Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure logo AGA

Andy Smith hurls himself into the adventuresome house for some unadulterated fun.

You know this kind of game already - move through the levels collecting stars for points, firing other stars at an assortment of baddies that come towards you, jumping over gaps and fighting end-of-level bosses.

That's almost all there is to it. The only other bits are in the box-out elsewhere on this page (I can't direct you to the box-out because Linda, the art ed, gets to say where it goes and not me). And it's quite fun to play as well. It's not amazing and it's not got anything that hasn't been seen before, but it's fun nonetheless.

What's your motivation in all this? To break a dark spell that's been cast on the House of Fun by an evil clown. Stupid isn't it? Adrian Cummings is the man behind the conception, graphics, sound and coding, as well as the packaging design and artwork which probably means he was involved in that stupid plot idea. I'm not having a pop Adrian. I know people expect some kind of reason to be playing a game, but this one's just so 'oh I can't be bothered with it, let's get on to something else'.

A LITTLE OIL CAN
Maybe we should chat about what other features are in the game? Like how you shoot stars to kill the baddies and how you can collect power-ups that make your stars bigger and porkier?

Maybe we should chat about the fact that if Tin Toy doesn't kill a baddie in time and they run into him he loses some energy - which is cleverly displayed as an oil gauge (actually it's not that clever really, is it?) - and Tin Toy can replenish lost energy by collecting the little oil cans that can be found lying around. In the air sometimes. But hey! This is fantasy, right? Anything goes here.

What now? Andrea's going to insist I write more words to fill up the space between the pictures. But why? You've played a hundred games like this in the past, you've got an idea whether it's any good by looking at the score and the overall verdict, you've had a good look at the screenshots so you basically know all there is to know about to make an informed buying decision.

I bet you didn't know Laura P Paul did the playtesting though. You would have found out if you'd bought the game because it says so on the packaging.

A BIG ISSUE
It comes on two disks, but you have to use DF0 when you need to swap - which is only once - between disk 1 and disk 2. See? Now we're getting into the realms of too much information. I mean, you'd expect it on a couple of disks, wouldn't you? It's only when games come on 12 or 14 disks that the number becomes a really big issue.

And another thing, just to make sure you don't miss it - this game is only available via mail order. That means you have to send some money off in the post and then receive the game back through the post. You can't just walk into your nearest Electronics Boutique or whatever and expect it to be on the shelf. It won't be. See?


A NICE SPELL Like that week we had back in June (That was a nice spell.), Tin Toy has four spells, but they're like magical spells. Here is what they are, in fact. You don't get many, but you can find refills as you go around.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
INFLATE
When you want to reach something above you, but you can't jump up to it, invoke this spell and you can float up into the air for a short time. It looks like Linda after one too many bottles of Hooch.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
HAT
When you want to cross a body of water, or an area of spikes, invoke this spell and a big hat appears to carry you across. You have to be quick, though, because the hat starts to move as soon as it appears and you have to jump on quickly.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
WHIRLWIND
This spell spins you across the landscape quickly. It's good for whizzing through baddies too, but no good for whizzing across spikes because it doesn't work. Like all spells, the whirlwind doesn't last long; be warned.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
SMART BOMB
Invoke this and kill all the baddies on the screen. Just like a good Smart Bomb should. Oddly, the actual process involves Tin Toy removing his hat and a load of stars go shooting around the screen, killing baddies.


Ein Zinnsoldat auf Abwegen

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure logo AGA

Nicht überall wo Adventure draufsteht, ist auch ein solches drin: Bei diesem Einstandswerk des neuen Softwarehauses Mutation wird trotz des abenteuerlichen Titels über bonbonbunte AGA-Plattformen gehüpft.

Hier von einer Mogelpackung zu reden, wäre dennoch etwas weit hergeholt - zumal die Amiga-Plattformen inzwischen längst nicht mehr so überlaufen sind wie noch vor zwei Jahren und somit ja wieder Bedarf für hochklassige Hüpficals besteht.

