Titus the Fox logo

BONG! Mortgage rates hit a new high! BONG! Marilyn the infamous singing hamster hits the top of the pop charts! BONG! Famous reporter Foxy Fox kidnapped by Arab sheikh!
Foxy Fox, ages 23, a reporter for the popular magazine Fox and Locks, has disappeared while on the trail of a story in the Sahara desert. Although the Shah Hassan, aged 46, a regular reader of the publication and a public admirer of Foxy, denies all knowledge of the incident, it is rumoured that the Arab business man is behind her disappearance.

Earlier today we spoke to Foxy's fiancee, 21-year--old Titus, who believes his betrothed is being held in the harems of the Shah. Titus will tomorrow morning be on his way to the desert to rescue his sweetheart from a life of slavery and torment in the desert heat. We all wish him the best of luck in his quest. Goodnight.

This is the scenario for the new release from Titus, aptly named Titus The Fox. The game starts in Titus' home town, which is a pretty rough place by all accounts. It seems that the only people in the streets are contract killer hired by Foxy's kidnappers to put paid to our hero's rescue attempt.

Titus has to work his way through the town either by skillfully avoiding all his enemies, or by picking up various objects left around the place in highly inconvenient places, and lob them at his foes. Failing that, Titus can actually pick up an enemy to throw at a member of his own side.

Go east
Titus' trip takes him from his home town to the eastern city of Marrakech and back again. A journey consisting of 16 levels of irritation, simply because you get so annoyed with the delicate nature of the control system. One pixel out and you miss that essential platform, or get whacked by a trashcan with a mallet.

Most of the levels involve scooting past your enemies to get to the other side of the screen. You aren't given a clue of where you're meant to be going. Instead, the screen just locks up for a few seconds when you get there, and Titus is magically transported to the next level.

Very similar in both its look and feel to Titus's previous release, The Blues Brothers, this is a platform romp around a toon-like world. Titus The Fox could have you hooked after a couple of plays, just because the central character is so incredibly cute. He's way up in the ranks along with the Kiwis, Bubs, Bobs and Robocods of this world, with his fluffy red fur and the adorable way he crawls underneath obstacles.

What happens while playing is you fight your way through all the annoying bits, then come across a neat little feature which almost lets you forgive it of its faults. For instance, the look on an enemy's face if you manage to pick him up is well-worth taking the trouble to see, and bouncing on springy balls to leap over tall obstacles is great fun when you finally get it right.

Running around the levels there are various special objects and forms of transport for you to pick up to help you on your way. There's a magic flying carpet, springs, bowling balls and a golden scooter, to name but a few. These are usually quite hard to reach but the benefits can be well worth the trouble.

Get loaded
One of the niggly things is that it takes so long to load. After every level it goes through the loading process all over again, including loading the same music and sound effects for the umpteenth time. The music fits the gameplay wll, it has a nice bouncy feel, with the sound effects matching the gameplay to a tee.

Titus The Fox could have been well worth playing if it wasn't for the control system and the immense loading time. With a bit more effort on everybody's part it would have been a classic - as it stands this is just yet another cutie platform game.



Titus the Fox logo

Foxinchen ist verschwunden! Für eine Reportage war sie extra in die Sahara gereist, nur um dort von einem Wüstenfuchs gekidnappt zu werden. Wie, das interessiert Euch nicht? Na, Ihr seid ja auch nicht mit ihr verlobt...

Ganz anders sieht das bei unserm Titus aus: Der ist nämlich ihr Verlobter und kann es deshalb kaum erwarten, bis er endlich die sechzehn Level zwischen sich und seiner Angebeteten durchhüpft und leergesammelt hat. Nur ein weiteres Jump & Run also? Was heißt da nur? In puncto Gameplay ziehen sich sowohl Titus der Fuchs als auch Titus der Hersteller sehr ordentlich aus der Affäre. Und das ist es doch, was zählt, nicht, daß die Story etwa so originell ist wie das Telefonbuch von Schweinfurt. Solange nur das Gameplay stimmt, retten wir gerne alles - von der Prinzessin bis zur entführten Fuchs-Reporterin!

