Ruff 'n' Tumble logo Amiga Computing Gold Award

Do you fancy a bit of rough, perhaps with a side-order of rumble? John Maddock leaps, bounces, shoots, flicks back his quiff and admires Renegade's latest addition to the platform genre.


WWhat is so special about the platform game? What can be so exciting about hopping from platform to platform while killing various evil hordes? Why when each platformer is virtually identical to the next one do gamers to continue to buy the genre in their thousands?

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know or have any answers. All I can do is present the next Amiga platform offering to you.

Renegade is one of the best software houses at producing high-quality games. Have a peek through their back catalogue and you'll find classic titles such as Speedball 2, Magic Pockets, Fire & Ice and Sensible Soccer.

There is a reason why the games are so good. It's simply because Renegade had the foresight to sign up some of the best Amiga developers in the country. The Bitmap Brothers, Graftgold and Sensible Software are just a few examples.

Renegade together with developers, Wunderkind, have created Ruff 'n' Tumble and it's a game that might make you think twice before dismissing the platform genre.


The hero of the game is a blonde-haired, gun-toting, cutesy kid called Ruff. While playing marbles near a mysterious rabbit warren, Ruff loses one of his precious collection when it rolls down a tunnel.

Ruff decides to get his marble back. but little does he know that down the tunnel is a teleport to another world. Ruff, dazed and confused, finds himself on an alien planet. He later discovers that the world is run by the evil Dr Destiny. The mad doctor controls a fearsome army made up of robots called the tinheads.

Our hero, to his surprise, also spots his marble collection lying strewn throughout the planet. Armed with a variety of weapons, including flame-throwers and laser-guns, Ruff must battle through four worlds and 16 levels to recover his marbles, and while he's at it he must also save the planet from the evil clutches of Dr Destiny and his Tinhead Army.



There are four worlds in Ruff 'n' Tumble, all with their own distinct theme. The first is Fantasy Forest and Ruff must race around the woods and tunnels to rescue his marbles. There are plenty of underground sections to the game and the graphics darken accordingly.

World two is the Underground Mine. This has lots of slippery crystal surfaces and pools of molten lava dotted around the place. Keep a careful eye out for the Miner and the Drillbot.

The third world is entitled Tinhead Factory. The metallic levels feature lots of flickering lights and fatal electric fields. it's best to steer clear of the masked Docker and watch out for the rockets which will launch themselves at you, if you get too close.

The fourth and final world is Dr Destiny's Castle. The floors are littered with concealed traps and various metallic beasties. There are Knights armed with swords and shields, plus it's worth keeping tabs on the Wizard. Defeat the end of game baddie and you'll have completed Ruff 'n' Tumble.



Most games of this ilk do make the unfortunate mistake of ruining the whole package by adding a cutesy, plinky-plonky soundtrack - the kind of tune a six year old might appreciate.

Luckily, Ruff 'n' Tumble hasn't made this mistake and although it's by no means a classic, the music is adequate enough to keep you leaping and shooting at a rampant frenetic pace.

The sound effects also do their job with plenty of bleeps and bloops when you collect one of the pick-ups. Explosions are abundant and they make enough noise to keep your attention.

In this case, the sound and effects are quite good, but during the fast-paced action, you don't tend to take any notice of them. If they were missing though, I'm sure the game would suffer.




The words "exquisite", "superb" and "gorgeous" do not even come close to describing the graphics in Ruff 'n' Tumble. I haven't seen a platformer look as good as this in quite a while, only Magic Pockets and Gods could challenge it for graphics supremacy.

There isn't an introduction sequence for the game, surprising as they come fitted as standard for most games of this genre, but that's a good thing rather than bad as your whole attention goes on the in-game graphics.

The attention to detail in Wunderkind's platformer is very impressive. Things like the background graphics and the various explosions have had a lot of time and effort spent of them and it's paid off. The animation is top-notch throughout, but the main "Ruff" sprite is totally brilliant and although he looks quite nice in the screenshots, Ruff comes to life when you're playing the game.

Details such as Ruff's quiff which flicks about when he runs around the screen are nice inclusions. Although these small factors alone won't make you want to buy the game outright, they do go a long way making the game, as a whole, a more impressive product.

