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Kaiser
(Ariolasoft, 1986)

Between one and nine players can compete against each other in this strategy game, in an attempt to become Emperor of 18th century Germany. Starting with 10,000 acres of land, each player takes it in turn to manage their supply of corn so that the inhabitants of his or her land can be fed. Markets and mills can also be built to generate extra revenue, and you can also build a palace and a cathedral. As you progress, your rank increases until you are eventually crowned Emperor. As a one-player game, it's OK, but if you can find one or more players to compete with, you can also recruit an army and wage war against your opponents to obtain land and money. The game is rather slow, but I found it to be an interesting economic simulation. However, it only works on a CPC464, which is very surprising for a game that was released in 1986.

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7

Kane
(Mastertronic, 1986)

Some Wild West action for you here. You're a cowboy and have to perform four tasks. The first task sees you shooting birds (awww!) with your bow and arrow – this determines how many lives you'll get. Next, you get on your horse to the town of Kane, before entering the town and clearing it of all the enemy cowboys. Finally, you're running alongside a train on your horse and have to reach the front carriage whilst jumping over the obstacles. You can practice any of these tasks as well. The graphics are a bit below average, as are the sound effects, and whilst it's enjoyable at first, there are only so many times you'll play it before losing interest.

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6

Karateka
(Microïds/Brøderbund, 1990)

Up at the top of a mountain in Japan, the evil lord Akuma has captured the beautiful princess Mariko. You, as a karate fighter, make your way to Akuma's temple and battle his soldiers one at a time, taking them on in one-to-one karate. Each time you kill a soldier, you run forwards and get that bit closer to Mariko, before finally reaching her dungeon cell and confronting Akuma himself. The first few fighters are fairly easy to kill, but once you're inside the temple, it becomes harder. This is a conversion of a game that was released years before the CPC version, and one might regard it as a forerunner to the excellent Prince of Persia – certainly, the graphics and presentation are very similar indeed. Overall, though, there is little variety in the gameplay.

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7

Karl's Treasure Hunt
(Software Projects, 1984)
Reviewed by John Beckett

Karl – after his last outing in Karl's Cavern (which was only released for the BBC Micro) – has fallen on hard times. So imagine his delight when he wins a competition for a stay in Wonga Mansion. "So what?" you say. Well, scattered around this mansion's 40 rooms are 40 keys. If Karl can collect all of the keys and then locate the exit, he can unlock the treasure chest and become rich beyond his wildest dreams! Just as Karl's Cavern was a blatant rip-off of Manic Miner, this game is a blatant copy of that game's sequel, Jet Set Willy. The graphics and sound are as basic as you would expect from such an old game, and it is also very difficult, but I still quite liked it. I found it quite fun and addictive, and the maze-like layout of the 40 rooms is ingenious.

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6

Karnov
(Activision, 1988)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard

In the realm of Wonderland, strongman Karnov is on a quest to retrieve the legendary treasure of Babylon from the dragon Ryu. However, lying between our hero and his prize is a land filled with monsters in all shapes and sizes; ghouls, ghosts, demons, gargoyles, golems, skeletal warriors, dinosaurs and more. Thankfully, Karnov is a tough nut, and is capable of breathing fire. A plethora of bonuses that upgrade our bald-headed muscleman are also available as he makes he way across the landscape battling the unpleasant locals hellbent on his destruction. Sound and music are probably the best aspect, as the visuals are somewhat of a poor Spectrum quality and the sprites scroll awkwardly.

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2

Kat Trap
(Streetwise, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett

Selected from over 4,000 entries as the winner of CRASH! magazine's competition to design a game (what must the rest have been like?), Kat Trap has you in the role of a Multi-Terrain Exploration Droid (M.T.ED – get it?) who has been sent by the exiled people of Earth to win their planet back from the evil Kat-men who have taken it over. From your landing area, you must walk continually to the right, through ruined landscapes, blasting away enemies (different weapons destroy different enemies, so you must be quick-fingered at times) until you reach the Kat-men's Power Core, shut it down and then make the long journey home. The graphics are OK, the sound is minimal, and although initially it's not too difficult, obstacles such as the bouncing rocks are just plain irritating. M.T.ED's pathetic 'jump' won't help you either!

