Electron User


Tomcat

Author: Rog Frost
Publisher: Players
Machine: BBC/Electron

 
Published in Electron User 7.04

Tomcat, Players' second title released this month, takes place in the first half of the 21st century. Land has become scarce and expensive so large artificial islands were created at sea. One, Artock 6, is used as a defence installation and is completely automated.

Unfortunately, a freak storm has damaged the controlling software causing the automatic defences to go berserk and anything approaching the island is destroyed. You as the pilot of an American F14 Tomcat fighter are sent in to destroy the base.

The fine loading screen depicting an F14 Tomcat fighter is followed by an even better Mode 4 graphic display. Overlaid on this picture is the small playing window in which you get a bird's eye view of the plane flying low over the island.

Tomcat

These graphics are quite detailed, but the green colouring caused unpleasant stripes on my colour TV. I found it better if I switched off the colour. The display on a monitor is excellent with no colour problems.

You can fly your plane forwards, backwards, left and right, the playing window scrolling smoothly in the appropriate direction to reveal more of the landscape.

Gun emplacements pop up from the ground, swivel round and fire cannons at you while aircraft attack from the front. These can all easily be shot with your own cannon, but their sheer numbers can be overwhelming and it is easy to lose a couple of lives very quickly.

Tomcat

The speed of animation is sluggish, slowing even more when several objects are on screen at the same time. Switch on your Slogger Turbo Board, however, and the game speeds up to quite an acceptable rate.

I find it impossible to play for more than a few minutes as the frustration factor is far too high. A friend of mine has seen level two, which is much the same as level one apart from the background. The cassette files indicate that there are four levels.

While we should all be pleased that Players are sticking with the Electron market, perhaps future offerings could be more playable than this one.

* * * Second Opinion (By Roland Waddilove) * * *

Graphically, Tomcat is brilliant. The loading screens are superbly drawn and the game graphics are among the best seen on the Electron. In parts, Tomcat features parallax scrolling where one section of the background scrolls at a different rate to another section - this is the first time this has been attempted on the Electron.

Unfortunately, the poor Electron hasn't got the brute processing power to implement this type of format. Players is to be recommended for attempting it and Turbo owners will find it a graphic delight. Don't bother if you have an ordinary, slow Electron.

Rog Frost

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