As I recall it, the story goes something like this. Once upon a time, there lived in the middle of a big forest a lonely old couple. They were very sad because all their lives they had wanted a little boy but, for one reason or another, he never showed up. There could have been a medical problem I suppose, but test tubes didn't exist in those days. And to make matters worse, there were no gooseberry bushes in the forest.
Then, one day, as if to answer their dreams, Mrs. Thumb found a little boy. On returning for her weekly trip to the supermarket on the edge of the forest, she was unpacking the shopping and there he was, wedged in between the toilet rolls and the cat food. "We'll call him Tom," said Mr. Thumb. "Because if we call him Tiddles, it'll confuse the cat."
Anyway, to cut a long story short [Not that short! - Ed], the years passed and everybody got a lot older. Then, one evening, during a dull bit in Dallas, Mrs. Thumb turned from the television and said to her husband "Have you noticed anything strange about Tom?"
"Well, I don't know many other fifteen year olds that are three inches tall, but apart from that he seems to be a fairly normal lad."
"I think we should sell him to a software house. They can put him in a computer game and we'll make lots of money." "All right then," said Mr. Thumb shrewdly.
And that's how Tom Thumb came to feature in a C16 game.
The game itself is fun to play as well as providing quite a challenge even to highly skilled players such as myself. Tom has entered the tomb of Pharaoh Manilo (sounds more like a Filipino dictator than an Egyptian ruler) to try and lay his hands on the Pharaoh's fabulous wealth. And who can blame him, after being sold down the river by his parents like that?
The tomb consists of a truly amazing 178 screens of pretty impressive hi-res graphics. I didn't get a look at everyone, so I suppose we'll just have to take Anirog's word for it that they all exist.
As Tom is moved around the detail scrolls away behind him. This gives the impression that you really are in a large maze and is preferably to the kind of game where the whole screen is redrawn when you reach the edge.Each section of the maze has its bunch of monsters to be dealt with as well as a few environmental hazards like crumbling walkways and laser beams. This is a game where indiscriminate blasting won't help - in fact there's no shooting involved at all.
The secret is to manoeuvre your way around the obstacles. This is just as well because the monsters are so cute I don't think I would have felt comfortable blasting them into oblivion.
There's something peculiarly unthreatening about an egg on legs, a pea with a hat on and huge boggle eyes, and a devil with a cheeky smile.
Once you have the knack of squeezing past them, you can pick up a key which opens a door on other parts of the maze and eventually to the treasure. On the way there are little treasure chests to collect which give you points and an incentive to reach the final goal.
Tom Thumb is a game it's hard not to like. The idea is good and it's been very well put together, the graphics and sound are both excellent.