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5

Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match
(Impressions, 1990)

Kenny Dalglish endorses another football game, but this one is terrible, mainly because it looks like a nightmarish Spectrum port – although it might not actually be one, which is even more shocking. You can play against the computer or a human opponent in a single match, red against blue, which can last for 10 to 40 minutes – and that's all you can do in this game. There are no tournaments or leagues to play in at all. As I've said, the graphics are absolutely terrible, except for the monochrome digitised pictures of Kenny. He appears on the screen just before each half with a 'quick word', offering such gems as "We want a good result" and "I want GOALS". Thanks for that! When you compare this with Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager, it's a real shame that this turned out to be such a poor game.

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3

Kentilla
(Mastertronic, 1986)

The evil Grako has obtained the Moonstone of Algarth and is going to use it to become the ruler of Caraland. It's up to you to travel to the Black Tower and slay him using the sword, Kentilla, which someone called Oregon gives you at the start of your adventure. This is a text adventure game with some rudimentary pictures accompanying a few of the locations. It's mostly written in BASIC, and it certainly shows. There are many characters in the game – some friendly, some unfriendly – and you can interact with them, or attack them. However, the descriptions of the locations are very terse, and as a result, the whole adventure lacks atmosphere.

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4

Kentucky Racing
(Alternative, 1990)

This is a curious game consisting of a mixture of one of those funfair games where you aim a ball at holes on the surface of a tilted box, and horse racing. There are nine horse races, each with three horses, one of which is yours, although there is a two-player option as well. In each race, you have to throw the ball towards one of the many holes, and if the ball does fall into a hole, your horse moves a bit further towards the finishing post. Some races have hurdles, however, and only some of the holes allow your horse to jump over them. It's not quite as bizarre as it sounds, but it is really boring. The graphics are garish and not very well drawn, and there doesn't seem to be any skill involved – just luck.

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2

Kettle
(Alligata, 1986)

Imagine, if you will, that you are a kettle trapped in a subterranean network of mazes. Well, that's the situation you're in with this game. Shoot all the red pots and collect what's inside them, and use the tin opener (!) to open the gateway to the next section of the maze. It's a strange little game and no mistake, and it's also a bit tough, although if you can find someone to play with you, you should progress further. However, there's no variety; the next level is just larger and has more pots. It does have some wonderful title music, though.

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5

The Key Factor
(Amsoft, 1985)

This is an interesting combination of Space Invaders and a typing tutor to help you learn where the keys on the keyboard are. Along the bottom of the screen are eight keys which change all the time. Hitting one of the keys fires a bullet which will kill any alien that is in its way. The first wave of aliens is easy to deal with, but things become frantic in later levels, where there are more aliens, and the keys along the bottom change more frequently. There's no excitement at all and it's too easy, although certain keys will cause problems on emulators.

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3

Kick Off
(Anco, 1989)

Play a single game against the computer or another player, or take part in a tournament with eight teams. You can also practice your dribbling and passing skills, and take and save some penalties. If you're playing a single game against the computer, you can also choose its skill level, from 'Sunday league' to 'international'. Whatever skill level you choose, the computer tends to be very unresponsive to your commands. It selects the player to control entirely at random – even when you pass the ball to another player. Dribbling the ball is annoyingly difficult as well. And then there are the graphics; they're absolutely appalling, with flickery sprites. I've played football games which are much worse than this, but I've played better ones as well.

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6

Killapede
(Players, 1986)

As you might have guessed, this is a clone of the classic game Centipede, where you have to shoot all the segments of a centipede that travels left and right across the screen. This version is no different, although there is more than just the centipede to contend with – you have to avoid spiders and other nasty insects that also flit about the screen, and if you take too long, the ghost will get you! I think this game has dated a lot, and the digitised speech that has been added isn't enough to impress me.

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6

Killerball
(Microïds, 1991)

Killerball is a futuristic sport where two teams consisting of five players skate around a circular ice rink and try to score goals by pushing the ball into a small hole in the wall. It's a rather violent game, as the only way to get the ball is to knock the player holding it to the ground. You can play either a computer or a friend and take part in any of three leagues. The graphics and animation are marvellous, as is the tune, but playing against the computer is very frustrating indeed as it's rather difficult to score goals, and of course the computer gets it right every time.

