Amstrad Action1st January 1990
Published in Amstrad Action #52
Tintin On The Moon
As the final few candidates fight it out to become the first Brit in space, it's galling to think that the French got there way back in 1954! It all began on the deserted steppes of Sprodj in Syldavia, at a research base so secret that historic flight been revealed.
Tintin, the game game detective, was chosen to lead the mission and his two friends Professor Calculus and Captain Haddock went along for the ride.
Now you've a chance, join in and influence the action. First, your flight path takes you through a meteorite shower. You've got to miss the rocks but gather fuel from the debris in their wake, weaving around the screen to avoid collisions which rob you of valuable energy. Yellow particles give you fuel, and once you've collected eight red spheres it's time to move on to the next level.
Once you've got the spheres the ship glows and the scene switches to the rocket's interior where a new danger has arisen. The mad Colonel Boris has stowed away and wants to stop the mission at all costs. While you - Tintin - have been busy flying through the void, Boris has been busy placing bombs, starting fires and kidnapping your motley crew. This smacks of insanity or at least a pretty healthy death wish, because there's no way home for the mad Colonel except on that same ship he's just sabotaged!
Once you're on board the graphics vouch for the authenticity of the licence. Tintin looks like Tintin and moves like Tintin. Even the stars that whirl round his head after a knock down look real!
Your task is simple - to rescue your friends, defuse the bombs, extinguish the fires and capture the evil felon Boris. The detective has to chase around the rocket in either normal or zero g, using weightlessness to get those bombs in out-of-the-way places - like the ceiling!
Everything is activated by touch or the fire button. Run into Haddock to free him, float past a bomb to defuse it and jump on Boris from behind for a capture. That's all you need to do - run and climb around the small starship, putting out the fires and freeing people. All of this, though, is a logistical nightmare just waiting to happen.
Both the bombs and the fire extinguishers are randomly placed, so the first few seconds on any section involve running around and finding them. However, if you appear in the same room as Boris - the characters being randomly placed as well - and you aren't near an exit, all your hard work can go down the tubes as he relentlessly blasts you into a pulp.
Your ship's fuel supply continues to decrease whenever Boris is awake and running around. So this acts as a time limit within which you must find the bombs, stop the fires and keep tabs on Colonel B.
Each time you save the ship you get to fly further towards your lunar goal. However, there is a little problem. That swine Boris keeps getting out and planting even more bombs and starting even more fires! This happens a patience-sapping five times before you get to the moon. Once there, after a few waggles and button presses, the ship settles on the lunar surface and the game's over.
There it is, three years of programming work. A nice little game, with strong emphasis on the "little"! There are plenty of stages to work through, but no variety. Everything's the same, just progressively a little harder and little larger. What starts as a fun first level is dragged out to become the whole game, with a pretty bit stuck on at each end.
Tintin On The Moon falls into the same trap as its television counterpart - repetitiveness. Remember how the episodes arrived every day during the school holidays? Two minutes were taken up with what happened yesterday, two with titles, and you have one minute of story. So by September, you felt like you'd seen the whole thing twelve times!
Infogrames has followed the licence so well that it has not broken this mould and has served up a game with brilliant animation but no plot. Thunderin' typhoons, what a waste!
First Day Target Score
Finish the game!
That canny lad Tintin must have flipped his lid to get mixed up with this, Professor Calculus should be able to differentiate better and as for Captain Haddock - well, he's just had his chips!
And if you thought that was bad, wait 'till you play Tintin On The Moon...
P. Captures the Tintin theme perfectly.
P. Cartoon-quality graphics.
P. Authentic title tune.
N. Below-par effects.
Grab Factor 82%
P. Just like TV...
N. ...if that's any recommendation!
Staying Power 31%
P. Five main levels...
N. ...that are virtually identical.
P. Visually spectacular.
N. Too repetitive to bother with.