Doors of Doom
There’s not much of a story to this game – just walk about and collect all the pieces of the Doors of Doom before you run out of energy. There are purple monsters which float and waste your energy, but there are refreshing cups of tea lying about to increase it again (I don’t like tea, myself). The graphics are relatively simple but still very bright and colourful, although the sound effects aren’t as good – and don’t mention the music! It also comes with its own scenery editor if you want to design your own levels.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: GameHammer Classic Gaming.
Become a sorceress as you explore the Castle of Doom in an attempt to find some treasure. The element of thinking that appears in this game is that both you and your ghostly doppelgänger (that’s the correct spelling of the word, by the way) can go through some doors but not others, so to reach the same room, you and your alter ego often need to take different routes. There are also objects to collect, and watch out for the spiders that will drain your energy. The problem with this game, though, is that the spiders are hard to avoid, and you have no idea what the objects are used for, or how to use them. This is a shame because the concept behind the game is clever and the graphics are quite impressive.
(Alternative Software, 1992)
Double Dare was a children’s TV quiz show that also included some very messy physical challenges. In this computerised adaptation, you and either a friend or the computer answer multiple choice questions. If you don’t know the answer, you can ‘dare’ your opponent to answer. They in turn can ‘double dare’ back to you, and if you still don’t know the answer, then you can either guess or complete one of three challenges, which are essentially short (but certainly not simple) puzzle games. The winner then plays an assault course where they must collect tokens while avoiding falling into tanks full of gunge. The number of questions is quite limited, and most of them are based around 1980s culture, so they feel rather dated now, and each question appears slowly on the screen, letter by letter, which makes the game fairly tedious to play.
(Melbourne House, 1988)
Billy’s girlfriend Marian has been kidnapped by a ruthless gang, so he has to go and save her. As you might have guessed, this is a run-of-the-mill beat-em-’up consisting of five levels, and it is almost certainly one of, if not the easiest game ever to come out on the CPC; you should be able to complete it on your first go! The graphics are pretty neat and very colourful, but the only sound to be heard is when you’re punching bad guys. The game also moves and scrolls extremely slowly, and it’s likely that you’ll probably switch off rather than bother to complete it.
See also: Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: jgonza.
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
(Virgin Games, 1989)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Billy and Jimmy are back – and so are the Black Warriors who have been resurrected from the dead, thanks to one surviving member, and this time they’ve not kidnapped Marian, but just plain killed her! Thereby all that was achieved in the prequel is thrown out of the window. Needless to say, cue much head butting, punching and kicking of various thugs who come in all shapes and sizes with their own fighting styles. Essentially more of the same, the back end of this game is exactly the same as the first; it looks and sounds just right and plays equally so. The Spanish conversion of the game, which looks very different and is much worse than this version, can be downloaded here.
See also: Double Dragon, Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Novabug.
Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone
Marian has been kidnapped again – typical, eh? However, Billy has to go in search of some rosetta stones. The journey takes him around the world to six different countries. Billy also has ten coins which function as his lives, as well as allowing him to buy power-ups by walking into a shop at the start of each level. Like the first game in the series, it’s far too slow and far too easy, and it’s not worth trying to complete – it’ll take you far too long to do it. The backgrounds are nice, though, even if they’re in monochrome.
See also: Double Dragon, Double Dragon II: The Revenge.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: jgonza, Xyphoe, ZEUSDAZ.
This three-part text adventure, which was created using The Quill, is based directly on the plot of Bram Stoker’s book of the same name. Right from the start, the game presents you with masses of incredibly atmospheric text, but you are rarely given any indication of any useful objects in each location, which means you frequently have to look around (using ‘look’ on its own, as is standard in most text adventures, doesn’t work). A few ghoulish (and very blocky) pictures accompany certain actions, which resulted in the game receiving a 15 certificate from the British Board of Film Classification; according to CRL, Dracula was the first computer game ever in the UK to be censored in this manner. The first part is short and relatively simple to complete, but the second and third parts are much more difficult, with some careful timing required.
(Bitplane Technomantes, 2016)
A swarm of giant aliens called Star Dragons are heading for Earth, and you have been selected to single-handedly defeat all twelve of them in your Camelot spacecraft. Each Star Dragon consists of several segments and moves around the top of the screen with each segment firing a hail of bullets at your spacecraft. The amount of bullets on the screen is overwhelming, but thankfully only the cockpit is vulnerable to the Star Dragons’ firepower. This game was the first ‘bullet hell’ shoot-’em-up to be released for the CPC, and it was an entrant in the 2016 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, where it finished fourth overall. In my opinion, it should have finished higher than that. It’s an addictive game, and having such a huge number of bullets on the screen simultaneously is an impressive technical achievement.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Novabug, ZEUSDAZ (complete game with bad ending), ZEUSDAZ (complete game with good ending).
Zambadlos, the King of Darkness, is threatening the Agamen Empire with his black magic. It is up to Kayas, King of the Agamen Empire, and Bahamoot, the Dragon of Light, to destroy Zambadlos and send him back to the realm of darkness. This is a horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up, but the dragon you control has a long, flexible tail which can be manoeuvred and used to kill enemies – although you can still use the traditional methods of shooting missiles and breathing fire at them. It all sounds good, but it turns out to be quite a lousy game. It’s a horrible Spectrum port, complete with colour clash. Because the playing area is very small, and the dragon occupies a lot of the screen, it’s difficult to avoid enemies, and if you crash into any of them, you are sent back a long way. It’s not fun to play at all.
Princess Alicia has been captured by the evil serpent demon Zawell, but it seems that the only being who can rescue her is a magical flying dragon, and that’s what you are in this vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up. Flying over eight levels, you must simply dodge or throw fireballs at the flying enemies, and drop bombs on the beasts on the ground. You can collect power-ups by dropping bombs on eggs. Unfortunately, they are few and far between, and they’re of little use anyway. The graphics are nicely drawn and very colourful, although the sound effects are poor, but it’s basically just another shoot-’em-up, and a very difficult one as well – I can just about complete the first level without cheating.