Als gemogelt könnte man da ebenso gut unseren einleitenden Hinweis auf den Debütcharakter dieses kunterbunten Geschicklichkeitstests bezeichnen, denn in derr neuen Spielküche Mutation steht ein alter Bekannter am Herd: Adrian Cummings hat das Genre der Jump & Runs im Auftraf von Core Design bereits un so bekannte Titel wie "Doodlebug" und "Cyberpunks" bereichert.

An einschlägiger Erfahrung dürfte es also kaum gemangelt haben, als die englischen Mutanten sich daran machten, die Rettung des (laut Vorgeschichte) allseits beliebten Spielhauses in Angriff zu nehmen.

Dort hat nämlich ein bitterböser Clown die Kontrolle an sich gerissen, weshalb der Spieler nun einem wackeren Blechsoldaten bei seinem heroischen Kampf mit angreifenden Quietschenten und ähnlich erschreckende Monstrositäten beistehen soll.

Das zu bewältigende Gebäude teilt sich dabei in fünf optisch grundverschiedene, aber jeweils in drei Abschnitte zerhackte Szenarien auf. Dazu kommt noch je ein vierter Mini-Level, in dem der örtliche Endgegner haust. Die dicken Brocken sind hier übrigens in der Tat ganz schöne Brummer, haben jedoch allesamt nur sehr ähnliche Strategien auf der Pfanne.

Das Abenteuer des sprungstarken Blechoffiziers beginnt in einem vorwiegend nach links sowie etwas nach oben und unten scrollenden Wald, wo er sich gleich mal gegen Hornissen, taumelnde Tomaten oder Wandelnde Birnen warm-kämpfen kann.

Noch einen tick gefährlicher ist dann das Schlemmerland, denn hier laufen nicht nur diverse Lebensmittel und vielerrlei Besteckteile Amok, sondern man muss sich darüber hinaus etwa vor den Flammen eines Gasherdes in acht nehmen.

Das angrenzende Kinderzimmer ist angefüllt mit irregeleiteten Toys aller Rassen und Klassen, und wie kaum anderes zu erwarten, präsentiert sich auch das nachfolgende Bad von seiner unsauberen Seite: Zahnbürsten wie Duschbäder stellen hier ein völlig verqueres Verständnis von Körperpflege zur Schau.

Last but not least verschlägt es unseren Helden dann noch in die finstere Dachkammer, wo ebenfalls thematisch passende Gegnerr ihr Unwesen treiben - allen voran die Kamikaze-Fledermäuse im Gebälk.

Wie ist es nun aber um die Gegenwehr bestellt? Nicht übel, denn zunächst einmal lässt sich nahezu jeder Angreifer durch ein gekonnten Kopfsprung aus der bahn werfen. Genauso bei "Mario" geklaut sind die in unbegrenzterr Anzahl mitgeführten Wurfsterne, die hüpfend jedes Ziel anstreben und beiseiteräumen.

Wer fleissig die in der Gegend verteilten Boni sammelt, steigert noch die Durchschlagskraft dieser Kinder-Shurikens oder maximiert den Vorrat an jederzeit einsetzbaren Extras. Da hätten wir z.B. Zusatzleben, Smarbombs oder einen Hut, der selbstständig voranläuft und den Weg freimacht.

Andere Icons füllen die Energiereserven des Blechkumpels auf oder lassen ihn zum vorübergehend unbesiegbaren Wirbelsturm mutieren. Noch hübscher sind Gimmicks wie trompetende Elefantenkatapulte, Trampolin-Helikopter oder Tasten und Schmetterlinge, die den Hauptdarsteller über sonst unpassierbare Säurebäder hinweg tragen.

Weniger witzig fanden wir dagegen unfaire Einlagen wie ohne Vorwarnung herabfallende Äste - schon weil die Anzahl der Bildschirmleben zwar im Optionsmenü zwischen drei und fünf selbst bestimmt werden darf, jedoch weder Continues noch Levelcodes zu entdecken waren.

Ein weiteres Manko ist der kleine Bildausschnitt, durch den herannahende Gefahren oft nicht rechtzeitig erkennbar und Sprünge ins Ungewisse oft unausweichbar sind. Hier wäre es sicherlich von Vorteil gewesen, würde sich der Screen beim Ducke n oder Strecken der Spielfigur etwas in die entsprechende Richting verschieben und so Ausblick auf nicht einsehbare Abschnitte gewähren.

