WE'VE HAD THE SAMURAI PIZZA CATS, BAFFLE TOADS AND OF COURSE THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, BUT NOW THE TAI - CHI TORTOISE'S HAVE JOINED THE RANKS OF MARTIAL ART SUPER HEROES. MARK CASWELL HAS DONNED HIS ESPADRILLAS (OOH, SEXY! - ED) AND KATANA SWORD AND BRINGS A REPORT ON THE LATEST BATTLE FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE RIGHT TO SHOUT 'COWABUNGA' AT AN ANNOYINGLY LOUD VOLUME.
Of all the martial arts, the ancient skill of Tai-Chi is the most difficult to master, a discipline so exacting it takes over a hundred years to learn even the most basic moves. (So no OAP bashing in this game! -Ed). Only the oldest tortoises of the northern Japanese islands ever learn the art well enough to become masters. Every year, to preserve the bond of friendship between these fierce fighting tortoises, a huge Tai-Chi Tortoise convention is held in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Tortoises from all over the world are at this year's meeting to hear stories of the Tai-Chi Tortoises' many adventures.
There's the tale of the Infamous budgie kidnappings by the evil parrot boss 'Pretty Boy' Hannigan and how a clever thief stealing the Mona Lisa convinced a security guard that it was an over-sized postcard.
But probably the most exciting story is how master villain Vincent Ratatoui tried to hall-inch the world supply of cheese, but was thwarted by the bravery of a Tai-Chi Tortoise. It's in the guise of one of these daring shelled reptiles that you must charge through the many interconnecting screens picking up the useful objects and avoiding the nasty creatures and even nastier traps.
'ERE WHERE DOES THIS GO?
As with all arcade puzzle games, to proceed to later levels certain objects have to be collected and used in their proper place. But to slow you down, various strange creatures roam the platforms; few of them will attack you but if you touch them a small part of your energy level will disappear (lose all energy and you lose a life). Also acid baths, spikes, crumbling platforms etc stand in your path, but Vincent Ratatoui must be stopped at any cost. So strap a cardboard box to your back (as a makeshift shell), shout some obscure surfing slang as a battle cry and prepare to beat the heck out of the cheesenappers!
The sprites and backdrops are all nicely detailed and very colourful, and surprisingly there's no colour clash. But my main niggle is that there's too much wandering around for very little action. (Okay smartie-pants, when have ever seen a fast-moving tortoise! -Ed.) Indeed, as an exponent of a martial art, our tortoise pal is lacking any offensive kicks or punches - when faced with an opponent he just stands there and takes it. Maybe Tai-Chi is the ancient Japanese art of staring very hard at an opponent while standing very still. But puzzle freaks will love it, especially as it's on a budget label.
MARK ... 75%
'It's ages since I played a good ol' platforms and ladders style arcade game. The graphics are simple but colourful and there's plenty going on in each location. I know the split screen adventure has been used countless times before but it still works well. This is a game that will appeal to the youngsters more. The cartoon sprites and jolly ditties throughout will keep them glued to their screens for yonks. Zeppelin have always been good at producing fun, high quality games and this is certainly one of them. As for the difficulty, the way Tai-Chi jumps around each screen and the fact some blocks can be stood on and some can't takes some getting used to, but you soon get the hang of it. Tai-Chi Tortoise comes as a breath of fresh air for me and at £3.99 you can't complain can you?'
NICK ... 73%
A little bird (or should I say a little tortoise) has just told me all about this new and utterly brilliant game by our bestest friends, Zeppelin.
My little green Tortoise-type chum sure is the main man in this exciting game, and a devil of a good job he does too. This little hero is the cutest thing since Freddie Savage and he's here to save the cheese population. No, I'm not going crazy and yes I did say the cheese population. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
Right, firstly let me make it quite clear - were not talking about the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles here because they're probably in the Bahamas for a week getting a nice shell tan. This turtle isn't a turtle at all. He's, wait for it... T'ai Chi Tortoise. Hurrah!
The sad thing is, there's an evil little rat mixed up in all this as well. He's a real mean looking dude called Vincent Ratatouille, and his plan is to capture all of the world's tasty cheeses. So what? Wee once he collect all of the cheeses in the whole universe he can rule the world. There'll be no more cheesey pizzas or anything. What will the Turtles do when they return from their summer vacation to be greeted by bowls of lettuce leaves instead of take-away pizza?
This is where our faithful green friend comes in, TCT has to go down into the sewers where that nasty geezer Vince lives. Gulp! He's got to find all the stolen cheese and get that darned rat as well. Only then can he save the world and prove what a nice chap he is.
Let's face it, this tortoise isn't the hardest of people, but he's brave and uses his limited skills to defeat the many nasty looking bugs and round headed creatures that lurk in the dark depths of the sewers. Or will he? I reckon he looks a little bit too innocent to kill anyone. Time will tell, as my Great Auntie Hilda says.
Not only are there mean looking looking bugs flying around, there are also some not-very-friendly-looking tortoise electrocuters to add to the excitement. If you actually survive the sewers and the meanies lurking in them, you get a chance to meet the evil cheese fiend himself. You can then try to grab all of the yummy cheeses with one tortoisey hand and duff him up with the other.
The graphics look a bit home made to me. But the game isn't made any worse for this. Its all a wee bit crap and very sweet. Who need big racing-car sprites and stuff? (That's what I say).
The game is also pretty large. I got bogged down in it, so I think it's a bit too tough. Some of the puzzles will annoy you, and it's a bit daunting to think that there are loads of places you haven't even got ot yet. Yes, it's a bit tough indeed.
If you can't get past a screen, it's rather depressing to sit there and wonder why not. For some of these puzzles you'll need you to have collected stuff from a few screens ago. Too confusing for me, I'm afraid. But luckily there are also some extra fun little bits to make the game that more exciting. There's some ladder climbing, some swimming and lots of jumping around. You can even take a quick peep at the moon and see if it's really made of inter-galactic cheese after all. What fun! (For you, maybe. Ed)
So, T'ai Chi Tortoise is, in my opinion, pretty superbalicious. In fact it's so good that it's almost a Megagame. Play it, have fun and remember, the future of cheese is in your hands, so grab your shell and get out there!
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB