Screenshot of Archon: The Light and the Dark

Archon: The Light and the Dark

(Electronic Arts, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

In Archon, you play a board game with a mythical setting. Similar to chess in its design and appearance, you control a set of characters – light or dark. Each character has various strengths and weaknesses, such as strength, speed and magic. You take it in turns to move around the board, which is made up of black, white and coloured squares. The different squares affect your performance; for example, a piece from the forces of Light will do well in combat while standing on a white square and poorly on a black one. There are also power squares, and if all are stood upon, your team gains tremendous power. Combat takes place in a battle arena where you and your opponent fight it out with your chosen weapon. Archon is an easy game to get into and soon grows into an intense game of strategy. The graphics look a little basic and so is the sound, but they play second fiddle to an addictive and challenging game.

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Screenshot of Arcticfox


(Electronic Arts, 1988)

Reviewed by Robert Small

One of many 3D tank games released over the years. This one is set in the snowy wastes in a sci-fi setting. The game runs at an acceptable speed and the wireframe graphics are fine, although it can be hard to tell if something is shooting at you from a distance as it’s often difficult to make out the enemy clearly on the horizon. The AI is also very aggressive. There are a nice variety of enemies and toys to play with on board your futuristic Arcticfox tank. The enemy preview (which is only available in the 128K version) is a nice feature so you can get to know what you’re up against. This plays well and has a bit more depth than other games like it. Fans of the genre will enjoy it.

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Screenshot of Area 51

Area 51

(Nicholas Campbell, 2006)

Reviewed by Missas

Fizzog the alien has crashed his spaceship on our planet, and he needs to get replacement parts for his spaceship that can only be found in the infamous Area 51. It will not be an easy task as the parts are scattered across seven levels full of deadly obstacles and enemies. You must collect objects that are placed all over the screen using only your hand and eye coordination and some pixel-perfect jumps. Area 51 was originally released for the ZX Spectrum as an entry in the 2004 Minigame Competition and was converted to the Amstrad CPC two years later. The graphics are basic but well designed and a mysterious tune plays throughout the game. If you love the pre-1984 gaming era then do not miss this game; it’s like an extra set of levels for Manic Miner. Overall, Area 51 is a nice little game which you can easily complete after a few tries.

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Screenshot of Argo Navis

Argo Navis

(Kuma, 1985)

A spaceship has been overrun by aliens, and you have been sent on board to find twelve flashing blue crystals. There are 96 rooms to explore, and you must navigate platforms and stairs and dodge aliens in your search for the crystals. You will often find your way blocked by barriers which can only be moved by finding the corresponding switch. Flashing stars can also be collected for extra points, and you’ll also need to collect oxygen cylinders to replenish your supply. Once you’ve found all twelve crystals, you must go to a particular room in the spaceship and insert them into some slots, and then it’s a race against time back to the airlock where you originally entered! The graphics and sound effects are rather basic, but don’t let this put you off; this is a good platform game which requires a bit of mapping and puzzle-solving as well.

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Screenshot of Arkanoid


(Imagine, 1987)

This is widely regarded as one of the best Breakout clones of all time and it’s not hard to see why; in fact, a lot of people talk about Arkanoid clones instead! The graphics are brilliant and both the ball and bat move extremely smoothly across the screen. In addition, there are power-ups to collect and monsters which get in your way. The theme tune is wonderful to listen to as well. However, this game would get a much better mark if it wasn’t for level three, which is nigh-on impossible to complete – I think I’ve managed it once without cheating. However, there is an unofficial construction kit which lets you create your own levels.

See also: Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh.

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Screenshot of Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh

Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh

(Imagine, 1988)

If you thought the original game was tough, you’ll be screaming at the sequel. Yes, the authors clearly thought that those indestructible orange bricks should be added to the third level, again making progress beyond this level almost impossible. In fact, this was the subject of a letter in Amstrad Action (and no, I didn’t write it). The graphics are better and the bat and ball scroll smoothly, but it’s just too difficult. Do the authors of sequels have any sense at all?

See also: Arkanoid.

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Screenshot of Arkos


(Zigurat, 1988)

An axe with magical powers has been stolen from the village of Kartes by the evil Tarox, and its people have suffered terribly for years as a result – but then a boy called Arkos was born, and his childhood was spent training to eventually retrieve the axe and bring prosperity to Kartes once more. As Arkos, you must first cross the village to the marshes, where you will meet Tarox, who has transformed himself into a huge monster. Once you defeat him, a large bird will take you across the marshes to the abandoned temple of Zintos where you will find the axe. The graphics are very colourful and well drawn, but the sound effects are rather basic, and the first and third parts of the game are very frustrating due to the sheer number of enemies that can appear on the screen, which wastes a lot of your lives.

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Screenshot of The Armageddon Man

The Armageddon Man

(Martech, 1987)

In 2032, the world is close to Armageddon. Sixteen countries form the United Nuclear Nations (UNN), and its supreme commander, the so-called ‘Armageddon Man’, decides the fate of the world. It’s your job to maintain world peace and stability between these nations. You have a network of satellites which allow you to eavesdrop on communications and shoot down nuclear missiles. There are other aspects of the game as well, and you can also declare your support for, or criticise, any of the nations. Events happen quickly, and it’s quite a task to keep up with them. This is an icon-driven strategy game and it will take some time to master. If you’ve got the patience, you might well like it a lot, but it really isn’t the type of game that everyone will enjoy.

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Screenshot of Army Moves

Army Moves

(Dinamic, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

If you already know a few Dinamic games, it’s hardly useful to present you this one. Two words will be sufficient: ‘beautiful’ and ‘unplayable’. In the first part, you drive a jeep and then fly a helicopter, and you must clear your way through myriads of enemy jeeps and helicopters. If this wasn’t enough, there are many holes in the road so you have to jump to avoid them, and missiles keep falling. It’s a real challenge to stay alive for more than 15 seconds. In the second part, you must cross a swamp to enter the enemy camp and destroy it. As usual with the Spanish developers, the graphics are colourful and the sprites move smoothly. The game window is a bit too small, however. Unless you play with infinite lives or are specially gifted (I’m not), it’s really hard to keep your self-control!

See also: Navy Moves.

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Screenshot of Arquimedes XXI

Arquimedes XXI

(ESP Soft, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

Arquimedes XXI was originally released for the Spectrum and MSX machines in 1987, but thanks to ESP Soft, it is also available for the CPC. Firstly, this is a pure text adventure. The game starts with a well drawn introduction screen. The graphics are above average (Mode 0) with a fine colour selection, but they are not too detailed. The result is satisfactory, though. The parser is limited to simple words like “examine” and “w” (meaning west) and after some practice, a player won’t have any problems with the interface. Because of the well drawn in-game screens, the gameplay is further assisted. The plot is very interesting, thus the grab factor is strong. A minus here is that the game itself is rather small. Overall, an interesting text adventure that is worth playing.

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