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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT


Great Train Robbery game plan

Biggs celebrates his 70th birthday with Bruce Reynolds last August

A British computer games company is developing a title based on The Great Train Robbery and claims to be in talks to produce a movie spin-off.

SCi Entertainment says it has signed an exclusive deal with fugitive Ronnie Biggs and Bruce Reynolds - the mastermind behind the 1963 robbery.

[ image: The mail train carriages that were robbed in 1963]
The mail train carriages that were robbed in 1963
The game, which will also concentrate on Biggs' life after the robbery, will be launched during the run-up to the 40th anniversary of The Great Train Robbery and take 18 months to develop.

Reynolds and Biggs are being employed by SCi as design consultants, though the company is not revealing how much the pair are being paid.

Players will be able to either assume the role of Biggs himself or choose to be "Slipper of the Yard" - the detective superintendent who attempted to bring the train robber back to the UK.

SCi, which has secured the film rights to Ronnie Biggs' book Odd Man Out, says it is also in discussions with a major studio to produce a film to coincide with the release of the game.

A spokesman for SCi denied the game glorified the crime.

He said: "We are no different from a film company or book publisher in saying `let's do a story which captures the public imagination' and the Great Train Robbery did that.

"There are far worse events that have been followed up by book publishers and film companies."

[ image: Splat: Screen shot from Carmageddon II]
Splat: Screen shot from Carmageddon II
The London-based games company is no stranger to controversy. In 1997 it produced a game called Carmageddon - one of the first to fail to get an age certificate from the British Board of Film Classification.

The BBFC eventually gave the gory game, in which players score points for running over pedestrians, a 15 certificate.

In April this year , the BBFC gave an even more violent version of the best-selling game an 18 certificate after a six-month legal battle.

It swapped humans that spurt blood for the green-gunk zombies used in the 15 version.

Britain's most famous fugitive

Biggs, who is 70, is reported to have suffered his third stroke in 20 months at his home in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, last week.

He escaped from a London prison in 1965 after serving 15 months of a 30-year sentence for his part in the £2.6m Great Train Robbery, which seriously injured train driver Jack Mills.

He fled to Australia, ended up in Rio and, after marrying a local woman and fathering a child, could not be extradited under Brazilian law.

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