Tomcat (video game)

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Tomcat cassette front cover (BBC-Electron).png
BBC/Electron cassette cover

Nigel Speight (Amstrad CPC),[1] Adam Polanski (BBC/Electron),[2] Darron M Broad (Commodore 16 / Commodore Plus/4),[3] Ian Denny (Commodore 64),[4]

Steve Burrows (ZX Spectrum)[5]
Publisher(s) Players Software

Acorn Electron
BBC Micro
Amstrad CPC
Commodore 16 / Commodore Plus/4
Commodore 64

ZX Spectrum
Release 1989
Genre(s) Vertically scrolling shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player

Tomcat (also known as F14 Tomcat[2][5][6]) is a 1989 computer game published in the UK by Players Software[7] for a range of 8-bit home computers. The game was released on the Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, Commodore 16, Commodore Plus/4, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum ranges of computers.[5] Tomcat was released as a budget title[8][9] and was also featured on a Your Sinclair magazine cover tape.[10][11]


In-game screenshot (ZX Spectrum)

Tomcat is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up in which the player takes control of an F14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, shooting at both air and ground targets whilst flying over four levels.[12]

The game is set in the future, some time after the first half of the 21st century. In the in-game universe, materials science has progressed such that human civilisation has found a way to cheaply build many artificial islands. The game is set on one such island, called ARTROCK 6 which is a completely automated defence installation. Due to a freak storm damaging the controlling software, the island has turned against its own side and has started attacking local shipping. The player's task is to fly in and completely destroy the rogue island.[2][6]

Critical reception[edit]

Most reviews of game are generally negative, citing a slow running speed, an overly high difficulty level and a lack of originality. Reviewers independently agree that the game has a major flaw in that the enemy bullets are incredibly difficult to see, being the same colour as the background graphics in many versions. The game has also been criticised for having a weak aeroplane theme as it's simply a fixed-speed vertical scroller which could just as easily have a spaceship or any such sprite in its place. The game scored 24% in Crash magazine.[8][9][13][14][15]

The review of the BBC Micro version on however is largely positive, praising the game's very very good graphics, drawing comparisons with another shoot 'em up, Firetrack and concluding that Tomcat is a great game, although the reviewer remains critical of the small gameplay window.[16]

Unrelated titles[edit]

Tomcat is unrelated to another Commodore 64 and MS-DOS game called F-14 Tomcat, developed by Dynamix and published in 1988 by Activision,[17] nor the Game Boy Advance game called F-14 Tomcat, developed by Virtucraft and published in 2001 by Majesco Games.,[18] or Tomcat Alley on the Sega CD.


  1. ^ Jennings, Malc. "Tomcat by Players for the Amstrad CPC/GX 4000". CPC Zone. Retrieved 2010-10-12. At address 93F6 poke A7 for infinite lives - submitted by Malc (CPC Zone Staff) 
  2. ^ a b c "BBC/Electron cassette inlay". TOMCAT. Players. 1989. F14 TOMCAT from Players places you in the cockpit of a specially adapted version of this devastating aircraft. 
  3. ^ Broad, Darron M (1989). "tomcat". Players. Retrieved 2010-10-12. this version coded by darron m broad. 
  4. ^ Lemon, Kim. "Tomcat". Retrieved 2010-10-12. Tomcat 1989, Players Software 
  5. ^ a b c van der Heide, Martijn. "Tomcat". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2010-10-12. This title was also advertised for and/or published on the Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64 and Commodore Plus/4 
  6. ^ a b "F14 TOMCAT SPECTRUM LOADING INSTRUCTIONS". Players. Retrieved 2010-10-16. F14 TOMCAT from players places you in the cockpit of a specially adapted version of this devastating aircraft. 
  7. ^ "Tomcat for Commodore 64". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-10-12. Publisher: Players, Software Genre: Shoot-'Em-Up, Release Date: 1989 
  8. ^ a b "BUDGET BUREAU". Crash (issue 61 page 67). Retrieved 2010-10-12. Only marginally better is Tomcat (24%) from Players. 
  9. ^ a b "BARGAIN BASEMENT". Your Sinclair (issue 39 page 40). Retrieved 2010-10-12. Try as I might, I could get nowhere on this blasted game 
  10. ^ "Tomcat". Your Sinclair (issue 37 page 21). Retrieved 2010-10-12. Your Sinclair brings the high octane thrills to your trusty Speccy. 
  11. ^ "TOMCAT". Your Sinclair (issue 37 page 153). Retrieved 2010-10-12. Tomcat is another wing-dinging, zapp-kapowing, shoot 'em up 
  12. ^ "CPC GAME REVIEWS - T". Retrieved 2010-10-12. A vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up which sees you flying a fighter jet over four levels, shooting targets in the air and on the ground. 
  13. ^ Douglas, Jim. "TOMCAT". Sinclair User (issue 84 page 45). Retrieved 2010-10-12. First appearances imply that Tomcat is a rather special vertical shoot-out. 
  14. ^ Davies, Jonathan. "The Cheapo Side of Things". Your Sinclair (issue 58 page 30). Retrieved 2010-10-12. The aeroplane theme is a bit weak too, as you could easily replace it with a spaceship or something and not notice the difference. 
  15. ^ "Ready64, Dedicato al Commodore 64 - Tomcat" (in Italian). Retrieved 2010-10-12. Un v-shooter più giocabile della media del suo genere, ma realizzato con poca cura e graficamente irrilevante.. 
  16. ^ Boylan, C. "The BBC Games Archive: Tomcat". Retrieved 2010-10-12. Very very good graphics in this game, although to get the speed up it is played in quite a small window 
  17. ^ "F-14 Tomcat". Game Classification. Retrieved 2010-10-16. You get to fly an F-14 in a variety of combat situations, either in a single battle at a time or create a career. 
  18. ^ "F-14 Tomcat for Game Boy Advance". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-10-16. Publisher: Majesco Games, Developer: Virtucraft, Genre: Flight Action 

External links[edit]