Microsphere
Not Known
1983
Simulation
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

92
Chris Bourne

If you are an obsessive electric train set freak, or you would like to recapture those golden hours spent on the carpet rubbing rusty rails with glass paper, then fork out the price of this original game from Microsphere - it won't be wasted money if our reviewers' reports are anything to go by.

The Train Game presents you with a fairly complicated layout of railway lines, seen from above. In the simplest level one train chugs about the system and your task is to guide it correctly between the three stations, picking up passengers. There are 25 sets of points which you must look after. These are switched by pressing the appropriate key - all the points are given a letter of the alphabet. If nothing else, this very rapidly teaches you the keyboard layout!

Switching a set of points under a train, or not setting them correctly in the first place, will result in a derailment and a loss of life. (You get murdered by irate passengers!) To stop a train in the next station you merely press the appropriate key. On the first level with one train, the key is 1 (blue), the other trains are 2 (red) and3 (magenta). As time passes the stations fill up with passengers waiting for a train. These are little bowler hats with legs (it's a commuter system, obviously).

If they have to wait too long a few of them turn white with rage and are likely to hijack the train with catastrophic results! Your score is directly related to the numbers passengers you manage to collect. There are several levels of play, with numerous sublevels between them.

Collecting 25 passengers moves you onto the next sub-level. In some cases runaway goods trains (black) appear and must be directed back the way they came to get rid of them.

CRITICISM

'The Train Game is definitely going to appeal to "train buffs". It's good fun to play and on the higher levels requires great concentration if you are to avoid disaster.'

'It's not often that you get a cassette for review that's such instant fun! Nor a game that when you next look at your watch three hours have passed without your noticing. Like so many very good games, The Train Game is simple in idea but sophisticated in its details. For instance, when you have all three trains running and your eyes are darting everywhere to make sure the points are okay, you then have to worry about the passengers - some may be white with anger at the delays, but the others are coloured like the trains, and they only want that coloured train!'

'With seven levels of platforms and five sub-levels in each there is plenty of variation. At the top level of play the track layout gets even more complicated as well as the speeds increasing. The graphics are cute and to the point. I liked the sound of chugging trains but if it drives you mad there is a facility for turning it off. Perhaps they should send this tape to British Rail as a training course.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: uses most of the keyboard
Joystick options: impossible and not required
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: average to good
Sound: very good, on/off facility
Skill levels: seven (with five sub-levels on 1-6 and nine sub-levels on 7)
Lives: four
Screens: two track layouts

General Rating: Very good.

60%
63%
85%
75%
85%
85%
75.5%

Screenshot Text

'The 8.15 from Brighton is just arriving at platform 4.'