(Code Masters, 1989)
Reviewed by John Beckett
The storyline for this game sounds like it came straight from a cheesy 80s fantasy movie. Basically, the Death Demon has shattered your magic sword (the only weapon that can kill him... how’d he manage that, then?) and you, as the Blade Warrior, must go around the screens collecting the various ingredients needed to right this wrong. Anyway, graphics-wise, this game is disappointing; the detail is OK, but the lack of colours and general lacklustre feel makes you think ‘Spectrum’. Sound-wise, it’s also nothing special; a lot of silence and the occasional bit of sampled speech. And as for the gameplay, the fun is soon over thanks to the terrible collision detection; you’ll try to jump on a platform a hundred times in a row and still not manage it! All in all, quite fun for a quick blast, but no classic.
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.
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.
(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).
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).
You may have guessed that this is a version of Tetris, and you would be correct. This version is based on the Spectrum HoloByte release, and it features three different backgrounds that are selected randomly each time you play. You can configure the difficulty level by adjusting the speed and inserting a few lines of random blocks at the beginning of the game, which you will need to clear if you don’t want things to rapidly become awkward. There is also the ability to drop pieces slowly or quickly. On higher difficulty levels, there are some inconsistencies in the speed at which pieces move, depending on whether you’re moving them left or right, or rotating them. The game also doesn’t let you progress beyond level 12; once you reach level 13, you can no longer control the pieces and the game ends quickly. It’s a decent game but it could have been better executed.
(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.