(Zeppelin Games, 1988)
Those of you who remember the arcade game Robotron: 2084 will recognise this shoot-’em-up. Trapped inside a small arena, you basically have to survive until your ship arrives to pick you up and take you to the next arena! Among the enemies to be destroyed are snakes which split in two when you shoot them (making it even tougher to survive), robots which shoot bullets at you or home in on you, lasers, and exploding bombs. If you somehow survive, there’s a bonus level where you pilot your spacecraft through a meteor storm. The graphics are simple yet colourful, and the sound effects do their job. Each level is the same as the previous one, but if you’re looking for a quick game, you should try this.
(Design Design, 1986)
It’s 2112 AD (as you might have guessed), and the computer that controls the entire city of London is behaving like a tyrant and oppressing its people. You must regain control of the computer by finding ten codes, labelled 0 to 9, and inserting them into the appropriate slots in the correct order. To help you, you have a robotic dog called Poddy – just make sure he doesn’t run out of energy! Watch out for the droids; any contact with them will immobilise you. There are also many locked doors which will need to be opened, but the keys to open them aren’t always obvious... This game involves a lot of walking to and fro, with little in the way of action and problem-solving. Some of the colour schemes used are horrendous, there is hardly any sound, and the need to look after Poddy makes this a rather dull and tedious game.
Enter the boxing ring and defeat six fighters (including one called Roland!) to become champion and win the Amsoft belt. In each round, you have three minutes to knock out your opponent. The graphics aren’t bad and the fighters are large and well animated. A jolly tune plays on the menu screen, but the game itself is limited to a few sound effects, and some of these are rather poor, particularly when one of the fighters is hit. Playing the game is quite frustrating; the controls are awkward and punching your opponent is tricky. The collision detection is inaccurate, and your opponent can randomly land a knockout blow on you, regardless of how much energy you have.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Once again, you must save the Earth from evil aliens. Flying over a blue chequered surface, you’ll have to destroy waves of hostile spaceships. Well, as with many games containing “3D” in their title, we shouldn’t expect much of this game. First, it is very difficult to aim accurately at the incoming aliens because the perspective is rather deceptive. Then, you have to collect fuel (by firing at it!) very often, which makes your task even harder. You’ll soon be lost in a cloud of enemy bullets (or whatever it is), trying to find an oil tank – and you’ll press the CONTROL, SHIFT and ESCAPE keys!
This early Formula 1 game sees you racing around eight tracks. In order to qualify for the next track, you must finish third or higher. After playing for a while, it’s clear that this is much more of an arcade game than a proper motor racing simulation. Although you start on pole position on a grid of 23 cars, other cars will appear randomly in front of you even if you’re in the lead and on the first lap! Despite this, it remains a fairly enjoyable game after all these years, and you get a sense of speed while driving around the tracks.
It’s Space Invaders in 3D, would you believe? The Quarks are invading and you have to shoot as many of them as you can. You move your laser cannon about a grid of squares and try to dodge the aliens’ fire as they move slowly – very slowly – left and right. It’s really difficult to aim your laser at the aliens and your laser bolts nearly always seem to go right through them. The game is mostly written in BASIC and so it is excruciatingly slow, and the graphics, sound effects, and of course the game itself, are all abysmal.
Hunt through three floors of a maze to find a key, then use it to disarm a stink bomb (!), and return to your home base. There are seven keys in total, and you must also beware of the bat that flies round each floor, although there is a supply of grenades you can use to kill it. This game ranks as one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune to play. It is horrifically sluggish, and pressing keys often does nothing. The graphics are equally terrible, and the game is extremely boring, anyway; playing it for more than two minutes will seriously test your sanity!
Nearly all pinball games on the CPC show a top-down view of the pinball table. However, this one (also known as Pinball Power) dares to be different, by showing you a perspective view of the table, the way you would see it if you were playing a real pinball machine. This level of realism is maintained when you start playing the game; the ball moves really fast, and you’ll need to be alert! Unfortunately, there is only one table and you can’t tilt the machine, but the graphics are excellent, and the sound effects are pretty good as well.
The problem with most snooker and pool games is that you can’t move around the table, but you can in this game. You can take part in a tournament against several other players, all battling to face the champion, Maltese Joe. Alternatively, you can practice, or even try out fifteen trick shots – you can design your own as well. The 3D nature of the game makes it a little difficult to aim your shots, and it isn’t helped by the other players being pretty good. The graphics are blocky and a bit slow, despite the four-colour, medium-resolution Mode 1 being used, and there are hardly any sound effects and music, but it’s still not a bad game.
(Solar Software, 1985)
After the fighting of the Proxima war, the enemy has blasted tunnels in the Quasar defence system. You have been sent to fly along these tunnels in your Tarantula C1 spaceship and have to shoot all the enemy craft. It’s tough going right from the start – even with only one enemy coming towards you at a time, you’ll need to be alert. You’ll soon find that it’s really tough, and soon you’re overwhelmed; if you can survive for more than a minute, you’re doing well! It might be worth a few goes if you’re looking for a very short game to play, but there isn’t any variety in it at all, and the tunnel is too narrow.