Stagecoach (Creative Sparks) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Creative Sparks
Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer & Video Games #38


Howdy partners! My name is Kid Rivers, the toughest cowboy in Micro County. I enjoy rescuing runaway stagecoaches - which is just as well as it seems to happen a lot around these parts. Me and my trusty steed, Spectrum, are just about to leave town looking for another stagecoach right now. Want to tag along?

If you decide to join Kidd on his rescue mission, you're in for a rough ride. First he has to find the stagecoach, galloping at full tilt over rough country. He has to avoid spiky cactus and rocks among other obstacles. If Kidd falls off his trusty steed, the program provides an amusing scene.

Kidd's horse dashes off to the side of the screen. Kidd limps after it, catches it and remounts before continuing the chase.

Meanwhile the stage is still rumbling around the range without a driver - and shedding passengers fall out before Kidd reaches the stage and jumps on, the game is all over before it's really got going.

Finding the stage and manoeuvring Kidd behind it is fairly easy - but then comes the jump, which is a bit risky.

Once on the stage safely, Kidd dashes for the reins and brings the runaway horses under control. He then has to pick up six more passengers who are waiting for a lift into town.

Once he's done this - a few would-be passengers will get trampled in the process, I'm afraid, it's off into the mountains where more hazards await our intrepid hero.

Kidd has to drive the coach through dangerous mountain passes which are prone to landslides that send rocks hurtling down at the coach. Little arrows appear to show you which trails are clear. There is a time limit on this part of the game and a countdown timer appears on screen.

If you keep getting hit by rocks or running into the mountains, your stage sustains damage.

Use up all your damage points and the game ends right there and then. On your way through the mountains, you'll see gold and ammunition boxes appearing on the road. Steer your stage over them and you pick them up.

If you get lost, you can call up a map of the mountains. The game is frozen until you go back to the action.

Survive the mountains and you're faced with a nasty bunch of Red Indian raiders out for your scalp. You have to fight off the Indian attack by climbing onto the roof of the stage and blasting away with your Colt 45.

Indians will attempt to climb onto the stage and capture the passengers - if you lose them all to the rampaging redskins, then the game ends with you losing your scalp. Nasty!

If you fight off the Indians, you'll live to see the stage come safely home to San Pedro.

Stagecoach is an entertaining and original game. However the graphics are a bit crude - the Spectrum is capable of better - but this doesn't really detract from the game's playability which is considerale. It will take some time to master and there are several skill levels to beat.

As I've already mentioned, the falling off the horse routine is nicely done, as are the rampaging Indians. However, I felt the limitations of the graphics showed up most in the mountain sequence. Hit a rockfall and half the stage graphics get wiped away, chequerboard fashion.

Overall, Stagecoach is well put together with a comprehensive menu at the start of the game which, among other things, allow the player to redefine the keyboard controls.

At the end of each game you also see a comprehensive scorechart which tells you how well you've done in various parts of the game.