Sei's drum, durch die Spezialisierung der Grafikengine auf A1200 und A4000 ist das, was zu sehen ist, immerhin sehr hübsch geraten: Das Parallaxscrolling in drei Ebenen wird nur selten von Ruckeln geplagt und schiebt detailliert gestaltete Schauplätze in das Blickfeld des Betrachters. Liebevolle Hintergrundanimationen wie Wasserkräuseln oder Fontänen erfreuen das Auge dabei ebenso wie die grossen Sprites; selbst wenn deren Animation nicht eben also ausnehmend genial zu bezeichnen ist.

Besonders gut gelungen ist die aus adäquaten Effekten und vielen fetzigen Musikstücken bestehende Soundkulisse. Auch die Handhabung bietet keinen Anlass zur Klage - wenn man einmal davon absieht, dass die Steuerung keinen zweiten Button an Pad oder Stick kennt, der (einfache) HD-Installationsvorgang nur im Readme-File auf der Diskette erklärt wird und im Floppy-Betrieb keine Zweitlaufwerke Unterstützung finden.

Was unter dem Strich bleibt, ist ein zwar wenig originelles, aber um so spielbareres Jump & Run, dessen liebevolle Gestaltung über alle kleinen Ungereimtheiten hinwegsehen lässt. Selbst wenn, oder vielleicht gerade weil Zinnsoldaten heutzutage kaum noch Abenteuer in echten Kinderzimmern zu bestehen haben... (rl)



Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure logo AGA

If length of name were genius this game would be Einstein. It isn't.

AMIGA POWER is often and increasingly accused of being overly harsh in its game reviews. "Why oh why," moan our detractors, "do you insist on being so tough on all the games you review when the Amiga market thoroughly needs all the help it can get?" The reason is simple, vacuous ones. Shamelessly recommending poor games to the people you want to support the Amiga is the wrong way of doing things.

When somebody gets home with a game they've been told is great and opens it up to find that it's a sub-standard, out-dated, startlingly unimaginative piece of repackaged shareware that are being produced for the likes of the PC and the Playstation and they not surprisingly, want to have games like that. And with the Amiga they can. The best Amiga games stand shoulder to shoulder with the best games on any other format. But only the best.

So we'll never recommend a game for the 'good of the market', we'll recommend a game ONLY it it's any bloody good and rot otherwise. That's what we've always done. That's what we'll always do.

Which brings us to Tin Toy In The House Of Fun Adventure, giggling nervously as it waits in the wings of the Amiga theatre, swallowing dryly as it peeks through the cracks in the curtain at the stern-lacee AMIGA POWER sitting in the front row of the audience. Will it please? Will it fail? The is only one way to find out.

Remembering Marge Simpson's timeless advice it pushes all the hurt, pain and uncertainty way down as far as it will go and puts on a happy smile. Tin Toy In The House Of Fun Adventure, steps onto the stage.

Tin Toy is a good-looking game, bright, colourful backgrounds and sprites abound; it is a classic platform game. There are monsters to be avoided, power-ups to be collected, secret rooms a-plenty and end of level-bosses to defeat. Your charming character can fire little sparks out of his body to kill monsters and he moves pleasantly enough.

Best of all there are four spells that your little tin man knows which are explained in the panel. These add greatly to the tactical thinking required to complete a level as you wonder which to use and which to conserve. On top of all this there is the usual ridiculous plot (although pleasingly featuring an evil clown in place of the more obvious baddies).

Tin Toy is a fun game and you immediately feel at home when you plug in a joystick and play. The idea of the platform game is so firmly established that it feels cosy to be playing another one on the Amiga, a cosiness borne from warm familiarity. The challenge is sufficient, the action fast enough. Tin Toy is a fun game.


Down as far as it will go

HOWEVER
Regular readers of AMIGA POWER will recall Kangaroo Court, a series of ten columns which ran between AP38 and AP47, in which we revealed the kind of things that really annoy us in games. The first five of these tough tests are relevant to Tin Toy. It fails every one of them.