Losgehen tut's noch relativ simpel, die ersten drei Level sind nur zum Aufwärmen da, dann wird's langsam knifflig. Während man anfangs höchstens das eine oder andere Extra übersieht, wenn man einfach schnurstracks zum Levelausgang am rechten Rand läuft, führt derart überstürztes Verhalten in den höheren Spielabschnitten oft direkten Wegs in eine Sackgasse. Da sitzt man dann und meditiert vielleicht über seine drei Bildschirmleben - oder über die eine Kiste, sie man vorhin hätte mitnehmen sollen, um mit ihrer Hilfe über diesen doofen Zaun zu kommen...

Gottlob kann man stets bis zum Ausgangspunkt zurückgehen, aber das nützt natürlich nicht mehr viel, wenn man bereits sämtliche Gegenstände sinnlos verheizt, sprich, irgendwelchen Gegnern an den Kopf geworfen hat. Viel zu spät merkt man dann, daß Sprungfedern eben auch zum Springen sehr praktisch sind, und daß sich Kisten sehr Wohl auch zum Stapeln und Draufklettern verwenden lassen.

Überhaupt wimmelt es hier von interessanten Sammel-Objekten, wie fliegenden Teppichen, Skateboards, Öllämpchen (verraten den Levelcode) und Diamanten für Extraenergie und -leben. Einen Score im herkömmlichen Sinn gibt es hingegen nicht, dafür eine kleine Statusstatistik zwischen den einzelnen Abschnitten, geheime Bonuskammern und über 50 verschiedene Gegner, manche davon sehr geschickt getarnt als Mülltonne zum Beispiel.

Apropos Gegner & Geschick: Die Joysticksteuerung erlaubt auch einen Kriechgang" und sogar Gegnerweitwurf!

Überhaupt ist die witzige Comic-Grafik sehr hübsch animiert und vor allem sehr abwechslungsreich. Sanft und multidirektional scrollen schäbige Vorortstraßen, gepflegte Parks und ölhaltige Wüstenlandschaften vorbei, insgesamt wurden etwa 900 Screens auf die Disk gepackt. Das orientalisch angehauchte Begleitgedudel ist dagegen nicht so das Gelbe, genau wie die (ebenfalls abschaltbaren) Sound-FX.

Die Musikuntermalung hat uns beim Vorhüpfer "Blues Brothers" wesentlich besser gefallen, das Game-Design macht jedoch hier den ausgereifteren Eindruck. Kurz, bei Titus the Fox geht wortwörtlich der Fuchs ab! (C. Borgmeier)



Titus the Fox logo

And they say the French are weird! The groovy new Titus The Fox seems to have generated a similar sort of oddness in the AMIGA POWER reviewing department...

One quiet day in the AMIGA POWER offices.
Mark: Hey Stuart, have you seen this? It's that groovy new Titus The Fox game from Titus. Waddya reckon then?
Stuart: Hmm. Looks a bit like The Blues Brothers to me.
Mark: Yeah, but look at that central character. That fox is just sooo cute.
Stuart: Well, yes - but how many games have we seen recently with a really cute fox in them, but no gameplay?
Mark: True, true. I guess the proof will be in the playing. I think you're right about the similarity with The Blues Brothers - I just hope it's better than that. For some reason that game did nothing for me - it just didn't feel or look right.
Stuart: Hey, that's fighting talk where I come from - Blues was one of the games of the year as far as I'm concerned! Still, Titus are confidently claiming this IS even better. One French mag even called it 'The new reference for all types of platform games'.
Mark: Wow, that's no small claim. Let's load it up and see if they're right...!

SOME TIME LATER...
S: Bloody hell, it's a bit tricky, innit?
M: Too right. But I like a game with a bit frustration in it. It's nice to be jumping to joy one minute, then punching the walls in frustration the next.
S: Yeah, but that's enough about your private life. Don't you get just a little bit too annoyed with it sometimes? (The game, that is, not your private life.)
M: No, I wouldn't say so. I think you need to relax a little more Stuart. I mean, just look at those graphics.
S: I can see them - I'm getting so laid back I'm looking straight at the ceiling.
M: Oh boy. Sure, graphics aren't everything. But when a slick, mean thing looks like this, I think we're talking a bit of a winner.
S: Actually, I can't argue with you there at all. It's a lush looker and no mistake, and it's all incredibly fast and smooth too. In fact, some people might even find it a bit TOO fast...

M: (Now who's talking about their private life?) You thought Harlequin was a bit of a classic last month. How do you reckon this compares?
S: Like a double decker bus compares to a 64-piece dinner service. They're really completely different types of game. Titus is a pure arcade game, with a bit of object manipulation but none of the depth of Harlequin's puzzle-solving adventurama.

A GAME RIDDLED WITH HOLES?
M: Hey, I see what you mean about some of those tricky bits, though. It's a mighty good job they included that option to slow everything down. You know, the...
Matt Bielby: Stop slagging off Magic Pockets!
S: Who let him in? Seriously though, it can be a real boon in some of the nastier bits to take things at half the pace, especially when you're on your last couple of bits of energy with a restart point just ahead.
Actually, that's another one of the game's good points - restarts are scattered pretty liberally through the levels, usually just after the toughest bits, so at least you don't have to keep doing them over and over again. The password system is quite innovative too, giving you a code for each level, but hiding it away somewhere within the level itself so that you have to go exploring if you want it.
M: Yeah, the restart points are cool, particularly with that loading system.

S: Oh God, don't talk to me about that loading system! I'm not sure why it should take such an eternity to load each level (especially some of the really short ones at the start), and it's a bit ridiculous to have to load the music and sound effects in every time as well.
M: At least there's not much else to pick fault with presentation-wise. I wish they'd use the full screen, though. I'm sick of games which cater for the smaller American display. Still, mustn't grumble.
The size of and variation between the levels is something else. There's a real feeling of progression in there - and that's enough to make you want to push on, to see what's next.
S: You're right there. In a way the game reminds me of Hudson Hawk in that respect - indeed in almost every respect come to that. The critical difference here, though, is in the playability.
M: Mmm, I know what you mean. Hudson could have been such a winner if it hadn't been for that horrible control. The fox is just so versatile, though. I love the way that the nasties can be picked up, and then used as weapons against the other bad guys. Sheer genius.
S: Bitch of a thing to actually do, though. Titus could do with being just a fraction more forgiving when it comes to precise positioning. Still, it does add to the slapstick knockabout feel of the thing.

M: Which reminds me - what's the difference between Matt Bielby and a computer?
S: I don't know, what IS the difference between Matt Bielby and a computer?
M: You only have to punch the information into the computer once!
S: Boom! Boom! (I'm glad you said that and not me, though, I like my job).
M: I haven't laughed so much since last Friday's edition of Whose Line Is It Anyway...
S: ...especially that totally brilliant taxidermist sketch! The way that American comic just sa there, completely immobile, not responding to anything at all. In fact, it was just like...

Matt B: Look, I've told you two already, stop slagging off Magic Pockets! And get on with the review.
M: Oh yeah. You know, there's something about the underground sub-levels that reminds me of Rick Dangerous. Except this isn't crap.
S: Don't talk to me about Rock Dangerous...
M: Don't worry, I think Rick Dangerous is about as much fun as the totally overrated Xenon 2.
S: Or Kick Off 2.

M: Solidarity, brothers. Ooops, we better get back to the review (again). So, final scores on the doors for you, Stuart. Did the earth move?
S: Are you kidding? I thought I was playing in Sensurround (tm).
M: I'm not sure if I'd rate it as a classic. But for instant kicks, I reckon Titus is nearly up there with Parasol Stars.
S: I don't really think there's much point in comparing them, to be honest. This doesn't have the immediate appeal - the first levels are so short and simple, and the loading pauses between them so enormous, that you need a fair amount of self-discipline not to be completely put off at the beginning. Get past the first couple of stages, though, and you're faced with levels so big and demanding that you'll be irresistibly drawn into a serious long-term challenge.
M: Mmm, maybe you're right. I've got a sneaky feeling we'll be playing Titus way into the summer, and maybe beyond. One thing's for sure though.
S: What's that, Mark?
M: They'll never let us do another review like this.


