"Flight 396... Fsszzz... Heading for the ocean... Zweeee... Planet Aguar... Nyeeeeeaaiee... Omega Sector... Shweeeek..." The last words from a doomed intergalactic passenger transporter, which yielded only one survivor - a little boy. Before he could be rescued, the infant was found by some benevolent sea-sprites who found his dimples irresistible, so they adopted him as an honorary sea-sprite, keeping him safe and jealously guarding him from human would-be rescuers in an impenetrable observatory dome.
That's where Typhoon Thompson comes in. To call him a willing hero would be a bit strong. His sinuses clog at the merest smell of danger and he has a very low pain threshold. But having just been kicked out of the Galactic mothership into a one-man jet-sled, he's not really in a position to complain about his new role in life.
Not terribly keen to get on with his dangerous mission, Typhoon spends a few minutes finding out what his jet-sled can do. The mouse moves the sled forwards or backwards and banks it left and right. Holding down the left button activates the thrusters which shoot the sled across the ocean at a fair lick. The sled in equipped with a laser cannon which releases hot blobs of photons whenever the right button is pressed.
It's not long before Typh comes across the Home Islands, home of Spirit Guardians who help him on his quest. They provide extra lives, extra jet-sleds, even extra weapons *and*, if Typhoon can find certain magic artifacts they help him get inside the observatory dome. Now, the problem is these items are held by colonies of sea-sprites who won't give them up without a fight. But that's what your laser cannon is for, isn't it?
Each colony is made up of a small ring of islets, surrounding a treasury islet where the artifact is kept. As you approach, sea-sprites take to the air in Flyers, seeking retribution for your intrusion either by zapping Typhoon or smashing his jet-sled (or both!).
If Typhoon can blast the Flyers, the sea-sprite occupants are thrown into the water and start swimming for their island. Quickly, Typhoon has to swoop down towards them, pluck them from the water and stuff them in a sack.
Once he's captured every sea-sprite, Typhoon can take them to the treasury island and hold them to ransom. The treasurer sprite has no option but to hand over the artifact in return for his kidnapped comrades, and once Typh has it in his sack, he can return to the Home Islands and hand it over to the Spirit Guardians, to receive an extra life and his next mission.
At the end of the fourth mission, Typhoon will have all the artifacts the Spirit Guardians need, allowing him, in a last desperate battle, to rescue the sea child and save the day, good, eh?
Actually, "good" is a very inadequate term for describing this game. Typhoon Thompson is... well, let me just say this...
Graphically, the game is astounding. The action is displayed in thoroughly convincing 3D - a plus point in itself, but on top of that there are a whole host of design touches which put Typhoon Thompson head and shoulders above other games. You've heard the term "cartoon-quality graphics"? It's been used many times but this is the first game that really lives up to the promise.
The game opens as Typhoon is kicked out of a flying saucer, a scene which is displayed in one of three superbly comic ways. The best shows him hanging onto a gantry until a ship's officer comes out and stamps on his fingers! Brilliant! But that's not all...
The programmer at Broderbund, Dan Govlin (he produced Choplifter - remember that?) has put hours of work into animating every little sprite to such a degree that they seem to have a life of their own. The treasure sea-sprite's reaction when Typhoon presents him with a sackful of his mates is a joy to behold. And when he toe-punts the sack into the treasury... Amazing! There's even an afterblur effect to make the movement seem more fluid. Sound too is beautifully orchestrated. Not only is the music good, the sound effects are very cartoony and are perfectly synchronised to the action.
You might think that with such brilliant graphics, the programmers have let gameplay take a back seat, and to some extent it would be true. Typhoon Thompson isn't a complex game to play, and there are only four missions, but it's adequate entertainment because those graphics make it such fun that you keep coming back for more.
So what was I saying? Oh yes, Typhoon Thompson is one of the best games I've seen recently on the ST. Beg, borrow or steal a copy... now!