Firstly, it prints up "Loading Please Wait" in between each level reminding us that this is not a fantastic world in which we are an absorbed major player. THIS IS ONLY A COMPUTER GAME. Grr.

Secondly, it has invisible killers in the form of 'leaps of faith': You stand on the edge of a platform, you cannot see what lies below. You must leap blindly. Nine times out of ten you land somewhere safe but (wait for it) every so often you land somewhere deadly AND DIE. Aha ha ha.

Thirdly, it has bloody annoying slippy-slidey bits. WHAT IS THE POINT? Cretins.

Fourthly, it does not recognise the second disk drive. But as you only need to swap disks once in a game, I'll forgive it that.

Fifthly IT USES UP TO JUMP. "Ah" says the programmer, "I needed to do that so that I could use the fire button for the little stars that shoot out and kill monsters." Pah, I retort give me a keyboard option then, or support a two-button joystick. Oaf.

So Tin Toy is a cutesie, fun platformer that is nearly spoiled by the incredible blindness of the programmer to some of the most basic player-friendliness. I say nearly spoiled because despite these painful failings I still enjoyed playing Tin Toy. It is cheap and enjoyable and comes with a cautious recommendation.


SAW ME IN HALF The only vaguely original feature of Tin Toy is the spells that you can cast to make your character do unusual things. There are four of these and you collect refills as you go around.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
INFLATE
Blow yourself up and you float high into the air. Handy for getting to secret rooms and over water. Or frightening small children.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
HAT
My personal favourite. Create a walking top hat that can be used as a temporary, mobile platform. Stylish and practical.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
WHIRLWIND
Transform yourself into an invulnerable whirling dervish. This spell is best preserved for end-of-level bosses.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
SMART BOMB
Whip out your hat, mutter the incantation and some deadly stars will appear that hunt out your on-screen enemies.



Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure logo AGA

Price: £14.99 Developer/Publisher: Mutation Software 01705 672616

Tin Toy might sound like an unlikely name for a platform hero, but here he is...

Man alive! Do you know what you've done Mr Adrian Cummings of Mutation Software? You've made an old games reviewer happy that's what. Here was I thinking 'not another cheap game from hell' when Lisa handed me the disks and a deadline. I left it until last thing that day, thinking that I would take a look at it just before going home - it wouldn't need much time before writing off. How wrong I was: three hours later I went home, shocked, stunned and happy.

The hackneyed reviewing word 'gem' is what I would most happily use to describe Tin Toy. Here's a game selling mail order, direct from the programmer that is well worth its £14.99 and probably more. Two years ago a major publisher would have taken this game on, tweaked it here and there (if they were worth their salt) and released it as full price punter bait. And it would have sold too, in droves. Which is what I hope it does now.

But enough adulation, what's it all about? Well the plot contains all the usual platform fodder; evil madman (in this case a clown); good guys lured to the dark side by said evil-bent circus japester (in this case tomatoes, pears, sausages, toy helicopters, pencils - you name it in the house and garden stakes), and end of level bosses themed to their level; the garden has a spider and the kitchen has a massive burger (both seem to have been infected with mad cow disease).

House of fun
The adventure takes place in and around a house, hence the rather strange objects. You start off in the garden and then progress through the kitchen, the playroom and so on. The objects on each level are thus themed. The garden has its fruit, wasps, flowers and trees, the kitchen has its gas rings, its beans, its tomato ketchup and its veg and the playroom has pencils, toy dragons and choppers.

Score is built up by collecting the score bonus stars scattered liberally throughout the screens by shooting and killing all enemies and by discovering hidden sub levels littered with both. You can also pick up weapon power ups, spells (see separate boxout), health replenishment (in the shape of little cans of oil) and life bonuses.

There is a power bar at the top of the screen and it only takes four or five contacts with the enemy to lose a life, so if you're not careful and you don't pick up all your bonuses the game will end quickly.

In the options menu at the beginning you can increase the amount of lives at your disposal and you can also increase the amount of spells you start off with. The standard for the former is three lives, increasable to five, while you can start off with up to three of each spell.

