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.
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Average coin-op converted to make an average game.