Screenshot of Aliens: US Version

Aliens: US Version

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

This game was first released in the USA before it was released in the UK. As one might expect, it’s based on the film of the same name, although unlike the UK version, which concentrates on one section of the film, the US version contains eight sub-games, each of which is inspired by a different section of the film. Unfortunately, the sub-games combine to make a rather unsatisfying and incoherent game. It starts off promisingly, with a nice comic book-style introduction and an easy first level in which you identify your equipment, but the second level, which sees you landing the drop ship, is almost impossible to complete. Thankfully there is a built-in cheat to allow you to select and play the other levels while you’re playing this lousy game. The graphics in some of the sub-games are laughably bad as well.

See also: Alien, Aliens.

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Screenshot of Alive

Alive

(Lankhor, 1991)

Reviewed by Piero Serra

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

In this stylish French text adventure, you have crash-landed in a snowy wasteland and must search the local area for help. The game clearly draws inspiration from the point-and-click style of adventure that had become popular on PCs and 16-bit machines in the late 1980s. In Alive, however, the interaction is limited to selecting directional arrows, or choosing words from long lists to give instructions to the parser. The game is reasonably verbose and pushed the limits of my understanding of French, so I kept getting killed by strangers or falling off cliffs, but I could see that there is plenty of detail to the story. There’s a nice title tune and the graphics are cartoony, although some of the colour choices are unappealing. This should be worth trying for those who can read the language.

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Screenshot of Alkahera

Alkahera

(Budgie, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Alkahera sees you conscripted by the Galactic Government to patrol the trade routes in outer space. The game places you inside the cockpit of your spaceship with a 3D view of your surroundings, where your scanner alerts you to illegal presence. It’s a simple game of “shoot the scaled sprite”, where 90% of the time you collide with it instead. Game over occurs very quickly and the escape pod option is a waste of time. The graphics are colourful and add a little appeal. Simple sound effects add some atmosphere to a very boring game indeed.

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Screenshot of Alpha Jet

Alpha Jet

(Coktel Vision, 1988)

Reviewed by Robert Small

A vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up in which you pilot the real life Alpha Jet fighter plane. There are some positive aspects; the loop-the-loop upon take-off and barrel rolls on moving left and right are a nice touch. The game features surprisingly good sound effects and the pseudo-3D used on the backgrounds is actually quite nice. There are also a good variety of enemies. Unfortunately the game is a bit of a mess technically. It’s far from smooth, with questionable collision detection. There are much better alternatives available.

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Screenshot of Alphakhor

Alphakhor

(Loriciel, 1989)

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

In the year 2006, a deadly virus is threatening humanity’s existence. However, there was an outbreak of an identical virus in 1463, and it was stopped successfully. It’s up to Xavier Nollevo, who has invented a time machine, to go back to the Middle Ages and save humanity! This is an adventure game where you must explore a medieval town in the search for the magic formula, helping various characters as you go along. You have to be careful, and eat and drink all the time, and watch your money as well. The pictures are excellently drawn, and while it’s not a particularly large adventure, it’ll keep you occupied for some time – provided you understand French, that is.

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Screenshot of Altair

Altair

(Inmensa Bola de Manteca, 2014)

Reviewed by Missas

Altair is a CPC conversion of the original coin-op game released in Spain in 1981. 33 years later, it finally arrives on the CPC and it manages to remain totally faithful to the coin-op version. It clearly demonstrates the gaming era that was predominantly focused on achieving high scores rather than progressing to new levels. The graphics are, as expected, basic and chunky but they are colourful and vivid. The animation is good, while the in-game sound may be considered annoying by today’s standards, but it exactly captures the atmosphere of the arcade halls of the 1980s. The gameplay is fast-paced, and although it is repetitive, you won’t get bored easily because the challenge is well balanced and the grab factor is strong.

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Screenshot of Altered Beast

Altered Beast

(Activision, 1989)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

The master of all Gods, Zeus, commands you to rise from your grave and rescue his daughter. How could you refuse? After all, Zeus will send you some power-ups to increase your fighting abilities. Whenever you collect a few of them, your character will turn into a beast – either a werewolf or a dragon, depending on which level you are playing. This is quite a bad coin-op conversion. You’ll see graphics close to the original game, although the sprites lack definition. Apart from that, your character moves slowly, the scrolling is awful and hitting the enemies requires patience most of the time. There’s a tune playing throughout the game, but it doesn’t improve the overall impression of it.

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Screenshot of Alternative World Games

Alternative World Games

(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Eight wacky world events await you in this game – a sack race, plate balancing, river jumping, boot throwing, pole climbing, running up a wall, pillow fighting, and last but not least – pogo. Each event can be practiced, and believe me, if you want to get anywhere with this one, you’d better do that. The controls for each game are different, sluggish and add a high degree of confusion. The graphics are very detailed with good animation, but the rate at which everything moves, mixed with the hard to understand controls, just ruins everything.

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Screenshot of Amaurote

Amaurote

(Mastertronic, 1987)

The city of Amaurote has been invaded by a plague of giant insects, but instead of getting out a can of fly killer, you have to eradicate them by using bouncing bombs – and with 25 districts of the city to clear, that’s some task. The first thing you should try to do is destroy the Queen insect with a Supa Bomb. The isometric view is impressive, but the use of bouncing bombs makes it very difficult to aim them at the insects, and you can’t unleash another one until the first has exploded. The game is too difficult and takes much too long to play, but the music is arguably the best of any CPC game!

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Screenshot of The Amazing Shrinking Man

The Amazing Shrinking Man

(Infogrames, 1986)

Professor Nitro has accidentally drunk one of his own concoctions and has shrunk so much that he has fallen into the rubbish bin next to his desk! Now he has to find all the pieces of paper in the bin which contain the formula, and then create an antidote in his laboratory. You have to bounce around the rubbish bin, using various objects as platforms, while avoiding falling into discarded cans and puddles of water. This proves to be a very frustrating exercise, as there are few opportunities for you to ascend or walk around, and you’ll often find yourself falling a long way back down the bin. The graphics are nice and colourful, the scrolling is very smooth indeed, and the music is catchy, but playing the game will test anyone’s patience to the limit.

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