Ace of Aces
(US Gold, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett
I’m not a great fan of flight sims, so I was pleasantly surprised when I loaded the game and was greeted with a nicely drawn options screen showing a sergeant major-type pointing his baton at the various missions to choose from. Equally nice briefing and weapon selection screens follow, along with some cartoon-like photos of the hero running to his plane and taking off. The sound effects are also very impressive – but when the real game starts, it all goes to hell. As far as sound goes, all you get is a constant drone. (It actually hurts your ears!) The graphics are dull (just the inside of the cockpit and a few hills rolling by), and the game is ridiculously hard. Once you get your compass blown out, you just drift forever until you get shot down! A real disappointment.
(US Gold/MicroProse, 1986)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Pacifists rejoice – it’s another CPC flight simulation from MicroProse (although it was initially published in the UK by US Gold), but this time no one gets shot. The differences don’t stop there either, as this game is played from the third-person perspective and not from within the cockpit. This makes the manoeuvring of your little BD-5J plane easier, but despite colourful graphics, the sprite flicker of your plane is quite off-putting. Aerobatics and stunts are the order of the day and a generous ten events are provided. In typical MicroProse fashion, the options screen is easy to follow, the difficulty can be adjusted, and multi-player is possible. The sound, as ever, is nothing to write home about. This isn’t a bad game for players intimidated by flight simulations due to the helpful perspective, but that sprite flicker is very disappointing.
The US Secret Command has asked you to carry out five dangerous missions which take you into enemy territory. Each mission consists of two parts. In the first part, you drive a motorbike along a road, shooting the enemy vehicles and collecting pods, which turns the motorbike into a car (pretty impressive, eh?). Collect some more pods and you enter the second part. The car now becomes a jet-car and the action takes place in the air. Throughout each mission, lorries and helicopters appear, and entering them gives you power-ups for your vehicle. The graphics are very impressive indeed and the sound effects are fairly good as well. However, the missions are far too long and take what seems like an eternity to complete – if you manage to complete them, of course.
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.
(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.
(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.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Amstrad CPC World.
The Addams Family
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.
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.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
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.
Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1
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.