Right well, the immediate question which springs to mind is just what exactly the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is. So it's over to The Cambridge Encyclopaedia for this one. (Some page-flicking moments later.) Right, it seems that turtles can swim and tortoises can't. Turtles it would appear, are also generally larger than their land-bound brethren. All of which suggests to me that turtles are infinitely superior to tortoises and this game should have been Turbo The Turtle.
Any road up, Turbo is a tortoise and if Hi-Tec have got anything to do with it, hell be our very own Sonic or Mario. Given the popularity of those particular chaps, the boys at Visual Impact (who brought you Potsworth & Co) have taken some of the better platformy elements and created their own game-world on the Speccy, a world populated by legions of hideous creatures and loads of attractive (if roughly hewn) items to collect.
BAD CASE OF THE PLOTS
Turbo started out life as Wal, the pet tortoise of one Dr Mulliner, a world renowned scientists and part time pub singer. Unfortunately Wal decided to hibernate in an anti-matter pod and was transformed into the super-human (or should that be super-tortoise?) Turbo. The doctor sends our newly transformed reptile on a trip through time to locate some key ingredients to his latest experiments. There are six time zones to battle through: Prehistoric, ice Age. Egyptian, Mediaeval, 20th Century and (dun dun duuun), the Future.
Turbo is a thoroughly controllable dude. He can jump to varying heights over varying distances and he can change direction in mid-flight. All of this means that you'll need some finely honed jumpy skills in order to complete all six worlds.
The creatures which populate the different lands can all be killed by bouncing on their heads. However if you really want to do the job on them, then pick up a power-up and you'll be able to shoot them. Personally I far preferred bouncing on them because you can also reach inaccessible platforms which hide goodies such as power-ups and extra lives. Turbo also possesses the ability to pick up rocks and boulders and carry them about. These can be plonked into rivers and placed near walls to enable you to cross caverns and climb steep precipices.
SOUNDS AWFULL SPESH!
Indeed it is. The graphics are smooth (if a tad mono) and the puzzles inventive. Best of all though are the end-of-level baddies. These gruesome chaps take quite a bit of punishment before they succumb and sink beneath the translucent waves of life harboured... (Snip! Linda) To complete the game you'll need to bash up a fire-spitting dinosaur, an ice ball-lobbing yet, a spell-casting mummy, an axe-wielding suit of armour, a hammer-fisted thug and a gnarly laser-firing robot.
Turbo The Tortoise is a superb game. It's thoroughly playable and wonderfully varied. The gameplay is spot-on, the villains tough and the jumping pulse quickening. Alright, so there's a considerable bit of Sonic and Mario in here, but hey, Manic Miner started it all, right? At four quid, this game's a barg, nip down to your local software emporium and demand a copy now. Right, where did I leave that tongue-spitting balloon?
For some lime now tortoises have been losing out to turtles on the amphibian popularity front. There's been the famed Ninja Turtles, the all in one shine "Turtlewax". But it seems as though they're about to get a much better deal as a newly Turbo Charged member of their brethren takes the field.
Doctor Mulliner (PhD. S.A.D.) has got bored of singing in seedy pubs and has decided to fall back on his second rate job... a world class scientist! In the middle of a top notch experiment the Doc encounters a large explosion and consequently his docile pet tortoise is transformed into the aforementioned turbo charged hero, hurrah what a guy!
This is where the trouble really begins. To complete the original experiment the doc still needs six vital components. Funnily enough they're scattered over six horizontally scrolling landscapes all of which are in different periods of time. (What ever happened to driving down to Do-At-All on a Sunday afternoon?) And guess who gets roped in for the job? Of course! - Our shelly pal Turbo, off on his - very first all important mission.
At first Turbo the Tortoise may look more than a touch similar to Yogi Bear, but then that's no bad thing in itself! Graphically it's very good and all the main sprites are well drawn and clear, (Turbo even has that lazy tortoise look about him - a bit like Big Al' on a Monday morning) while scrolling remains nice and smooth. The sound is nothing to write home about, but the effects suit the style of play very well.
Well here we are again, back at the all important playability stakes. What nasty surprises and foul gameplay niggles are lurking within this seemingly innocent game's shell? None, not a sausage. It's addictive, enjoyable, challenging and reasonably cute though, I don't think it's going to set the Spectrum world alight but Turbo the Tortoise is definitely worth the £3.99 that is being asked for it (and more if you fancy tipping your local shopkeeper). The overall verdict... buy it. I would.
Label: Hi Tec
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Paul Rand
ALAN: Remember when everyone used to name their family tortoise Flash, considering it a jolly jape to laugh at its slow ways? Well this tortoise's no joke. Turbo is a really cute and playable title and well worth a not so high speed look.
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