Mucking about on the river

Toobin' logo

WE'RE obviously not in the UK here, since one of the things that menaces your toober in this coin-op conversion ( can't say tuber ' cos that is a potato) is an alligator.
Mind you, as you float nonchalantly downstream you do get attacked by munching skulls and sea snakes, so it could be just about anywhere. And for Biff and Jet, the supercool tube dudes, this is too uncool to be real.

Some forward-thinking dude has left some six packs floating on the river. These make great ammunition for heading off the various critters that are bent on spoiling your day.
Fishermen and airgun fiends on the bank also respond to the old Budweiser treatment, but your ammo is strictly limited to what you can pick out of the water.

Your tube is a bit like AmigaDos - it needs to be patched from time to time. These patches are, in effect, the number of lives you have..
There are a few other useful objects floating about. There are bonus beach balls and treasure chests, and once in a blue moon you might happen upon a patch or two. Unfortunately there are far more rocks and branches in the water than there are bonuses, so you've got to be really careful with the steering.

For extra points you could try going though some gates for a bonus of up to 1,000 points. If you bounce off a gate, the bonus halves and the gate widens for you to try again. These, you might think, are just a slight interlude in the game. Actually, if you are legging behind and the big bad alligator is on your tail, negotiating a gate is the only way of shaking him.

Toobin' has been promised as a conversion for a very long time. This reviewer thinks it hasn't been worth the wait. Sure, there are some bits that aren't completely dreadful - every game has some good bits - but the whole isn't particularly great.

The title does have a good example of colour cycling in a fairly neatly waterfall, but the rest of the graphics are small and slow moving. Even though the screen is nearly full height, it's nowhere near wide enough, ad the scrolling is dead slow and stop.

It's got a nice tune, but then these days what hasn't? The stereo effects has been used well, with a great steel band sound throughout: it's certainly the only lively thing about the game.
The twin player option also suffers from the screen moving at the rate of the slowest player, at which rate the game gets naff PDQ.

The whole thing smells badly of a rush job. The original arcade game has plenty of potential for conversion, which the programmers have completely failed to take advantage of.


Toobin' logo

TENGEN DOMARK £24.99 Joystick

The Japanese are renowed for coming up with abstract, off-the-wall game ideas like bubble blowing dinosaurs in Bubble Bobble and the brothers Mario in their surreal world. The 'tubular dudes' are in keeping with the tradition: two dudes in tyre inner tubes paddling their way down rivers.

The dudes in question are Biff and Jet, supposedly on a hunt for the most outrageous party they can find: but it is more like scenes from Deliverance than a party. The rivers scroll vertically up the screen while the dudes paddle about in their tubes.
The tube control is awkward at first but a bit of practice make sit a very enjoyable method: paddling left or right spins in that direction, both together push the tube straight forward and you can also paddle backwards.

There you are playfully paddling when all sorts of uncool things start trying to puncture the tubes. Like, totally non-mellow man. There are different types of river section, each with their own hazards. The Yukon has icebergs and dive-bombing penguins, there is sewage and mines in a city stretch, even deadly skulls on a red Martian river.
There are lots of different obstacles on all the rivers: bushes, logs and rocks abound. On the banks there are fishermen, Eskimos, sphinxes and punks that hurl objects at you. The dudes are armed with cans to throw, that will remove or freeze all the dangers. However, there is a limited supply of cans and more have to be picked up floating in the river.
As well as the cans there are beach balls, treasure chests and patches to be picked up. Shooting bushes can also reveal these objects or letters to form the word Toobin'. The beach balls enhance control over the tube and the patches are used up every time something punctures it.
One constant threat is the alligator that appears at the top of the screen and pursues the dudes until they go through a points scoring gate or it catches them.
In between river sections there is a section of rapids that carries you automatically as do waterfalls that crop up in the middle of stages.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

It is not overly impressive graphically because everything is small. However, there are many characters in the stages, all detailed and animated. The tube-dudes themselves are probably the best part about it. Scrolling is smooth and varied in speed with the dudes.
The music is a lot of fun: mostly cheery, happy tunes that bopple along and in keeping the game's atmosphere, with eerie music for the Mars and swamp rivers.