Difficulties
There are some problems with the game through. I feel that Mutation has been just a little too liberal with its killing regime. Jumping can sometimes be a leap of faith and some bits become just a bit too frustrating of this. Also the main weapon shoots in different ways depending o where you are; uphill, downhill etc, which means that some targets are frustratingly difficult to hit without backtracking or running all over the gaff.

Another weapon problem is that the spells take time to conjure up and if an enemy hits you during this process the spell stops forming. This isn't too bad in itself, but you also lose the spell, diminishing the amount you have. This is annoying.

Finally on the complaints front, and I've had this complaint about many platformers before, when you get killed you go straight back to the beginning of the level again, no matter how far on you are: and there is no facility to go back to a later level using codes or saves either.

But overall the execution is simply excellent for a new £14.99 game. Reading the press bumf (which I only did after playing the game for some time) I found out that the developer had previously done work for the likes of Core Design, and this experience shows.

The overall feel is very professional. Mutation has managed to treat an essentially silly subject in such a way that it will appeal to games fans of all ages. Look how stupid the ideas of a hedgehog or a plumber are: but yet Sonic or Mario are major brand names. Tin Toy isn't quite in this league yet: it lacks a truly great feel, but if Adrian Cummings continues its development I'm very much looking forward to Tin Toy 2. Keep 'em coming.


Danger!
The following is a quick selection of dangerous objects and enemies for your delectation.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure PEARS
They may be tasty in real life but in a game like this they are more likely to sting you for some life.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure SYCAMORE SEEDS
Difficult to spot, but these parachuting devils can become a real pain in the bonce.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure SPIKES
It's obvious really, but if Tin Toy falls on spikes like this he will lose some life.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure WASPS
Nasty things at the best of times, the only solution for these insects in a couple of lethal stars.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure TINS OF BEANS
Flinging beans of doom at regular intervals, you've got to get in close to polish these off.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure FRANKFURTERS
Revenge of the sausage! In a cruel twist of fate, these smoked demons fling forks at you.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure HELICOPTERS
Difficult to shoot down, hitting the rotors will cause instant pain and possible loss of life.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure PENCILS
What could be less threatening than a pencil? Wrong! They're sharp and dangerous.
Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure A BURGER
This boss from the end of the second level emits bouncing pieces of onion for your discomfort.

Magic Objects and weapons
As well as a star gun (or something - it's not clear where this weapon emanates from) Tin Toy has a little store of magic weapons to aid him on his journey. These can be replenished by picking up symbols along the way. A large collection of these spells will enable our ferrous friend to beat end of level bosses and cover vicious sausage and deadly canned beans populated territories with more ease.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
The star gun
Being a toy from Alec here is naturally equipped with a star gun, as all toys are (don't you know anything?). It's a lobbing weapon of sorts and thus aim has to be udged carefully. It can be powered up to a big star weapon if you're lucky enough to pick up an icon marked P. It has unlimited shots too, which is just as well because I had unlimited misses.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
Fat Floater
This 'Floating Toy' power-up inflates Metallic Mickey to gigantic proportions, enabling him to pull Richard Branson-like balloon stunts, flying over difficult terrain or capturing out of reach score bonuses and magic symbols. Like Mr Branson he doesn't tend to stay up for long though.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
Top Hat Travel
Releasing your top hat to run amok has two advantages. Firstly Tiny Tin can jump onto this oversized Barnet garment which then will carry him smiling along to the right of the screen until it runs out of power. Secondly it will polish off the clown's evil spawn should they get in the way.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
Whirlwind Taz Impression
Being a toy the tin one obvioulsy doesn't have to worry about getting dizzy, which is handy becauyse this spinning weapon can be well hard against superior numbers of the enemy and is especially usueful for polishing off end of level baddies. If he injures himself it stops though.

Tin Toy in the House of Fun Adventure
Not so smart weapon
A true magic weapon this: triggering it sends a quintet of rabbits up in the air, escaping from Tin Toy's hat. These will damage the enemy. The problem is that even though called 'Smart', it's not really. Unless I'm blind or something. Like all magic spells it takes time to cast and if the enemy hits you while you're charging up, you lose the spell.