This is a conversion of one of the lesser-known arcade machines that takes you back to the bad of days of the wild west. For once, you get to play the bad guy - an ugly, mean, gun-totin' villain who's out to rob the fastest express train in the west.
The game has three sections. There's a quick preliminary screen where you fight a banker and some blob dogs (coyotes, I hear you cry!). Then it's into the real action, which alternates between battling your way along the train roof and riding on horseback alongside the train.
On the train roof you have to fight your way to the front, overcoming the obstacles that face you on each carriage. The simplest opponent is another cowboy: you just have to kick and punch him off the train. In all fights, a strength meter shows you who's doing better. The opponents do become much harder; they start to throw and shoot things at you which have to be ducked or jumped in order to get close enough to pulp them. Two more unusual adversaries are a Big Daddy lookalike who pushes crates at you and a guy who tries to pull you down from below.
When you complete this train, you start another one, this time riding alongside on a horse. People pop out from behind objects and windows on the carriages and try to shoot you. You have to shoot a certain quota to move onto the next carriage.
One nice touch is the practice mode and being able to restart where you last died, making it possible to get much further. The graphics are chunky, which takes some of the shine off the game. It's a reasonable game, but I get the feeling that somewhere in the conversion process the playability got lost. It tends to be repetitive and doesn't get the adrenalin pumping.
Having played the arcade version, I didn't expect much when I heard that an Amstrad version of Express Raider was available. However, the graphics are amusing and detailed: unfortunately, the animation has a little to be desired. It suffers from the twitches. It's a great game to while away the hours though. The fighting stages are hilarious: the characters look as though they are doing the Highland fling. It's not too tough and it will bring a smile.
Good in green.
Complete two trains (advanced mode).
P. Trains look good and scroll past well.
P. Chunky character graphics.
N. Dodgy tune and a few train noises.
Grab Factor 58%
P. Initially addictive trying to fight along the train.
P. Three modes of play.
Staying Power 50%
N. Both stages get rapidly repetitive and lose appeal.
Another conversion that doesn't get anywhere near the original in graphics or playability.