THE FREAKS AND FIENDISH FOES WHO WANT TO SEE TITUS' FUR FLYING...

Titus the Fox: Freaks & Fiendish Foes Not everyone loves our foxy little hero. In fact, it sometimes seems there's no end to the bad guys who don't want him to rescue his sweetheart in Marrakech.

And whadaya know, but here're some of them now. Only some, mind - this is just a small selection of the bad dudes, evil animals and vicious monsters out to thwart our bushy-tailed pal. What they didn't count on, though, was young Titus being cunning as a, um, fox - he can actually pick up some of his adversaries and throw them around(!), using them as weapons against the other bad guys.


Titus the Fox logo CU Amiga Screenstar

After the super-slick success of The Blues Brothers, French outfit Titus are back with another jump 'n' run extravaganza. This time, though, the action centres around the exploits of the rascally old fox who graces Titus's logo as he sets out to rescue his kidnapped girly from the unspeakably evil Shah Hassan. And, naturally enough, all sorts of villains, henchmen, thugs and sword-wielding maniacs are out to tan his hide in the process.

In all, there are 15 levels to complete (plus a kiss 'n' cuddle end screen), each offering a different graphical theme. For instance, some levels are set in the grimy backstreets of Marrakech and come complete wit overflowing sewers, rabid dogs, drunken bums and patrolling thugs.

Others are set in the sandy dunes of the Sahara, on building sites, deep in subterranean caverns, or amongst the bedouin campsites of nomadic tribesmen. The in-game tune also attempts to instill the proceedings with a suitably Arabic flavour, but proves to be mildly irritating instead.

Each of the assorted nasties has a particular attack-pattern. Most annoying are the buzzing bees which stick to you like glue and rapidly sap your energy until death awaits.

To replenish any lost energy, there are health icons dotted around each level (often in incredible inaccessible areas) and these offer a much-needed shot in the arm. There's also a level code at the start of each area and a padlock icon which acts as a restart point should Titus lose a life.

The joystick controls allow Titus to crawl along the ground, jump over obstacles (and change direction mid-jump), and speed along the ground at a fair old rate. Speed is the key here as the player is given control over the rate at which the game plays.
Pressing F10 halves the game's speed, and although Titus's speed is reduced to that of a nailed-down slug, it makes hopping across platforms.

Help is also given via a series of objects which are scattered throughout the game. These include a spring to reach inaccessible parts of the game, and a bowling ball to flatten on-coming nasties. There's also an airborne magic carpet, a skateboard ad a scooter to speed up your progress - of these, though, the best is the skateboard which allows you flatten anyone who gets in your way. A neat touch to an already well-crafted game.

Fighting off the bumbling nasties is affected by throwing bottles, boxes, bins and other such objects at the oncoming hordes. Lob one of these in the direction of the said nasties and they'll invariably leap off the screen with an angry scowl across their faces.

Be careful not to get clobbered by your own missile, though, or you'll end up seeing stars and losing much-needed energy. After all, although there are unlimited continues for each level, you're limited to three lives, so be careful out there... If you're feeling particularly cocky, though, it's also possible to sneak up behind an adversary, pick 'em up and throw them instead!

There's very little to criticise about Titus The Fox. In super-fast mode the scrolling becomes slightly jerky if there are more than four sprites on screen, and the slower option also suffers from staccato scrolling. The sprite detection is also dodgy in places which is always annoying in a platform game. Still, these points fade into insignificance when compared to its many plus points.

Fox hunting may not be very fashionable at the moment, but that hasn't stopped Titus constructing an entire game around it. Titus The Fox is easily their best platform game yet. It's a joy to play and offers more of a challenge than the usual jump 'n' run games due to its cunning puzzles and the sheer variety of enemy sprites on the prowl.
There are more than 900 screens in total which will keep even the most experienced games-player engrossed for weeks.


