Reviewed by Shaun Neary
Take on the role of an Allied League of Cosmic Nations (it’s the name, right?) pilot in an SW464 fighter and take on the alien invaders of the planet Theron. Wait, this sounds familiar... It’s Slap Fight! Originally released for the CPC in 1987, this faithful remake surfaces on the trusty CPC, boasting compatibility with all CPC machines thanks to its use of the X-MEM cartridge. It’s incredibly faithful to the arcade original and the only thing more beautiful than the scrolling would be the music. Of course, you’ll need to be pretty skilful to hear all the tunes. There’s a tricky but fair learning curve to the game. The only fault is that the power-ups have been replaced with icons instead of words (like Nemesis) so it can be easy to choose the wrong power-up in the midst of battle, but other than that, it’s a flawless and worthy remake.
See also: Slap Fight.
You and a friend can see how you fare at pool with this game – there doesn’t seem to be an option to play against the computer, which is unfortunate – but at least you’ll save money by not playing pool down the pub. You take shots by aiming a cursor and then selecting the force and spin. It’s quite a well implemented version of pool, and the game claims that it conforms to the rules of 8-ball pool, but the music on the title screen is rubbish!
See also: Alex Higgins’ World Snooker.
Like Alex Higgins’ World Pool, you can’t play snooker against the computer, which again is a bit of a shame, and you also take shots by aiming a cursor and selecting the force and spin. You can choose to play either 6-ball, 10-ball or 15-ball snooker if you want a shorter game. I like the score bar at the top of the screen; it’s just like the real thing! However, actually putting the balls in the pockets is difficult and you’re unlikely to score large breaks here – and once again, the music is awful!
See also: Alex Higgins’ World Pool.
An alien is lurking somewhere within the spaceship Nostromo. The alien has hatched from the body of one of the seven crew members on board, but can the other six crew members kill it in time, before the ship returns to Earth or their oxygen supply runs out? This is a strategy game, and there is more than one way to complete the game. You can kill the alien using the weapons scattered throughout the ship, which is rather tricky; you can try to entice it to enter one of the airlocks and then hurl it into outer space; or you can rescue the ship’s cat, Jones, set the auto-destruct sequence, get at least three crew members into the lifeboat, the Narcissus, and escape. The choice is yours. Thankfully, there’s a short, easy scenario to let you learn the mechanics of the game. It’s one of those games that takes time to learn, but the effort is worth it.
(Ultimate Play the Game, 1985)
A ship is heading towards a distant planet and its inhabitants, the Cryonaughts, have been frozen during the journey. You have to find 24 valves and the cryogenic chambers that they are to be plugged into before the ship reaches its destination. The ship contains lots of rooms, often filled with hazards and obstacles that you have to negotiate, and you might need a valve to climb over some walls. There are also several types of enemy, such as Dalek-like mice and clockwork mice, that you must avoid too! This is an old game, but it has stood the test of time well and is just as good today. The difficulty level might put people off, but perseverance will be rewarded in the end.
Reviewed by Pug
An early mix of Galaxian and Space Invaders. Motherships appear in the sky releasing alien invaders that swarm around dropping slow-moving bombs. Pods are also dropped, and if they land, they form into crab-like mutants that crawl along the ground towards you. Luckily, you are able to create holes in the ground to trap and kill these mutants. Well that’s the good news, because you can only dig these holes five times in total – so only good shots need apply here! This game has no progression as such; no levels or stages, just a single screen of endless minions. It’s easy at first, but once many pods begin to drop, you end up in trouble. Smooth, average graphics and sparse sound effects. You will soon get bored.
(Vortex Software, 1986)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Defeat the aliens again in this sequel to Highway Encounter. Once again you must guide the Vorton and its precious weapon, this time the Terratron, through 30 zones in an attempt to destroy the extraterrestrials’ industrial complex. Avoiding the electrified edge of the road at all costs, you must get past the cunningly placed obstacles, whilst shooting the Zebs and any passing kamikaze aliens. Along the way you are also required to arm the bomb by picking up seven regeneration stations or otherwise it will fail to detonate. However, what is a good, hard game is let down by Mode 1 graphics and poor sound.
See also: Highway Encounter.
(US Gold, 1991)
Reviewed by Missas
Our planet is once again being attacked by aliens, and a special squad known as Alien Busters is formed to save the day. In this game you may choose from three characters (Gordon, Scooter and Karla) who have different attributes and special moves, in order to complete six big levels, each of which is divided into several stages. Graphics are colourful Mode 0 with 16 colours on screen, and a lot of effort has been applied to make them look very detailed. The sound has a variety of effects which help the game maintain an atmosphere, and the main music theme is also fine. The gameplay is enjoyable because of the variety of players’ moves, the good controls and the different gameplay stages of each level. You may have to face aliens in close combat or shoot them in first-person perspective! Overall this is a very good and balanced game which you will most probably enjoy playing.
Reviewed by Pug
Alien Syndrome is an eight-way scrolling maze shoot-’em-up. Your goal is to resuce the captives on each level before the timer runs out. One or two players can take part in a Gauntlet-like game. The game itself looks drab and moves at a jerky rate with endless numbers of mutant sausages and jellies out to get you. Computer screens sometimes hide the odd power-up or bonus, but this usually allows another nasty to catch up with you. Too difficult, poor use made of the CPC’s graphic capability, with a handful of sound effects. This one could have been a great game if it wasn’t for it being a rushed port.
(Electric Dreams, 1986)
Nothing has been heard from the colony of LV-426 for some time, so Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley sends a team of five Colonial Marines to investigate – and her fears are well-founded, as the colony is now home to an army of aliens. Your aim is to find your way through the labyrinth of 255 rooms and kill the alien queen. The game (which is based on the highly successful film of the same name) mixes arcade and strategy elements – you’ll be blasting a lot of aliens, but you need to work out a way of reaching the alien queen’s chamber, and there are other rooms to explore as well. If you’re not careful, one or more of your team might be captured or impregnated! It takes time to understand how the game is meant to be played, but you’ll enjoy it once you do. The background music makes the atmosphere much more tense and eerie as well!