CPC GAME REVIEWS - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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Another YouTube channel added

Screenshot of Pinball Dreams

I've added another YouTube channel to my list of links – Novabug. He's a retro gaming enthusiast and regularly posts videos featuring games on a variety of machines. Most of his Amstrad CPC videos consist of 5-10 minutes of gameplay with a commentary, which is enough to give you a fairly good idea of how good or bad a game is going to be.

If you haven't seen it yet, check out one of his most popular videos, The 464 Project, which is nearly 55 minutes long and features 464 Amstrad CPC games; how many of them do you recognise? He's also just released a follow-up video featuring another 128 games.

El Tesoro Perdido de Cuauhtémoc

The excitement around the release of El Tesoro Perdido de Cuauhtémoc is building. McKlain has uploaded a short video to YouTube which shows the game in action.

Video preview of El Tesoro Perdido de Cuauhtémoc on YouTube

Pinball Dreams

Batman Group has tweeted a screenshot of another table – Steel Wheel – from their forthcoming conversion of Pinball Dreams to the Amstrad CPC. In case you missed it, you can download a playable demo of the Beat Box table from NVG.

El Tesoro Perdido de Cuauhtémoc

Un Pasado Mejor has tweeted some new screenshots of the forthcoming game El Tesoro Perdido de Cuauhtémoc (The Lost Treasure of Cuauhtémoc) from 4Mhz. It's developed by the same team who were responsible for Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2 – a colourful platform game that was released last year. The game should be officially launched and released at the Amstrad Eterno event which is being held in Barcelona next weekend. Click on the screenshots below to view larger versions.

At the request of Missas, CPC Game Reviews now has a new feature which I should have added a long time ago, but never got around to doing – links to YouTube videos!

Below some reviews, you will now see the YouTube icon (a white triangle within a red rectangle) with links to videos featuring the relevant game. Clicking on the name of the YouTube channel responsible for the video will open a new tab or window where you can watch the video. Below is an example for The Untouchables.

I've spent some time over the last few weeks trawling through the following YouTube channels:

Axelino was one of the first people to upload longplay videos of Amstrad CPC games to YouTube, with his first video being uploaded back in June 2007, but since 2012, he has largely ceased activity on his channel.

Metr81 is a Spanish CPC fan and an expert gamer – well, given the reputation that a lot of Spanish games have for being very difficult, maybe that's not too surprising! His channel consists of longplays and is very well organised, with videos categorised by software house, and playlists of games from a particular year.

ChinnyVision has been an Amstrad CPC fan for a long time, and his channel is largely dedicated to comparisons of games on different 8-bit and 16-bit computers. His videos are very professionally produced and I always look forward to each new episode.

Retro Danuart's channel is a more recent addition to YouTube. As well as Amstrad CPC longplays, he also uploads videos of ZX Spectrum and coin-op arcade games.

jgonza is a Spanish CPC fan who started uploading videos to YouTube in January 2014. His channel contains longplay videos of a wide variety of games, and it also has playlists based around software houses.

Xyphoe is a dedicated Amstrad CPC fan, and the proud owner of a 6128 Plus. He started uploading videos in 2008, and his videos consist mainly of longplays with detailed commentary, which are worth watching.

The site has also undergone some minor tidying up, and you may have noticed that the layout is slightly different, and the text is hopefully easier to read. You can now use access keys to navigate the site:

  • P takes you to the previous page in a category, or if you are at the first page in a category, you will be taken to the final page in the previous category.
  • Similarly, N takes you to the next page in a category, or if you are at the final page in a category, you will be taken to the first page in the next category.
  • T takes you to the top of a page. Of course, you can also press the Home key on your keyboard to do this...
  • 1 takes you back to the front page (the one you're reading right now).

Using access keys differs between browsers; see Wikipedia's page on access keys for more information on how to use them.

Rainbow Graphics has awarded their CPC Game of the Year 2016 to Magica by Juan José Martínez, based on polling by CPC fans. Congratulations to Juan for the award and for developing such a fun little game! Personally, my CPC game of 2016 was Imperial Mahjong by Cargosoft. Rhino's conversion of Pinball Dreams also looks extremely impressive, but as only a preview version is currently available, it shouldn't count in my opinion.

McKlain has released an album of 30 chiptunes that he has composed for the CPC and Spectrum, entitled Basic 1.1 – Ready. A Chiptune Compilation. Many of you should be familiar with his music, as he has contributed tunes to games such as both Adiós a la Casta episodes, Megablasters: Escape from Castle in the Clouds and Space Moves, as well as several demos. You can buy the album from Bandcamp.