JUDGEMENT

It is tricky to get to grips with the tube controls but their unusual nature and responsiveness is a boon in the long run. Simple gameplay makes it a lot of fun to start with, tailing off after a while because there is not much depth to it. The two-player game is more fun as the dudes compete for bonuses and bounce around.


Ab ins kühle Naß:

Toobin' logo

Seit geraumer Zeit beglückt "Domark" uns Amigianer mit immer neuen Umsetzungen von Atari-Automaten. Das jüngste Werk der Engländer verspricht ein feucht-fröhliches Vergnügen ganz besonderer Art!

Schon die Entstehungsgeschichte der Automatenversion hört sich einigermaßen kurios an: Atari hatte eigentlich vor, eine stinknormale Kajak-Simulation zu programmieren. Als besonderer Gag sollte anstelle des Steuerknüppels ein echtes Paddel an der Arcade-Maschine installiert werden, was sich jedoch produktions-technisch nicht realisieren ließ. Seither rauscht man mit einem Gummireifen anstatt des Kajaks den reißenden Strom hinab!

So auch bei der Amigaversion: Bif und Jet, zwei sonnen-bebrillte Jünglinge der Marke "extracool" treiben mit den Händen rudernd einen mit Strudeln und Stromschnellen gespickten Fluß entlang. Um das Punktekonto aufzustocken, müssen etliche Wildwasser-Tore durch schippert und verschiedene umher-schwimmende Gegenstände aufgesammelt werden.

Erschwert wird das Unterfangen durch zahlreiche groteske Gegner (Kamikaze-Pinguine, Aliens, Punker, etc.), bei deren Berührung dem Reifen die Luft ausgeht. Um sich zu verteidigen, wirft man den Viechern Coladosen an den Kopf, die in großer Zahl das Gewässer verschmutzen - wer keine Munition mehr hat, muß eben geschickt manövrieren, bis wieder Nachschub auftaucht.

Aber die Sache wird noch interessanter: Die Programmierer haben ein wenig bei "Out Run" abgeguckt und jede Menge Abzweigungen und Wasserfälle in die Strecken (Amazonas, Colorado, Nil und sogar ein Mars-Strom!) eingebaut, was für eine zusätzliche Portion Spielspaß und Abwechslung sorgt.

Auch für die Steuerung des Vehikels hat man sich etwas Besonderes einfallen lassen: Horizontale Stickbewegungen drehen den Reifen, während mit vertikalen Bewegungen beschleunigt, bzw. Abgebremst wird. Das ist zwar anfänglich etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, macht die Sache aber erst so richtig lustig! Ach ja - der berüchtigte Blechbüchsen-Wurf erfolgt natürlich per Feuerknöpfchen.

Das muß man den Jungs von Domark lassen, der Spielwitzt des Automaten kommt voll rüber! Besonders die Zwei-Spieler-Option macht höllichsc spaß, da man mit dem Partner gleichzeitig über den Schirm flitzt. Dafür ist die technische Seite nicht ganz befriedigend: Bei hoher Geschwindigkeit wird das Scrolling leicht ruckelig, außerdem hätten die Sprites getrost etwas detailfreudiger ausfallen können. Auch die Darstellung des Wassers durch das allseits bekannte Color Cycling ist nicht der Gipfel der Programmierkunst! Erfreulich hingegen: die vielen verschiedenen Musikstücke und die gelungenen Soundeffekte - zumindest akustisch ist das Game Spitzenklasse!

