Forget football, cancel the cricket and stuff surfing. If it's sporting excitement that you're after and floating though the rapids in an old lorry inner tube appeals to your sense of adventure, then roll-up and take your place in Toobin', the wackiest event ever.
This outrageous sport stars Biff and Jet, two crazy tube dudes looking to have the time of their lives as they shoot down the rivers of the world sitting in inflated inner tubes. They're carried by the current, with little control over their destiny except frantic back-paddling to keep them from danger. And danger abounds. There are dead branches sticking out through the water, floating logs, fishermen, kamikaze penguins, eskimos and glaciers, to name but a few. Our two heros have an arsenal of tin cans for defence. The litter louts throw the cans, dazing the baddies on the bank, sinking the sticks, and generally blasting anything likely to puncture their inner tubes.
Toobin' loads to a great jazzy soundtrack, which, for a change, you don't want to turn off after two minutes. One or two players can play at the same time, taking control of either Biff or Jet as they bob merrily along in their tubes. The daring duo can paddle in combinations of forward-left, forward-right, backwards-left and backwards-right, providing exciting possibilities for daring water stunts. Graceful arcs can be performed with skillful paddling, as well as rather spectacular crashes into objects on the other side of the screen. This is one of those games where it is far easier to control from keyboard than joystick - and in two-player mode, both players can be accommodated on the keyboard.
The river is seemingly endless and the landscapes are many and varied. It passes through swamps. jungles, icy wastes and sewers (yuk!). If you dawdle for too long then a nasty crocodile pursues you to keep your speed up.
The tin cans bob up and down in the water and can be picked up easily by floating into them. The occasional six-pack is also available, but tends to be more difficult to reach. Sticky plasters can be collected, giving you an extra life, and bonus points are obtained by zooming though the marked banners.
Branches are the most common hazard, and can be dislodged with a well-aimed can. They often hide a special bonus, including special letters that bump up your score.
The game features a credit system, so that you can restart from your last position when all your lives are used up. This makes the game a tad too easy to complete, though, and after a few hours of intensive play you'll find yourself crossing the finish line.
All the sprites are monochrome, being ported directly from the Spectrum. Everything on the riverbank is the same colour, and the missile-firing bozos on the riverbank are particularly difficult to spot until it's too late.
It's the erratic style of control that really makes this game. Two people playing simultaneously increases the action no end, and competing for the tin cans and bonuses makes for edge-of-the, er, tube stuff.Although it's possible to reach the finish line without too much difficulty, it still remains a very enjoyable game. Toobin' retains one vital ingredient that seems to be missing from so many other games - sheer playability.
An original arcade theme is a rare bird. Tengen has come up with another corker. It's fun, it's fast and playable. Shame about the colour, but worth every penny all the same.
First Day Target Score
Complete the course.
Green Screen View
Some screens are a shade too dark.
N. Speccy port
P. Great jazz tracks.
Grab Factor 80%
P. Brilliant fun.
N. Hard to control at first.
Staying Power 71%
P. Even when you've finished, it's still fun.
You won't "tyre" of this one!