Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 8

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

If you look hard enough, you may still find the arcade version of Tapper, complete with beer-tap controllers and a brass bar rail along the bottom. It was the kind of game that was made to be played in bars. The home version, however, is based on a slightly watered-down version (no pun intended) of that game, called Root Beer Tapper. Nevertheless, the game - and most of the fun - are retained.

The object is simple: keep the patrons happy. That means sliding beers down the bar to frenzied customers, keeping empties from falling over, picking up tips, and ultimately clearing out the place. You'll go from a western bar to an outdoor sports bar to an alien bar, each having its own unique customers and layout. Between each you will be tested in a game quite similar to the old shell game, with the consequence being a face full of suds!

The controls are very smooth in this version, with the little knob on the ColecoVision controller not as much a hindrance as it is in other games. The progression of difficulty is very slow. That means that if you're easily clearing screens on stage three, you'll probably be clearing them easily at screen thirteen as well. My suggestion is to play this game at no lower than skill level three, which at least offers up a challenge in the early rounds.

The down-sides of this game are bearable annoyances, not tragic flaws. The musical score of "O Susannah" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... can get on your nerves. It is also obvious that this was a game produced in the 80's - nobody gets this close to each other in bars anymore! Besides, it's difficult to tell how many customers there are when they all cluster together like that.

These things aside, I think you'll find Tapper a welcome addition to your ColecoVision library. It's easy to learn, builds up to a frantic pace, and has some entertaining moments when things go wrong. Hey, it's not every day you get to see aliens doing the can-can! SIDE NOTE: The Atari 2600 version, produced by Sega, is not based on the "Root Beer" version of this game. The drink of choice is Mountain Dew instead of Budweiser, and there is an additional bar (a "punk rock" bar) in the game.


TIP: Even if you're at the far end of the bar collecting a tip, you can just tap the directional to appear at the other end, ready to serve.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:33 PM