(US Gold, 1985)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Is there any need to introduce this game? Based upon the movies of the famous kung-fu actor, this early platform game is one of the funniest ever released on our computer. Technically, there is nothing amazing. The graphics are average and the sound effects are sufficient, no more. What makes the gameplay excellent is the design of the levels. Each screen is different and the difficulty of the (many) traps perfectly studied. You must collect golden lanterns and climb nets and ladders. Two opponents will try to stop you; a green sumotori (!) and a ninja. It’s really funny to watch them fry as they walk on the traps you have triggered...
Carmelo and Gloria are a brother and sister team who like to paint. One day, they find themselves in a strange world, and in order to escape from it, they have to paint the floors of all the levels. This is a simple platform game that can be played by either one or two players, and in two-player mode, there is the additional option of playing either co-operatively (working together to complete each level) or against each other in a ‘versus mode’ (reaching a target amount of floors painted before your opponent). The graphics are colourful, and while the sprites are quite small, they are still recognisable and well animated. The music is quite jolly and fits well with the pace of the game, which can become somewhat hectic. The first few levels are fun, but the method of jumping from platform to platform feels rather odd, and on later levels, it becomes an annoyance that detracts from the enjoyment.
This is regarded as an all-time classic, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a simple platform game where Bub (and Bob if another person is playing) kill all the enemies by blowing bubbles at them and then bursting the bubbles. Bonus points can be obtained if you collect all the letters of the word ‘EXTEND’. There are also a range of monsters and 100 tough levels to get through. The graphics look very dated, and while there aren’t many sound effects, they do their job. This is still a fun game to play after all these years.
(Code Masters, 1991)
Dizzy has decided to go diving and collect some pearls from the bottom of the sea. On each level, you start at the bottom of a well and try to reach the surface again before your oxygen runs out by using bubbles, as well as collecting as many pearls as you can. Of course, there are also creatures to watch out for, which decrease your oxygen. This is one of the better Dizzy arcade games but it is much too easy; you’ll probably be able to complete it on your second or third go! Even so, the graphics are pretty good (although there are some awful colour schemes in use) and it’s OK to play it occasionally.
See also: Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, Dizzy, Dizzy Down the Rapids, Dizzy Panic, Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk, Fantasy World Dizzy, Fast Food, Kwik Snax, Magicland Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy.
(Ere Informatique, 1988)
Here’s a cute and original puzzle game in which a ghost must blow a bubble from one side of a room to the other, ensuring that the bubble does not come into contact with anything. Naturally, other hazards have to be negotiated; there are candles that have to be blown out, and fans that have to be turned off. Naturally, the rooms become trickier and the passages become narrower as you progress. While there’s hardly any sound, the graphics aren’t bad, and it’s really a rather addictive game. It’s really amusing to see the ghost’s anger and frustration when the bubble bursts – something that you will also feel after playing this game for a while!
(Ultimate Play the Game, 1987)
Vadras Prison consists of five 3D worlds full of platforms, ramps and ledges. Each stage also contains several ‘bubblers’ which have to be corked to stop them from releasing bubbles, and you must cork all of them to go to the next stage. In a further twist, the thing you control is also a bubble, and it’s very awkward to control; you need to move the direction gauge and then make the bubble move or jump in that direction. This takes a lot of getting used to, and you’ll find the rest of the game rather difficult. It’s too easy to fall off, and dodging the bullets fired by some of the enemy creatures is entirely down to luck.
You are a buccaneer whose crew has been captured by pirates, and you must liberate your comrades who are being held on two Caribbean islands. This is a beat-’em-up based on an obscure Spanish coin-op game that was actually a modified (or should that be pirated?) version of Vigilante. There are eight levels – four for each island – and it contains all the ingredients of a typical beat-’em-up. It’s very well presented indeed, with beautiful graphics, parallax scrolling, and several wonderful tunes that play throughout the game. However, the controls can be unresponsive when there’s a lot of action on the screen, which often proves frustrating, and most players will probably find the end-of-level bosses to be too difficult to defeat, and they may only get to see fewer than half of the levels of what is an otherwise fine game.
(Dro Soft/Electronic Arts, 1991)
Reviewed by Piero Serra
This fighting game came fairly late in the commercial life of the CPC and it’s a good example of how such games improved over the years. There is no backstory; your character is simply in training to fight in a tournament consisting of karate, kendo (fighting with a bamboo sword), bo (a staff) or nunchaku (the weapon with a chain). The instructions are lengthy, going into detail about your character’s stamina and ki (energy), scoring, and the many moves for each discipline. The graphics are colourful and atmospheric, and gameplay can be fast, with opponents able to knock you off your feet within seconds if you’re not careful. Only the sound is disappointing, being limited to punches, kicks, and the tournament bell. Budokan is a fun challenge, and one of the most realistic martial arts games for the CPC.
Compete in six rodeo events – knife throwing, target shooting, calf roping, the bucking bronco, steer wrestling and the stagecoach rescue – on your own or with up to three other players. You can choose to play in as many or as few events as you wish, and you can try again as many times as you like, which is very useful for the more difficult events (particularly the calf roping and steer wrestling). The graphics are colourful, beautifully drawn and very well animated, and the music is excellent, with some great renditions of well known American tunes. Most of the events are fun to play, and this is a game you will want to keep coming back to in order to improve on your previous scores.
(YB Soft, 2021)
Here’s a platform game that is based on the alter ego of a man who broadcasts live on YouTube on Saturday evenings, testing his extensive collection of Amstrad CPC cassettes. One fan had the inspiration of developing a game around this character – Novabug – and enlisted the help of other fans to provide graphics, level designs and music. You control Bug, and you have to gather as many cassettes as you can so that the CPC community can watch more episodes of tape testing. As with most platform games, there are hazards and enemies to avoid. If you lose a life, you’ll also lose a cassette. Fortunately you get plenty of lives – 25 in easy mode, or 10 in hard mode – but even so, reaching the Bug Loft will not be a doddle! The graphics are simple but colourful (although some sprites are of a sexual nature) and Bug is very easy to control. Overall, this is a very nice game.