But Simon, sorry Sammy, abducts Tamara, sorry Tracy and Timothy, sorry Terry, has to rescue her. Not only is this a preposterous premise (see, even I am getting the hang of it now) for a puzzle game, but it is completely irrelevant too. All I can say for the entire intro to Bill’s Tomato Game is that it is best avoided. Problem is that you cannot. No amount of mouse clicking or joystick fire-button pressing will cut short this tedious tale.
AH! Some action at last, once the nicely animated, but tedious intro is over it is time to play Bill’s Excellent Tomato Game. Did I say excellent? Well it is. Psygnosis put out many games in the course of the year, most of them are solid, but uninspiring. But when Psygnosis put out a puzzle game around Christmas, it is time for every lover of Psygnosis puzzler games that come out around Christmas to sit up and play close attention. In 1990 there was Lemmings, in 1991 there was Oh No! More Lemmings!, and now in 1992 there is Lemmings 2 and Bill’s Tomato Game. you can bet it is more fun than lots of things that are less fun than it…
So Steve Squirrel has nicked your bird and you have to rescue her. It is terrible how these computer games reinforce macho sexual stereotyping isn’t it? The rescue involved climbing this kind of magic beanstalk plant that Sigmund Squirrel lives up. Along the way you are required to tackle various screens that require you to get from side A (the left) to side B (the right). Sounds simple doesn’t it? But the clever coders at Psygnosis have put various obstacles in your way. And the only way to avoid these hardships is to strategically place various ‘props’ around the screen. These props are the ludicrously alliterative frumulous (?) fan, the tomato trampoline, Jeremy jack in the box and the blocking box. Once you launch Trevor he interacts with these ‘props’ in a manner that can either facilitate his traversing of the screen or lead him to complete liquidation. The choice is yours.
The game escapes the problems of the usual set-it-up-and-let-em-go puzzle games by letting you stop Terry in his tracks and set him off again with a simple click of the mouse button. Indeed some screens actually require you to send an initial tomato salvo, let him trigger a switch, then send another to complete the screen.
A time limit decides your success on each screen and until this is exceeded you have an inexhaustible supply of tomatoes. Which is for the better really, because some of these screens are not quite as easy as they might be, in fact some of them are complete sons of female dogs. Altogether, Psygnosis have managed to do something original once again. There is no chance of this ever being as successful as , but for many an hour of taxing distraction Lemmings, you could not do much better than this.
Amiga Format, Issue 43, February 1993, p.76
Während alle Welt sehnsüchtig auf "Lemmings II" wartet, hat Psygnosis heimlich, still und leise an einer weiteren Action-Puzzelei gestrickt – ebenso genial-einfach und nicht minder fesselnd!
Ursprünglich sollte das Game unter dem Namen der beiden Filmhelden Bill & Ted veröffentlicht werden, jetzt ist halt die Hälfte des Duos unter den Tisch gefallen. Was soll's, auch nach Bill hält man hier vergeblich Ausschau: Alles dreht sich um die Tomate Terry, deren entführte Freundin der Rettung harrt. In der Praxis läuft es darauf hinaus, daß der saftige Hauptdarsteller Screen für Screen durchqueren muß, wobei eher ein helles Köpfchen als ein geschicktes Händchen gefragt ist – Terry läßt sich nämlich nicht direkt steuern, vielmehr muß ihm "Lemmings"-like der Weg bereitet werden, auf daß er ihn später von ganz allein schaffen kann.
Dazu stellt die Werkzeugleiste am unteren Bildschirmrand eine begrenzte Anzahl verschiedene Hilfsmittel zur Verfügung: Ventilatoren blasen den Helden in alle Himmelsrichtungen, Sprungtüchter befördern ihn nach oben, Trampoline federn einen zu tiefen Fall ab. Ist das Equipment plaziert, genügt ein Druck auf den Startknopf; schon wird Terry von einer Sprunfeder in die Luft katapuliert, und die Reise quer über den Screen beginnt. Sein Schicksal hängt nunmehr davon ab, ob die Items alle an den richtigen Stellen plaziert wurden, wobei ein Zeitlimit Druck macht. Andernfalls kann das Gemüse-Leben schnell an einem der zahlreichen Hindernisse enden, wovon die meisten stationär angebracht sind. Es gibt jedoch auch bewegliche Gegner (teilweise sogar bildschirmfüllend große), wodurch Terry's Chancen mitunter nur vom richtigen Timing abhängen. Aber die unendlich vorhandenen Leben nehmen selbst dem abgründigsten Abgrund und dem feindlichsten Feind den Schrecken, nach einem mißlungenen Versuch geht es halt zurück an den Ausgangspunkt des Bildes. Wer die nötige Ausdauer mitbringt, dürfte daher an keinem der 100 Level scheitern, zumal jerder einzelne davon wirklich liebevoll sowie intelligent ausgetüftelt wurde und via Paßwort zugänglich ist. Das Spiel ist thematisch und grafisch in zehn verschiedene Welten unterteilt, vom Wüstengebiet bis hin zum Spielzeugland ist alles vertreten. Zwischen jeder Welt erfreut eine animierte Zwischensequenz das Auge, und die Musikbegleitung (mehr als 45 Stücke!) läßt sich ebenfalls gut anhören. Gesteuert wird per Maus oder Stick, wobei dem Nager ganz klar der Vorzug zu geben ist; denn nur damit können die Tools so pixelgenau positioniert werden, wie das oft erforderlich ist.
