Captain Fizz Meets the Blaster-Trons
Reviewed by Piero Serra
To prevent the starship Icarus from hurling itself into the sun, apparently initiating a galaxy-wide catastrophe, you have boarded the stricken ship to find the main computer and regain control. You will of course meet thousands of the titular Blaster-Trons – swarming robots who protect their computer brain to prevent you taking over. You must progress through each level unlocking doors with colour-coded keys and switches while fending off the robotic hordes. Launched for other machines in 1989, CPC users had to wait until 2017 when the CPC version was recovered and released. It was worth waiting for, as it’s well presented, featuring bold, colourful graphics and catchy music from David Whittaker. The action is fast-paced and the difficulty is just about right. However, the gameplay experience is hobbled by the combination of the tiny two-player split-screen play area and annoying flip-screen scrolling.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
The eco-warrior with the blue skin and green hair is out to protect the Earth from the scum that are polluting it. Three men – Sly Sludge, Looten Plunder, and Dr Blight – are carrying out their nefarious tactics, and it’s Captain Planet’s duty to save the day, and the Earth. In each of the three levels, you must make your way through the onslaught of flying creatures and rockets and reach the end-of-level guardian. Easy? No way; the flying creatures are very difficult to avoid, and they explode with a shower of hearts which makes it tricky to see where other creatures are. If I think this game is too difficult, then I can imagine what younger players would think of it.
Reviewed by John Beckett
Also known as Capitán Sevilla in its native Spain, the basic premise of this platform adventure is that you, as Captain S, must make your way to the evil scientist’s planetary HQ and stop him from taking over the world. The twist is that you start the game as a normal guy, pretty weak and feeble, but eat a sausage (there are several strewn about the levels) and you mutate into the all-powerful Captain S, capable of many cool superpowers, including flight. Beware though, because the sausages’ effects don’t last forever, and usually wear off as you’re whizzing through the air! The graphics are excellent – very cartoony and well-drawn – and the sound is pretty good too. The game is also very challenging but not impossibly so. A hugely fun and addictive game; one of my favourites.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: jgonza (part 1), jgonza (part 2), Metr81 (part 1), Metr81 (part 2), Retro Danuart.
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
In this rally simulator you are Carlos Sainz, once the winner of the World Rally Championship, driving his awesome Toyota Corolla. As in many other simulators, you can adjust several parameters of your car regarding tyres and suspension. You can also practice the course before attempting to qualify. With regard to the game itself, you’ll find nice and colourful graphics and good scrolling, even when your car goes at full speed. Nevertheless, this is a simulator, which means you’ll have to practice quite a lot to be a good driver. Apart from the intrinsic difficulty of this game being a simulator, Carlos Sainz has two main drawbacks. Firstly, your car gets stuck quite easily when you drive out of the road, even with very small bushes, which is annoying, and secondly, the controls should be a bit better in order to make steering easier.
Reviewed by Robert Small
This really is an impressive conversion to the CPC although it does have its foibles. One is the speed, which is slow. It also has a few bugs that can crop up from time to time. Your objective is to fight for control of various islands and battle against the enemy carrier. You’re able to launch both planes and hovercraft, which are great fun to take to the sky and travel across the water/land. The 3D graphics are good despite the speed, and the sound effects are functional. The big plus point is the gameplay which will keep you occupied for quite some time.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
You’ve arrived in Carson City in pursuit of six bandits who have stolen your cattle. Firstly, you’ll have to get some money from the bank, as you’ll need to buy a key for the jail from the local gunsmith, and while some of the citizens are willing to tell you the whereabouts of the bandits, their information doesn’t come cheap, and it may even be misleading. Even then, you’ll soon run out of money, so you’ll have to rely on winning some more by gambling at one of the saloons, but be careful how you play, as you could easily be accused of cheating. This Wild West-themed game features some unimpressive graphics overall (although the animated dancing ladies in the saloons are amusing) and a couple of recognisable melodies that quickly become annoying. The gameplay relies too much on luck and it’s far too easy to lose all your money and thus end the game.
(Iber Soft, 1989)
The legendary 18th century author and seducer Giacomo Casanova is in Venice. Wandering the streets and buildings of the famous Italian city, you must collect all the items of women’s underwear (!) on each of the three levels, while avoiding various men and women who are jealous of your exploits. This platform game suffers from being a Spectrum port with its detailed but rather bland graphics; even the Spectrum’s beeper seems to be emulated! As for the gameplay, it’s annoyingly difficult. To ward off enemies, you have a supply of musical notes to fire at them, but you will use them all fairly quickly and you often can’t replenish your supply when you need to. Another frustrating thing is that when you lose a life, you are always sent all the way back to the start of the level. This is a poor game that you definitely won’t fall in love with!
(The T Team, 2022)
Tom Roland was on a flight home for his wedding in two weeks’ time when his plane crashed and landed on an island. His only means of escape is to build a raft. You must wander around the island in search of the necessary parts – an axe for cutting trees, some rope to tie the trunks together, some fabric to use as a sail, and a map. You’ll also find other items that will help you keep your strength up, cross rivers, hack down plants, or protect you from snakes or the natives! This was the winner of the #CPCRetroDev 2022 contest and it features cute and cheerful graphics and excellent music and sound effects (the sound of the sea is quite realistic). The island is interesting to explore, but I don’t like the way items are placed randomly in each game, and it’s too easy to use an item accidentally when you’re making your way through the jungle.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Saberman.
(Blue Ribbon, 1985)
Some awful games were released in the early years of the CPC, and this is one of them. Reach the top of the castle by jumping across the pits and avoiding the monsters, climbing ladders, and jumping on to the moving platforms and trying not to fall off. The graphics and sound are almost laughably bad, and the controls are strange, too – getting the man to jump correctly is extremely frustrating. The levels don’t even vary, either, but then again, it’s best not to bother attempting to reach the second level!
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
Find and return a mysterious orb to the Lady Artemis from Castle Blackstar in this very early text-only adventure. Limited by a poor parser, Castle Blackstar is also hindered by the decision to have a number of key early locations incorporate a confusing forest maze that, although only a few screens in size, loops back on itself. Mapping is essential if you want to get anywhere in this game; after working your way through the forest, you’re later presented with another maze in the dungeons later in the game. After toiling around the forest and the outer castle long enough, you’ll eventually stumble across the bow and arrow that you need to bring the drawbridge down and enter the castle. Once inside, things do pick up thanks to some pretty atmospheric descriptions and the game presents a tough but not impossible challenge. Worth persevering with for text adventure fans.