Keith Sear has released a new version of Chibi Akuma(s) which fixes a couple of bugs and speeds up the game slightly. You can download the new version from the game's website.

Missas has reviewed Skool Daze.

Missas has reviewed three games:

Chibi Akuma(s), the shoot-'em-up that I mentioned just before Christmas, has been released. You can download it from the game's website.

I'm sure everyone will agree that 2016 has been an incredible year for new CPC games. This article on the Retro Gaming Mag website by CPC4eva reflects on 2016. I've also just noticed that Rainbow Graphics is organising a poll to determine CPC fans' best CPC game of 2016. You can vote via Facebook or by posting a tweet on Twitter with the hashtag #bestcpcgame2016. The deadline for voting is next Saturday 7th January 2017 at 13:00 GMT (14:00 CET).

Missas has reviewed seven games, all of which were released during 2016:

As it's Christmas, CPC Game Reviews is pleased to bring you a little present!

Some of you may recall that Cronosoft used to sell some text adventures that were written by Jason Davis and originally published by WoW Software during the early 1990s. I helped Simon Ullyatt, who runs Cronosoft, by providing new loading screens and master copies of the new versions. Because they were being sold commercially, Jason had requested that they were removed from the NVG FTP site so they would no longer be freely available for downloading. (At the time, NVG was the major download site for CPC games, and CPC-POWER and CPCRulez didn't exist yet.)

However, the games have not been available for purchasing for several years. Well, following some discussions with Simon Ullyatt and Jason Davis, they are now freely available to download from NVG once more! Just click on the loading screens below to download the corresponding game.

Here are links to reviews of all four games, in the order in which they were released:

I have been given the privilege of playing a two-level preview version of Chibi Akuma, the forthcoming shoot-'em-up from keith56, and it looks pretty good! The game will require a CPC with 128K of memory. The game features some humorous touches as well.

Some screenshots from the preview version are displayed below. Many of you may already have seen what the first level looks like from the author's message on the CPCWiki forum and the game's website, but the second level looks different and features different enemies – but I don't want to reveal what the end-of-level boss is!

I have reviewed twelve games, all of which have been released during 2016:

I wanted to review Sir Ababol II: The Ice Palace as well, but it appears to be bugged and parts of the second level became corrupted while I was playing it. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

The quantity of new games released in 2016 has amazed me, and probably many of you as well. So much for my resolution at the start of the year to "curtail my Amstrad CPC activities significantly"... It was going quite well for the first half of the year, and then game after game was released and I couldn't resist trying them all out.

Will 2017 be another great year for CPC gaming? Let's hope so! In the meantime, I wish all CPC fans a Merry Christmas!

A new version of CPCGamesCD has been released. CPCGamesCD is a CD-ROM image that contains all the games on the NVG FTP site, and it provides a useful front-end called CPC Loader that enables you to browse through the entire list of games and select which emulator to use to play them. It also contains nearly 200 Amstrad PCW games. You can download a zipped ISO file from the CPCGamesCD website; the links are at the bottom of the page (the download from mega.nz is the best one to use).

CPCWiki forum member keith56 has announced that he is working on a shoot-'em-up called Chibi Akuma. The game should be released in January 2017 (i.e. next month), and it will use some of the Plus machine's enhanced abilities. It will also feature up to 256 enemy bullets on the screen, so it's going to be a pretty crazy shoot-'em-up! You can read the discussion on the CPCWiki forum or visit the game's website.

Norbert Kehrer has released a conversion of the 1980 coin-op arcade game Phoenix for the CPC. It's a shoot-'em-up with five levels and it is influenced by Galaxian. The first four levels see you shooting formations of alien birds which take it in turn to swoop down on you. If you reach the fifth level, you have to destroy a mothership by repeatedly firing at it, which slowly wears down its shield, until you hit the alien inside it. Two versions of the game are provided; one with colourful MODE 0 graphics, and another with higher resolution but less colourful MODE 1 graphics. You can download both versions from Norbert's website.

Juan J. Martínez's game Golden Tail has been released on cassette, 3″ and 3½″ disc. You can buy copies of the game from poly.play.

Thanks mostly to #CPCRetroDev, a lot of new CPC games have been released in the last few weeks, so this is going to be a fairly lengthy news update.

