Trolls logo

Remember when no exam hall was complete without the sight of desks full of ugly - masquerading as cute - little creatures, with button eyes and a vibrant tuft of hair, who went by the name of Trolls? Well, they are currently enjoying a revival, along with Abba and Thunderbirds.

In this game of the name, the idea is to dodge enemies in various guises while collecting a required number of baby trolls. Once you have found them, you must then find the pig stop where Pigasus, the mythical flying pig, will take you to the start of the next level. It is derivative of other platform games - but hell, if it is good, who cares?

Seven wonderful worlds
There are seven worlds, each with several levels. Each one must be completed to finish the game, but you can choose which order you play them in.

As you travel around there are various collectables - bonus points which can be picked up to increase your score, and balloons which burst on contact showering stars and prizes everywhere. You must collect these prizes before they fade. Some are merely bonus points, others are life-restoring hearts, and some have special properties which will enhance or degrade the power of your troll.

Some balloons contain letters, which can be collected to spell either 'bogus' or 'bonus', giving you access to one of two extra levels at the end of each world. Both of these levels contain loads of bonuses which may be picked up to boost your score, but failure to complete the bogus level will cause you to lose a life. If you see a white rabbit, grab it for a bonus continue.

Another important prize is a yo-yo, which will enable you to reach otherwise inaccessible platforms by swinging Tarzan-like about the screen. Firstly, though, you have to attach the yo-yo to a bit of the scenery. Problem is, there is not really an area to aim for when firing it, so whether the yo-yo sticks or not seems to be totally random. You will need a lot of patience otherwise you will end up throwing your real-life trolls at the screen en masse.

While we are having a bit of a gripe, the protection sequence is another bugbear. It is one of the usual 'enter the nth word, on the nth line, on the nth page' types, but what is particularly infuriating is sometimes you are asked for a word which does not exist. After you have shelled out over 20 quid for the game, you should bet able to get in first time.

Absolutely fabulous
The gameplay is excellent, with outstanding graphics to make you want to come back for more. A lot of tim has been spent on the wide range of enemies for each level, all of which attack in different ways.

The graphics are so good, in fact, they can sometimes be distracting, so there is a tendency to be killed while you are marvelling at the sheer variety of enemies. It is an absolutely fabulous game, which considering Flair's other offering on Page 87 (Euro Soccer) is remarkable.

OK, it is very similar to Zool and James Pond, but everyone should have the chance to be a hero, even if you are an ugly white day-glo 'can't do anything with it' hair. Play on.

Trolls logo

Die Invasion der geklonten Konsolenhelden nimmt und nimmt kein Ende: Nach "Zool" und "Tearaway Thomas" ist nun ein weiterer Verwandter von Segas Turbo-Igel "Sonic" am Amiga aufgetaucht.

Damit es auch schön japanisch aussieht, hat Microvalue die 35 auf sieben Plattformwelten verteilten Level erbarmungslos mit knallbunten Grafiken vollgestopft. Dazu löst fast jeder zweite Schritt des Helden ein wahres Sternchen-Feuerwerk aus, während gleichzeitig hektische Musik und Sound-FX um die Wette hämmern.

Achja, der Held: mit seinem lila Haarschopf und dem Knautschgesicht sieht er schwer nach Spielzeugladen aus; passend dazu sammelt er mit Leidenschaft Spielzeug-Puppen ein...

Doch ein gewisser Sammeltrieb gehört in diesem Genre einfach dazu; genau wie die beherzten Sprünge, mit denen sich all die feindlichen Autos, Düsenflieger, Würmer und sonstigen "Ungeheuer" einstampfen lassen. Da die undankbare Brut dabei mit Extras ziemlich geizt, muß man sich zusätzliches Equipment durch das Zerstören unschuldiger Luftballons besorgen.

Leider sind die mühsam erhüpften Beigaben wenig berauschend: Bei Zusatz-Energie und - Zeit kann man wenig falsch machen, die Sprungschuhe gingen auch in Ordnung, aber das poplige YoYo ist eher eine Strafe als ein Extra!