Gelegenheits-Gambler seien allerdings gewarnt: Toobin' ist bestimmt kein leichtest Spiel, daran ändern auch die drei Leben und der dreimalige Continue-Modus nichts! (Manuel Semino)


Toobin' logo

Tengen
Price: £19.99

One of the more original coin-ops to appear last year was Atari's Toobin', based on that decidedly uncommon sport of sitting in an old motor tyre and shooting down rivers. In this country that is probably about as healthy as drinking raw sewage given the state of our waterways, but that did not stop it being a cute idea for a game.
Toobin' turned out to be surprisingly playable. I remember the first item I saw it I nearly walked past because it looked like one of those children's novelty games. It is true there is nothing to obliterate, beat up or rip apart, but hey, give it a chance!

The idea behind Toobin' is for one or two players to guide their characters down the river, through rapid dangerous water, and unpleasant assailants to the end. One point automatically in its favour is that this provides you with the opportunity to play a black character should you want - something all too rare in gaming.
The hazards you will face en route are many and you will find yourself faced by thorny bushes, fallen trees floating across your path, and, later mines and submarines. On the bank fishermen cast rods with tyre piercing hooks, hunters fire guns indiscriminately and yobs lob bottles. Hang around too long trying to negotiate certain sections and a bloody great crocodile charges up behind you and takes a bit out of your inner tube. Nasty.

To ward off the nasties on the bank and clear obstacles from your path you can throw coke cans. Points are most easily accrued by directing your bather through the gates which are dotted around the course. If you make it through one cleanly you get the score that it shows; otherwise bumping into them will halve the amount each time. Negotiating a gate is a good way of getting rid of the croc, too.

Domark's conversion is pretty faithful to the original, although I would argue that it is a touch more frenetic than the arcade version. There is little time to dwell around, and lobbing coke cans - which takes care and accuracy can just be too time consuming. Graphically it is pretty and recognisable close to the arcade Toobin', although the flowing of the water, something rarely well reproduced in games is once again less than realistic. Sound is limited for the most part to spot effects, but there is a neat little steel band tune as the game loads.
Toobin' is prime conversion material and Domark have reproduced an arcade game that does justice to the original. It is fun and addictive to play, and whilst I do not see it threatening the bigger names (including their own Hard Drivin') for top chart positions I hope it does well. Aren't I nice?


Toobin' logo

Tengen, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

Two of the coolest tube-dudes around, Bif and Jet have set out down the river in two big tyres, searching for a party! In between this and them are some of the wildest, craziest and nastiest stretches of water around, and they've not even been privatised. Appearing on the riverbanks are Indians, irate fishermen, penguins, bottle-toting drunks, mad Arabs, hillbillies, Sphinx, skulls, and many other totally uncool squares who throw various objects at the heroes. The water itself is full of tube-bursting things like torpedoes, sewer slime, and twigs and branches.

Bif and Jet are armed up with cans of beer to throw at anything that comes at them. But how can they throw them with all that beer inside the cans? Simple, drink it first!!! Extra cans can be picked up along with bonus points and letters to make up the word TOOBIN for BIG bonus.

If Bif and Jet take too long to go down river, a croc surfaces and bursts the tube to convince them to move on. Paddling through gates temporarily keeps old green skin away. As the watery roads get trickier to negotiate, Bif and Jet have to fend off even weirder opponents as they paddle down the Amazon, smelly sewers, the Colorado river, Martian canals, and descend down the Styx. Must be one hell of a party at the end!!!


Phil King One of the strangest coin-ops around has been converted fairly well to both machines. The 64 version is the better of the two with some good graphics - I love the way Bif and Jet paddle like mad while trying to evade crocodiles etc.
The Amiga game is less impressive with bland use of colour and slower rate of play. However, both versions suffer from an eventual repetitiveness, as all the levels are much the same to play, varying only graphically.
Robin Hogg On the 64, Teque have done a good job capturing the humour of the coin-op, with humorous and fast graphics. The simplistic gameplay is very well recreated.
The Amiga version isn't as fast and as such is a little less enjoyable. Although the graphics have a good deal of variety about them, the typically superb detail of the Tengen coin-op is sadly lacking, the levels look similar in layout, and it can get boring after a while. It's also strange how the game's colours all look washed out. The music's quite good on both versions but overall don't expect anything outstanding.