Gary Capewell
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

12,13
Chris Bourne

Blaby packaging has always been quite novel and with Casey Jones the company has gone on to the larger plastic cassette case with a cover insert which shows a lovely photograph of an old American Loco belching smoke as it rushes along the track. There was a critic whose words appeared in this magazine who said once that he couldn't understand why software houses always insisted in educational games of illustrating the word TRAIN with a picture of a steam locomotive when they disappeared from our railways almost two decades ago. Well, in Casey Jones the anachronism is obviously quite intended. As it says on the cassette blurb, 'Here's your only chance to pilot a steam engine. Not only does this train fly but also has an unlimited supply of megatron missiles.' Wouldn't John Wayne have loved it!

The anachronism goes even further of course, for Casey type game where you must leap the craters and obstacles, shoot away those too big to leap, and contend with murderous 'aliens ' hovering above you. 'The 12.15 from Bournemouth is delayed due to hostile alien activity.

The screen presents you with a graphic representation of the steam loco on the cover which travels left to right against a scrolling background of rails, fences, telegraph poles and mountains. The aliens drop bombs which will destroy the engine if it's hit, and which leave fires burning in the ground - these also destroy the engine. Getting through all the attack waves and reaching the station will launch you on to the track again with a tender behind the engine, making a bigger target.

The aliens in this game are unusual. The first wave consists of barmy burgers - a reference to Blaby's game of the same name; from then on there are various 'in' joke references with aliens ranging from Eugene's toilet, Horace to camels, Access cards and Daleks. Eighteen attack waves in all.

CRITICISM

'This is a "Moon Buggy" type game but with a train. The use of sound and graphics is good. Generally everything is good except for playability; the train is an easy target and its jumping must be closely timed. The game seemed too hard to be fun - it was more of a task. Even so, it is reasonably addictive as it's always nice to see what the next attack wave is and soon.'

'The game is quite difficult until you get the hang of dodging bombs. Your train flies very well, and for the first time with this type of game you can move the train left and right (well, backwards/forwards) in mid-air - very useful. To each wave there is a different alien. Reaching the station is quite a task -and then you play the game again but with a tender attached, and this is much more difficult. The graphics are detailed and varied, and colour is well used. The sound is fair and could have been much better. This is an original graphic presentation of the standard "Moon Buggy" concept.'

'Casey Jones is fun and hard at the same time. The graphics are fun because they are original and large and they all move quite well. The train does present a rather large target for the alien bombs which adds to the game's difficulty, on the other hand the programmer has made it the most controllable vehicle of its type. You can take neat little hops or gigantic run-at-'em leaps. With so many attack waves there is plenty to do, but perhaps there could have been more levels of play. All in all, fun and addictive in play.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z/X left/right. L to jump and ENTER to fire
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: good positions and very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: large, detailed, quite fast and smooth
Sound: mixed feelings from very good to average - it is quite powerful though
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Lives: 3
Screens: 18
Originality: game type is quite common now, but presentation is highly original, a fact which is reflected in the rating below
General Rating: An above average to good game with new features and quite addictive to play.

70%
74%
62%
71%
64%
68%
69%
68%

Screenshot Text

It's a long way to the station on the Blaby Chatanooga Choo Choo.