Apropos Strafe: Die penible Stick-Steuerung bestraft bereits kleine Fehler mit Energieabzug oder dem Verlust eines der drei Sammler-Leben. Die bombastische, leicht überladen wirkende Präsentation erinnert in vielerlei Hinsicht and die Welt des Sega-Igels - auch durch ihren durchdachten Level-Aufbau und das flüssige Mehrwege-Scrolling. Unterm Strich also kein schlechter, allerdings auch kein überragender "Sonic"-Ableger. (rf)

Trolls logo

They are invading card shops throughout the land - now the are heading this way.

Do you believe in fate? Do you put it down to bad karma when you walk into a lamp post as you are checking how cool you look in a shop window, or just particularly poor urban planning? My fate, if fate exists, seems to have drawn me closer and closer to ugly little creatures with blue eyes and nasty hair, and I do not mean the rest of the AMIGA POWER team.

Being a new kid both in the quaint, historical town of Bath, as well as at AMIGA POWER, I have been doing my homework and generally nosing around the place. Flicking through back issues every night as I am tucked up in bed, I have noticed that AMIGA POWER reviewers seem to have caught onto 'console-esque' as being THE key word to refer to cute platform games involving humorous ants/goldfish/eggs/etc leaping around onto the heads of equally humorous bad guys.

Completely separate from this observation, or so I thought, was the point that Bath shops are currently packed full of trolls. Row upon row of these small plastic nasties line the shelves, each with a permanent smirk that is, I suppose, meant to look cute; huge blue eyes that undoubtedly are cute; and a shock of lurid hair that would not look out of place on any of the 'My Little Pony' range of monstrosities. I have seen these troll dolls everywhere and, what with marketing tie-ins being the way they are, can see that only total thermonuclear war will prevent a Trolls cartoon from appearing on children's TV in the next few months.

You might think, as I did, that my bedtime reading and yucky plastic figures are two seemingly unconnected events plucked at random from my hum-drum existence, so imagine my utter surprise when a game landed on my desk that was not only completely impossible to review without using the words 'cute' and 'console-esque', but also features a purple haired troll as its main character. After such an astonishing display of some unknown, higher order of destiny manipulating the very essence of my life, who am I to dismiss the fundamental interconnectedness of all events? I won't even try.

Trolls is extremely cute and the gameplay can be described as highly console-esque (just though I'd get these references over with as soon as possible) and the story line would make even Dr H Lector MD weep over his chianti and fava beans at the beauty and tragedy it portrays.

We are told that the troll started off as one of thousands of toys that are currently clogging window displays around the country. This lifeless toy sat amongst the wood shavings of lovingly handmade items in an old toy maker's store, until one night, at the stroke of midnight, a magic portal into strange new worlds opened up and breathed life into his still form. It all sounds perhaps perfectly credible to me, in fact during my shelf stacking days at college I lost count of the number of times I saw Ken and Barbie magically spring to life only to shrug off their middle class values and clothing and hit the road as new age travellers in Barbie's dubiously pink camper-van.

However, unlike these miniature plastic beatniks, the little troll not only has new life, but also a deep sense of destiny, with a voice from within urging him to take up the heroic task of rescuing lost troll babies and returning them to their mummy and daddy trolls. Eat your heart out Hansel and Gretel - see how the word 'cute' is an inevitability?

Perhaps my parameters are too constrained

In its favour I would have to admit that Trolls is the best re-animated plastic figure platform based game I have ever seen, but perhaps my parameters are slightly too constrained to be in any way objective (Of course they are. I was only thinking almost the same thing myself - Ed).

To anyone who has seen Zool and Doodlebug, Trolls is going to seem eerily familiar, with themed levels, backgrounds and graphics shockingly similar to both. Not that this is an uncommon state of affairs, everyone seems to be trying to release their own 'definitive' version of a platform game at the moment, so like 'flu going round the office', there is a lot of it about.

At the beginning of each level you are given the number of baby trolls you must find before progressing onto the next level. Progress from level to level is by flying pig (and why not?) and your journey is occasionally marked by a big red elephant. Since elephants never forget, when you lose a life you are returned to where the elephant remembers seeing you last. Nice touch.

Each level is based on a particular theme and within fifteen different lands and each land having several levels, there is obviously plenty to plough your way through. Also by collecting the letters to spell 'Bogus' or 'Bonus' you get life-taking or giving levels, and altogether the game boasts over 70 levels. I am sure that this has to be enough, even for the most ardent platform fan.

