forwards, down backwards, and left and right rotate you in said directions. This is a little tricky and awkward at times, but not too bad once you're used to it.

Graphically Toobin' isn't too bad, Bif and Jet are well defined and in different colours, so you're not easily confused. The sticks are basic and easily recognisable (same goes for the logs), fishermen are almost invisible against the garish red shoreline, and sand banks are one colour with no shading.

Sound is a great little tune that was rousing and created atmosphere in the arcade, but doesn't do much on this version because gameplay is a teeny bit slow. You tend to paddle maniacally to drag yourself somewhat sluggishly over to the other side of the screen. Avoiding sticks and other hazards is not a prob but collecting the letters to make up TOOBIN (for a bonus) is hard going. It' s a bit too tricky to provide solid gaming entertainment.

WILL … 45%


Presentation40%
Graphics55%
Sound75%
Playability50%
Addictivity49%
Overall45%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 49, January 1990   page(s) 95

Who'd have thought it, eh? Who'd have imagined you could take something as limiting as floating downstream in a rubber ring and turn it into a fast paced, colourful and exciting arcade game with more thrills and spills than cascading down the tracks in a roller coaster with loose wheels? Well, I dunno who did think if, but whoever it was got things ever so slightly wrong. Wrong in that it's not really that colourful. Wrong in that it's not all that fast. And wrong in that it's certainly not all that exciting! Oops!

Yes, Tobin' is a bit of a disappointment, and here's why. It looks and plays like a budget game (quite a good budget game, it's true), but not a £9.99 product. You know the sort of thing - a long blue strip with a few jagged graphics to form a bank on either side for the river, scarcely-animated main spates and loads of smaller graphics, with very little to do. dotted along the edges.

There are only the three controls (paddle left, paddle right, and 'fire can') which give you very limited control over where you're going. Paddle left and your little arm wiggles frantically, spinning you round in a circle. Paddle right and you do the same thing, only in the other direction. Only by paddling both arms at once do you get anywhere. but even then you're at the mercy of the current, bashing into logs, twigs, islands and other obstacles all over the place. And then, of course, there are the more serious hazards - the crocodile who chases you down the screen and seems to shake you to death when he gets you (quite funny that bit), the fishermen who snag your 'toob', the hunters who pepper you with buckshot and the dive-bombing penguins who... Hold it! Penguins?! Yep, penguins! And cows! And dinosaurs!! I mean, what is going on here?

Well, basically, Bif and Jet, our two toob dudes, seem to have discovered the loopiest river in existence. It takes them through the Arctic, down to the Amazon, and even across the Atlantic to the Nile (where realism goes out of the window and sphinxes fire rays at you!) before, presumably, getting them safely home in time for tea. Blimey!

You'd thinkI'd have mentioned everything by now, wouldn't you, but no, there are all sorts of other nasties too, as well as odd ways of getting extra points and weapons. For instance. six packs of beer (which you can throw at nasties) crop up now and then, treasure chests float mid-stream and there are oodles of time gates to negotiate cleanly as well (something I found almost totally impossible, but maybe that's because I'm a bit crap).

Basically, it sounds packed with variety, doesn't it? Well, um, yes, it is... in theory. I only caught the coin-op briefly at the PC Show (for some reason it appears to be missing from all our local arcades) but I think the basic problem lies there. The pretty coin-op graphics were dead cartoony and appealing, packed with visual variety, and brought the basically limited gameplay alive. Now were playing the same game in glorious two tone Speccyvision and it's lost out rather a lot. Suddenly it all appears too slow and too samey. It's not that I don't like simple games (I do) and it's not that I found the control system unfriendly (though it was a bit difficult to come to grips with), it's just that nothing about it grabbed me. I started playing with every intention of having a good time, but, unfortunately, Toobin' turned out to be a bit of a good time free zone. We did try it with two player and there was a bit more life to it, but only just.

If a simple game doesn't grab you in the first ten minutes then it ain't going to. Quite why Domark is pushing it so much we can't quite figure, because it looks to us like it's really only a novelty item. Sorry, Tengen, not our cup of tea.


Life Expectancy49%
Instant Appeal66%
Graphics55%
Addictiveness53%
Overall60%
Summary: Strangely unenjoyable and suspiciously budgety looking arcade conversion. We usually like simple games, but we didn't go much for this one.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 70, October 1991   page(s) 60

Paddle along in a big inner tube with this game of the US craze. (Tch! Our American cousins, eh?) Playing Bif or Jet (all incredibly cool dudes have three-letter names, ahem), whizz down a river the length of which would embarrass the Amazon. Using that old favourite, the rotate-and-move control method, you have to avoid unhealthily sharp obstacles, as well as the missiles of jealous landlubbers. Luckily, you've got a supply of drink cans to sock the baddies with (after you've emptied them, natch).