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6

Killer Cobra
(Mastertronic, 1987)

This is based on the classic arcade game Scramble, in which you flew a spacecraft through mountains and caverns while shooting missiles and bombing targets on the ground. Here, though, the spacecraft is replaced by a helicopter. The action is fast and furious, and the game scrolls very fast indeed; there's no time at all to relax! By the time you get to the third section, things become really tough indeed. There are three difficulty levels which range from difficult to impossible, but with practice, you should be able to master the first two sections. The graphics are fairly basic, but it is meant to stay faithful to the original, and the sound effects aren't too bad.

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6

Killer Gorilla
(Micro Power, 1984)

The lovely princess has been captured by the nasty gorilla and you have to rescue her by climbing ladders, walking along platforms, and avoiding the barrels that the gorilla throws at you. Er, this is Donkey Kong, isn't it? That's absolutely correct, although it's not particularly good. There are only four levels, and when you've completed them, you go back to the first one. The fireballs that roam each level are more unpredictable than the barrels and tend to get in your way a lot. The graphics are really basic and so are the sound effects, although the music that is played on the "how high can you try?" sequence is delightful!

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5

Killer Ring
(Reaktör, 1987)

I'm sure I've seen this one before... oh, I know! It's a Galaxian clone, isn't it? The only new thing that has been added are that if you play on the difficult mode, there's a force field that scrolls vertically and prevents you from shooting through it. There are only six waves of aliens before you face the Supreme Starfighter, who you must kill by first blasting through his spaceship, and then aiming at his heart. After that, the game restarts. The graphics do their job and the music is pretty good, but it's too easy.

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6

Kinetik
(Firebird, 1987)

Here's a most unusual game in which you explore a landscape of more than 40 screens in your spherical ship, trying to find three different objects. The reason why it's unusual is that there are all sorts of strange gravitational effects which make your ship very tricky to control; each screen has a different effect and you'll need to work out how to battle against the effect. When you have collected the three objects in the right order, normal gravity will be restored. The graphics are rather Spectrum-like, although some clever tricks allow more than the usual number of colours on the screen at the same time. However, I found that controlling the ship was just too frustrating to make the game enjoyable.

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6

Klax
(Domark/Tengen, 1990)

Here's a great puzzle game which is a cross between Tetris and Connect 4. Coloured tiles come down a conveyor belt into a hole where you must create rows or columns of the same colour, which are called Klaxes. On each level, you'll be given a certain number of Klaxes or diagonals to make in order to complete the level. This is a stunning and original game with excellent graphics and two nice (but short) tunes, although it's pretty difficult. By the way, the cartridge version is exactly the same as the normal one, and makes hardly any use of the Plus' extra facilities.

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9

Knight Force
(Titus, 1989)

If there was ever a game that demonstrated the phrase "gameplay is more important than graphics", this would be it. The sorceror Red Sabbath has cloned himself over four time zones, and as the knight Fair Storm, you have to destroy all of the clones. Each of these zones only has four screens, which isn't very much at all. Correspondingly, the game is made very difficult indeed – you have to kill the enemies in each zone in exactly the right way before they die, and there are other traps which can kill you instantly. It is worth looking at just for the loading screens and the graphics (which are some of the best ever seen on a CPC), but there's not much of an actual game in there.

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5

Knight Games
(English, 1986)

Billed as "a glorious feast of mediaeval combat", this game consists of eight combat events, in which you try to defeat your armoured opponent with various types of weapon, and two shooting events, in which you fire either arrows or crossbow bolts at moving targets. However, this is a disappointing game overall. While the graphics, animation and music are all of a high standard, and the shooting events are quite enjoyable, the combat events are not. Your opponent can be defeated easily by using one move repeatedly, and it takes ages, and literally hundreds of blows, to defeat him – even when you select the 'short' time limit. As a result, the game soon becomes boring and there's no incentive to want to play it again.

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5

Knight Ghost
(Juliet, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett

In this strange little Spanish game, you take the role of a podgy little man with a permanent grin, and must explore a spooky old castle, gathering the tools needed to free your friend – a ghost – who has been trussed up in a cage (why doesn't he just float through the bars?) Of course, like virtually all Spanish games, the difficulty is cranked sky-high. The castle is a maze of epic proportions, with all the rooms very similar in appearance, and although enemies are fairly few and far between, and you can collect talismans to destroy them, you'll soon run out and have to resort to jumping over them – an action requiring supreme precision. And on top of all that, the graphics and sound are very bad as well.

