Operation Overlord took place on the 6th of June 1944 during World War II, when Allied soldiers launched a massive assault on the Germans who were occupying France. It is regarded as the most important event of the war, and this game has 40 missions for you to try out. Twenty of these see you commanding a small group of soldiers, trying to kill all the enemy soldiers, tanks and bunkers. The other twenty involve commanding a group of parachutists and ensuring they all land in the correct place, although these missions are much easier than the infantry missions. The graphics are great, especially if you’re using a Plus machine, where they’re even better! The game even includes two of Loriciel’s previous releases, Advanced Destroyer Simulator and Sherman M4. Great stuff, I say.
This is the first in a series of three Daley Thompson games. All of them became notorious for breaking more joysticks than any other game. I know I broke one or two of my own! Daley Thompson was a famous British athlete back in the early 1980s, breaking several records and winning gold medals at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. In this game you get to take part in a decathlon, which as you should know, consists of ten events. However, to progress to the next event without losing a life, you have to qualify by setting a result within a certain time or distance. The sheer effort required for this is such that most people won’t progress beyond the third event – and why does Daley look as though he’s jogging rather than sprinting?
Unfortunately, Daley was beset by injuries in the 1988 Olympics at Seoul and came fourth, but maybe you can do better. The same ten events are here in this decathlon, and thankfully it is possible to progress in this game, even with the keyboard! Before you start the decathlon, you can do training; this affects how well you’ll do in the events. You also have to choose the right trainers from a set of four before each event; choosing the wrong ones makes qualifying for the next event extremely hard, if not impossible. The graphics aren’t bad (and Daley actually runs this time!), but the music and sound effects leave a lot to be desired.
Taking a change from the decathlon style, this game consists of eight very varied events (pistol shoot, cycling, diving, giant slalom, rowing, penalties, ski jumping, and tug of war), none of which feature in a real decathlon. All but one of them feature yet more frantic joystick waggling, and like Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, it’s almost impossible to qualify for them; you’d need to have Daley’s strength to be able to do it! To add to the problems, the graphics aren’t even good, and Daley seems to be noticeable by his absence in most of the events.
(US Gold, 1986)
Reviewed by Robert Small
The story of the daring World War II bombing raid is an absolute classic both in real life and on the silver screen. What of the CPC adaptation? Well, it’s good but not great. The game is a flight simulation, albeit not a full-fledged one. There are still procedures that need to be followed to instigate take off, for example, but they are not complex. Action fans are catered for by forward and rear gunning positions. Indeed this game gives a good sense of the teamwork required aboard a Lancaster bomber during the war. During play you will swap between several different crew positions depending on the situation at hand. It can make for a tense game which is magnified by the game’s night-time setting. The graphics are functional (although I like the enemy searchlights) and the sound effects do their job. The ultimate mission is drop the bouncing bomb, but hitting the target is a bit tough to say the least.
Dames is known as draughts in the English-speaking world, and this is a pretty good version of the board game. You can play against another friend or the computer, and allow it to use one of four different strategies for playing the game (although what with knowing very little about draughts, I don’t know what differences there are between them). The graphics are about as good as they can be, and you can choose between either a 2D or a 3D view of the board. The only complaint is that selecting which piece you want to move is a bit awkward.
(Virgin Games, 1986)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Help Dan Dare, the pilot of the future, to defeat the Mekon, evil leader of the Martians, in this comic styled platformer. The notorious green-hued brainbox has planted an atomic bomb inside a heavily guarded fortress on an asteroid and set it on a collision course with the Earth. Dan has to make his way around the innards of this celestial missile’s inner complex and collect five keys held in different locations in order to activate the self-destruct system before it destroys its target (sadly you don’t have the option of playing the hapless Digby). Formulaic stuff that’s only slightly rescued by the characters involved, with the graphics not particularly endearing and naff sound effects to boot.
(Virgin Games, 1987)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
This time the Mekon has created an army of Super Treens and sent them to conquer Earth on board a large spaceship. Dan must find and destroy all the Super Treens that are in stasis, while taking care to avoid the traps, force fields and normal Treens littered by your nemesis – all against a time limit. This time our hero rides a nifty laser-armed pod accompanied by Earth troops helping him in the firepower stakes. Alternatively you can amusingly play the Mekon himself in his own pod and set about activating the Super Treens instead with your Treens to aid you. A great looking and sounding CPC game with solid, albeit difficult, gameplay with double the challenge.
(Virgin Games, 1990)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Dan Dare is back and he’s now equipped with a handy jet pack and armed to the teeth with a variety of weapons. A good thing, as the landscape he’s been left in is populated with weird looking very un-Frank Hampson-like mutant creatures. Dan proceeds to the following levels by defeating a facsimile of the misproportioned evil alien genius, the Mekon, in order to obtain a transport key. Transportation then involves guiding our hero successfully through a virtual tunnel made of suspended boxes in a vortex. This game heavily resembles another Probe Software game, Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper, in both style and gameplay – not that this is bad. It plays well and is gorgeously presented.
(Electric Dreams, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Dandy is yet another in that long line of dungeon-based arcade adventures that tries to emulate the mighty Gauntlet and fails at just about every opportunity. The graphics are colourless, bland and extremely flickery and it’s often hard to see what’s going on. Even the Spectrum version had better graphics than this! The sound effects are pitiful – just a few zaps and explosions – and worst of all, the gameplay is spoilt by the sheer unresponsiveness of the controls. You’ll know what I mean when you play it! And on top of this, you’ll often come to doors that you can’t open because you’ve just used your last key to open a door that leads to a dead end – very frustrating! I love a good dungeon exploration game and this is nothing like a good one.