Screenshot of The Bells

The Bells

(Blaby Computer Games, 1986)

The evil archbishop has kidnapped Quasimodo’s girlfriend Esmeralda, and Quasimodo has to negotiate the hazards strewn about the tower, including arrows, rocks, barrels and chasms. On each screen he has to reach the bell and ring it before his time runs out, or he’ll be struck by lightning. As soon as you look at this game, you know that it’s going to be awful. The graphics and sound are rubbish and the overall presentation makes it look like it was written in BASIC (and it mostly is!). It’s also quite tough, and you need more than three lives.

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Screenshot of Berks III

Berks III

(The Power House, 1987)

You have entered the City of the Berks, and they’re out to stop you grabbing their treasure! You must manoeuvre your way through the city and collect all the keys so that you can gain access to the treasure. Each screen is teeming with Berks which home in on you, and you must avoid all contact with them. Most Berks can be shot, but some of them (which are circular in shape) can only be stunned temporarily. This game is a simple variant of Robotron: 2084. The graphics are colourful but basic, and the sound effects are limited to shots and explosions. However, the gameplay is quite frantic, although the random placement of Berks each time you enter a screen means that you can lose one or more lives instantly, particularly on higher difficulty levels.

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Screenshot of Bestial Warrior

Bestial Warrior

(Dinamic, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

You are a mercenary aiming to obtain the three parts of the C70-Magnum – a very powerful weapon indeed. Searching for this weapon involves surviving the great fortress that is Sagar. It’s full of traps and enemies. A well drawn loading screen is the precursor to a Mode 0 menu system which leads to the game itself. The playing area is small but colourful and smooth. It reminded me of Gryzor to some degree. The baddies spawn endlessly in this flip-screen game, making progress very difficult indeed. Even the power-ups don’t last long before you’re dead again. Not one of Dinamic’s greatest efforts.

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Screenshot of BeTiled!


(CEZ Games Studio, 2009)

The mad scientist Dr Cirilus has discovered a way of extracting energy from crystals. You have to help him extract this energy by linking crystals of the same colour together. Each level in this fast-paced puzzle game consists of a grid, and you must swap neighbouring crystals so that a line of at least three crystals of the same colour is created. When this happens, the crystals explode and new ones appear. Once you’ve obtained the required number of crystals of each of the seven colours, you can go to the next level. The game is based on Bejeweled and it is so addictive it should carry a health warning! With excellent graphics (including differently themed graphics every five levels) and a catchy tune that increases in tempo as your time limit nears zero, this is arguably one of the best games ever released for the CPC.

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Screenshot of Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop

(Tynesoft, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Taking the part of Axel Foley, you’re out to stop the big crime lord who is smuggling weapons and worse. After a well drawn loading screen, a brilliant rendition of the movie’s soundtrack meets your ears. An options screen allows you to play the game outright or practice one of the four stages. The stages are all themed around existing genres such as RoboCop, Chase HQ, Commando and Doom – yes, Doom! Each stage is different, so there’s something here for everyone. The difficulty varies, as do the graphics – which overall are quite good. The sound, apart from the impressive music, is adequate. I was surprised by this one; it’s rather good!

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Screenshot of Beyond the Ice Palace

Beyond the Ice Palace

(Elite, 1988)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

The programmers at Elite probably wanted to restore their honour after the disastrous conversion of Ghosts’n Goblins to the CPC. Once again, the fight between good and evil is at stake in this perfect clone of the arcade classic. After a short introduction, you are cast into the battle, featuring ugly monsters to smash in, bottomless chasms to avoid, and bonuses to collect. At the end of each of the three levels, another large monster awaits to scalp your long blond hair. The presentation is quite polished, but the game is extremely difficult and frustrating. If you persevere, though, it is possible to finish it with the nine lives you have, provided you have not broken your monitor with rage before then.

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Screenshot of Biff


(Beyond Belief, 1992)

Biff is a chimpanzee, but he’s been very naughty and his mother has kicked him out of the treehouse. In order to please her again, he must complete various tasks. This is an arcade adventure in which you roam around a landscape, picking up objects and using them in certain places. Each time you do so, you score some points and get a clue as to what you need to do next. To make things a little easier, the next object to use flashes when it’s on the screen. All of this means that the game has a very linear structure because you cannot choose what task you wish to perform next, and although critics may dislike this style of gameplay, I don’t mind it too much. However, it’s a shame that the game is a Spectrum port; everything is green, and there is no sound at all.

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Screenshot of Big Screen Hero

Big Screen Hero

(Skyslip Software, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

Play the hero within a movie as the audience watches! This consists of various stages or movies, such as taking part in a western shoot-’em-up, being trapped in a maze, and the final showdown beat-’em-up, etc. It delivers an odd but appealing challenge where each level is a totally different game style, so it never gets boring and it has that “just one more go” addictiveness. All the graphics are in Mode 0 and vary between games, but overall, they maintain an average standard. Sound-wise, it’s imaginative and also includes digitised speech during the game. It’s a brave attempt at mixing different games into one box – even if the third ‘film’ has some dodgy collision detection.

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Screenshot of The Big Sleaze

The Big Sleaze

(Piranha, 1987)

Sam Spillade is a private investigator working in 1930s New York – although he isn’t particularly clever or successful. At the start of the game, Sam is given two cases to solve, and as Sam, you must travel around New York in your wreck of a car to find clues and follow up any leads. This three-part text adventure was created using The Quill and contains some very well-written text that sets the atmosphere nicely – although there are also some sexual innuendos that I didn’t like much. You’ll need to read the text carefully, as it reveals clues to where you need to go next. Some locations are also accompanied by pictures. However, there are a few problems with the parser, and the need to be at some locations at particular times in order to solve some puzzles makes this a rather difficult and sometimes frustrating adventure.

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Screenshot of Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Based on the fairly low-key film of the same name, this is a strange and unexciting little game where the aim is to walk through China’s streets, sewers and temples, before taking out the mini-bosses (the ‘Storms’, for those who have seen the film) and finally the end boss, and rescue the kidnapped girl. There are three interchangeable characters – Jack Burton (an American trucker), some kung fu expert, and Egg Shen (a wizard on a floating cloud). Although the game is unbelievably short, it makes up for this in its difficulty – if one of your three characters dies, you can kiss goodbye to finishing the game. This is never more frustrating than in the sewers, where you just cannot avoid the sewer monsters! The graphics are awful, and the characters move like they’re made of wood. Not a terrible game, just really boring.

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