Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Stop the Express'

Rating:4 User: The Dean of Games

1983 Sinclair Research
by Hudson Soft

The story is simple: You happen to be on the roof of a train apparently out of control.
Being the hero it's your job to go and stop the train from wrecking.
Of course, like in all games life ain't easy for the hero, and obstacles are necessary. The doors between carriages have all been locked and appears a gang of saboteurs are behind all of this.
Your task is to go thru all the carriages, avoiding the baddies who shoot giant bullets at you, well actually they throw them at you, until you reach the locomotive and stop the uncontrolled Express.

My first glance at this game many years ago was of excitement. I loved everything about it.
And despite finding it hard, it was really fun and incredible to look at.
Now today, after long years, I can firmly claim that this is actually very easy to complete, I finished it in a few plays. So a long loved game became a sort of a disappointment. Mainly because it is too short. The train has 20 carriages, and 3 stages, the first stage happens on top of the first 10 carriages, the second stage inside the rest of the train, then you reach the the key room which is the last stage (not mentioned in the game) and finally the locomotive. When complete the game restarts without resetting the score and the enemies then start appearing also from the front. For such an early game, and intended for the 16K, I can only consider it to be one of the best games ever released for this machine.
Although short its still very playable and fun.

Note: By the time I wrote this review I noticed the authors name wasn't attributed. It only claimed to be made by Hudson Soft. But I have found some clues that may lead to F.Itagaki. He authored a game called 'Itasundorious' also released by Hudson Soft. Now if you notice this game has the first syllable of Itagaki's name. Now returning to 'Stop the Express', can you remember the name of the express in which the action takes place? Exactly it happens aboard the ITA Express.
And what about the 'CongratuRation! You Sucsess!' message in the end?
Coincidence? Written by a japanese? I really don't know, but it sure looks like F.Itagaki was involved in the game.