Review: Ruff ‘N’ Tumble, One of the best platformers ever released for Amiga
I know that I’ve said it before, but this game has to win the award for having the strangest plot ever devised. Ruff (who is the young fair haired boy of the title) enters a fantasy world after playing near a mysterious rabbit warren. When his marble rolls down a tunnel, he leaps at the chance to be transported to another world to battle with the evil Dr Destiny and his Tinhead army. Armed with a variety of weapons, Ruff battles through four worlds and 16 levels to defeat his enemy. Weird or what? As you can tell from the screenshots, or if you’ve already taken a sneaky look at the genre box in the verdict panel, Ruff ‘N’ Tumble is a platform game. What you won’t be able to tell from the screenshots is that it’s a platform game in a class of its own. It doesn’t look like it should be on a console. It isn’t even remotely cute in its handling of weapons. It’s extremely violent. You don’t kill enemy sprites purely by leaping on their heads, no there’s a lot more to it. But more on that later.
The game is spread out over four worlds: forest, caves, factory and Dr Destiny’s Castle, with each world being made up of four huge levels. The aim of each level is always the same, however, which is to collect a large amount of marbles of all different colours, a set amount of which must be picked up before the exit to the next level is opened. Naturally enough, when you reach the end of the world, you have to go against a giant sprite in the guise of an end-of-level monster. There are coins dotted all around the levels too, a hundred of which guarantee the player an extra life, along with all manner of other bonus objects which just increase the player’s score. This is nothing really new here but what make Ruff ‘N’ Tumble special is that it is an extremely playable and polished product. Jason Perkins (code) and Robin Levy (graphics), have managed to create what could almost be described as the perfect blend of platform game action and a shoot ’em up. Like I said, you don’t jump on the bad guys, and you don’t get to be cute at any point. What you do get is to go up against some fairly mean robots who will do everything from headbutt you in the stomach to driving a drill through you, and you also get to carry a very large gun. But that’s only part of the fun.
When you start the game, you have a fairly weedy weapon. Collect a couple of power-ups and your puny little pop gun can be turned into a rapid firing machine assault rifle with enough kick to saw a house in half. But that’s not the good part. The good part is when you get to collect some of the other weapons in the game, such as the laser pulse rifle or, best of all, the flame thrower. I can’t explain why, but there is something about swinging a stream of fire around the screen, wiping out everything in sight that is just so satisfying. Ruff ‘N’ Tumble‘s design is superb. Each level flows along nicely and there are no awkward moments in the game. All the jumps and platforms are in logical places and there are ‘no leaps of faith’, as Tom Watson from Renegade is so keen to point out. What this means is that you can generally jump to another platform without first checking where you are going to land. Even if you can’t see exactly where you’re going there are always clues – which makes things much less frustrating and much more interesting. At the end of the day, Ruff ‘N’ Tumble is an excellent game, one that shows the genuine effort that has gone into creating it. A true Amiga platformer it tips its hat to the single playability of yesteryear’s machines, with the sort of sound and graphic content that sits firmly in the modern day. I guess what I’m trying to say is, shucks, just go and download it!