Sunday, 13 September 2009

Retro Lookback # 4: Express Raider - Spectrum

Home, home on the range...where crap graphics and joysticks play......erm, yes well, enough of that. Express Raider is a conversion of the Data East coin-op, where by you control the bad guy (for sake of argument, we'll call him Badguyo), and try to rob the express. Easier said than done, when you've got the whole of Dodge City's finest on your arse like a haemorroid. So, let's ride like we have wind and cast our critical minds and eyes over this one.

You start off by confronting, I suppose, the head honcho, ol' Wyatt Earp himself (I think so, anyway) in a one on one slap em up. Using either fists or knives (or it might be one or the other, the old memory playing tricks on me, y'see). This bit isn't bad, but it's more hit and miss with the punches/knives and it gets quite boring. Once you've sent him packing, it's then off on your trusty steed, chasing after the train. Once you've caught up with it, it then becomes a shooting gallery game, that spawns a few screens. You aim a little reticle, and as the deputies appear within windows, you have a few seconds to shoot them before they shoot you. This bit is quite enjoyable, but it does get a bit frustrating though, as sometimes you're over one side and the next deputy is on the other side. Because of the few second delay, it does become frustrating as well. The last part is running along the top of the train. Again, you have the deputies trying to thwart you at every oppotunity. This bit is quite tough. Actually, it's the toughest out of the whole game, needing perfect jumps everytime. Once you've got to the locomotive, its game completed and then loops to start again, but thid time its a bit harder. Oh, joy. Every section has a strict time limit. Fail, and you lose a life, which you will find yourself doing quite a bit.

First off, the graphics aren't all that. I know it's a game from 1987, running on a machine with 128k of ram, but still. The Spectrum is capable of such better graphics. Take a look at Game Over, made in the same year. The graphics are awesome, but these are horrible. The sound is minimal, at best and, from what I can remember, there's no music. The gameplay is ok, but apart from the niggles in controls earlier, there's nothing to recommend it at all. It's saving grace is the three game types, which do add some variety. Add the fact that you can do practise mode before getting stuck into the game properly, its a mixxed bag really.

OH, did I mention, that it was ported by Homega Software? (What do you mean, you've never heard of them? Mind you, nor have I!)


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