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Knight Lore
(Ultimate, 1985)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Infected by the jungle wolf from his adventures in Sabre Wulf, Sabreman makes his way to castle Knightlore in order to find the great wizard Melkhior to cure him of the curse of the werewolf. However, the mage does not grant an audience easily and has surrounded himself with numerous guardians for protection, and a labyrinth of traps and tests all around to prevent all but the most persistent of unwanted guests from reaching him. Your goal is to find the potion within the timespan of 40 days and nights or you will remain a werewolf forever. Superb puzzle game with your character's midnight-changing shenanigans being particularly amusing!

See also: Sabre Wulf.

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9

Knightmare
(Activision, 1987)

The TV series this game was based on was brilliant – a young adventurer has to go through three levels of a dungeon, solving puzzles and avoiding traps along the way, aided by three of his friends. The aim of this game is slightly similar and retains some features of the TV series; you have to defeat the dragon lurking somewhere in the dungeons, and must enlist the help of the oracles and Treguard the dungeon master. The graphics are fairly basic but aren't bad, but there are very few sound effects and even these aren't good. It's not a bad game, actually, although the hardest part is getting out of the first two rooms!

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7

Knight Rider
(Ocean, 1986)
Reviewed by John Beckett

Michael Knight and his amazing talking car KITT have received news of a nationwide terrorist plot to bring about the destruction of America, so they must save the day. Based on the hit 1980s TV show, the game has several quests to choose from, such as foiling the assassination of the President or locating the terrorists' hidden bomb supply, and two different styles of gameplay; a basic driving game where you can control either the handling of the car or the shooting down of enemy helicopters (the computer controls the other), and an overhead-viewed stealth-type game for when you are inside buildings. Despite a nice feeling of being involved in the missions, the game is let down by its appalling graphics, basic sound, its long tedious driving sections, and the fact that it's far too easy.

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5

Knights and Demons
(Kabuto Factory, 2013)
Reviewed by Missas

Knights and Demons is based on the well-known 1990s board game Lights Out. It is smartly written in BASIC. The game features a grid of tiles and the aim is to switch all the tiles on the board to the same type (either knights or demons). The graphics are drawn in MODE 0 but the colour selection may be sore on some players' eyes. They are also blocky and there is no background. Nevertheless, they do their job and the tiles are interestingly drawn. The intro screen is also good. There is an atmospheric tune which plays during the game. The gameplay is interesting and depends on whether you like this style of game or not. Personally speaking, I found it interesting and gave it a number of tries. Overall, and taking into consideration that it is a BASIC game, it is worthy of your interest.

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6

Knight Tyme
(Mastertronic, 1986)

After rescuing Gimbal in Spellbound, Magic Knight is now a stowaway on board the USS Pisces starship in the 25th century, and has to find some way of getting home. The first thing he'll need to do is to authorise himself and to take the ship to the nearest starbase – then he can transport the ship all around the star system and visit lots of planets. This is the third of four games featuring Magic Knight and I think it is the best of the lot, although you'll get sick of the music before long. It's not all that difficult, but there are a lot of interesting characters to meet. This is my favourite game in the Magic Knight series.

See also: Finders Keepers, Spellbound, Stormbringer.

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8

Kobayashi Naru
(Mastertronic, 1987)

Here is a game (often spelt as Kobyashi Naru) which is so confusing that it's not true. A gamesmaster has set you a mission where you must solve three puzzles based on knowledge, wisdom and understanding. You can only attempt one puzzle at a time and can't try another until you've completed it. The interface is like that of a text adventure game except that commands are entered by selecting icons. Unfortunately, once you start playing it, you'll find that it is extremely slow and also that the game makes absolutely no sense at all – and who wants to play an adventure that is totally illogical?

