Atari User1st June 1987
Published in Atari User #26
British Rail was never like this! Alligata's new release puts you in charge of a classic American steam train on a journey more hazardous than anything Casey Jones ever undertook.
Most of the screen is taken up with a side-on view of an impressive red steam engine. The engine chugs away to the right along the track, or rather, it gives the impression of this. In fact, the train stays in the centre of the screen while the background scenery (blue skies, green fields and mountainous terrain) slides smoothly to the left.
At the bottom of the screen is an overhead view of a criss-crossing, six lane railway system. This lets you see some distance ahead and behind and so works as an early warning device.
Your train has a limited supply of fuel and the only way you can take on more is by visiting fuel dumps sited around the system. To do this you'll need to change lanes from time to time - accomplished by pushing up or pulling down on your joystick.
There are other reasons why you'll need to keep a weather eye open too. A dynamite-laden handcart will come rattling along the tracks at frequent intervals. If it hits your train, you're a goner.
Mind you, there are means other than evasive action to deal with that particular peril. A quick pull to the right with your joystick will fire a missile - very handy when you're on a collision course with a handcart.
Danger also comes from the skies in the form of planes and airships which drop red bombs. The best way to deal with this aerial bombardment is to fire a blast of smokeupwards from your engine (Smoke that destroys bombs and aircraft? The laws of physics have been rewritten again!)
Holding and releasing the fire button controls the height of your smoke clouds which rise to the desired height and then drift off to the left, hopefully eradicating aerial objects on impact.
There are ten levels to deal with and a choice of speeds (fast or slow). At least the instructions say there are two optional speeds. But they don't tell you how to select them. No matter what keys I pressed, or how much I waggled the joystick, I never did find out how to race at top speed.
Neither do the instructions mention that there is a Pause facility (key P to pause, anything else to continue).
Loco is excellent value for money. High quality graphics, sound and gameplay make this a must for your library.