PLATS ENTERTAINMENT
After the runaway success and critical acclaim lavished on their Blues Brothers licence, Titus immediately commissioned another in-house team to design a follow-up. Titus The Fox is the result of all their hard work. Such is the competition between the French company's in-house teams, though, that the Blues Brothers coders promptly started work on a new, improved sequel - which is rumoured to be farr superior to any other Amiga platformer, and should be ready by the end of the year.
TUNNEL VISION There are a number of hidden bonus rooms and secret passages on each level as well as a number of puzzles to overcome. These include a devilish network of underground tunnels on one level with many passages leading to lava pits or dead-ends - at the time of writing this review I'm still well and truly stuck on this level (thirteen). Mapping skills definitely come in handy! Other puzzles include negotiating seemingly impossible obstacles or retrieving objects for use at later points in the game.

Titus the Fox logo Zero Hero

He's small, he's cute, he's speedy... and he's definitely not a hedgehog. He's also named after a rather weird French software company but lives in Essex. Amaya Lopez hounded him down.

Next time you're out doing a spot of fox-hunting, spare a thought for the poor unfortunate beast fleeing from both horses and hounds. It may well be that you're just about to let your dogs loose on a rather canny fox by the name of Titus. If so, it's time to forget about that fox fur you've been hankering after these ten years. (Of course, f you can't wait any longer for that vital accessory, you can avoid the polite 'how do you do?'chit-chat, plead ignorance and have him mauled to death, Titus or no Titus).

However, presuming that you've opted for the more human approach, the next stage is 'getting to know your fox'. Offer him a quick snort of the contents of your hip-flask and he'll be away, telling you his whole life-story, not to mention the intricacies of his private life. You'll glean that he's got himself sorted all right. A nice two-bedroom semi in Essex, a live-in girlfriend with a huge rock on her paw, and a Ford Capri with furry dice and a rather fetching sunstrip. Oh yes, he's well and truly set up.

But all is not well with Titus. His chick has been kidnapped by bandits on a business trip to the Sahara desert. What on earth was she doing there, when she could have been languishing in her Romford home, you may well ask? Well, Foxy happens to work for a reputable magazine, Fox And Locks, and she was sent out to the Sahara Desert on an assignment to investigate a very rare species - the desert fox.

Then one night, during a nocturnal photo session (oo-er), she was whisked away to be kept as an unwilling concubine in the harem of the knights of Shah Hassan. So Titus' mission (if you decide to let him go) will be to penetrate 16 fiendish levels and secret rooms in a desperate attempt to rescue his foxy chick.

Amiga reviewAmaya: Titus The Fox is a funny old stick - lashings of Blues Brothers gameplay, topped with a layer of speedy, spikey Soncnes. Even curiouser is the fact that this combination works a treat.

For starters, the game is massive: 16 levels to keep you up well into the early hours. The layout of the game is very Blues Brothersy. Some of the sprites, like the ghosts and mummies, even wear fetching dude-ish shades.

As for the levels themselves, they 're packed with variety, ranging from street and roof scenes to the French Metro, flaming catacombs, a perilous skyscraper and the Sahara desert. There are over 50 different types of enemy: filthy, spitting tramps, bees, wormy things, dogs, cats snake-charmers complete with snakes, ghosts, giant fish, heinous scorpions and camels, to name but a few.

But onto Titus himself. He's a super-speedy little tinker, who can jump, duck and crawl all over the shop. Unfortunately, he can't kill any nasties with his bare paws and, although the temptation to Super Mario them on the head is there, you'll have to rely on pick-upable objects to help you out.

These come in varying shapes and sizes: bottles, boxes, paint buckets and sacks. But the really fab pick-ups are things like Titus' skill skateboard, trolley thing, little portable trampoline stool, golden scooter and - fabbest of fab - his own magic carpet.

You're given four lives in total, but sometimes I found this wasn't quite enough, as some of the later levels require spot-on tiing and contain tricky puzzley bits. Thankfully, as you progress you get the chance to uncover the level codes and so avoid that tedious 'go all the way-back to the start' saga.

The graphics are rather brill, with a lot of attention to detail (such as the people in appartments calmly watching telly while Titus is fighting for his life), and the sound is pretty neat too - especially the 'middle eastern' sound-track. Titus The Fox is fast, cute, frighteningly addictive and superb fun. Stop