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Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Andy Hutchinson
Chris Bourne

Right well, the immediate question which springs to mind is just what exactly the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is. So it's over to The Cambridge Encyclopaedia for this one. (Some page-flicking moments later.) Right, it seems that turtles can swim and tortoises can't. Turtles it would appear, are also generally larger than their land-bound brethren. All of which suggests to me that turtles are infinitely superior to tortoises and this game should have been Turbo The Turtle.

Any road up, Turbo is a tortoise and if Hi-Tec have got anything to do with it, hell be our very own Sonic or Mario. Given the popularity of those particular chaps, the boys at Visual Impact (who brought you Potsworth & Co) have taken some of the better platformy elements and created their own game-world on the Speccy, a world populated by legions of hideous creatures and loads of attractive (if roughly hewn) items to collect.

Turbo started out life as Wal, the pet tortoise of one Dr Mulliner, a world renowned scientists and part time pub singer. Unfortunately Wal decided to hibernate in an anti-matter pod and was transformed into the super-human (or should that be super-tortoise?) Turbo. The doctor sends our newly transformed reptile on a trip through time to locate some key ingredients to his latest experiments. There are six time zones to battle through: Prehistoric, ice Age. Egyptian, Mediaeval, 20th Century and (dun dun duuun), the Future.

Turbo is a thoroughly controllable dude. He can jump to varying heights over varying distances and he can change direction in mid-flight. All of this means that you'll need some finely honed jumpy skills in order to complete all six worlds.

The creatures which populate the different lands can all be killed by bouncing on their heads. However if you really want to do the job on them, then pick up a power-up and you'll be able to shoot them. Personally I far preferred bouncing on them because you can also reach inaccessible platforms which hide goodies such as power-ups and extra lives. Turbo also possesses the ability to pick up rocks and boulders and carry them about. These can be plonked into rivers and placed near walls to enable you to cross caverns and climb steep precipices.

Indeed it is. The graphics are smooth (if a tad mono) and the puzzles inventive. Best of all though are the end-of-level baddies. These gruesome chaps take quite a bit of punishment before they succumb and sink beneath the translucent waves of life harboured... (Snip! Linda) To complete the game you'll need to bash up a fire-spitting dinosaur, an ice ball-lobbing yet, a spell-casting mummy, an axe-wielding suit of armour, a hammer-fisted thug and a gnarly laser-firing robot.

Turbo The Tortoise is a superb game. It's thoroughly playable and wonderfully varied. The gameplay is spot-on, the villains tough and the jumping pulse quickening. Alright, so there's a considerable bit of Sonic and Mario in here, but hey, Manic Miner started it all, right? At four quid, this game's a barg, nip down to your local software emporium and demand a copy now. Right, where did I leave that tongue-spitting balloon?

Jumpy, spinny, leapy frolicsome joy, which leaves one feeling 'pletely happy.


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The oldest tortoise lived to be 152 years of age. It was brought to the Seychelles by the Chevalier de Fresne who presented it to the Port Louis army. It went blind in 1908 and was accidentally killed in 1918. Interestingly, all of the above is true.

Why Turbo is better than both Sonic and Mario

He comes from a far older genetic breed. Tortoises are related to the first dinosaur and thus older, wiser and better than a cruddy hedgehog with a blue-rinse hairdo or a pot-bellied Italian with appaling taste in clothes.

Turbo doesn't require any dodgy mushrooms or curious pills to increase his performance. Both Sonic and Mario are dreadful abusers who don't deserve to be called computer heroes. YS say, book into a detox centre.

Mario requires the help of his brother Luigi on his trips around Koopa-land, so he's obviously soft as anything.

Sonic's a big girl's blouse who goes around ostensibly freeing woodland animals. Secretly however he's making millions from merchandising and has admitted to his manicurist that, "...all woodland animals really get on my nerves. They tweet and growl and moo and then go and poo all over the place. My agent advised me to stick to Glade freshener adverts..."

Hedgehogs have got zillions of fleas because they smell of poo all the time.

You can cook a hedgehog if you cover it in clay and roast it. Try doing that with a tortoise.

Hedgehogs hibernate in really stupid places like bonfires so that they get torched on bonfire night, oh and if you feed them milk and bread they die. Ha! Hal Ha!

The Italians are always changing their minds. History proves this. Mario's always changing his mind.

In order to play Sonic or Mario you'll need to part with at least 30 quid. Turbo can be yours for a mere four quid. YS say, Mario and Sonic are over-priced crap-faces.

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Hampton was shocked to find himself doing the Monster Mash in ancient Egypt. He'd only gone to the shop for a bag of peanuts.

Squiffy was in mortal danger. The killer skulls were closing in and an unfashionable concertina was threatening his street cred.

While the scene of drama was played out in the cavern, away in the distance Tom played his flute and dreamt of Cornwall.