Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39490)
Written on  :  Nov 15, 2004
Platform  :  Commodore 64

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This game makes me want to scull a beer

The Good

Bally/ Midway's Tapper is just one of the games designed in the early 80s where you have to complete one of your objectives to advance a level. One thing that isn't mentioned in the trivia is that the game was very popular in bars. People would store their beer mugs in the holder that was part of the cabinet, and took a swig while they were waiting for the next level. Tapper was released for most computers and consoles, but in my opinion, Commodore 64 version of Tapper is the one that stands out from the rest.

Gameplay: As a bartender with the usual suit and mustache, you are required to serve thirsty customers who work their way down all four benches. To do this, you fill up a glass of beer from one of the four taps near each bench and throw it at a customer in order to get rid of them. Unfortunately, some customers drink their beer just before they reach the chute at the other end of the bench and when they finish their beer, they want another. Since no bins are found in the game, unfortunately, they dispose of their last glass and let it slide along, and you are expected to catch it before it falls off the bench. if serving customers is too much for you, then you can get money that some will leave behind, and if you collect the money, they will be treated to a cabaret and they can choose whether or not to watch.

You can lose a life in a number of ways. First, you slide along one of the benches to a chute if you fail to serve the customers and they have gotten to the end of the bench. Second, an empty glass will fall off the bench and break if you do not have the time to catch them. Finally, a glass will also break if you serve a bench that does not have customers.

Every couple or so levels will be a bonus level where a guy that looks like Hamburgular will shake up every beer can except one, and you have to guess which beer can that he hasn't shook up. If you happen to guess the wrong can, the beer will squirt on your face, but if you guess correctly, you receive a free beer. Whether you win or lose, you will proceed to the next level.

The further you progress through the game, the more difficult that it becomes. More customers instead of just one or two will start coming out of the chute at once, and that rule also applies to the number of customers that you start off with, corresponding to the level that you are on. For example, level one starts with one customer, level two starts off with two, level three with three customers, level four with four customers, and so on.

Tapper is the sort of game that requires some skill and patience. As a good bartender, you need to figure out which customers (as well as empty mugs) are closest to the end of the bar than the ones that are not. If you serve the customers who are furthest away from the bench, then you are likely to be thrown into a chute. If one of them starts drinking, you need to tend to other customers before you can deal with him/her again. Also, you won't get further in the game if you are not fast enough. If you take too long serving a customer, another will appear out of nowhere and will make your job difficult.

Graphics: The graphics in the C64 version of Tapper are in line with the other versions, and the game itself is set indoors and outdoors. Both the characters and mugs are drawn exactly as they should be. The characters move along the bar, and when they do, they are seen holding one or both of their arms in the air, as if they are shouting "I want beer!". The cabaret dancers and the outdoor settings look very colorful than the ones in the coin-op version.

Music & Sound: The music is good and blends in with the situation that you face. One of the music pieces is a chopped down version of what you hear from Gold Rush by Sierra, but I have no idea what the rest of the music is called. The sounds were very basic at the time, with a beep indicating that a customer appears, the and the shattered sound of the glass breaking.

The Bad

When you complete a level in the coin-op version, the bartender does a funny stunt after he has a beer himself. This is not present in the C64 version. When a customer decides to throw you across the bench, you don't actually go through the chute, but near it and you stand up, looking like your normal self. I didn't expect this.

The Bottom Line

If you were one of these guys who played Tapper in a local bar, and want to relive the experience, sit down with a beer while play this game today.

Rating: ***