Arcade Flight Simulator
(Code Masters, 1989)
Code Masters certainly took things too far by tacking the word ‘simulator’ on to this game! It’s a very straightforward arcade game with three levels based on the three world wars, with varying scenery and planes for each level. You have to shoot down a certain number of enemy planes and bomb their base to progress to the next level. The graphics are actually very good and there’s some nice music on the menu, although the sound effects aren’t up to much. The game itself is pretty average and there’s little to do in it other than shoot planes.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Xyphoe.
Arcade Fruit Machine
(Zeppelin Games, 1990)
Fruit machines – you love them or you hate them, with all their flashing lights and reels. Of the few fruit machine games on the CPC, this one is actually one of the best, with lots of options to win (or much more likely, lose) some money. You start with 50p and insert 2p coins to get some credits and spin those reels. If you can light all nine letters, you can play one of six extra games where you can use your skill or luck. The graphics are very colourful and well drawn and the sound effects are really good, too – lots of lovely pinging noises.
Arcade Trivia Quiz
(Zeppelin Games, 1989)
If you’re a pub quiz regular, you might like this game. You and up to two other players can join in for several rounds of trivia questions, starting with £1 and hoping to win some money. Each round consists of five questions taken from five categories, and if you answer them all correctly, there’s a cash run where you can earn up to £5. Some of the questions may also reveal joker cards, although this is a more risky way of winning money. There are four question files to keep you going, but there’s not that much variety, and the many atrocious spelling mistakes spoil the game a lot for me. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is “newtonium”, by the way.)
(Level 9/Mosaic, 1986)
The Archers is a radio show which has been broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 since 1951. In this game, you get the chance to control the storylines for four of the show’s characters – estate owner Jack Woolley, 19-year-old Elizabeth Archer, farmer Eddie Grundy, and entrepreneur Nelson Gabriel. At the start of the game, there are two million listeners, and throughout each of the four parts of the game, you are given a choice of three decisions which will affect the storyline accordingly. Making the wrong decisions isn’t going to please the listeners, and if you haven’t gained enough listeners by end of each part, you must start again. There are some fairly rudimentary graphics to accompany the majority of the storylines, but unless you’re a fan of the show, you won’t really enjoy this game all that much.
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.
(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.
(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.
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.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Novabug (gameplay), Novabug (longplay).
Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh
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.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Novabug (gameplay), Novabug (longplay).