(Alternative Software, 1992)
Bangers and Mash are two chimpanzees who starred in their own TV cartoon show, and they get up to a lot of mischief. On this occasion, Bangers has been rather naughty, so his mother sends him into the jungle to collect some fruit for a nice tart she’s preparing. The jungle is full of nasty creatures which kill Bangers on contact – hedgehogs, giant ladybirds (!) and Venus fly-traps. You must also watch out for ghosts and Witch Snitchnose. Diamonds as well as fruit can be collected for bonus points, and some flowers have interesting effects if you touch them. This could have been a reasonably good game – the graphics are cheerful, and the jolly TV theme tune is also present – but it’s much too hard, and the levels are too big.
(Melbourne House, 1988)
Hegor the Barbarian must enter the underground realm of Durgan and slay the evil Necron in order to become ruler of the kingdom and gain the crown. You won’t be surprised to hear that this involves lots of sword fighting and slaying a lot of monsters throughout your quest. Although it’s a platform game, you control Hegor through the use of an icon system, allowing you to jump, somersault, pick up, drop, select and use weapons. Fortunately, there are very few – maybe even no – situations where you are in immediate danger, so you have time to select the correct icon without losing a life. The graphics and animation are excellent, and although the game may not be fast-paced and full of action, it’s still fairly satisfactory overall.
Princess Mariana has been captured by the evil Drax, and to rescue her, he has challenged you to a series of fights against his toughest warriors. You may remember that the advertisements for this game were a bit controversial, featuring an almost naked Maria Whittaker as the princess, and Michael van Wijk (Wolf out of the TV programme Gladiators) as the barbarian. You can also practice your skills, or play against a friend. This is a great game with some really good animation and beautiful scenery, and some excellent atmospheric music. It’s also fun because you can chop your opponent’s head off with the right move, as shown in the screenshot!
See also: Barbarian II.
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Having thought you’d dispatched the bald-headed evil wizard in the first adventure, you find that you must fight your way again to defeat Drax. This time you have the choice of the Barbarian or the curvaceous Princess to chop and slash your way through a plethora of various monsters – not humans this time – which are each defeated differently, against a wide selection of pretty backdrops which connect to form a labyrinth our heroes have to travel through to confront your enemy in the final showdown. Essentially, apart from the same look and feel (which is welcome), this is a different type of game from its predecessor; there’s no two-player action (as in no head chops) and it thereby suffers for it. Incidentally, the cartridge version is exactly the same as the normal CPC version!
See also: Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior.
(Central Solutions, 1986)
Back in the early days of the CPC, Central Solutions were well known for always releasing games that were truly abysmal, and this is no exception. Aliens have invaded Earth and are destroying the cities, and you must shoot them. How original is that? Each level takes place on the same single screen with four cities represented at the bottom. The aliens zoom around the screen, dropping bombs on the cities, and if they are all destroyed, the game is over. If you shoot enough aliens, you can go to the next level, which is more or less the same as the previous one. The graphics and sound effects are primitive and there’s nothing to make you want to have another go at the game.
(Electronic Arts, 1988)
Reviewed by Pug
Skara Brae has been taken over and ruined; only fear resides here now. Your band of adventurers must find the Evil Mage’s lair and defeat him. The world of The Bard’s Tale is full of temples, taverns, inns, sewers, castles, monsters and treasure. With these ingredients, you end up with a classic and addictive role-playing game. The graphics may look primitive at first, but in the long term they grow on you with their distinct style. You soon become engrossed in this game. As you develop, it is a real joy to slay that beast that once ate you for breakfast!
(The Power House, 1987)
You have been sent down into the Great Barrier Reef in a submarine to collect lots of cash, although I don’t know how it got there. The reef is really a large maze, and you’ll find some sections cut off – but there are bombs lying around which will enable you to reach other sections of the reef. Watch your oxygen levels as well, and don’t touch the fish, or you’ll lose one of your nine lives. This is just a bog-standard exploration game with poor graphics and sound effects, and little variety in the gameplay. Avoid it!
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Here’s another boxing game, based upon the legendary Irish featherweight champion. The first interesting feature is that you begin the game before the fight. You have ten weeks to practice and you can choose between several activities to improve your strength and stamina (e.g. roadwork, heavy bag, sparring). You can also choose your opponent, which brings a little ‘simulation’ touch to the game. The fights are rather realistic; knockouts are really well rendered. Unlike many other games, you can block the punches of your opponents, and an uppercut doesn’t look like a right hook. The sound of the crowd, which increases when the fight toughens, is great too. Though it shows its age, it is still a good game.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
The evil rodent criminal, Professor Ratigan, has kidnapped Basil’s friend, Dr Dawson. Using his detective skills, Basil must hunt for clues as to Ratigan’s whereabouts. On each of the three levels are five clues hidden inside tins or bags, which Basil must search. However, the devious Ratigan has also left behind eight false clues. Fortunately, by pressing a particular key when you are carrying five clues, you can find out how many of them are the clues you’re looking for. You can also find mousetraps to trap enemies with, and cheese to restore your energy. The graphics are very colourful indeed and are really appealing, but the game is very difficult as it’s often impossible to avoid losing energy in some situations, and it’s depleted too quickly.
Reviewed by Missas
Basket Cases is, as its name implies, a basketball game, and a good one indeed. Beginning with the graphics, they are nice and colourful but a little blocky. However they move fast and they have a higher frame rate than almost all other basketball games that I have played on the CPC. The sound consists of some effects and a pleasant tune, and the crowd also cheers when you score! The gameplay is interesting, although there are no fouls. The computer AI is strong, everything is fast and the teams are comprised of only two players. I suppose that this game was inspired by Arch Rivals and Street Hoop. It is a great two-player game! Overall, it’s one of the best basketball games on the CPC.