This arcade conversion didn't do too well first time round, which is a shame 'cos it's a bit of a spanker. The graphics are bright and slick (and rather chucklesome), the vertical-scrolling is slippery smooth and there's a host of fabby 128K tunes. As for the game itself, we're into Bubble Bobble territory, in the sense that while it's okay for one player, it's really best with two. You can barge into each other which promotes, erm, friendly rivalry. With floating gates to paddle through, bonus cans to collect and some fiendish river designs, Toobin' is jolly playable. If you want another two-player game to beat your pals at, this is well worth the dosh. Not quite a Megagame but a wazzy little barg all the same - its faster than a piece of string and almost as addictive.


Overall82%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 93, December 1989   page(s) 12

Toobin' - the first game of it's kind." so they say. Come on boys! What the hell is that supposed to mean? First ever vertical scroller on the Spectrum? I think not. First ever arcade conversion? Ummmmm, nope. How about. "First ever vertically scrolling arcade conversion based on cool dudes in loud shirts paddling large inner tubes down rivers and having to avoid stuff and pick up cans and then throw them at other things on the banks of different rivers which are shooting at you Given that definition, I can assure you that Toobin' certainly is a Galactic first.

Toobin' was, of course, in the first instance a coin-op by those nice cuddly people at Atari Games which, although generally regarded as a good laff, did not have the punters queuing in the streets to have a go. So what's it like when transferred to glorious 48K? Not a disaster by any means, but you'd certainly want to have been a fan of the original to make this an essential purchase.

The coin-op was a typical Atari Games MOR job. which quirky graphics and an odd control system - like A.P.B. for example. It's scenario is Californian to the extreme, which you (or you plus a mate), wearing mirror shades plus shirts loud enough to get you arrested after 10pm, putting your botty in an inner tube and paddling away like mad.

The game is simple enough, in that you avoid obstacles in the river (trees that fall from the bank and drift across, rocks, branches, etc), trying not to get shot by assorted baddies on the banks, characteristic of the level you are currently playing. So during the first bit of the Colorado river you watch out for fishermen lobbing floats at you, while later on trucking down the Styx there are Red Devils that try to puncture your tube with flying forks.

When your tube is punctured, you loose a life. You can also be molested by a big crocodile that comes down from the top of the screen when it decides you aren't going fast enough - although it seems a bit on the eager side...maybe it hasn't been fed lately.

To get extra points you can try and pick up treasure chests (extra points), cola cans (your only weapon to lob at obstacles and baddies). with a six-pack giving you unlimited cans until you loose that particular life. Also, you can try to guide your toob between gates in the river (like in canoeing) to get big wobbly extra points - manage to do it without touching either side of the gate and you get the full bananas, bump into them and the points awarded go down.

What this amounts to, after a while, is a rather repetitive exercise in joystick waggling and/or button pushing. The coin-op relied on some fab graphics in the different sections and hoopy sound effects to keep the interest of the punters up - but even then they didn't come back for very much more.

When you put Toobin' on the Speccy, the flaws in the original game are exposed, and even if the implementation was perfect (it isn't) - Toobin' would still not be a great game. What we're left with is an average conversion of a not so average coin-op. Which if you were pumped up about Toobin' in the first place is fine, but will seem a bit flat to the rest of us, otherwise.

Label: Tengen
Author:
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas


Graphics67%
Sound69%
Playability61%
Lastability59%
Overall63%
Summary: Average coin-op converted to make an average game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 115, September 1991   page(s) 54,55

Way to go, dudes! Check out this for a bizarre sport; riding in a rubber ring or inner tube along a raging river. You've got to be a major nut-case, right? Right - either that or one cool hombre.

Toobin' is a conversion of the classic Tengen coin-op which can be played solo or with a chum. As the players traverse the waters they compete in Colorado, the Nile, the Amazon and, believe it or not, Mars! (In canals no doubt!) The heroes - Biff and Jet (I know, but they ARE American names) guide their inner tubes through a series of obstacles, and gain points by lobbing Coke cans at targets along the shore, which isn't particularly friendly to the environment - eh readers?

Logs, branches and gun-toting locals seek to puncture the lads enthusiasm, and a hungry alligator lurks behind them, eager to munch on any stragglers. Bonus points are awarded for swimming through poles.

This is a good idea that fails to translate well to the Speccy - the graphics, for example, are diabolical. Still, fans of the coin-op might be interested now that it's on budget.

Label: Tengen/Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Matt Regan


GARTH: All the fun of the fair but a little too wet for my likes. Not worth getting your ring wet for!

STEVE: I'd rather inflate a pair of pyjama trousers in the local swimming baths and attempt to life-save Bernard Manning than play this again!

