Your Sinclair1st December 1987
Published in Your Sinclair #24
Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper
Platform games are something I don't spend much time thinking about. When you've seen one you've seen 'em all, right? Well, not quite. If you can have massive sprites, and detailed scrolling backgrounds then it makes you wake up. If you see a complex arcade adventure scenario in the game, it makes you sit up and take notice. But if it's also the fastest and hardest arcade blast 'em up you've seen for a long time, you start reaching for your joystick. Trantor is all these things, and works on these different levels (no pun intended) brilliantly. The graphics are top notch, and the animation very smooth and lifelike, considering the size of the graphics.
You take on the role of Trantor, a stormtrooper in command of an earth ship sent to a strange alien planet to retrieve stolen missile plans. Two things complicate the mission: firstly the planet is overrun with horrid, slimy and vicious alien creatures. Secondly, as Trantor leaves the ship, it blows up taking all his men with it, leaving him alone to complete the task. The Earth's mission controllers wanted to blow up the ship after the mission, destroying the soldiers and the plans so that it would remain secret. But the bomb goes off early, and now Trantor is alone and it's a race against time. You see, stormtroopers have bodybombs, microscopic explosive devices implanted under the skin, and at a given signal they start counting down to explode. Trantor's is counting down, which means he's got to work fast. He runs down the corridors of the underground alien complex, blasting aliens with his powerful flame thrower, in a frenzied race to discover the code sequence to the matter transporter, his only means of escape. Along the way, he discovers computer terminals, which, by means of a communications link to Earth, reset his body-bomb and give him one of the letters of the code. By hopping between these he can prolong his life just long enough to reach his goal, bobbing down to avoid low flying aliens and picking up first aid kits, computer pass keys and energy giving food.
It's the graphics on this game that really make it something out of the ordinary, but the sound, especially the title screen music, is superbly done. (Snouty Tip: record the title screen music onto a C10 tape and play it during the game for maximum enjoyment!) The game is hard if you just play it as a shoot 'em up, but much more satisfying if you go for the full arcade adventure bit. Wonderful entertainment and worth much more than the asking price. Buy it!
An original and brilliantly programmed shoot 'em up, with more action than the average joystick can comfortably cope with!