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Colin Ajayi-Obe
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 128K

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

...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.


Screenshot Text

Gung ho, kung fu! For a man in his Doc M's, Trooper fights a pretty nifty battle. He's also as tough as old boots, with a lotta lives. But the evil oriental fiend is only half-hearted about his martial arts, and a few good kicks should send him into touch.

Now here's a trick anyone can do with a bit of old washing line and a bent safety pin. Choose the rope from your inventory icons, bottom right, then press fire to send it spinning upwards. How far depends on how long you hold down the key.