Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
As the captain of an Airbus A320, you must prevent a hijacking and save your passengers. First, you have to gain access on board. Then, you’ll have to pilot the plane and arrest the hijacker. Well, that’s easy to say... This rather good game features digitised pictures and good sound effects. What made it very boring was the loading time between two screens. Though the pictures sometimes look good, they often look blurred and it may be difficult to spot little details – and every detail counts in this game.
The A-Team are four Vietnam war veterans who are wanted by the American government, after having escaped from prison for crimes they didn’t commit. The TV series, which was shown in the 1980s, was extremely popular (and extremely violent). In the computer game, the A-Team have invaded an army base, and your task is to clear it of the enemy soldiers and tanks. The screen scrolls horizontally and you must aim your crosshairs at them and fire, but try not to run out of ammo, or shoot your fellow team members! The scrolling is a bit slow, and the brilliant theme tune to the TV series isn’t here (shame!), but there’s plenty of action and the graphics are nice too.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
(Marco Innocenti, 2023)
You’re inside an airlock in some sort of base located two kilometres underwater. You hear a voice calling out your name – Chloe – telling you to calm down and to make your way somewhere, before it cuts off. Exploring your surroundings reveals that the base has been devastated by what appears to be an earthquake, and as you progress and learn more about yourself and the purpose of the base, things become increasingly sinister... This text adventure was an entrant in the PunyJam #3 contest and was awarded second place. It isn’t large (there are only around 25 rooms) and most of the puzzles are fairly easy to solve, giving the adventure a rather linear, narrative feel, but the plot and the highly descriptive prose had me utterly hooked and eager to continue playing until the end, and for me, that’s what makes a great adventure.
(Melbourne House, 1989)
A green dragon and a red, fire-breathing ogre are on Darance Island, searching for five Roc’s eggs which they will need to obtain the golden egg. To find these eggs, it is necessary to enter towns and villages and pulverise every building to dust with either your fists or your fiery breath – nothing will stand in your way! You can replenish your fire by eating burgers (!), but unfortunately it seems that there is no way to replenish your energy, and with all the enemies on the screen at the same time, you won’t last long. The graphics are wonderful, but the sound effects are poor and the gameplay wears rather thin after a while. There’s also a beat-’em-up between the dragon and the ogre after every level which adds nothing to the game.
La Abadía del Crimen
(Opera Soft, 1988)
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
- Knowledge of Spanish is required in order to play this game properly.
This game takes Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose to your CPC. William of Baskerville, helped by his apprentice Adso, must solve the mysterious deaths that are taking place in the abbey but also, being a monk himself, he has to cope with the strict routine that rules the abbey. La Abadía del Crimen has very nice isometric graphics, good sound, and a deep, complex plot. It’s the best Spanish game of all time without question, but unfortunately, it was never officially released outside Spain, although an unofficial English translation called The Abbey of Crime was completed and released in 2017.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Amstrad CPC World (English translation), Metr81, Retro Danuart.
The Abduction of Oscar Z
Young Oscar was guarding his farm when he and three of his animals, including his pet dog Gunter, were abducted by a UFO and taken to an alien planet. This game was the winner of the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, and frankly, it is hard to believe that it is capable of running on a CPC with only 64K of memory! It’s a platform game with three levels, and on each level, you control Oscar and you have to catch up with the alien who abducted you before he reaches one of your animals. The first level provides a fairly gentle introduction to the game, but the second and third levels are much more challenging. The graphics are cute and colourful, the sprites are wonderfully animated, and the overall presentation is brilliant, with an excellent animated introductory sequence. Amstrad CPC games don’t get much better than this.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Amstrad CPC World, Novabug, Saberman, XeNoMoRPH, Xyphoe.
Abu Simbel Profanation
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
This platform game is one of the first Dinamic creations. You take control of Johnny Jones, who is trapped inside an Egyptian pyramid and has been cursed and turned into a big-headed creature. Your task is to give Johnny back his human shape so he can get out of the pyramid. You guessed right, it won’t be an easy task; as a matter of fact, finishing this game is an honour reserved only to the best (although it’s not impossible). Avoid everything but some Egyptian symbols that work as keys and locks, make your way to the chamber where the Pharaoh lies, and remember “wait, see, and calculate”. The game has nice, colourful graphics, at least for the time, but it would have been nice to hear a tune throughout the game. It’s worth giving it a try, but it’s better if you have infinite lives... and infinite patience!
See also: Profanation 2: Escape from Abu Simbel.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Amstrad CPC World, jgonza, Metr81, Retro Danuart.
After a Gal-Corp trainee pilot accidentally crashed into a nuclear reactor, the Gal-Corp Academy for Advanced Skimmer Pilots was formed. To qualify as an elite pilot, you must complete five levels, each containing four missions, successfully by attaining an average rating of at least 90%. This is the sequel to Tau Ceti and it offers several new features. The most notable one is the ability to design your own skimmers, as the three models already provided may not be suitable for certain missions. There is also a greater variety of enemies, and you can also use delay bombs – but be careful with them! Like Tau Ceti, the gameplay can initially be frustrating as your skimmer will be blown up a lot in your first few attempts, but perseverance will eventually pay off and you’ll discover a great game.
See also: Tau Ceti.
(Cascade Games, 1986)
Reviewed by Piero Serra
ACE came boxed with a free poster, which I had on my bedroom wall in the 1980s – an airbrushed scene of jets and a Top Gun-style fighter pilot helmet, with the tagline, “At last you can really fly!” and some impressive in-game screenshots. Unfortunately for us CPC users, our version differed noticeably from these screenshots, with a much tighter view of the sky and a more rudimentary-looking cockpit. As for “really flying”, well, the flight controls are heavily simplified and the handling is pretty jerky. Combat is where this game focuses, with plenty of weapons options, a variety of targets including boats, tanks and helicopters, and a two-player mode where you share control of the weapons and flying with a friend. There’s even mid-air refuelling. Although it’s an unsophisticated simulator, the combat sections are good fun and make it worth loading for a quick sortie.
See also: ACE 2.
Reviewed by Robert Small
If you have tried Top Gun on the CPC then you will find that ACE 2 is a very similar experience. This is by no means a full-blown flight simulator. It isn’t the type of game where you will need to wade through the instructions; one-on-one dogfighting is the order of the day. Where the game differs from Top Gun is that the screen is split horizontally rather than vertically. There’s more colour on display with ACE 2 but the graphics are quite basic and Top Gun was a bit faster to my eye. The sound effects are very basic, while the controls are streamlined to match the simple gameplay. Add a human opponent and the game is more fun.
See also: ACE.