Description official description
While few young people aspire to the role of a Dustman, New Generation Software felt they would enjoy pretending to be one in this innovative arcade game.
Each section presents you with a road of houses, drawn from forced-perspective 3D, with flick-scrolling as you move up the road. Each house's dustbin must be collected, emptied and replaced within the time limit, which is indicated by the Bonus timer at the top of the screen. If this reaches zero, you receive the first of 3 warnings - a third sees you out of a job.
Setting foot on the grass causes the bonus to drop more quickly, and there are additional hazards to avoid, including the local cars, which appear to be driven by maniacs, and cyclists and barking dogs, which can both injure you and cause your movement to slow. If hit by a car then it is game over. Once all the bins have been emptied walking up to the top of the street will complete the level.
Credits (ZX Spectrum version)
Average score: 71% (based on 8 ratings)
Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)
The original concept of Trashman is fun and simple: take the role of a garbage man in the British suburbia and run around emptying bins in your lorry. It's not as easy as it seems, though, because there are car drivers who speed like maniacs, angry dogs hiding behind every corner and children riding their bicycles on the pavement. The poor trashman must negotiate all these obstacles and risk his life to bring home his daily pay. The game is divided in levels, each with a set amount of bins to collect. These bins must be taken to the the lorry that moves automatically along the left side of the road. It can't be controlled and, depending on your speed, you might end up outrunning it or falling behind. When the trashman is carrying a bin he's slower, much more significantly when the bin is full. This is a very nice touch and can add a lot of tension every time you have to cross the road. There is a time limit that also acts as bonus points pool: not only it will decrease on its own over time but will also lose points if you step on the grass. No worries, however, because the good people in the neighbourhood will be glad to provide you with extra bonus points if your service has been satisfactory or, in other words, if you haven't stepped on their lawn. For every bonus tip the game will also reward you with a humorous line, mostly related to computer culture of the time. The real threat to the trashman's life are the cars. It's one hit game over here, this game doesn't joke around. As the levels progress their patterns will vary slightly, forcing you to pay attention to what they're doing. Dogs and cyclists on the other hand are just there as hindrances: a trashman who's hit by them will start limping, thus moving more slowly, for a short amount of time. The layout of the levels changes enough to keep it fresh: you will end up seeing houses that look like each other after a while, but there will be differences in the ways you can access them. Some levels don't have the pavement directly connected to the street, but only a few access points. You will have to choose whether to take the long way around, especially if there's a car parked and blocking your way, or walk on the grass, make a homeowner angry and as a result give up a tip.
I didn't think much of the way the game looks at first, but I ended up watching some screenshots of the C64 and ZXS versions, which were published two years before this one. With the hardware the CPC provides it's not acceptable to have it look worse than the originals. Another department in which it fails completely is the sound: there is no music at all, and three, maybe four, sound effects in total. For most of the time you'll be playing this game you'll be sitting in complete silence. I've already said the gameplay is solid, but it does suffer slightly from a case of stiff controls: it's something to which you need to get used, because the character's movement is locked to a grid, however the animations are quite smooth and can hide that limitation. When it comes to longevity Trashman doesn't shine either. There are 7 levels in total, and once you've started figuring out how the cars' patterns work it won't take you long to get to the end. It is mostly a score-based game, so you would want to play it again to improve, but I still would have expected at least 10 levels. Moreover, when it comes to replay value, the first three levels become very tedious because they offer little challenge to the experienced player and I doubt most people would feel like replaying them over and over.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the game is fun and worth a try. It doesn't take long to go through all the levels and it's an enjoyable experience. However, I don't see why would anyone want to play the CPC port. I did because that's what I had 25 years ago and felt like coming back to it, but if you want to just play Trashman, it would appear the C64 original is the way to go.
Amstrad CPC · by BeamingLizard (15) · 2014
When I had my old C64 back in the '80s, I owned a lot of games that have simple objectives, and one of these games is Trashman. The object of this game is simple: You get the garbage can that sits by several houses and carry it to the pickup, take the can back where you found it, and move on to the next house. The hardest part of this is making your way across a dangerous road, keeping off the grass, and collecting all the trash in the street within a strict time limit.
I enjoyed doing this as this means that the owner of the house appears and invites you in. This is important to do because going inside and going back out means that more time is given to you. I tried completing a level while ignoring the owners and I regretted that later. The author provided a touch of humor to the game, and this is noticeable when you are entering and leaving houses.
I also like how this game is a challenge as you make your way from street to street. All the time you have to make Trashman stay off the grass to avoid being penalized for it. You also have to deal with more and more traffic going up and down the street, motorbikes that travel along the sidewalks, and guard dogs that bite you if you accidentally walk on the grass.
Although the graphics are inferior today, there were good enough for the time of the game's release. Every object – including cars, houses, garbage cans, etc. - is drawn nicely. The animations are smooth as well. When Trashman collects a garbage can full of trash, the load causes him to walk more slowly until the trash is dumped into the back of the pickup.
There is no background music while you are doing your duties, but I think that it is much pleasant without it. I enjoyed hearing the passing cars, as well as the ambulance that appears if you get run over.
Movement is done by pushing the joystick (or keyboard) in all directions, and there is no fire button involved. You just go to the house, collect the trash, dump it into the pickup, and bring the can back to the house. I wish there was a gun involved as this would make collecting the trash much easier. All you would have to do is point the gun at the trash and pull the trigger to suck it up into the gun. That would not make you walk slower when carrying a whole load of trash.
Accidentally walking on the grass is easy to do, especially if you turn sharp corners. And sometimes when I am about to dump the trash into the pickup, the damn thing moves down the street.
As usual, you lose a life when you do something wrong; and in this game, you can get run over and an ambulance comes along to take you away. You only get one life so we never get to see Trashman after that. (Actually, make that two lives if you add another applicant at the start of the game.)
The Bottom Line
As I said above, Trashman is one of those games that had a simple objective, and in this case, it's collecting people's trash sitting in their garbage bin; and once you dump it in your pickup, you return the garbage bin only to hear its owner invite you in for something. I suggest that you do not ignore them, as you are on time limit that counts down quickly if you walk on their grass. Some of the things that the owners say is amusing. Making this all difficult is traffic, motorbikes, and guard dogs.
Trashman's graphics are good, although I like to have seen other colors than red for each house you go to. When it comes to sound, Trashman proves to you that you don't need any background music to enjoy a good game. Control are simple; there is no fire button. People who had a C64 and used to own the game can still enjoy it through emulation.
In fact, Malcolm Evans, Trashman's original programmer, gave positive feedback on people who replayed the game through emulation, as well as people who did remakes of the game. The only remake that I found refuses to work on my current system due to a "memory access violation", whatever that means.
Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2009
- May 1985 (Issue 1) - #55 'It's the Zzap! 64 Top 64!'
Most of the streets in the game are named after real streets in Bath where the game's designer, Malcolm Evans, lived. An exception is Montague Road which is in Saltford, a small village close to Bath.
Magazine Editors' contest
When New Generation launched their Complete Machine Code Tutor educational package, they attracted magazines to the launch by staging a Trashman competition among UK magazine editors, offering a weekend for two in Paris to the winner (Pete Green of Computing Today)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Martin Smith.
Amstrad CPC added by Kabushi.
Game added September 5, 2004. Last modified February 6, 2024.