Graphics52%
Sound65%
Playability57%
Lastability60%
Overall59%
Summary: Although I enjoyed the original coin-op, Toobin' just doesn't seem to work on the Speccy - or any other home computer for that matter. A rather weak game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 97, December 1989   page(s) 152,153

Domark
Spectrum £9.99, ST £19.99, Amiga £24.99

Okay, okay! I know it's winter, and it's most probably just about to pour with rain, but imagine yourself in California on a sun-kissed day. It's hot. Reeeeeal hot. To cool off, you and your buddy Bif each grab a six-pack of Cokes, inflate a couple of giant inner "toobs", iump in the creek and prepare to let your troubles float away...

But as you doze off downstream. you start to dream that the creek has become a wide, wide river. Suddenly, off to the right, a tree plunges into the water and floats in your direction! If it punctures the toob it'll be certain glugsville! in desperation you hurl one of your coke cans towards it and, amazingly, it goes straight to the bottom! But before you have time to get cocky, some more formidable foes appear further down the bank...

Fishermen cast their deadly hooks at you, and you have to use your hands and feet to frantically paddle your toob away from rocks, sharp branches in the water and nasty toob-eating snakes.

The only way you and Bif can ever wake up from this nightmare is to toob it all the way to the end of the river - and that means running the gauntlet of a daunting array of hazards. Every so often the river forks - with each separate tributary leading to another world. In Hillbilly land, blunderbuss-packing bumpkins are after our buoyant boys. Hell is full of such nightmarish creatures as skulls, knife murderers and pyramids with eyes. Even worse is The City (all concrete, nasty punks and pollution), and then there's The Jungle and Ice World which are both teeming with deadly wildlife...

To make things even more difficult you have to manoeuvre your toob through bonus gates. Miss too many and a giant 'gator swims down from the top of the screen and tears you limb from limb...

But its not all a nightmare. There are extra coke cans dotted around the river which can be picked up and hurled at the baddies, and if you grab a six-pack, you'll have an unlimited arsenal - very handy. Beach balls speed up your rubbery ride and there are also extra lives to collect in the form of toob patches.

If you manage to reach the beach party at the end of the final level, the nightmare is over and you can return to normality (as if anything in California was ever normal anyway).

As you might have gathered reading this, Toobin' is one strange game. But it's this surreal weirdness that makes it so appealing. Paddling down a river chucking Coke cans at wacky baddies may sound silly, but it's great fun - you never know what to expect next!

The graphics on both the Amiga and ST are great, with nicely detailed sprites and colourful backdrops, and there are a host of wacky soundtracks to toob to. The gameplay is highly addictive, with bonuses all over the shop and some really crazy worlds to paddle through. Whether or not you were a fan of the coin-op, this conversion definitely worth checking out.


Overall78%
Summary: Decent scrolling, but some of the sprites are a little indistinct. Still, this conversion captures the spirit of the coin-op, and is addictive and enjoyable.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 26, January 1990   page(s) 34

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.95, Diskette: £14.95
Atari ST Diskette: £19.99

A TUBE FULL OF SMARTIES

Roads these days are pretty congested. As rebel teenagers, Biff and Jet realise the raddest transport available comes in the shape of a car tyre innertube. There's a party going on, so jump on your tubes and get down there. Well, it's not quite as simple as that for our two partygoers. Acid parties are okay, but if you want some real fun you have to travel - and that's where the tube comes in handy. The best parties in the world are always at the end of a river: be it the Amazon, Colorado, Nile, Mars, Hell... you never know where the partying's at next!

Just like at acid parties, the local inhabitants are non too happy with all this merrymaking. As you (and a friend if you need the help) bounce on down the river you'll be attacked by all sorts of creatures: fly fishermen, punks, swamp monsters and kamikaze penguins, for example. There's also a large range of river predators to prevent your progress: animals like snakes and big crocodiles, along with the usual logs and poisonous plants. However, most obstacles can be staved off with a quick bash on the head from your limited supply of tins cans.

As you slip through the water getting extra cans, you can also pick up bonuses for sixpacks of beer, beach balls and the letters that make up Toobin'. Real masters of the art of toobing can pick up even more points by guiding themselves through bonus gates strewn all the way down the river stretch. Although, be careful, bashing into the side of gates halves their value.

Unlike the strange arcade games circle of buttons, computer Toobin' is joystick controlled - but just as challenging. All the attractions of the arcade original have been maintained in Domark's conversion. Playable, addictive and above all, GREAT FUN!


Overall83%
Summary: 128K sound on the Spectrum is quite amazing; five of the arcade tunes have been included to set the mood for a very playable conversion. Graphics are colourful, the only slight niggle being that some of the riverbank enemies are a bit indistinguishable from the undergrowth. But, in short, Toobin' on the Spectrum is the best of the three versions here.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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