Mastertronic Ltd
1986
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

16
Chris Bourne

We begin the sad tale of shuffling, shrunken, Sid. Why is he shrunken I hear you cry? Well, Sid was a fearless fireman until one day when he was fighting a blazing fire in a vast shrinking factory. Not looking where he was going, Sid toppled head first into a powerful shrinking machine. Life's not much fun when you're less than a foot high so the object of this game is to some how unshrink poor shuffling Sid.

You can restore Sid to his former glory by stretching him which sounds rather painful. To do this you must find the five parts of the stretching rack and put it back together, and once you have done this Sid should return to his original size.

Sid scampers from room to room in a seemingly endless building searching for the various parts of the stretching machine. The rooms are filled with a strange array of furniture ranging from snooker tables to fire engines, and smaller objects such as French onions, digital watches and fire hoses. However useless they may appear some do have a purpose. Certain objects collected enable you to move from room to room, whereas some are numbered parts of the stretching machine. These are obviously the ones to go for. Sid, however can only carry five objects with him as he scuttles around, resulting in the usual swapping business and retracing your steps to collect again a useful object dropped earlier.

When you come across an object on the floor you have several options. Sid can either just pick it up and continue or he can identify it and then decide whether he wants it or not. He can also discard any unwanted objects at this point.

Some ceilings can be bounced clean through leading into previously uncharted rooms or into the Shrinking Plant which is where Sid finds the various parts for his stretching rack.

As well as collecting different objects, Sid must also keep an eye open for the various ghoulies and ghosties that haunt the complex. These come in several forms and are easily identifiable by their sinister appearance. They either destroy Sid outright or gradually sap his energy levels, reducing his four lives with every encounter.

Will Sid be able to locate the stretching machine before his lives expire or will he remain Shuffling Sid, the Incredible Shrunken Fireman forever? As usual its up to you.

CRITICISM

'A fireman, yes. Shrinking, rah, he's pretty small. Incredible, though, he ain't! Apart from the price, Incredible Shrinking Fireman is pretty average, run of the mill stuff, nothing special or surprising. The select system has its similarities to Spellbound's Windowvision, but is nowhere near as polished or good to use. The graphics aren't astounding but colour is used well and some of the inanimate objects are neat. I'm tempted to say 'another one for the budget bin', but it's not that bad, so I'll restrain myself'

'With a name like that, this game had to come from the masters of value - Mastertronic. Apart from the jolly title and the jolly graphics I'm afraid this is just another arcade adventure (groans)! But I must say I quite enjoyed The Incredible Shrinking Fireman, mainly on account of the beautifully drawn graphics and the different type of pick up/put down menu which added something different to the game (although I can't quite say what). I must admit the scenario is one that I've never heard of before, and it will probably catch the younger Spectrum owner's eye. I've nearly run out of things to say about arcade adventures - but if you want something that will take your mind up a different path to the usual pick up/puzzle game, then The Incredible Shrinking Fireman could well be a good bet at the moment'

'Mastertronic have come up with another jolly arcade/adventure budget games which is quite fun. Many of their games lack great graphics but this one seems to be reasonable in that department. The game play is fun indeed, wandering around the rooms looking for the objects and avoiding the not too many 'nasty' sprites. Fireman has some nice touches like when you are killed and 'game over' flashes across the screen. However, I found the game didn't get me very hooked and I wouldn't bother playing it many times.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor, Fuller
Keyboard play: simple and effective
Use of colour: bright and distinctive
Graphics: large, detailed and smooth moving
Sound: average
Screens: lots
General Rating: Not one of Mastertronic's best, but still reasonable.

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