Put it this way. If the graphics in Ruff 'n' Tumble could be represented by a Sunday Roast dinner complete with all the trimmings, plus you'd also have apple pie and cream for afters.




Ruff 'n' Tumble is one of the best platformers I've played in ages. Not since the days of the Bitmap Brothers' Magic Pockets have I seen a more graphically fantastic and enormously playable platform game.

What really appeals, despite the success in the graphics department, is the difficulty level. This level is set high so that even the most experienced gamesplayer will have to spend plenty of time mastering the various levels.

Event though you're surrounded by cuteness, don't think for one minute that Ruff 'n' Tumble is for kids only. Older gamesplayers will revel in the tough platform challenge.

Wunderkind has done an amazing job and seems to have got every single element of the game just right. The graphics are superb, the sound is good, the gameplay is amazing and it has an uncanny level of addiction that'll keep you playing it again and again.

Ruff 'n' Tumble is, quite simply, the cutesy platformer of the year.

Ruff 'n' Tumble logo

What have dodgy bands from Barnsley got to do with this fab new platform romp? There's only one way to find out...

Dr Destiny And His Tinhead Army is quite possibly the finest name ever for an early Eighties heavy metal band who work part-time for Barnsley gas board. They spend their days fitting pipes, jam during the evenings and play a regular Friday night gig at the Greasy Sheep in Mansfield.

And you could base a great platform game around them - they could wander between levels picking up some choice instruments and warm pints of Skaggleys bitter and at the end of each level, they could tackle a terrifying boss, perhaps an incarnation of Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, or even Duran's Simon Le Bon.

Wake up you fool
Secret levels could revolve around completing the central heating at an end-of-terrace house in Desbury, while attempting to deflect the attentions of evil Mrs Higginsbottom and her devil's own ham sarnies.

Unfortunately, Dr Destiny And His Tinhead Army are not a heavy metal band from Barnsley, nor do they labour at a West Riding gas board. No sire, for they are an evil force who inhabit a fantasy world, a world where a youngster named Ruff has lost his marbles; a world where Kerrang! is not even on general sale.

Ruff 'n' Tumble ignores the world of heavy rock, concentrating instead on the platform-cum-shoot-em-up genre of computer games. And why not? Details, details.

Four worlds, each with four levels, but you don't need to know that really. You want to know whether it's worth buying; whether it's different to the plethora of platformers currently doing the rounds. Good news, it ain't half bad.

Ruff 'n' Tumble takes on board everything you already know about the genre and then adds a small, Ruff blond kid with a gun that could have made it to the Middle East had it been shipped in pieces and called a pipeline. Maybe the Barnsley gaslifters could assemble it?

Suffice to say, the kid's lost his marbles but he's fully equipped to get them back - you don't jump on fiends in this game, you offload a couple of rounds into their midriff.

There are no great secrets to Ruff 'n' Tumble - you collect the pick-ups and shoot the enemy, but where the game stands up is in both the design and the application - the levels are nicely arranged and a pictorial treat; you're never left hanging on a ledge on a wing and a prayer and the baddies, although tough to tackle, are all executable.

Dr who?
Indeed, the execution is in the execution - get in the right place at the right time and the blighters drop. By holding down the fire button and manoeuvring the joystick you can fire in eight directions and although sometimes fiddly, it works a treat.

Ruff 'n' Tumble is best played with caution, sneaking along picking off Dr Destiny's barmy army, but collect the right pick-ups at the right time and you can run and blast like Rambo on aspirins. There are the usual end-of-level bosses and secret rooms, but heavens, they've all got them nowadays.

No, where Ruff 'n' Tumble works is in basic, good-to-honest playability. It can be frustrating, but hey, you pay £25 for a game and you don't want to sail straight into the sunset do you?

Das Plattform Wunder

Ruff 'n' Tumble logo Amiga Joker Hit

Wunder über Wunder: Dieses Action-Highlight hat ein englisches Team mit dem deutschen Namen "Wunderkind" verbrochen, was ja an sich schon verwunderlich ist - aber nun haben sich die Newcomer doch tatsächlich als echte Wunderkinder erwiesen.

