Creative Sparks
John T. Harris
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

Robin Candy, Lloyd Mangram
Chris Bourne

Use of Computer: 89%
Graphics: 75%
Playability: 73%
Getting Started: 89%
Addictive Qualities: 72%
Value for Money: 76%
Overall: 79%

The driver of the San Pedro stage coach has been shot! The object of the game is to get the stage coach under control, collect the stranded passengers, steer a safe route through the treacherous Sierra Peligrosa mountains while collecting the gold, avoid the Comanche indians and finally arrive at the small mining town of San Pedro.

The first stage, called the jump, has you riding behind the San Pedro stage coach and you must ride up behind it and climb on board. Once on the roof you must crawl to the front and grab the reins. With this done you must steer through the desert avoiding cacti and picking up the waiting passengers. If you fail to pick up a passenger they will jump up and down angrily or even worse - you may run over them!

Once enough passengers have been picked up the game moves on to the next stage, the Sierra Peligrosa mountains. Here you steer through the mountains without receiving too much damage. You must pick up the boxes of Gold or ammunition while avoiding the deadly rock slides. All these details can be seen on the map facility.

The last section is all on the indian plains. The indians go into a formation that hems you in while another indian attempts to climb onto the back of your coach to either kidnap one of your passengers or yourself. Your only defence is to climb onto the stage coach's roof and try to shoot the indians.

Stage Coach never actually grabbed me when it was first released, looking at it now I'm not surprised. The graphics are a bit small for my liking though there is quite a bit of detail. Both colour and sound are used well but for me the game isn't addictive enough. Within a couple of games it is possible, on the lower levels, to get near to completion. Overall a pretty bad to average game today.

Hmmmm, this is a bit of a tricky game to judge, the graphics are poor by today's standards but strangely enough it is quite playable and kept me amused for a while. As with many games the idea may be good but the implementation suffers, normally because the graphics aren't good enough. Of the three stages the first and last are probably graphically the better and the more playable of the three, the mountain stage lets the game down tremendously. I found the game quite playable for a while but I don't think I will loose any sleep over it. To sum up; not exactly good but 1 have seen a lot worse, let's just say 'average'.

(Rob) Most of the ratings except the Use of Computer and Getting Started should go down by about 10% especially the Addictive Qualities. which should go down by about 15%.

(Lloyd) I agree (this is getting to be a habit!), Stage Coach does become tedious after a while and isn't really worth buying unless you've played it before and know you like it.