Train Robbers (Firebird) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Train Robbers
By Firebird
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #38

Train Robbers

Cactus Pete's mission in life is to rob trains, an activity which has gained him a $4,000 price tag. The player's task is to guide the Wild West desperado as he attempts to steal caches of loot from unsuspecting locomotives.

The game has three basic stages: climbing onto the train, pillaging its contents and escaping. The first part involves guiding Pete's trusty speed alongside the train dodging cacti and climbing up the ladder on the first carriage. Should the player take too long, his horse becomes exhausted and one of three lives is lost.

Once on board, gaps between cars are jumped and tunnels avoided until the Bullion Wagon is reached. Inside the wagon two keys are collected to open a safe - howeer, the room is guarded by vicious dogs, contact with which loses a life. With the booty successfully appropriated, Pete makes his way back to the front of the carriage avoiding more obtacles where his faithful horse awaits to take him to the next train.


Ignore the plain, dull and blocky graphics - it's infuriatingly compulsive to play. The action is just tricky enough to allow gradual progress and just frustrating enough to be addictive.

This is partly because of the aural and visual humour: the sound immediately creates a jolly atmosphere because it's so simple. Pete's expression never changes: whether he's splattered against a tunnel wall, bitten by a dog or wrapped around a mail catcher, he remains stoical throughout.

The gameplay has subtle random elements which make each game different; for example, the distances between tunnels in the first part are always varied. Whatever happens, you'll keep coming back for more...

Train Robbers is very silly and unbelievably infuriating, but above all, it's fun.


Through its many touches of slightly sick humour, Train Robbers recreates a superb feeling of watching a slapstick cartoon, starring a spectacularly inept outlaw.

Running into the roof of a tunnel, mistiming a leap, lying down in the darkness of the tunnel, and being caught by one of the dogs all provoke a smile from the player.

In fact, the way the graphics have been used compenstates for their rough appearance. Play is as unsophisticated as the laughs, so the game is tremendously easy to get into, and the gentle frustration element means that it's just as easy to become hooked.

For two quid you'd be crazy to miss out on this novel little game.


Presentation 76%
One/two-player option, high-score table and lucid screen display.

Graphics 40%
Basic animation, bland use of colour and little variety.

Sound 53%
Humorous if very simple spot effects coupled with an ancient Rob Hubbard title tune.

Hookability 95%
Very simple gameplay elements belie the infuriating addiction.

Lastability 81%
Plenty of trains to rob combined with a brilliant balance of frustration and fun make for a compulsive game that can be played any time.

Overall 90%
Simple, addictive and very enjoyable.