Schön auch, daß die Nachladezeiten extrem kurz ausfallen und man sich wahlweise für Musik, FX oder beides entscheiden darf. Weniger schön ist, daß die Animationen gelegentlich ruckeln und unser Testmuster ohne das bei Psygnosis übliche Mega-Intro daherkam. Aber davon abgesehen ist am Tomatengame wirklich alles drin und dran, was den Action-Knobler schon bei den selbstmörderischen Wühlern gefesselt hat! (rl)
Amiga Joker, December 1992, p.28
Game: Bill’s Tomato Game
Platform puzzlers come in many different shapes and sizes. This one is round, red and very squashy.
Authors: Bill Pullan, Lee Carus-Westcott, Mike Clarke
Release: Out now
Game: Bill’s Tomato Game
ow that Psygnosis have put back the release date of Lemmings 2 until after Christmas, Bill’s Tomato Game is their big hope for a Christmas hit. And in essence, it is not too far removed from Lemmings in concept. (Oh no! More comparisons! – Ed). It is pacifistic. It is a puzzle game disguised as a platform game, it is cute(ish). I expect Psygnosis believe anyone who bought Lemmings and is going to buy Lemmings 2 is likely to appreciate Bill’s Tomato Game
THE MORE THAN SLIGHTLY UNFEASIBLE PLOT
All seems rosy, but then another disaster strikes. While they are wallowing in their new found happiness, Sam the squirrel jumps on Tracy and kidnaps her. It is now down to Terry to rescue the fruit in distress. It is funny that, I always considered squirrels a lot more cute and furry than tomatoes, but in this game our sympathies are forced to lie with the salad ingredients. Now Sam (the squirrel, remember) has taken Tracy up a magic vine, and for Terry to get her back again he has to scale this mystical vegetation. And this is where the game starts. After the intro sequence has finished and you are fully clued up on what has to be done, you are given the task of controlling Terry on his perilous journey to rescue Tracy. (If by now you are wondering who Bill is, he is the guy who wrote the thing).
The game is made up of 100 levels in all, which Terry has to complete in order to save Tracy from the evil clutches of her furry abductor. The levels are organised into 10 sets of 10, so when you complete the 10 levels of one world, you are taken back to the magic vine where you have to move up the vine to the next world and complete the next 10 levels. These inter-level sequences are the most frustrating parts of the game. Using the mouse (as you do throughout the game) you have to get Terry up to another branch of the magic vine, and basically it is tedious and frustrating,. I suppose it serves as a break after the 10 levels of puzzling you have been doing, but it is even more frustrating when you keep getting knocked off by a bee who is flying around the vine. I mean, since when could a bee knock a tomato off a vine? (I’m sorry, my suspension of disbelief just nipped out for a packet of biscuits and I lost it there for a minute).
THE FLESHY SUBSTANCE OF THE GAME
Yeah, it is a puzzler, and a thoroughly engaging one at that. Each world starts off fairly simply, but the difficulty goes up on the later levels. To add to the problems there is a time limit, which mostly results in him being splattered on an object on the screen, or falling squishily to the floor. Once your time is up you have to start the level again, so all your carefully placed objects have to be re-placed on the screen – incredibly frustrating when you have set up a complex chain of events that are so close to working but need some fine tuning. But it is not the kind of frustration that makes you throw down the mouse and load up bought Lemmings again. No, it really grabs you, this one, and everyone I have played it with has just been unable to turn it off. The thing is, you get so far towards getting the solution (and there is often more than one solution to a level) that you cannot bear to turn it off until you have got it. And the sense of satisfaction at getting it right is much like the feeling you get when you relieve your bladder after a long coach journey (Oh dear. You just can’t get the staff anymore. - Ed).
When you finish a level you get a password, which you must write down and keep in a safe place so you can skip straight to that level later on. The passwords are all randomly generated, so you have to ensure that your disk is not write protected when you are playing the game – if you entered the same password on a friend’s version of the game it would take you to a totally different level.
It may seem that this game has only a certain amount to offer, after all 100 levels of puzzles must get tiresome after a while. Well happily this is not the cause with BTG. Each level has different obstacles, and often completely different methods required to get the tomato to its loved one. The game demands you change tactics and strategies constantly, and completing one level can be no guarantee of successfully negotiating another. The graphics look like they have come straight out of a platform game – they are bright, bold and, yes cute and the backgrounds are superb, so there is always something to keep you interested visually. It manages to bring humour into the proceedings too, mainly through the graphics and the alarming squelch that accompanies Terry’s splatty demise. A great new puzzle game with an original(ish) angle that really hits the mark.
Amiga Power, Issue 21, January 1993, p.p.40-41
"A thoroughly engaging puzzler"
"You can’t bear to turn it off"