**** Commodore16.com ****

Commodore 16/Plus 4 website to provide support and gaming

Tom Thumb

Title: Tom Thumb
Programmer: Udo Gertz
Publisher: Anirog Software
Year: 1986
Language: English
Genre: Platformer

Download or Play Online


For cheat mode, use this poke: POKE 13420,0

Restart postion, instead of pressing fire to start, pull back on the joystick to start from opened door.

High Score Challenge

Review by SixteenPlus

If there was ever a game that could make the humble Commodore 16 feel like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, then this is it.

Programmed by the Legendary Udo Gertz for Kingsoft and released by Anirog. The blurb on the inlay says:

“Tom the brave little adventurer has entered the tomb of Pharaoh Mansion to get the fabulous wealth buried with the pharaoh. He knows where the treasure is, but to reach it he must collect keys in this 178 screen maze. He faces many dangers – spiders, snakes and spirits that abound inside the pyramid. If he finds the key, the colour of the border will change. Now he must find the door so he can use the key. As soon as the key is used to open the door, the border colour changes back”.

So that’s the blurb quickly over with and now onto the review. As soon as the game loads, you are greeted with little Tom rising up to his starting position to a quite enjoyable short little ditty which atmospherically repeats itself at various intervals throughout the game, which I found quite refreshing.

The game itself is really just your bog-standard platform walk/run and jump and collect affair. But the excellent implementation of this very simple concept makes this a very addicting and enjoyable game.

The graphics are large and colourful and the screen scrolls along in all directions as quick and beautifully as possible. The controls are responsive enough and there are 2 speed settings for Tom, walk and run. This is crucial for avoiding the many nasties you will encounter.

The objective is to locate all the treasure chests inside the great pyramid, but to achieve this Tom must find the many keys strategically placed behind many perilous obstacles. These keys are essential to opening the locked doors to continue on with the quest. Along the way you will encounter the many treasure boxes which are worth 500 gold to Tom, but in our case it’s converted to just mere points. Booo!!! But it certainly makes up for a hi-score game.

Unfortunately for Tom, the caverns hold many dangers and nasties. Demons with spikes, cannons, snakes, giant spiders dropping up and down on a cobweb, and other strange creatures determined to stop brave Tom from fulfilling his quest. You will also find flashing obstacles, including various electrical beams all designed to fry any brave little adventurer. Fortunately for Tom there are many springs to bounce on which sends him soaring upwards to a higher platform, which I find far more quicker than the many ladders.

So just find all the keys to unlock all the doors, avoid the nasties and the hazards. Oh and make sure you grab all those treasure chests along the way, otherwise what was the point in sending poor Tom out on a great perilous quest in the first place?

Well, what can I say about the game as a whole? Well firstly, this game is one of those rare occurrences on the C16 which makes you realise just how under-utilized the machine was actually capable of.

What strikes me most is the immensity of the playing area. I still wonder how Udo Gertz had managed to cram 178 large screens which scrolls along in all directions instead of flicking from one to another inside our little black breadbin. I would expect this more easily achievable on the Plus4, but he had managed to make the C16 seem like a TARDIS. So as technical feats go I applaud you there mostly Udo.

There is another notable little feature, and that’s the ability to continue on at the last checking point after it’s game over. Sure you will continue the game where you last left of with zero score, but for adventurers and mappers this keeps a more lasting appeal because the playing area is just so huge, and even the most ardent gamers will find this a tough challenge through one sitting. But the difficulty level I feel is just right.

If I really had to nitpick at this game, and it seems a little unfair. Firstly this was really programmed as a joystick only game. During my original times of owning the C16 I never really found a suitable joystick, so I mainly stuck with the keyboard. But thankfully there are keys you can use to effectively play the game, Unfortunately they are A=left, 4=right, 5=up, Enter=down and hold down SHIFT to run.

Coupled with the fact that you have to press SHIFT+5 together to make a high jump, and 5+Return to make a low jump, as well as controlling left/right direction makes this all a slight irritation but you do get used to it. It also helps me to practice my guitar finger stretching exercises.

The second niggle is that after completing the game, you start again on a tougher challenge. That isn’t a problem in itself, but there is a point midway through the new challenge where there is a spike placed directly above a ladder which is the only route to carry on. Needless to say it was then officially game over. See below

Death-Screen Video

Minor faults aside, this is still regarded as one of the greatest titles ever released for the C16, and one of the few titles which absolutely murders it’s C64 version counterpart on every single level.

So if you haven’t played this yet, well as a cliche would say “What are you waiting for?”.

Presentation: 8
A cool title screen with Tom scrolling upto his start position and credits rolling along at the top to the main tune, which repeats itself atmospherically at various intervals through the game. A large well-detailed map to explore with many hazards. Lots of treasure to collect with doors to unlock and nasties to avoid. Also infinite continues which is essential for a game this size, plus a hi-score status.
Graphics: 9
Large, colourful well defined character graphics which scrolls in all 4 directions without any slowdown or glitches at all. Good collision detection.
Sound: 8
An unusual title tune which plays along atmospherically at various moments in the game. Some nice spot sound effects too.
Playability: 9
This will immediately grab your full attention, it’s speedy and the game difficulty is just right making it great fun to immediately pick up and play.
Lasting Appeal: 9
You won’t be satisfied until you clock the game, and the built-in infinite continues cheat will definitely waste many many of your hours for years to come.
Overall: 9
An incredibly polished great looking game and immensively addictive. It’s one of the all time classics for the humble C16/+4, and one of the few titles which blows the C64 version into deep space.

Full Longplay Video With deathscreen bug

Categorized as: Games | Reviews

Leave a Reply