After the Ketars abandoned their mining expeditions on Mitral, a large amount of gas has built up beneath its surface, and it will explode in four hours. You have to place eighteen rigs on each of the sectors on Mitral to release the gas safely. This was the first of the Freescape games, and as a result, it moves quite slowly, but it’s a great puzzle game as you try to work out where the rigs should be placed, whilst avoiding all the lasers and other obstacles the Ketars have left behind. You might also want to know that the sound effects were provided by the winner of an Amstrad Action competition!
See also: Dark Side.
The Princes of Darkness have placed four skulls in a tower, bringing misery to the surrounding land, and it’s up to you, a druid, to venture into the tower and destroy the skulls. The tower is really a maze consisting of eight levels, each filled with monsters and treasure chests which can be opened to reveal offensive and defensive spells, as well as keys. You have three types of offensive spell to use against monsters, although many of them are resistant to at least one type of spell. Defensive spells include making yourself invisible, creating a magical Golem, and a smart bomb which kills everything on the screen. The graphics are OK, if a little garish on most of the levels, but it’s a real joy to play it and to explore the tower.
See also: Enlightenment.
A druid was performing rituals at Stonehenge when an unexpected visitor arrives – a droid who has been transported over 2,000 years back in time. This droid has been sent because the future of humanity is under threat, and it can only be saved by combining the ancient wisdom of the druid with the advanced knowledge of the droid. Both characters must collect items that float around the screen, but if one of them collects the wrong type of item, they lose a life. This results in some rather hectic gameplay as you frantically try to manoeuvre both characters and avoid picking up the wrong items! The game finished in fourth place in the #CPCRetroDev 2022 contest. The music is very pleasant to listen to but the graphics are a bit simplistic with garish colour schemes. However, the game is enjoyable to play and there is plenty of variety in the levels to keep you entertained.
Reviewed by Missas
In this arcade game, you take control of a rebellious duck who has decided not to become someone’s dinner and instead fights for its freedom using a frying pan! It is a humorous game which has its roots on the ZX Spectrum. The graphics are Spectrum-like, but they look cartoonish and funny. They are also well drawn, but the speed of the game won’t let you have a careful look. Everything moves very fast; even the tune is fast-paced. It is a very difficult game that constantly demands the player’s best reflexes. Most probably, you will lose a lot of times before being able to progress. The grab factor depends on one’s patience; will you find its difficulty to be a challenge or an annoyance?
(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
This game first appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape and was later released on one of Gremlin Graphics’ own compilations, but it was never released on its own for the CPC. Anyway, it’s basically an obstacle course where you drive a buggy down some ducts, avoiding the enemies and obstacles in your way, while collecting extra fuel and energy – you’ll need them. You can move along the walls of the duct, which sends all the objects (and your eyes) into a frenzied spin. The 3D graphics are excellent, yet the game moves reasonably fast, and there are some good sound effects too. It’s a shame that it’s too hard – reaching the end of the first level is very difficult – and you only have one life as well.
(Coktel Vision, 1986)
Coktel Vision were better known for their graphic adventures than for arcade games, and for good reasons. This happens to be one of their arcade games, and it’s a beat-’em-up featuring three types of combat; karate fighting, street fighting between two punks, and two robots fighting each other – combat in the year 2000, supposedly. There are three skill levels, and you can play either against the computer or another player. Aside from that, there’s little else to the game; no opponents of increasing skill, no goals to attain. The graphics are poor and the music that is played before and after each fight becomes really annoying.
Ever wanted to find out what it’s like to drive a Ferrari F40 or Porsche 959? Well, this game claims to offer that experience – although you’ll probably be disappointed. You can choose to race in either car, and you drive along a series of courses, either against the clock or the computer. You need to be careful not to crash into scenery or oncoming cars, or you’ll lose a life. Just before the end of every course, you will also need to stop to refuel your car. Controlling the car is anything but easy. Even at low speeds, it’s a struggle to drive the car in a straight line, and you have to correct the steering constantly. The collision detection is poor, which makes overtaking other cars difficult. You also don’t feel much of a sense of speed. It’s not a terrible game, but it will take some perseverance to master it, and it’s not really worth the effort.
(Hit Pak, 1987)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Save for the music, which is really good though maybe too invading, this game (which seems to have been released only as part of the 6 Pak compilation) is terrible. Your soldier moves as fast as a crippled turtle, and you must be exactly in front of your enemies to have a chance to kill them. As in Gauntlet, you must find the exit of a level to go to the next one – and it is often surrounded by barbed wire, which you must cut. You have to replenish your health and ammo regularly, and you can use smoke bombs and grenades. It could have been a funny game but the controls are really too irritating, and the game is way too slow!
See also: Commando.
(Gargoyle Games, 1985)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
This graphic adventure takes place before the events in Tír na Nòg. You control Cúchulainn the Great and you must find your faithful charioteer Loeg, who has been kidnapped by the sorceress Skar. Roaming through the streets of Dun Darach city, you’ll encounter many people (among whom there are many thieves) who might help you to find Loeg. Dun Darach is a strange and complex game, with many puzzles to solve, and many shops and streets to explore. The graphics are good and detailed, but the sounds are reduced to an annoying beep. You can save and restore games, and you should, because it’s too easy to be robbed of all your money, and money is essential in this game. Without that flaw, it would have been a really great game.
See also: Tír na Nòg.
(Level 9, 1984)
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
The Demon Lord has fallen in the final part of the Middle-earth trilogy, but the danger is not over. If you want to reap the rewards of your hard work in the previous instalment, you’ll need to raid the treasure-filled dungeons before your competition, including all sorts of creatures, beat you to it. Like its predecessors, Dungeon Adventure won’t win many points for originality, but the execution is well done; strong descriptions and response times make slipping back into the world almost second nature. There is also a version available with graphics on the Jewels of Darkness compilation; the graphics add to the experience, but there is a very noticeable drop in speed, and there are also a few minor mapping differences. A good finale to the series but thanks to some slightly more creative approach to problem solving, it’s perhaps a little less satisfying than the earlier games.