Obzwar Jason Perkins (Programm) und Robin Levy (Grafik) schon eine ganze Weile im Geschäft sind, hat mit Sicherheit noch kein Mensch je vom Wunderkind-Team gehört. Wie auch, schließlich haben sie den Namen ja nur Spaßeshalber für ihre erste und einzige Koproduktion ausgesucht; mittlerweile geht man schon wieder getrennte Wege. Und das ist mehr als schade, ist Ruff 'n' Tumble doch nicht weniger als das derzeit beste Actiongame für den Amiga:

Der Held der Show ist Ruff Rogers, einen kleiner Balg, der gerne mit Murmeln spielt. Eines Tages rollt so ein Kuller in ein Kaninchenloch, und Ruff wird zu einer männlichen Alice - er landet nämlich im Platform-Wunderland. Dort geht es allerdings recht handfest zu, denn nicht umsonst steht der englische Ausdruck Ruff 'n' Tumble für deftige Keilereien. Wer dagegen eine zweite Hauptfigur namens Tumble erwartet hätte, sieht sich getäuscht; die war zwar mal geplant, wurde im Sinne eines perfekten Solospiels jedoch wieder fallengelassen. Und so muss Ruff die neu entdeckte Welt eben ganz alleine von Dr. Destiny und seiner Tinhead Army befreien.

Die feindlichen Blechköpfe (und alles, was es sonst noch wagt, sich zu bewegen) nimmt der Lümmel mit einer vorausblickend mitgebrachten MP aufs Korn, herumliegende Wertgegenstände wie Münzen oder Murmeln werden am Levelende gegen Bonuspunkte verrechnet. Weil aber Generatoren massig neues Kanonenfutter produzieren, die Gegner mehrere Treffer wegstecken und die Startwumme auch mal heißlaufen kann, ist man gut beraten, sich nach Lasern, Flammenwerfern, Smartbombs, Unverwundbarkeitkapseln, zusätzlichen Herzchen für den Energiebalken oder Extraleben umzusehen.

Überhaupt sollte man den Karnickelbau tunlichst genau absuchen, denn viele Extras sind gut versteckt, und wer nicht alle Murmeln findet, darf den Level nicht verlassen.

Die insgesamt 16 Abschnitte sind mitunter riesengroß, enthalten Geheimräume bzw. Bonuslevels und verteilen sich auf vier Grafik-Welten: den Fantasyworld, die Mine, eine Blechschädelfabrik und zum Schluß Dr. Destinys Schloß. Hat unser Held sämtliche Zwischen- un Endgegner einer Welt von der Plattform gepustet, findet er zwar auch die besiegten Feinde auf dem Konto wieder, bloß gibt es für letzteres leider keine Highscore-Tabelle. Immerhin kann jede Wunderwelt mit einem Passwort angewählt werden, außerdem wird hier immer fair gespielt.

Trotz derber Raufereien bleibt Ruff mit ein bißchen Grips und Kalkül stets Sieger, wobei sich seine Fähigkeit, auch nach oben, oder diagonal zu ballern, als ebenso nützlich erweist wie sein Talent, im Deckung zu gehen, wenn er selbst unter Beschuß steht. Dennoch sollte der Spieler seine drei Anfangsleben immer scharf im Auge behalten, denn das Game ist nicht eben einfach - an ausgesuchten Gemeinheiten wie etwa Gegnern, die durch Einbahn-Energieschranken ballern, hat selbst als Action-Profi zu knabbern.

Was die Präsentation betrifft, mag man kaum glauben, daß dies keine AGA-Grafik ist, denn so prachtvolle Metall-, Glas- und andere Effekte hat der Amiga einfach noch nicht gesehen. Läuft Ruff etwa in eine Höhle hinein, wird es dunkler, und beim Verlassen ganz realistisch wieder heller; die Tauschgänge im Unterwasserabschnitt der Minerwelt bleiben unvergesslich, später gibt es mehr brodelnde Lava als bei einem Vulkanausbruch, in der Dosenfabrik sprühen so viel Funken, daß es für ein ganzes Silvesterfeuerwerk reichen würde, und die Feinde fahren in herrlichen Explosionen gegen Himmel.

