Roger the Dodger is a burglar who has entered the town of Umstrid to loot his way through 20 levels of platforming action. On each level, there are several keys that need to be collected in order to open the safe, but they are located in rather awkward places. You’ll have to plan your route carefully, as there are conveyor belts and platforms that will crumble if you stand on them for too long – and there are also enemies and other hazards on each level that must be avoided. Despite the game’s age – and it certainly shows, with its colourful but unsophisticated graphics – it’s quite a lot of fun to play, and most of the levels are very challenging to solve, although it can be fairly frustrating at times as well. I also love the ragtime piano music that plays throughout the game!
(Image Works, 1989)
As the name might suggest, this game is based on the all-time classic Asteroids, although it’s an improved version which sees you roaming across the galaxy, clearing sectors of asteroids, and eventually defeating Mukor, the guardian of the asteroids. You should all know how to play Asteroids – shoot an asteroid and it splits in two; shoot those asteroids and they split into two, and so on. However, you can transform your ship into one of three types, which affects your speed and manoeuvrability, but allows you to blast enemy spacecraft more easily. It’s a rather average game and it can become slow when there are lots of objects on the screen, and the graphics leave a lot to be desired.
(Hi-Tec Software, 1990)
Battle your way through five levels of non-stop shoot-’em-up action in your armoured tank. Each level is filled to the brim with soldiers, guns and tanks out to get you – and watch out for the flashing mines as well. Most of the soldiers carry guns which don’t harm you much, but the soldiers firing mortars cause much more damage to your tank. Power-ups can also be collected which increase your firepower, speed or energy. This is one of the few Hi-Tec Software games that isn’t based around a cartoon character, although the usual colourful graphics are present. The action is hectic at all times, and while it’s certainly not original, it’s an entertaining game to play.
Blinky’s Scary School
Blinky is a trainee ghost whose first assignment is to explore Drumtrochie Castle and wake its owner, Lord MacTavish. However, his castle is filled with traps, ready to catch out unwary ghosts... This game was originally released by Zeppelin Games in 1990, but the Amstrad CPC missed out – until this cartridge version was released 32 years later. You have to explore the castle and find objects to make potions that will enable you to progress to other sections. The author has added a new section at the beginning to provide an additional challenge for people who may have already played the game on other machines. The graphics make full use of the GX4000 and Plus machines’ enhanced facilities, and the digitised scream when Blinky loses energy is a nice touch. However, there are some situations where you can become stuck and unable to go anywhere, forcing you to reset the machine, which is poor game design in my opinion.
See also: Titanic Blinky.
Reviewed by Pug
“I’ll have a P please, Bob.” The popular TV quiz show comes to your CPC – well, sort of. Good old Bob Holness is missing, and there’s no Gold Run either, just a series of boards for two players to challenge each other with (you can’t play against the computer). Alternate sets of questions can be loaded in and the difficulty of the game can be adjusted. However, it feels incomplete and for that reason, I doubt its long term appeal.
See also: Blockbusters (TV Games), Blockbusters Gold Run.
(TV Games, 1988)
“I’ll have an S please, Bob.” The classic quiz show presented by the legendary Bob Holness is reproduced on your CPC for a second time. One or two players select letters from the board, trying to form a line of their own colour across the board either horizontally or vertically by answering questions correctly. The answers to the questions start with the letter that is chosen. The one-player option is a bit odd in that when it’s the computer’s turn, it chooses a letter for you and you have to answer the question; if you get it wrong, the computer automatically wins that letter. The questions also appear on the screen very slowly. Despite these problems, it’s not that bad, even in the one-player game. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is “Nepal”, by the way.)
See also: Blockbusters (Macsen).
Blockbusters Gold Run
Reviewed by Pug
This general knowledge quiz emulates the final round of the popular TV game show Blockbusters. This in itself is a little odd; why offer the player only the final round? Game-wise, it more or less matches the TV show’s challenge but it does feel incomplete without the first and second rounds of the game. Good typing skills are required to overcome the harsh time limit on some of the harder difficulty levels – one spelling mistake and you’ve lost a section of the grid. A very poor offering from Macsen.
See also: Blockbusters (Macsen).
(Gremlin Graphics, 1988)
Hark and Kren are the Blood Brothers, and on returning home from an expedition, they find that the Scorpions have destroyed their village and its inhabitants, and now they want revenge. The brothers have to find their way around the Scorpions’ mines, shooting aliens and collecting gems. There is another aspect of the game, though; when you want to fly from one mine to another, you enter a 3D section where you must manoeuvre your spaceship through walls and shoot blocks. Unfortunately, both parts are very difficult indeed; the spaceship’s controls are very sensitive, and the two brothers don’t have very much energy to enable them to survive for long. It’s also a game that is best played with a friend, as controlling both players simultaneously is awkward.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: XeNoMoRPH.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1988)
Based on the Duelmaster series of adventure gamebooks, this one- or two-player game takes place in the Valley of Gad, where each year, an event called The Hunt is held. The Valley’s ruler, Archveult, along with his allies, hunt down a freed slave in a pursuit lasting five days. In the one-player option, you play the slave, and your aim is to find the exit. In the two-player option, the second player takes control of the Archveult and his henchmen. This is a poor game that is badly implemented. There is no explanation as to what the various objects you can pick up actually are, and worst of all, you can barely move a few steps without being forced to fight yet another monster, which makes the game very tedious indeed.
(Image Works, 1990)
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
Someone has to find the Crystals of Sanguis to destroy the demon that dwells in the castle of Bloodwych. Any volunteers? In this role-playing game, your first task is to recruit four heroes among wizards, warriors, thieves and adventurers. Each of them has different abilities, attributes, equipment and knowledge of magic. You move your party through three-dimensional dungeons where fighting is not always the best choice, as it is possible to trade and offer things to characters controlled by the computer. It’s precisely when fighting comes that the game isn’t that good, as combat is a bit confusing and it’s difficult to know what’s really happening. On the other hand, this game has a two-player mode with a split-screen view, which is a rare feature in role-playing games.