Screenshot of Atom Smasher

Atom Smasher

(Amsoft, 1984)

Imagine that you’re controlling a rocket which is the size of an electron, and that you’re orbiting around an atom. The aim of this game is to shoot a target that moves within the nucleus of the atom, while avoiding collisions with the electrons. When you manage to shoot the target, another electron is added to the atom. Things quickly get hectic, because the electrons soon start to move so fast that avoiding them is very difficult. The graphics and sound are both awful, anyway – and your rocket doesn’t seem to obey any of the laws of quantum mechanics!

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Screenshot of Atomic Driver

Atomic Driver

(Loriciels, 1988)

Here’s a crazy little game, in which you seemingly control a car which has to drive around the town shooting other cars and strange objects, while not bumping into them, because if you do, the game is over. I don’t know what the aim of the game is – maybe you’re just meant to get as high a score as you can – but the really cute and colourful graphics and sheer silliness of it make it ridiculously addictive for me! It’s a shame the music isn’t very good, and only having one life is a bit annoying, but these are minor drawbacks to what is actually a rather good game.

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Screenshot of Atomic-Fiction

Atomic-Fiction

(Chip, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Atomic-Fiction is a pleasant little game based on Oil’s Well, which in turn is quite similar to Pac-Man. Here you have a small maze filled with dots that must be collected by a grabber. The grabber comes from above ground and is extended downwards by a pipeline. Within the maze are nasties that move along the screen horizontally. If they hit your pipeline, you lose a life. Both the graphics and sound are reasonable and suit this simple but entertaining idea for a game. The controls, though, are not always responsive.

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Screenshot of Atomik

Atomik

(FIL, 1988)

An extremely ugly-looking Breakout clone – so ugly that one can be forgiven for thinking that it’s written in BASIC. It isn’t, by the way; if it was a BASIC listing in a magazine, it would be reasonably good, but as a full-blown commercial game, it is appallingly bad. Actually, it’s not so bad that it deserves zero out of ten. The game is actually playable, although you can’t stop the bat from moving, so positioning it below the ball is very tricky and the game is pretty difficult because of this. You can also design your own levels, but you’ll simply be put off by the abysmal (and very flickery) graphics.

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Screenshot of Atrog

Atrog

(Zafiro, 1988)

A hundred years ago, the Khun tribe were evicted from their homeland by the savage and merciless Krull tribe. Now, it’s time for revenge, and the warrior Atrog has been chosen by the Khun to slay every one of the Krull. There are three levels, with three groups of people in each, and you must kill all the people in one group before facing the next group. You’ll soon find that it’s better to hit them once, move away from them to avoid their punches, and hit them again. This makes for a slow and tedious game, and it’s a pity that the gameplay doesn’t match the absolutely marvellous graphics – and why do you hear white noise throughout the game?

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Screenshot of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

(Global Software, 1986)

Wimp starts his shift at the PuraTom processing plant at 9 o’clock in the morning to find that all the tomatoes have mutated and run amok! He has to stop the big killer tomatoes and shove them in holes, and crush the smaller bouncing tomatoes before he goes home at 5 o’clock that evening. You’ll need salt to kill the bouncing tomatoes, and when you kill six of them, the salt will run out and you will need to find some more. I won’t tell you what objects you need to kill the big tomatoes, though. There are also punch cards which Wimp can insert into the cube-shaped objects dotted around the plant to gain extra time. At first glance, it looks like another Spectrum port with the dull, monochrome graphics, but if you take the time to play it, you might find it’s actually not a bad game at all.

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Screenshot of Attentat

Attentat

(Rainbow Production, 1986)

  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

Terrorists have planted a bomb in an embassy, and it is due to explode in 45 minutes. The evacuation takes 20 minutes, leaving you with only 25 minutes to locate and defuse the bomb. With a scenario like this, you may be expecting to play an action-packed arcade game. Instead, it’s a text adventure in which you explore the embassy by typing in commands, but it lacks the challenge that is found in most other games in this genre. Although there are a lot of rooms, and the pictures accompanying each location are lovely, there are few objects to be collected and used and no characters to interact with (which is not surprising given that the embassy has been evacuated!). A lot of the puzzles seem to consist of finding the right key to open a door, and having to type articles with each object (e.g. “ouvre la porte” instead of “ouvre porte”) is irritating.

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Screenshot of ATV Simulator

ATV Simulator

(Code Masters, 1988)

Take to the off-road in your all-terrain vehicle and negotiate six courses within the time limits set for each one. As this is supposed to be an all-terrain vehicle, the courses take place in deserts, grassland, swamps, and even on ice, and the obstacles you have to tackle also depend on the scenery. The graphics are quite good (especially when you’re flung off your vehicle and it lands upside down), but they lack colour, and the sound and music are both OK as well. It’s not great, but at least you can progress through the first few courses without much bother.

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Screenshot of Auf Wiedersehen Monty

Auf Wiedersehen Monty

(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)

Having escaped from the clutches of Intermole by hiding in Gibraltar, Monty Mole now dreams of spending the rest of his days on the island of Montos in Greece. First, though, he’s got to get some money. This is a jolly little platform game where the map resembles that of Europe, although to reach some countries, you’ll have to find an airline ticket and check in at a desk. Littered around the map are travellers’ cheques which Monty can pick up, and as money is collected, you’ll see a picture of Montos appear gradually at the bottom of the screen. The graphics are simple but still quite good, while a catchy melody plays constantly in the background.

See also: Impossamole, Monty on the Run.

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Screenshot of Australian Games

Australian Games

(Erbe/US Gold, 1990)

A rather unusual selection of six Australian-themed events is provided in this humorous game. It starts with belly-flopping into Sydney harbour, then continues with shark fishing, shooting beer bottles from a moving jeep, kicking and catching a ball from one player to another on a beach, throwing and catching a boomerang, and finally, a dry boat race. The graphics are very colourful and the animation is marvellous, and there are some really jolly tunes to listen to. Like most multi-event games, not all of the events will appeal to everyone, and the controls are quite difficult to understand on a couple of them. Overall, though, it’s an entertaining and well presented game, and the pictures that are displayed after competing in each event are a really nice touch.

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