Mag dabei das eine oder andere Feature auch an vorangegangene Grafikwunder wie "Turrican 3" oder "Lionheart" erinnern, so erweist sich Ruff 'n' Tumble hier letztlich doch als Meister aller Klassen. Das Spiel verliert nämlich auch bei einem ganzen Screen voller Sprites nicht an Tempo, lediglich das Scrolling rückelt hin und wieder ganz dezent. Aber angesichts der genialen Animationen schämt man sich direkt, dieses Mängelchen überhaupt zu erwähnen...

Ja, selbst der Soundtrack ist eine Wucht, denn Jason Page hat für die Wunderkinder mitreißende rockige Hymnen komponiert, die der sensationellen Optik qualitativ nicht nachstehen. Zugegeben, auch manche der Sound-Effekte hören sich verdächtig bekannt an (z.B. nach "Silkworm"), aber insgesamt ist die stimmliche Akustik nun mal voll überzeugend.

Und wen es um Spielbarkeit und Gamedesign geht, setzt Ruff 'n' Tumble ohnehin Maßstäbe - etwa so, wie es seinerzeit der erste "Turrican" tat.

Es ist also wirklich Jammer, daß dieses Meisterwerk von Wunderkind ein Einzelstück bleiben soll. Man kann nur hoffen, daß die Bitmap Brothers ihrem Ruf als Zugpferde im Renegade-Stall gerecht werden und mit "Chaos Engine 2" oder "Z" nicht gegenüber diesem Megahit zurückfallen. Die Messlatte liegt jetzt jedenfalls schon verdammt hoch... (mm)

Ruff 'n' Tumble logo

Refresh your swear word vocabulary before you dare to tough this one out...

Ruff 'n' Tumble made me swear one helluva lot, and I hate it when that happens. It's quite the most difficult, frustrating game I've played all month. And yet, because it's so good, I had no choice but to keep playing it.

"You... you dirty rotter!" I'd cry as yet another armour-plated baddy shrugged off my hail of bullets and continued to stomp towards me, his laser bolts ripping me apart like a watermelon (remember that scene from Day of the Jackal? Yes, like that...).

Riled beyond measure, I'd hurl my joystick through the screen, resulting in hundreds of pounds' worth of damage and fusing the electricity on the entire second floor of Future Publishing, unwittingly causing work to grind ponderously to a halt on several of Britain's biggest-selling leisure computing magazines.

But, after walking swiftly round the block a couple of times to let off steam, I'd always return, sweep away the debris, purchase a new monitor from Dixons and arrange for Chris the Handyman to reconnect the electricity. Grasping my joystick with renewed vigour and determination (and barely flinching as the shards of cathode ray tube embedded in it cut into my palms), I'd vow to get even - maybe firing on the baddy from the platform above him, out of range of his guns - and make to the next level. Ruff 'n' Tumble is that kind of game.

It's also, in a funny, platform gamey sort of way, surprisingly original. It looks reassuringly familiar when you first load it up, but think about it: when was the last time you played a platform game where, instead of jumping on baddies' heads to kill them, you could shoot them with a variety of firearms? Quite a while ago, I'll wager. Turrican is the obvious example, and Ruff 'n' Tumble is kind of a cross between that and something cute and slick like Naughty Ones or indeed, Putty Squad.

The first world's ever Woodland™ one. You leap from grassy knoll to leafy treetop, venturing into earthy tunnels from time to time in search of bonus items. If it weren't for the lamentable rave music blaring out of the speakers, drowning out all but the loudest sound effects, you could almost imagine you were happily playing Mr Nutz.

Oh, except instead of rogue blackcurrants and chickens, your path is blocked by a band of the meanest, toughest robotic baddies every to feature ina computer game. They're all swathed in armour plating (your bullets 'ping' into them quite satisfyingly), and even the weediest ones - the ones that stream out of generators and queue up to be blown away - would be more than a match for ED-209.

The truly evil ones, meanwhile - like the American Football-type ones who put their heads down and charge at you, absorbing hundreds and hundreds of shots, and even after yo've finally managed to take them down, get up again and have another go - would probably give an Imperial Star Destroyer a run for its money.

And what about the metallic firemen, who come running towards you and suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, fire out some sort of thing which impales you through the stomach? No mucking about.

