US Gold Ltd
1987
Arcade: Action
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

25
Gareth Adams, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Due to a scheduling error, American Railways have decided to run eight express trains through your territory. As an underemployed bandit short of readies, you're certainly not going to miss an opportunity like this. However, others have similar ideas...

This shoot 'em up contains three levels, each of which involves winning a preliminary fight - leaping a line of running coyotes - performing a death-defying train-top walk, fighting off cowboys (who try to either shoot you or brain you with bottles, coal or shovels), and finally mounting a horse and having a go at another train.

To avoid your attackers, you can step and jump forward and back, leap upwards, kneel or lie flat. To protect yourself you can kick and punch your opponents, and when carrying a gun, plug them full of holes.

Points are scored by landing punches and kicks and lobbing hand grenades, and also by shooting ducks, hidden targets and the lady in red (hit her more than once and you're dead buster).

Your enemies do fight back. Take one of their punches and kicks, miss a leap over a coyote, or get hit by a flying object and your strength is diminished (energy levels are shown at the top of the screen). One of your five lives is lost if your strength falls to zero, if you run out of time (a countdown is displayed) or if you sustain a gunshot wound.

CRITICISM

'Initially Express Raider reminded me of the wonderful Stop the Express, but it soon became quite boring. The gameplay has no real testability, making fighting too much of a chore to be any fun. The sound is more basic than the arcade version, with no tune and horrible little spot effects. Express Raider does not deserve to be released as a full-priced game.' GARETH

'I've never been so bored, Express Raider just goes on and on and... The gameplay is repetitive and the 'feel' is very inaccurate. The idea of choosing your control type before you load the main game is years old and quite unnecessary, as you have to choose them again when it loads anyway! It looks tacky, and is much too expensive.' PAUL

'I was I expecting a lot, but I didn't enjoy playing it at all after three or four goes. The graphics are colourful and look quite pretty - until you get up close. Unless you really adored the arcade machine, £7.95 seems far too much to pay, and I should stay well clear of it.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Definable; left, right, up, down, fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: limited
Graphics: large line drawings, but the characters are quite crude
Sound: poor and sparse FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: four scrolling levels
General Rating: Thin conversion of an unexciting coin-op.

66%
59%
49%
45%
38%
47%

Screenshot Text

Shoot the woman, take the money and gallop - there's Wild West gallantry for you.

The view looks good from up here, Pard - waiting for the next stage (coach?).