But of course it is not all babies, babies, babies. Spread thickly around each level are balloons which you can run past and pop. After an impressive shower of spinning stars you can pick up objects or powers that also change the troll's hair colour. For springy shoes you get blue hair, red for a shield and so on. Problem balloons lumber you with a ball and chain, which slows you down, or a can of Skol, which makes your control over the troll highly unpredictable and presumably gives the little fella a pounding headache when it wears off.

The most useful item you can get is the yo-yo, with which you can swing spiderman-like across gaps and also smash down walls. After all my previous comments about the ugliness of the toys, I am forced to admit that although the character looks exactly like them, he still manages to look cute. I'd put it down to his animation, with his long hair wafting and his stubby little arms flailing around as he leaps the obstacles. It is all very well done and a lot more impressive than in Doodlebug, for example.

The baddies are themed to each level, to unusual effect in some cases. In 'Candy Land' you are pursued by jelly tots and other wobbly things, which is understandable. In 'Boardgame Island' there is plenty of dice and snake tomfoolery which is fine by me. But in 'Media Land' you are principally attacked by cameras, erasers and, quite bizarrely, the letter 'T'. Not generally known as one of the more ferocious consonants, this twentieth-letter-of-the-alphabet type attack took me completely by surprise, and resulted in a great many troll deaths before I realised the devious intentions of this capital letter.

And that, as they say, is that, really. Lots of running around and trailing coloured hair, more beautifully animated stars than you know what to do with and hoards of peculiar nasties leaping about. It is colourful, tunefully packed with boppy little, er, tunes and features wonderful visual touches like the troll blinking and the flatulent-looking elephant.

It is not without its flaws though. There are numerous points where you have to take leaps of faith into the unknown that frequently end up in your swift demise. Taken as a whole, though, this is a pretty seamless presentation. Okay, so it is a cutesy platform game, and if you do not like them you won't like this, as it follows the platform rule book to the letter. If you do like them then I would say this is the one to get, as it is approaching near perfection (ish. - Ed) as far as smoothness and graphics are concerned. I could live without the dolls littering my life and won't be holding my breath to see if my idea of a TV franchise will take off, but Trolls the game is definitely worth a bash.

Trolls logo

Have Flair come up with a contender for the 'Most Console-like platform game'? Tony Dillon swaps his pen for a joystick.

Trolls sure have changed a lot since I was little, reading stories about the terrible ogres that lived under bridges and molested goats. Now, it seems trolls are small and sweet, with lovely, fluffy hair and a big smile for everyone they meet. Children used to be terrified, and now all they want are cute little troll dolls. This game doesn't actually have anything to do with the mega-popular toy, but the main character is similar.

In much the same vein as Millennium's Robocod, Trolls is set in a toy shop where a myriad of terrible things have happened. In try fairy tale-style, this particular toy shop has come to life, only none of the other toys like our little trolls, and want nothing more than smash him to pieces or even, gulp, make him fall of the shelf! A quaint setting for a platform game, don't you think?

So, a platform game it is, and once again we have one that has 'console' plastered over it. Thirteen squillion colours on screen at once, 78 gigabytes of sampled sounds and music, and more playability than table tennis [Less of the porkies and more of the review please - Ed].

Trolls is highly entertaining and very, very playable. Set over seven different 'worlds', the game takes you from the sweet section of the toyshop (as usual, although I miss the Chupa Chups from Zool), through the Media Section with its entertaining newsprint backdrop, telling of alien pigeons saving the world, through to Fairground land and Fable land, all played out across the glorious, high speed, multi-coloured landscapes we've all come to expect from such games.

As you run and bounce your way around the levels, you have two aims. One is to complete the set task, usually to find a certain amount of baby trolls and take them to the pig stop. A pig stop is like a bus stop, except you wait for Pigasus (groan!), the winged pig! Your second aim is to collect the bonus letters.

These are hidden in balloons dotted around the levels. As you walk past a balloon, it bursts, sending the object inside sky high. You have to wait around to catch it, and it could be anything from a letter to a bonus object (points or health) or one of the special objects complete with hair dye. Collect all letters, and you get to play a bonus game, where you have to collect as much as possible, and still find your way to the exit before time runs out.

