New ground in unoriginality

Tiger Road logo

THE world never tires of games with little men - or far more rarely women, which must mean something - hitting things with other things. The hitting things are usually implements to which there is a right and a wrong end.
The things which are hit are little men similar to your own, but invariably facing the other way. While there may be up to five of your men, there are a seemingly unending supply of chaps willing to lay down their lives for the cause of entertainment.

Tiger Road is pretty much bog standard fare. The party of the first part - that's you, kidda - is Lee Wong, a dab hand with an axe and a generally all right character.
Lee is annoyed that a certain samurai, Ryu Ken Oh, is causing havoc in the village by stealing all the children. At that time the Orient hadn't heard of YTS, so this was considered a bad thin. The children have been stolen to become soldiers for the despot's private army.

Raised from childhood on the values of Truth, Justice and Mom's Lychee Pie, Lee vows to avenge the foul deeds. Or at least get some of the kids back in roughly working order.
The quest is long and hard, the task is onerous and the copywriter unimaginative. So off he goes down Tiger Road, complete with a rather nasty axe, for a quick afternoon's vengeance.

First on the scene are the Usuless Samurai. These little folk just love rushing towards you and exploding on your axe. Next up are the Amazing Exploding Spear Throwers, who throw spears which, amazingly enough, explode. Various new weapons can be picked up, but I expect you expected that. Once past these, you're treated to some rather bad lightning while the new level loads in.

The next bit is the labyrinthine entrance hall to Ryu Ken Oh's castle, where giant night club bouncers hang about and do you no good at all. Disposing of them is more a matter of luck than judgement because the amount of battering they need to explode varies. This levels results in much aggro.

Part three is a quick piece of homage to Donkey Kong. Barrels which roll towards you, can be jumped (difficult) or smashed (easy). At the end of the section is the chappie who is chucking the barrels; a quick flash of the axe and he's history.
Next comes the Hairy Savage bit - he's hairy, and boy is he savage. If you manage to see him off - not easy - the next bit is much the same as all that's gone before, except different.

Tiger Road breaks new ground in unoriginality. The scrolling play area is weeny, as are the sprites. It may play reasonably close to the arcade original, but is that an accolade?
What must be applauded is the sound, which is loud and suitably violent, especially the title tun. I've even loaded up the game just for the tune, not bothering with play it.

Tiger Road logo

US Gold

I am all for simplicity, but this is a bit too simple for a beat 'em up isn't it? You are a sturdy little fellow whose job it is to get to the end of the game. How do you fight past the bad guys? Press fire. That's it. No silly messing about with diagonals and funny joystick twists. Fire makes your little fellow swings whatever weapon he happens to be carrying at the time.

The graphics are nice, backdrops are OK; but the sound is the game's best aspect. A pleasing tune plays throughout, and it takes quite a while before you get sick of it.

Tiger Road logo

Capcom, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14,99 disk; Amiga £19.99

Dare you think it? Can you believe it? Could it ever make sense? Can you cope? What do you mean with what? With Ken D Fish, that's what. Yeah, looks like our very own loveable, cuddly, harmless and everso innocent Ken D Fish has a pretty shady distant past.

Capcom sources inform us that deep in those dark and dangerous times when Japan was a country full of er... dark and dangerous deeds and Ken's family was still in the early stages of evolution (i.e., human and not particularly fishy at all) one vile, boil-ridden and generally smelly ancestor of his was running riot in the east. Shocking eh?

The nasty piece of work in question was none other than Ryu Ken Oh, the sort of villain who kidnaps children, razes harmless villages to the ground and brainwashes simple peasants into becoming soldiers of his black and wicked cause. Boo, hiss.

Zzap's Front: Hey! Wots all this? Back: Turn round! I can't see! Lucky that even then there were guys like Lee Wong (that's you) around. These were the sort of guys who risked everything to free the innocent and save the free. Aaah.

Single-handedly and without the tiniest of help, he sets off through several different temple, outdoor and indoor environments to beat those brain-dead soldiers into a pulp, rescue the children and make sure guys like Ryu Ken Oh never breathe again.

Good job that some of the dying soldiers leave bonus power, weapons and goodies behind. Not so good that every now and again Lee comes across a big, stonking, mega-hard temple guardian, the sort of guy you'd like to spend a lifetime washing dishes and avoiding - let alone kill. Unless he jumps out of his way and beats him up pretty quick, Lee's mincermeat.

Oh yeah - and if you let the darker side of Ken's family survive what will happen to Ken D Fish? Fish fingers, that's what.

Gordon Houghton Threaten to throw a bucket of water over my head and I'd be the first to admit that Tiger Road isn't the slickest conversion I've ever seen on the 64. The levels aren't particularly faithful to the coin-op (a bit more on the Amiga, but not much) and some of the end-of-level aliens are a bit of a letdown. Still, it's a dead good game in its own right with plenty of variety to keep you hooked. As long as you're not expecting a well-faithful conversion, run down to your local software shop and demand to see this in a strong, purposeful voice.
Kati Hamza Yey, I thought when I first saw this - a Tiger Road coin-op (well nearly) slap bang in the middle of the ZZAP! Office. Fab! Now for the bad news: neither version is entirely faithful to the coin-op and not all that many levels look the same. No hold on - don't go rushing off with that miserable look on your face - here comes the good news: it's still really good fun to play. Yep, the combat's fast, the gameplay's furious and the levels are just hard enough to keep you playing on and on. I wouldn't say the 64 or Amiga graphics are exactly spectacular but the action is a bucketful of fun. And basically, when it comes down to it and all that an' everyfin', that's what counts, innit?
Maff Evans Call me mad Maff if you like, but I just couldn't get into this. I haven't played the arcade game, so I can't really comment on how good a conversion it is - but on both formats, the game itself just seems to lack that extra edge. Apart from the end-of-level baddies, the sprites aren't all that big and a lot of the time on the 64, I found it a bit difficult to see what was going on. The sound's not too bad on either version but when it comes to the gameplay department there isn't just enough to interest me. You might like it though. All I'm saying is, try before you rush out and rip it off the shelf.
Zzap's Ken D Fish + Rockford + Thing + Nose = Zzap!