#CPCRetroDev 2016

The results of the #CPCRetroDev 2016 competition were announced earlier this month, and if you click on the link, you can download each of the 34 entries individually, or download all of them in one ZIP file.

I haven't played all of the entries, but of those I have played, I was very impressed with Outlaws, which deserved to win overall. I would have rated Dragon Attack second and Hire Hare third; Dragon Attack is particularly original, and it's the first ever 'bullet hell' shoot-'em-up on the CPC! I also think Ice Slider should have been rated higher than it was.

Another game that caught my attention was Maze Adventure. It's a 'dungeon crawl' style of role-playing game viewed from a first-person perspective, in a similar manner to Bloodwych. It's quite rare to see this type of game on the CPC, but unfortunately the gameplay is frustratingly slow and the user interface is clumsy.

Doomsday Lost Echoes

Doomsday Productions have released their text adventure Doomsday Lost Echoes. You can download the game from their website (which looks very professional indeed). The download also includes a very well presented and comprehensive manual with many beautiful illustrations. You can also download the artwork in the form of icons and desktop wallpaper.

After playing it for a while (and thanks to the author for helping me solve a puzzle that had me stuck for ages!), I can say that this is one of the best text adventures to be released for the CPC, and the authors deserve congratulations for their efforts. The pictures that accompany each location are amazing and the game oozes atmosphere; if you've played Orion Prime, the background story to Doomsday Lost Echoes is very similar. If you can understand Spanish, the latest issue of RetroManiac magazine (issue 11) has a 'making of' article, starting from page 110.

Sir Ababol II: The Ice Palace

After a hiatus of several years (their last CPC game was released in 2011), The Mojon Twins are back with a new game, Sir Ababol II: The Ice Palace. As with most of their previous releases, it's a platform game in which you must climb six towers in the land of Freezia and rescue eight princes and princesses who have been turned into bats by the evil sorcerer Alastor. The game is loaded in several parts, and each part (except the first one) requires a password to access it. You can find more information about Sir Ababol II: The Ice Palace, and download the game, from The Mojon Twins' website.

In brief...

Following on from coming second in the #CPCRetroDev 2016 contest with Hire Hare, CNGSoft has released a new version of Frogalot, his entry from the 2015 contest. The updated version features some minor improvements to the graphics, but the level layouts remain the same as in the original version. CNGSoft has also written a 'making of' article on his website, from where you can also download both versions of Frogalot.

Bitzarro Games has released an English version of their text adventure Zombi Terror Reloaded, which was originally released earlier this year in Spanish. Visit their website to download the English version.

Jose Javier García Aranda released a game called Nibiru at the end of October. It is programmed mostly in BASIC, but it uses his 8BP RSX library (also known as 8 Bits de Poder) to enhance the capabilities of the CPC's BASIC. Visit the 8BP website for more information and a link to download it.

As announced yesterday on this site, you can now download Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2: De Buen Rollo from 4Mhz's website.

Well, 2016 is turning out to be a glorious year for new CPC games – they just keep being released faster than I can keep up!

Pinball Dreams

Rhino has released a preview version of Pinball Dreams, and it looks stunning – as would be expected from the author of Batman Forever, one of the most impressive demos to be released for the CPC. Currently only one of the four tables ('Beat Box') is available to play, and it seems that no score is kept, but this is already shaping up to be the best pinball game for the CPC! You can download Pinball Dreams here.

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2

Copies of Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2 are now for sale on 4Mhz's website on 3″ disc, and are on offer at a reduced price of €9.99 excluding postage and packaging. The game should be available as a free download from tomorrow (30th October 2016). A preview version is currently available and can be downloaded from 4Mhz's website, but note that the game requires 128KB of memory.

Doomsday Lost Echoes

Doomsday Productions has been working on a text adventure for the last year called Doomsday Lost Echoes, and after much playtesting, it's now nearly ready for release. They have produced a trailer, which you can watch on their website. The game has been developed using Professional Adventure Writer (PAW) and features many beautifully drawn MODE 1 pictures, and it is scheduled for release next Tuesday (1st November 2016). However, if you want to play it on a real CPC, you're going to need 128KB of memory and either a 3½″ disc drive or an HxC floppy emulator.

The team claims that Doomsday Lost Echoes will be of the same standard as Magnetic Scrolls' famous adventures like The Pawn and The Guild of Thieves. I've been following the discussion on the CPCWiki forum closely, and having seen some of the screenshots and other pictures on their website, I'm confident it will be of a high standard.