Visually, the game has little new to offer and it's full of the same old cuteness and visual jokes which, while being no bad thing, still makes me pine for something fresh.

It plays well, and the controls are responsive enough. It's a great way to lose a few evenings of your life. If you like platform games, and you're looking for a new challenge, then you could do a lot worse. It isn't one of the best, but it is up there in the top 10 percent. All that's needed now is a little more originality.

Trolls AGA logo AGA

Flair * 0661 860260 * £25.99 * Reviewed AF44 80%

Whether or not you can stand those little plastic things with rainbow-coloured hair that kids walk around stroking, Trolls, the game, is a good, solid platform feast. The A1200 version promised to be something very tasty and thankfully, Flair have really gone to town when it comes to additional artwork. The first indication that the A1200 is really used is an enhanced title screen; a wonderfully coloured rendition of Trollworld using a variety of psychedelic hues. And then comes the game itself, which has been given a marvellous new lease of life.

The backdrops to each world are now far more complex and richly decorated than in the original game. From a horizon of rolling hills and trees in one world, to the newsprint and notepaper of a busy, Troll newspaper office, the scenery of every stage is exquisite.

Great attention has been paid to each image, both in terms of keeping with the theme of a level and in eye-catching detail. It really stretches the graphical capabilities of the A1200 further than other games and maintains a great level of playability at the same time.

In fact, my only real criticism of the enhancements that have been made is that things sometimes get overwhelming. Quite often there's just so much to look at that your eye is drawn from the Troll itself, which often leads to the accidental loss of a life.

Flair have done a great job in bringing a good game into the A1200 scene so impressively. OK, things don't run quite as smoothly as classics such as or Zool and the Yo-yo is still incredibly annoying, bt this revamped version of Trolls is chock-full of fun, challenge, variety and colour. And these, as we all know, are the hallmarks of a big-league contender.

Noch trolliger!

Trolls AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Das Götesiegel "Verbesserte 1200er-Version" klebt ja stets gut sichtbar auf der Packung - nur die neuen Features darf man dann oft mit der Lupe suchen. Doch hier kommt mal eine Ausnahme von der Regel.

Nehmen wir die Ausnahmen von der Ausnahme gleich vorweg: Die etwas hakelige Sticksteuerung ist immer noch die alte, und auch am "Sonic"-lastigen Gameplay der 32 wohldurchdachten Plattformlevels (plus Bonusrunden und Geheimräume) hat sich nichts geändert.

Wie gehabt, wartet ein ganzer Spielzeugladen voller Extras und putzigen Monsterchen auf den Helden mit dem lila Haarschopf, der för seine drei Bildschirmleben gern Puppen aufsammelt. Die Gegner erledigt er in typischer Konsolen-Manier durch sprunghafte Kopfmassagen, mit etwas Glöck bzw. Pech findet er auch hier wieder das ähnlich wie eine AbrißBirne einsetzbare Jo-Jo, welches aber zumeist den Spieler mehr ärgert als seine Feinde.

Bei den optischen und akustischen Verbesserungen ließ man sich dagegen nicht lumpen, vor allem was die noch buntere und noch umfangreichere Grafik betrifft: Die zwischenscreens bekamen ein paar Farben mehr spendiert, und beim eigentlichen Leveldesign wurde gar eine zusätzliche Ebene zwischen Vorder- und Hintergrund eingebaut. Erfreulicherweise hat sich durch die erhöhte Pixelmenge das astreine Scrolling in keinster Weise verschlechtert, im Gegenteil, es geht nun voll parallax zur Sache.

Fazit: Unter dem Strich rechtfertigt die öberarbeitete Präsentation zwar nicht gerade einen Zweitkauf, aber alle sprungstarken 1200er-Besitzer, die klugerweise erst einmal abgewartet haben, dörfen jetzt hemmungslos zuschlagen! (rf)

Trolls AGA logo AGA

Introducing the best 1200-only game so far. With trolls in it.

In cutesy-wootsy platform land things just seems to be getting cuter all the time. And they don't get much cuter than this, mate. Little stubby trolls with cute hair and even cuter smiles jumping around on levels full of cute toys and sweets with sweet, toy cutey things all over the place.

