Screenshot of Action Force: International Heroes

Action Force: International Heroes

(Virgin Games, 1988)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Based on a Marvel comic, this shoot-’em-up lets you control a helicopter to fight against COBRA, a terrorist organisation. You have to destroy enemy planes and place bridges so that the jeep you’re escorting can reach its destination. The graphics are colourful but rather simple. Controlling the helicopter isn’t easy, because you must permanently push your joystick forward to keep it flying, while avoiding enemy fire. Otherwise, it will crash to the ground (as in Airwolf). Also, you’ve only got one life! Eventually, the game isn’t fun enough to keep you trying for very long.

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Screenshot of Action Service

Action Service

(Cobra Soft/Infogrames, 1988)

Only the toughest soldiers will graduate from the elite Cobra Command military training school. You are one such hopeful, and to succeed, you’ll need to successfully complete four assault courses. Just working out how to begin playing is a challenge in itself; there is a grid of eight buttons in the bottom section of the screen, and you need to select the top right one and then use the buttons below the grid to select the course to play. Only a tiny portion of the screen is used to display the course, which is very strange. The graphics are fairly good and the sprites are well animated, and there’s some nice music on the title screen, but the controls are very awkward and it’s a real struggle to remember all of them and get your soldier to do what you want him to do.

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Screenshot of Activator


(Cascade Games, 1986)

The space station Antari is drifting in space, taken over by hostile lifeforms. The seven nuclear fuel rods that power the ship are scattered about its many rooms. An activator pod (that’s you) has been sent to collect them all and put them back in the power chamber where they belong. The concept of the game is rather simple – just explore a maze and shoot aliens as you go along. However, to gain access to certain parts of the maze, you’ll need the right key. The graphics are simple but functional, and the sound effects are limited to exploding noises when you shoot aliens. Even so, it’s not a bad game, and you’ve got plenty of lives to do it.

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Screenshot of The Addams Family

The Addams Family

(Ocean, 1992)

Gomez has to rescue the other five members of his family, who have got lost in their own house (!). The Addams’ house is quite large, however, and doors will need to be unlocked by finding the right colour of key. Some of the monsters can also be killed by jumping on them. The graphics are very well drawn and the tune is a good rendition of the Addams Family theme, although it only plays on the menu screen. The sound effects in the game are still OK, though. It is a difficult game, though, but you get a generous amount of retries – nine lives and five continues.

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Screenshot of Adidas Championship Football

24 nations take part in the Adidas Championships. You can choose any of them in your bid to become the Adidas Champion. The championship is divided into six groups of four nations, and the teams in each group are picked at random. Another player can also take part in the proceedings. You can choose formations and match lengths, from 4 to 16 minutes. The graphics and music are quite good, but the gameplay is a bit of a let-down. Controlling the ball as you run down the field is very tricky indeed, and passing is also a problem, because selecting the power of your kick is cumbersome. You can’t play in any friendly matches, either. It’s a good-looking but disappointing football game.

See also: Adidas Championship Tie Break.

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Screenshot of Adidas Championship Tie Break

Can you beat six of the best tennis players to become the number one? This tennis game is quite different from most others, in that instead of using a view from one end of the court, it uses a top-down perspective, with the screen scrolling as the ball moves from one side of the court to the other and back again. As well as being able to choose the length of a match, the type of court to play on, and whether to play singles or doubles, you can even select one of six racquets to use. Because you are unable to see your player all of the time, the game automatically places him in the correct position when the ball is returned to you, and both serving and returning the ball are very easy to perform. The graphics are a bit minimalist, and it may not be the most realistic simulation of tennis, but it’s an easy game to learn and play.

See also: Adidas Championship Football.

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Screenshot of Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1

(4Mhz, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1 is a platform game inspired by the 2015 Spanish elections. You play a character called Coleta Morada (a nickname of the Spanish politician Pablo Iglesias) who must collect as many opposition votes and the votes of undecided people as possible, with the votes being represented by icons. The more votes collected, the easier it will be for Coleta Morada to defeat the final boss Rodrigo Rata. To begin with, the game loads with a detailed screen. The intro music is good and a pleasant tune plays throughout the game. The graphics are displayed in Mode 1 with four colours, resulting in very detailed sprites and scenery. The sprites move very fast and smoothly; this game definitely requires fast reflexes! The game itself is of average length; it could be bigger, but it’s not short at all. Overall, a very good platformer which might remind you of some NES platform games.

See also: Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2: De Buen Rollo.

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Screenshot of Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2: De Buen Rollo

Following the December 2015 election in Spain, no agreement could be reached to form a coalition, and new elections were held in 2016. Once again you play Coleta Morada (known in real life as Pablo Iglesias), and you must wander around a supermarket and an underground car park, collecting objects to boost your own charisma and ammunition to help you defeat the end-of-game boss ANSAR. However, there are a variety of people and creatures who will drain your energy if you touch them. The gameplay is identical to the previous episode, but the graphics are drawn in the CPC’s colourful, low-resolution Mode 0, and they look absolutely marvellous and are very nicely animated. A jolly and catchy tune also plays throughout the game. It’s less difficult than its predecessor but it still offers a challenge.

See also: Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1.

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Screenshot of Advanced Pinball Simulator

Advanced Pinball Simulator

(Code Masters, 1988)

Are pinball games really supposed to have a plot? This one does. A wizard has cast an evil spell over the land of Santagon and threatens to erupt a volcano. You have to make a potion and banish the wizard forever, as well as performing other tasks. These are done by extinguishing letters on the table and hitting other things with the ball. Why a pinball game needs a plot (especially one we’ve heard so often) is a mystery, but it’s certainly not a bad example – just an average one. The ball moves rather slowly, but this doesn’t make the game any easier, and there’s also only one table.

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Screenshot of Adventure Quest

Adventure Quest

(Level 9, 1984)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

Set many years after the events of Colossal Adventure, the second in Level 9’s Middle Earth trilogy has a simple mission – find and defeat Agaliarept, the Demon Lord, in his Dark Tower. Borrowing heavily from J. R. R. Tolkien, Adventure Quest has a number of familiar locations (starting outside the same brick building as in Colossal Adventure, for example). The descriptions are very well written, positively oozing atmosphere, and the parser is of a high standard for the time. Offering a definite challenge, Adventure Quest is not as accessible as its predecessor, but as with most Level 9 games, perseverance will bring reward. The re-release in 1986 as part of the Jewels of Darkness compilation features simple graphics which add to the experience, although there is something of a trade-off in game speed. A worthy follow-up to Colossal Adventure.

See also: Colossal Adventure, Dungeon Adventure.

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