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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Top Cat! Dum-de-dum-de-dum - Top Cat! He's jolly marvellous... oh yes, I remember all the words to the song, and have many happy childhood memories of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon adventures of Top Cat.

TC's arch enemy Officer Dibble and his assortment of low life feline friends join him for this romp through the alley ways of New York, but HiTec's first licenced Top Cat game adventure starts with the lads transferred to the swankier environment of Beverly Hills. Benny the Ball having inherited a mansion when the real heiress, Amy, went missing. But rather than lounge around the pool all day cat napping, the gang set out to find Amy and restore her inheritance... all together, aaaaah!

The action starts in an environment where TC's at home - a sleazy alley scattered with wrecked cars, infested with scuttling rats and littered with garbage. It's a fairly straightforward maze based arcade adventure with some nice colourful background graphics, fair animation, fast clean screen-flipping and reasonable unambitious sound effects (you don't seem to get a rendition of the Top Cat theme, which is a pity).

There's not much challenge in avoiding the hazards of the alleyways, but there are puzzles to solve which provide most of the entertainment. Like, on his quest to round up his gang, how does TC get past Crusher the dog? Giving him a bone seems to be the answer, but to find the bone you have to get past locked doors, avoid careering skateboarders who steal objects from you, and try to avoid getting squashed by slamming doors, rolling dust bins and tyres, and squirting fire hydrants.

At the bottom of the screen is a display showing TC's energy as a diminishing pint of milk; this can be topped up by finding new bottles, but watch out for sour milk which will lose you energy. If you lose energy too fast, any members of the gang you have collected may take fright and run off.

You get bonus points for placing garbage in bins or for collecting fruit, but again watch out for sour apples; these will either slow you down or reverse your joystick controls for a short period. The objects you have collected, such as banana skins, keys, cans and bones, are shown in a series of windows at the bottom of the screen; to drop one, you hold down the fire button, move the highlight to the object required, and press fire again.

In later levels TC has to explore the area around Beverly Hills until he finds his way to the mansion, then locate the missing Amy while avoiding the evil butler Snerdly.

That's all folks - decent arcade adventure which does justice to a classic cartoon character at a bargain price.

Label: Hi-Tek
Memory: 48/128K
Price: £3.99
Program By: Dave Thompson & Richard Morton
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

GARTH'S COMMENT: No pussy footing around with this one! It's a clean and competent sniffing-and-pouncing game.

Certainly not one for the litter tray as Top Cat is tiptop. In fact, nine out of ten Top Cat fans prefer it!


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The cartoon series Top Cat was inspired by the long running TV comedy show Sergeant Bilko featuring Phil Silvers as the scheming soldier, Sgt. Bilko - Top Cat's character was based on Sgt. Bilko and Benny the Ball was based on the character Doberman in the series.

Hi-Tek's other Hanna-Barbera cartoon licence include kung-fu canine Hong-Kong Phooey, Yogi Bear's Great Escape and cat-and-dig team Ruff and Ready.

The domestic cat is thought to be descended from the Africankallir or bush cat mixed with the European wild cat.

The most common type of cat is the tabby cat which just means 'striped' or 'blotched'.

Only 10% of cats are pedigree - and they fall into only two categories, short-haired and long-haired.

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There's only one Top Cat and he's over 20 years old now but he still looks rather good.

He's bin here, he' bin there. TC's been just everywhere! But can he find his way around the back alleys and eventually rescue Ami, his favourite little Pussy.

Here's our hero totin' a fair bit of rubbish - namely and old can and a banana skin. He needs to drop them in the bin for points.

Sorry puss, but no key - no way! There is a key somewhere in all of this back street bogusness but can T.C. find it? it'll be KitKat all round if he does.