Your bullets 'ping' into them quite satisfyingly

Your standard gun is pretty hopeless in the face of odds like these, and, although power-ups are available, they're sparsely scattered about. There's one that doubles your rate of fire, one that turns your bullets into laser bolts, and then various special ones in each world, like a flamethrower in the Woodland world and a brilliant rocket launcher in the - yes! - Underground Cave™ level.

There are also all the usual shields, energy power-ups and extra lives, many of which can be released if you kill a whole series of baddies in quick succession (The game works a bit like a scrolling shoot-'em-up in that respect, which is neat).

And, on the subject of pick-ups, you can get bonus points for running through (sigh) floppy disks, joysticks, mice, batteries and (groan) microchips. (Why can't people occasionally search a little further than their own desks for inspiration? Printing "Loading, please wait" in between levels is one way of shattering the fragile illusion of a computer game, having loads of floppy disks and joysticks lying around all over the place is another. How about hanging banners from the scenery proclaiming "You are playing a computer game"? Or making the baddies hold up little signs saying "I am not, in fact, a nefarious robotic alien bent on your destruction, but merely a collection of digital data residing within your computer's memory"? Tsk).

But, although power-ups are few and far between, the way they've been scattered about the levels has been achieved with dastardly deviousness. That group of robotic wasps swarming towards you might look pretty terrifying, but not if you picked up the flamethrower from that little side-passage you just passed. And sometimes you're better off leaving weapons alone for a while until you've shot away a few of the easier baddies, and then going back for them when you're in really desperate need of them.

This is a game that starts off looking impossibly difficult, and then, once you've worked out a technique for each level, turns out merely to be incredibly hard instead. Easy.

There are doors to open, too, which require you to find keys. Some involve you venturing intro tricky parts of the level you'd otherwise have given a miss,w hile others, although it's not essential you open them, have tempting power-ups lurking behind them. All very Alice in Wonderland.

There's one such door right near the start of one of the levels, with a handy extra life behind it, but you'll search in vain for the key. It's not until you get right to the end of the level that you realise that you've gone all the way round in a circle, and you're back where you started, but behind the door. Pretty damn sneaky, I thought.

And also, of course, formidably hard Baddies don't generally reappear if you kill them, they don't walk away and come back again. But there are generators which carry on spilling them out - like the ones in Gauntlet - except you can't destroy them. That means the place is always crawling with robots. And really-hard-to-kill ones, too, who take great delight in running towards you and taking advantage of the fact that, as is the universal rule in games, in any collision between you and a baddy you'll always go "Aaargh" and lose some energy while the baddy will come off just fine.

AND they're all really intelligent, as well. If you sneak up behind one and start merrily blasting away, he won't just dumb blunder onwards until he dies, o ho - he'll wheel around and pump you full of a veritable hall of photon unpleasantness, fearsome fireballs or common or garden bullets.

And the bosses. Phew. If you're of the opinion that bosses are meant to be some sort of reward for completing a level, a kind of interlude, rather than some sort of test you've got to pass before going onto the next bit, then you'll hate Ruff 'n' Tumble.

The giant owl at the end of the first world comes flying towards you ina hail of laser bolts and kills you virtually instantly. He's got a pattern you'll eventually learn, but, of course, to do that will take loads of lives, and once your meagre ration has expired you'll have to go all the way back through World 1 before you can try again.

Challenging? Or frustrating? It probably depends on your temperament. After a time I ran out of expletives and had to content myself with simply gazing at the screen in shattered disbelief, dazedly shaking my head.

But, although Ruff 'n' Tumble might be difficult, it's always completely far. Every level has been meticulously designed to ensure that you never have to jump blindly off a platform in the hope that some spikes won't scroll onto the screen underneath you. (Indeed, the screen often scrolls of its own accord to show you otherwise-hidden bits). Every baddy can be dealt with safely if you work out the best approach. Power-ups are placed just where they're needed.

Indeed, if you were some kind of gamesplaying colossus, with pico-second reactions and immense powers of calculation, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to play through the entire game on your first go without losing a drop of energy - nothing's been left to chance.

