Looking for really original ideas in computer games is almost becoming an art in its own right. New Generation seem to have come up with another in Trashman. Even the cover design is different from anything seen before, with its dirty, over-crowded dustbin.
As a hero, this is likely to be the lowliest character you will ever play - a dustman. Players (there is a one- or two-player option) enter their names at the start and become the Trashman. The object of the game is to walk up and down a street, entering the houses' gardens, collect a dustbin, take it out to the dustcart, empty it and replace the bin from exactly where it came. You must empty five bins in the first road, Montague Road, and do this against a falling Bonus score. When the bonus reaches zero a message comes up to tell you that complaints have been received about your slowness. After the third such ticking off you are fired!
The screen display is a bird's eye view, looking down on a rather well-to-do suburban estate, with the road down the centre, complete with parked cars and the dustcart creeping up the left side. The road is busy with traffic in both directions. Problems encountered include getting killed by a car, walking on the grass in the gardens (your bonus score drops more rapidly), dogs which attack you on later screens and wayward kids riding their bikes on the pavement. If you meet a dog or bike you start to limp. The overhead perspective view is an isometric one, showing houses on either side, the gardens, hedges, even the shadows of the houses on this bright, sunny day. On later screens there are also cafes and pubs; entering them increases your points, but over-eating or drinking too much will cause trouble. Bonus points can be added to your falling total in another way. Sometimes, after you have returned an emptied bin, the householder will come to the door and offer a tip for services rendered. The content of these services is displayed at the base of the screen and replaced with a comment when you leave the house. 'Just give me a ZX81 and I'll control the world,' is a favourite example.Progressing to the next level (Pulteney Road) requires you to collect six bins. As the trashman's progress takes some time (he's slower when carrying a full bin) he often has to chase after the dustcart which moves up the road a short distance every few seconds. As the playing area is much larger than the display, and the 3D graphics are quite complicated, the screen doesn't scroll up or down but cuts from scene to scene.