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Trantor The Last Stormtrooper.

Trantor title screen

From the moment you first boot Trantor, you know you're in for a treat. The exciting and well-drawn title screen is followed by an intro featuring the biggest sprite you've ever seen (the spaceship shown below) landing, your character getting out and running along a short distance (plenty of frames in the animation, nice and smooth), and finally, the spaceship exploding.

Aha! I had you fooled completely there. In just two sentences, I had you convinced that this was actually a good game, didn't I? Unfortunately, the little fantasy I've painted above ends as soon as you start the game. Your fearless sprite, who looks rather like a badly-drawn cyclist holding a water pistol, limps around various dull, monochrome corridors accessing dull, monochrome-looking wardrobes (?) full of power-ups and getting password letters out of dull, monochrome-looking computer terminals. Oh yes, and the water pistol turns out to be a flamethrower, but if your character is drawn to scale then his fists would have a longer range than the pitiful little 'fzzt!' coming out of the flamethrower, so you have to wonder why he doesn't just throw the thing away. The graphics, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, are dull and monochrome, and the aliens you fight (which pour onto the screen randomly and mill about equally randomly) are tiny, stupid and utterly un-fearsome.

As a demonstration to ST owners just how bad things were on the ZX Spectrum, Trantor is superb; the only thing it lacks is attribute clash. As an ST game, Trantor reeks. If your parents ever gave you this game for Christmas, ring your lawyer - it's not too late to bring abuse and neglect charges.

By the way, I remember the ZX Spectrum version of this game mostly for its superb music (and I mean it this time). The gameplay itself was so-so, but the graphics were quite detailed for the old Speccy, and the sound was great. The sound in the ST version is a series of silly tweets and "pfft!" noises, the perfect complement to an utterly bad game.

Large spaceship
In-game screenshot
Take a good, close look at the big spaceship in the upper screenshot, because it's the best piece of graphics in the entire game. As you can see from the lower, in-game screenshot, the entire thing looks like somebody took the Spectrum graphics, added a little spot color, and called it an ST game. The thing just to your right is an elevator which takes you down (or, in an occasional burst of variety, up) to yet another level of mind-numbing monochrome boredom.

In a way, I'm glad to see this game, because I've always considered myself hopeless at drawing, yet clearly, as this game shows me, there are others in the world who are much worse than I am, yet still get paid for it.

Verdict: The old 8-bit computer mags like Zzap! and Your Sinclair probably would have described this game as "utterly naff". This is the kind of game which exists solely to justify scoring games on a scale of 0-5 rather than from 1-5. Thumbs firmly DOWN .

Ratings (five stars = maximum)







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