And on top of all that, it's fabulously slick and well-programmed. A slightly dull choice of colours means our screenshots won't do the game justice, but the animation is beyond compare, and all the sprites have loads of character. The flame throwers work just like real ones, rockets woosh off purposefully, and the explosions when a baddy dies really justify all the effort you have to put in.

The only things I could really find to complain about are a) 'up to jump', although, given that the firebutton's given over to controlling your weaponry, it's hard to see how this could've been got around (apart from recognising a two-button joystick, of course); b) a slight lack of surprises once you've encountered all the basic baddies in a world - there aren't any special one-off ones, so you know pretty much what to expect after the few first screens; and c) the way the game seems slightly uncomfortable being both a cute platform game and an all-out Walker-style 'triggerthon' (as Cam would say) - it doesn't quite go to either extreme, and some meaty gun-reloading noises might just have helped the atmosphere click into place. Nothing too serious, though, eh?

As long as you're prepared to suffer for your art, Ruff 'n' Tumble is one of the nicest games around at the moment. Ina nasty sort of way.

Ruff 'n' Tumble logo CU Amiga Super Star

What's this? Renegade are releasing another platform game, and claiming it's the best ever? Tony DIllon investigates with a raised eyebrow.

I know that I've said it before, but this game has to win the award for having the strangest plot ever devised. Ruff (who is the young fair haired boy of the title) enters a fantasy world after playing near a mysterious rabbit warren. When his marble rolls down a tunnel, he leaps at the chance to be transported to another world to battle with the evil Dr Destiny and his Tinhead army. Armed with a variety of weapons, Ruff battles through four worlds and 16 levels to defeat his enemy. Weird or what?

As you can tell from the screenshots, or if you've already taken a sneaky look at the genre box in the verdict panel, Ruff 'N' Tumble is a platform game. What you won't be able to tell from the screenshots is that it's a platform game in a class of its own. It doesn't look like it should be on a console. It isn't even remotely cute in its handling of weapons. It's extremely violent. You don't kill enemy sprites purely by leaping on their heads, no there's a lot more to it. But more on that later.

The game is spread out over four worlds: forest, caves, factory and Dr Destiny's Castle, with each world being made up of four huge levels. The aim of each level is always the same, however, which is to collect a large amount of marbles of all different colours, a set amount of which must be picked up before the exit to the next level is opened.

Naturally enough, when you reach the end of the world, you have to go against a giant sprite in the guise of an end-of-level monster. There are coins dotted all around the levels too, a hundred of which guarantee the player an extra life, along with all manner of other bonus objects which just increase the player's score.

This is nothing really new here but what make Ruff 'N' Tumble special is that it is an extremely playable and polished product. Jason Perkins (code) and Robin Levy (graphics), have managed to create what could almost be described as the perfect blend of platform game action and a shoot 'em up. Like I said, you don't jump on the bad guys, and you don't get to be cute at any point.

What you do get is to go up against some fairly mean robots who will do everything from headbutt you in the stomach to driving a drill through you, and you also get to carry a very large gun. But that's only part of the fun.

When you start the game, you have a fairly weedy weapon. Collect a couple of power-ups and your puny little pop gun can be turned into a rapid firing machine assault rifle with enough kick to saw a house in half. But that's not the good part.

The good part is when you get to collect some of the other weapons in the game, such as the laser pulse rifle or, best of all, the flame thrower. I can't explain why, but there is something about swinging a stream of fire around the screen, wiping out everything in sight that is just so satisfying. (I'm getting worried about Tony - Ed).

Ruff 'N' Tumble's design is superb. Each level flows along nicely (maybe that's the wrong word!) and there are no awkward moments in the game. All the jumps and platforms are in logical places and there are 'no leaps of faith', as Tom Watson from Renegade is so keen to point out.

What this means is that you can generally jump to another platform without first checking where you are going to land. Even if you can't see exactly where you're going there are always clues - which makes things much less frustrating and much more interesting.

At the end of the day, Ruff 'N' Tumble is an excellent game, one that shows the genuine effort that has gone into creating it. A true Amiga platformer it tips its hat to the single playability of yesteryear's machines, with the sort of sound and graphic content that sits firmly in the modern day. I guess what I'm trying to say is, shucks, just go and buy it will you?