And if you thought trolls were cute, you wait till you see a baby troll, a creature so cute that it redefines the word 'cute' and requires a whole new adjective to even come close to describing just how cute it really is.

The gist of the plot is that the aforementioned baby trolls require rescuing from eight different levels. It's not really explained why they're lost in the first place, but I'm sure it doesn't matter because it's really just an excuse for a platform romp of cuddly cute and colourful proportions.

Now, this is the A1200 enhanced version of Flair's big platform licence, and so again we come round to assessing whether its enhancements are significant. Well, I'm going to say straight way that this is probably the first 1200-specific game that I've been impressed by.

Aside from the obvious speed improvements to existing games, such as Wing Commander, Legends Of Valour and just about any flight sim that will run on it, there has been some disappointment over the so-called 1200 enhancements.
The only one with any obvious differences is Zool 1200, and opinion is divided over this in the office (Stuart sees it as an improvement, I think it's actually less satisfying than before).

They really are cor-wo-fab looking

The enhancements in Trolls 1200 are immediately apparent. In place of the empty graduated backgrounds are some positively sumptuous parallax-scrolling beauties. But while Zool 1200's backgrounds seemed to be just a scattering of objects vaguely related to each level, those in Trolls integrate far more effectively into the action.

They really are cor-wow-fab looking as well. The Fable land's lush rolling countryside is breathtaking, and Toy level benefits from a perfect sepia-toned backdrop. The animation seems slightly smoother too, with the 1200 obviously handling the scrolling better than the original, even with all the extra graphics.

The gameplay is exactly the same as the original, which is to say it's an above-average platformer which breaks away from the linear constrictions of most games of this genre. It's not my personal favourite platform game, but it sure is a fine one and should appeal to all platform-loving console-envying gamesters out there.

If you like platformers you'll love it, and you'll especially like this 1200 version. It's the first game that's made me think, "Wow, the 1200's not just faster - it looks better too." Hurrah, if future releases are up to this standard then 1200 owners everywhere can rejoice, while the rest of us can start saving our pennies.

Trolls CD32 logo CD32

Flair Software * £29.99 * Out now

Pink, punk platform frolics abound as the Trolls entertain in this floppy-enhanced CD32 outing. And hey, do these little creatures have tremendous haircuts? Well yes. They do. There are seven lands to tackle packed with an interesting variety of hazards that you must avoid, and you can approach the levels in any order you like, which is quite unusual, although to finish the game all must be completed. The worlds include one entitled Media Land - very Nineties eh?

Trolls is a feast of fast and frenetic fun all the way as you attempt to collect the little baby Trolls, balloons and various other special power-ups, including a rather interesting Beer pick-up which makes your movements rather unresponsive for a while. So Trolls is a platform game featuring funny looking fellows, great graphics, plenty of depth and it is also quite smart in the playability stakes. And check out the parallax scrolling - very impressive. A perfect palatable platformer.

Trolls CD32 logo CD32

Flairs Vorgänger zu "Oscar" ist nicht ganz os bunt und umfangreich, daför gefällt die Musik besser; zudem sind die friedlichen Kunddel-Plattformen nicht zuletzt wegen der exakteren Steuerung einen Tick spielbarer. Fazit: gleicher Preis (79,- DM), gleiche Wertung (70 Prozent).

Trolls CD32 logo CD32

Flair £25.99

In between the not-bad-at-all Trolls and the not-too-good-at-all Oscar, Flair released an A1200 version of the former game which turned out to be one of the Amiga's nicest platformers to date. Now they have stuck on the traditional CD soundtrack and brought it to the CD32, and it is still one of the Amiga's nicest platformers. The music does not actually help any, being aimless meandering of the most forgettable kind, but the graphics are as gloriously clear as ever (an inestimable joy after a couple of games of Oscar) and the gameplay is slightly improved by the use of the joypad. Only slightly, though - for some utterly, utterly unfathomable reason, Flair are still resisting the obvious ploy of using one of the CD32's ordinary firebuttons for jumping.

At least they are not forcing you to use 'up' this time (you can use the top-mounted forefinger buttons on the pad), but it is still pretty damn uncomfortable and completely pointless. That aside, there is very little to choose between this and the A1200 game, but that hardly qualifies as a criticism. I like this one.