(Hit Pak, 1987)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
The programmers surely wanted to do something very different from Airwolf. And indeed, they managed to do so, but the result is still far from amazing. This game is a shoot-’em-up (which curiously scrolls from left to right), looking like Salamander or R-Type. But it’s much less fun, as the playing window is very small and the graphics are Spectrum-like. You just have to blast your way through a bunch of aliens, guns and blocks that stand in front of you. Well, that’s an average game, which can be rather enjoyable for a (short) while.
See also: Airwolf.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Xyphoe.
Reviewed by Jorge Giner Cordero
Akalabeth is the first commercial game by Richard Garriott, a role-playing game originally programmed in 1979 in BASIC for the Apple II. After buying some food and weapons, you start at ground level. You can descend into dungeons, fight monsters or enter shops, but first, it is best to visit Lord British’s castle where he will ask you to kill some kind of monster; you must kill ten monsters to complete the game. All graphics are drawn with lines, and the dungeons are displayed in first-person perspective with no sound effects. The graphics are drawn quickly, except for the global map, which draws quite slowly, so it’s better to draw it on paper. The game comes with instructions, and overall, this is a piece of history you have to play.
(Artic Computing, 1985)
A wizard has trapped Aladdin in a network of caves, and he must find his way out again. This is a platform game consisting of 16 screens, and in most of them, there are one or more objects to be collected. If you collect all of the objects in a room, you may be able to gain new powers, allowing you to transform into other creatures, such as a monkey, a bird or a genie – but although it is necessary to use these powers to complete the game, you can only use them in certain screens! This is a rather old game, so the graphics and sound effects are rather basic. However, the music is absolutely awful, although thankfully, it can be turned off, leaving you with a simple but enjoyable platform game.
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.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Saberman, XeNoMoRPH, XeNoMoRPH (25fps version).
Alex Higgins’ World Pool
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.
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.
See also: Aliens, Aliens: US Version.
(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.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Amstrad CPC World.
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.