#CPCRetroDev 2016

The deadline for the #CPCRetroDev 2016 competition has passed and 34 games were submitted – two fewer than last year's total of 36 games. The organiser ByteRealms has uploaded a YouTube playlist showcasing all the games in action. Below is a selection of screenshots taken from some of the best-looking games that have been submitted; click on the screenshot to view the game in action on YouTube.

Cargosoft has released a new game called Imperial Mahjong. It's based on the game of mahjong solitaire, which uses the same set of 144 tiles that are used in the Chinese game of mahjong. They first announced it in September 2015 and promised that it would use a new graphic mode on the CPC, but they would not reveal any further details or screenshots. As their previous release, Orion Prime, set new graphical standards, CPC fans knew this wasn't just hype from Cargosoft.

So, after much anticipation, Imperial Mahjong is finally here – and Julien Névo (Targhan) and Sylvestre Campin (Supersly) have again developed a masterpiece! The screenshot on the right really is taken from a CPC emulator – although Cargosoft recommend that you run it on a real CPC, and most emulators unfortunately cannot cope with the special graphic mode that the game uses (although it works with WinAPE and WinCPC).

Mahjong solitaire games have been released on the CPC before, but none have come close to matching the quality of this release! As you can see from the screenshot, the graphics are astoundingly beautiful. You can download Imperial Mahjong from Arkos' website, and there is a discussion thread on the CPCWiki forum.

So after returning from a wonderfully relaxing holiday, I once again find myself deluged with news of CPC games...

Vector Vaults

First up is a fast-paced arcade game called Vector Vaults. The author, Alberto Rodriguez Martinez, intends to release a series of games called the Hidden History Saga, and Vector Vaults is the first game in the series. You control a spaceship and you have to pilot it through a series of mazes, dodging walls and obstacles and collecting batteries to replenish your constantly diminishing energy.

Vector Vaults may look primitive with its chunky, vector-based graphics, but this is intentional, as it's a homage to the Vectrex console, and the simplistic graphics mean that the screen can be updated really quickly. It's an exciting, difficult but addictive game with that "one more go" factor. You can download Vector Vaults, and also purchase a physical edition for your collection, from Alberto's website.

Tower of Despair

Spanish CPC user MiguelSky brings us yet another conversion of an adventure game. This one was originally released by Games Workshop for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 way back in 1984. It's a two-part fantasy text adventure written using The Quill. Malmor, the Demonlord of Darkness, has returned to the Tower of Despair, and you have been given the task of going to the tower and defeating Malmor once and for all. You can obtain more information about Towers of Despair from ESP Soft's website. Note that the links to download the game and the manual are currently not working, but you can download the game from NVG.

Magica

Juan J. Martínez has been busy working on another new platform game called Magica. You are a sorceress who has to collect bottles of potions that have been stolen by various creatures. Each level consists of a single screen, and you can stun enemies and then walk into them to retrieve your potions. Juan is going to try to finish the game in time for the end of the #CPCRetroDev 2016 competition later this month. You can follow the progress of development on either the CPCWiki forum or Juan's Twitter feed.

Wolf/RPG Preview

It has long been a dream for CPC users to see a clone of Wolfenstein 3D on their machines. For years, the closest thing we had to a working example was a rather stunning demo by Richard Wilson. However, Greek CPC user Optimus has been working, on and off, to program an engine that can be used to develop a Wolfenstein-style dungeon exploration game. He has decided to release a preview of his work so far, and you can download it from the CPCWiki forum and see it for yourself (the screenshot shown here doesn't really do it justice). Whether it will ever be finished depends on his motivation; as I know only too well, real life keeps getting in the way too often.

Video preview of Ghouls'n Goblins on YouTube

Missas has reviewed Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1.

Ghouls'n Goblins

Nemo Kantio uploaded a "work in progress" video of his GX4000 conversion of Ghouls'n Goblins. The video was actually uploaded to YouTube back in July, but it has now come to wider attention thanks to a message he posted on the CPCWiki forum.

Pinball Dreams

In my last update, I announced that Rhino was planning to convert an Amiga game to the CPC. Well, that game is... Pinball Dreams! The Spanish site RetroInvaders made an announcement a few days ago, and needless to say, the CPC community is getting excited by the news, as the discussion on the CPCWiki forum is proving. This tweet from Un Pasado Mejor appears to show a couple of CPC screens of the actual game, but unfortunately I can't verify their authenticity.

E-mail: nich <AT> durge <DOT> org