Reviewed by Pug
The Sunday afternoon TV show of old hits the CPC... “super, smashing, great!” Round 1 is a general knowledge round where your darts skills are as important as getting the question right. Round 2 sees both players compete for the highest score with three darts. Round 3 sees the leading player take on the black and red board – “keep out of the black and in the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed.” You are then offered a chance to gamble your winnings by scoring 101 or more with three darts. The graphics are clear, if a little basic, and the classic theme tune is included, but where’s the top prize – a speedboat?
See also: Bully’s Sporting Darts.
(Alternative Software, 1993)
I remember the quiz show Bullseye well. Bully was the mascot of that show, which also saw the contestants playing games of darts. There are plenty of darts games on the CPC, so this one adds several rather bizarre variants of darts. As well as the standard 501 and ‘round the clock’ games, there’s cricket, football, golf, snooker and tennis! The best way to understand how to play these variants is to watch two computer-controlled players playing. Aiming the dart is a bit tricky since the hand you control wobbles rather erratically, but fortunately, the computer offers nine skill levels. The graphics are very good, and although there are hardly any sound effects, the wide variety of games will keep you entertained.
See also: Bullseye.
Guide Bumpy around each of the many levels in this game (I don’t know how many there are) and collect all the items. Each level consists of walls and platforms and you just have to bounce from platform to platform, but it’s not as simple as that; some of the platforms disappear when you bounce on them, while others force you to bounce in a certain direction. You’ll also need to break down some walls and put out fires, but you must have the right power-ups! It’s one of those games which has a simple concept but is ridiculously addictive – I love it! While it can be initially frustrating, practice makes perfect, and the graphics and sounds are pretty good as well.
This time, Bumpy is at a fairground consisting of nine attractions, and each attraction contains either twelve or fifteen sub-levels, very similar to the levels in the original Bumpy, and there are over 120 levels to complete! Fortunately, there’s a password system to let you skip the attractions you have completed, and you can attempt any of the levels on an attraction in any order. Also, there are far more different types of platforms and walls, although you soon learn how they work. The graphics are much more colourful too, but while this game is still excellent, it doesn’t seem to be quite as addictive as its predecessor.
See also: Bumpy.
Breakout meets baseball in this rather nice-looking game. Instead of having a bat to prevent the ball from falling off the screen, you control a bunny with a baseball bat who must hit the ball whenever it comes near. The advantage of this is that you can control where you want the ball to go – upwards, or to the left or right. There are all the usual bonuses to collect, and there are 22 levels to complete. Graphically it’s impressive, albeit a bit garish, although I didn’t like the music much. It’s not a frustratingly difficult game, either, unlike certain other Breakout clones I could name...
Reviewed by Robert Small
I’m not sure how many people know this, but the USSR was developing their own version of the Space Shuttle, and you get to pilot it in this game. Let’s start with the good parts. It offers variety. First you’re tasked with the launch procedure. You will go through pre-flight checks against the clock followed by another mini-game that simulates the stresses of the launch upon the human body. Finally if you’re successful, there is a satellite launch. At this point the game takes an abrupt turn into an arcade shoot-’em-up, first scrolling vertically, followed by a maze-like section. Graphically it isn’t great. The astronaut and space shuttle graphics early on are nice but the arcade section suffers from flicker and choppy scrolling. Original idea; shame about the execution.
This is the game that every Plus and GX4000 owner has, because it came free with their respective machines. It’s an endurance race where you must stay on the track for as long as possible without running out of time, but first of all, you must qualify to determine your grid position. This game makes full use of the extra capabilities of the Plus and GX4000 machines and it has some beautiful, crystal-clear music on the title screen. The sky even changes from day to night to show your progress! It’s touches like these that make this game better than others like it.
Can you become a bionic block buster by exploring all 400 rooms in a maze full of monsters? The aim in this rather boring game is to explore as much of the maze as you can. Each room contains lots of monsters and lots of blocks which you can push to destroy the monsters, although there are several types of blocks and they all behave differently. However, the monsters can push blocks as well. 400 rooms is a lot, and you’ll become bored long before you reach them all. The graphics and sound effects are nothing special, either.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1989)
Reviewed by Piero Serra
Possibly inspired by the wave of Vietnam war films made in the 1980s, Butcher Hill puts you in charge of a group of soldiers navigating the rivers and dense jungles of Vietnam. Sadly, it’s much more like playing a bad computer game than watching a movie. The boat section is first and it feels interminable. When you finally reach a dock, it’s on foot into a 3D jungle section – possibly one of the strangest gaming experiences I have ever had, and not in a good way. The final stage is a third-person shoot-’em-up in a village. The gameplay throughout is leaden and although the graphics are colourful they are often too chunky to see what’s happening. The only reason to load this game would be the atmospheric title music by Ben Daglish, but even this has not been ported over well from the Spectrum original.
(Superior Software/Alligata, 1988)
This game was also released on budget as Pro Boxing Simulator. Anyway, beneath the intriguing title is a boxing game where you are allowed (and encouraged) to cheat. There’s an indicator for each player, showing the number of chances they have – when this reaches zero, they lose. If the indicator is red, it means the referee has his eyes on you and you’ll be caught if you foul, but green means you can get away with it. The graphics are great and the characters and referee are well animated, and the sound of the crowd roaring is nice – their comments are even better! However, the controls are too tricky, particularly with the keyboard, and selecting the right moves seems to be a matter of luck most of the time.