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1

Kong Strikes Back
(Ocean, 1985)

Confusingly, Ocean released this game before Donkey Kong on the CPC. Like the aforementioned game, Kong the giant gorilla has captured a beautiful princess, but this time he has climbed on to a rollercoaster track. You don't play Mario, but whatever the name of the man you control is, you have to reach the princess while dodging all of the cars, by climbing ladders which are strategically placed around the track. There are also money and letters scattered about, and you can use bombs to destroy the cars – but you only have a limited number of them. The graphics are rather simple, but the music is a brilliant little piece which I could hum along to all day! The levels are generally well designed, and it's a nice, enjoyable little game to play.

See also: Donkey Kong.

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7

Koronis Rift
(Activision/Lucasfilm, 1987)
Reviewed by Pug

It's 2049, and you have found the Koronis Rift. Great treasures lie in wait for the brave, and danger for the foolish. Aeons ago, the Ancients abandoned the planet, leaving behind many marvels of super-advanced technology. You deploy a droid to search, locate and collect objects scattered around this barren landscape. You then have to work out what they are. UFOs hover around, too, and seem intent on stopping you. The terrain you fly along is drawn using fractal graphics, which are amazing – you start to actually think you're there! A complex game that becomes more addictive once you get to grips with all the controls.

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8

Krakout
(Gremlin, 1987)

It's Breakout time once again! This version really doesn't offer anything different to the others, and it's hard to see how I can recommend it. Unlike most other bat and ball games, the bricks are situated at the left of the screen with the bat on the right (although you can swap them round). You can also customise the game, with six different speeds for the ball and nine for the bat. This is welcome, because the default speeds make the game very hard indeed. Add that to a small playing area, jolly title music that becomes irritating after a few listens, and rather average graphics, and you've got a pretty standard game.

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6

Kubmic
(Futur Antérieur, 2013)
Reviewed by Missas

Kubmic is a puzzle game where you have to slide coloured tiles on a 5×5 grid to recreate the pattern shown. It is an interesting idea and it is quite popular on many websites. Thanks to Crackers Velus it has arrived on the CPC. To begin with, the graphics are in MODE 0 and include vividly coloured squares, but the background is just a black void. They could have added some interesting pictures instead. The in-game music is really good and atmospheric and you will not get bored of it. The gameplay is really interesting as it should be for a good puzzle game. This is not a surprise because this game is being played by a lot of people on the Internet. Thus the grab factor is very strong. Overall, another great puzzle game for the CPC.

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8

Kung Fu Master
(US Gold, 1986)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard

In this all out action beat-'em-up, you have to rescue your woman from some evil swine's clutches. Kick and punch your way up through five floors of his base confronted by numerous minions. These range from simple henchmen, to killer bees, dragons, knifemen and cunning midgets. You also have to defeat ever tougher guardians before you can progress to the next level. Despite its appearence, this is no simple game and it requires a fair amount of skill and luck to get near the finish which is almost nigh-on impossible. It's also less faithful to the arcade game than other 8-bit versions, but it remains a highly enjoyable romp.

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9

Kwah?
(Melbourne House, 1986)
Reviewed by Greig McGregor

The plot revolves around our unlikely superhero, Kevin, who seems to be a journalist. Your aim is to find out what happened to you before you lost your memory in the prequel to this game, Redhawk. At the start of the game, all you have is a press pass and a tape recorder. This is a text adventure that also sports some ace comic book-style graphics; however, the sound is very sparse. All the usual text adventure commands are present, but one of the more interesting ones is KWAH! Say this, and Kevin transforms into his alter ego, Redhawk. One of the strengths of this game lies in its comic book-style graphics, but the plot is very linear and you have to follow it to the letter in order to complete the game.

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5

Kwik Snax
(Codemasters, 1990)

The wizard Zaks has imprisoned four members of the Yolkfolk on four different islands, and you have to rescue them. Each island consists of several sub-levels where you have to eat all the fruit. The monsters are removed by pushing blocks around, but they'll reappear after a short time. There's also a bonus level where again you must collect as much fruit as you can, but this time, the floor is made of ice! This game is OK and I like the graphics very much, as well as the cool music, but like most of the other Dizzy arcade games, it's far too easy and it won't take much time for you to complete it.

See also: Bubble Dizzy, Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, Dizzy, Dizzy Down the Rapids, Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk, Fantasy World Dizzy, Fast Food, Magicland Dizzy, Panic Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy.

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