(LiveWire Software, 1986)
The return of Halley’s Comet was big news in 1986, and this game sees you attempting to become the first spacecraft to land on the comet itself – but you’ve got to fly through a long obstacle course before you reach the comet. Starting at the top of the screen, you must guide the spacecraft through the scenery and dodge the moving aliens. However, on many screens, there’s very little room to manoeuvre, as you will discover when (if?) you reach the fourth screen, which I found impossible to complete. The graphics, while lacking in colour, actually aren’t all that bad, although there are only two or three sound effects. Anyway, the game is much too difficult.
This game was supposed to have been released in time for the appearance of Halley’s Comet, but the deadline was missed. Anyway, a manned probe has been sent to explore the surface of the comet, and while it’s on its way there, you have to complete twenty tasks, picked at random from five sub-games ranging from playing with electrical circuits to making the tea! Complete a task and you’re OK; fail and the game is over. Most of the games are enjoyable, but it’s such a chore having to play them over and over again. It would be nice if you could actually pilot the probe.
It’s one man against an army as you go it alone and advance into enemy lines and try to reach the fortress, as bullets, grenades and rockets explode all around you – there’s no way you’re going to retreat. You have to try to replenish your own supply of grenades as you’re doing this, too. From the first moment you start the game, you’ll be shocked at the amount of action going on – there’s no time to take a breather here. The graphics are OK but are a bit blocky, while the music, again reasonable, becomes irritating – and where’s the rat-tat-tat of gunfire? It’s a good game, but a bit too difficult for my liking.
See also: Duet.
This collection of six sporting events is also known as European Games, having been rebranded after the cover artwork depicted an athlete giving what looks like a Nazi salute – oops! In each of the events, you have to waggle the joystick or press two keys alternately, although unlike a lot of games of this nature, you don’t have to do this really quickly. The six events are the hammer throw, swimming, cycling, running, the long jump, and weightlifting. The graphics are poor and the animation is laughably bad, particularly in the swimming and running events, where the athletes move a bit, stop, then move a bit more, then stop again, and so on. To borrow an athletics-based idiom, the bar for qualifying is set very low, and you can progress to the next event even if you don’t qualify. It may not break your joystick, but I’ve played much better multi-event games than this one.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
In the old days, families would gather around at Christmas time to play some traditional board games. This is a compilation of four games – Snakes and Hazards, Xmas Ludo, Shove a Sledge and Tiddly Drinks. The first two are variations of well known board games, while the other two are very different, and so awful that they’re not worth looking at. Up to four people can play a game, but unfortunately you can’t play against the computer, and playing a board game on your own is not exactly fun. The graphics are reasonable, and there are some excellent renditions of Christmas carols, but there’s nothing else to get excited about.
(Leisure Genius, 1985)
The famous word game comes to the CPC, as you play against a friend or the computer and try to score points by thinking of the most obscure words imaginable. The computer’s dictionary isn’t all that big, so there’s lots of room for cheating. However, the game is far too slow. OK, so is the real thing; but what I mean is that the computer waits for an eternity after you make your choices, and it’s the same with the other games in the Leisure Genius range. The one sound effect that is used is horrible, too.
See also: Computer Scrabble De Luxe.
(Leisure Genius, 1987)
This is much the same as the previous edition of Computer Scrabble, but of course there are a few improvements. For a start, it’s a bit faster in that messages appear on the screen more quickly. In addition, the computer’s vocabulary has been expanded to some 20,000 words, although this also means that the game requires 128K of memory. There is also the option to save your game if you want to resume it at a later date, and you can also play against the clock. The one disadvantage is that this is the only CPC game I know of that emulates a PCW; the graphics are in the high resolution, two-colour Mode 2! However, this is not as much of a problem as it sounds, and many good games of Scrabble can be played against the computer. The urge to cheat is still strong, though...
See also: Computer Scrabble.
Reviewed by John Beckett
In Con-Quest, you play a little Magic Knight lookalike called Oscar, who’s been left an old house by his dead aunt. Unfortunately, the house has been taken over by an evil demon and his cronies, so the game centres around Oscar’s attempts to rid the mansion of all the bad guys before (presumably – I never got that far!) taking on the leader, Grell. You have to explore the mansion, searching for items to kill certain baddies with. There’s even a car hidden somewhere, so you can zoom around without encountering baddies (until the petrol runs out!). The sound is poor but the graphics are above average – atmospheric though a bit dark – and the game is definitely addictive. The main down points are the sheer size of the game, and the amount of items you are given with no clue as to their use. As a result, you’re left with a good game that could have been excellent.
Reviewed by Missas
Amy must find some crystals in order to complete her dangerous journey! Can you help her? This is a pure arcade adventure where you control Amy, and you must find your way through dangerous caverns, avoiding creatures of the dark and looking for switches! The graphics are well drawn and the sprites move smoothly and quickly. The screens are interesting, the level design is good and it will keep you occupied for some time. The sound is limited to some effects. The gameplay is interesting and pleasant; it is a joyful little game.
This is a cool little puzzle game consisting of 64 levels, each of which is a grid made up of tiles with tracks printed on them. Each level also has one or more bombs which need to be detonated using a spark which travels along the tracks. Your task is to move the tiles so that the spark can touch the bombs and make them explode. Later levels have more bombs, and teardrops which extinguish the spark – and anyway, you’ll have to be quick, or the spark will extinguish itself. The graphics are simple yet colourful, and puzzle fans should love this rather original game.