(Top Ten, 1986)
The King of Lightwurlde is having problems with some enormous molehills that have appeared in his garden, so Narud Pendaryn decides to investigate. However, Narud falls into one of the molehills and ends up in Darkwurlde. Narud must explore the lair of Darkwurlde and kill all the moles. As you would expect, Darkwurlde is filled with monsters which fly about the screen, and Narud will lose one of his five lives if he touches them. Much of the scenery, such as fires and poisonous plants, is also to be avoided. The influence of Ultimate’s games really shows here, but this game isn’t as good as those of Ultimate (as the author himself admits!). The graphics are OK, but firing at the monsters can be tricky and it’s easy to lose lives unnecessarily.
See also: Pyramydya.
The Dawn of Kernel
(Juan José Martínez, 2018)
All personnel in the mining base on the planet K3R-NL have been forced to evacuate as a result of a virus infecting their computer network – but the distress call also included the mysterious message, “KERNEL LIVES.” What could this mean? You must explore the mining base in your spaceship and find out. The base is filled with enemies and other hazards such as mines, turrets and forcefields that need to be disabled in order to progress. Your ship is equipped with a standard gun and you also have a limited amount of rockets and bombs at your disposal. The graphics are of a high standard and there are several tunes that play throughout the game. Having only one life is perhaps slightly unfair, and you will probably die fairly early on in your first few attempts, but if you persevere and aren’t put off, you should find that this is a pretty good game.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Saberman.
(Top Ten, 1986)
Hobbo the elf and Thor the warrior must explore the 27 levels of the underground kingdom of Dawnssley. Each level is a fairly small maze filled with corridors, doors and generators from which monsters emerge. Keys can be collected, but you will need to be selective in which doors you can open, and you will need to save keys for later levels. This is a very poor Gauntlet clone with mediocre graphics and annoying sound effects. Most of the doors are made up of two or more segments, and it is far too easy to waste one or more keys when opening these doors, which means you won’t have enough keys later on. The scrolling is also frustratingly slow, which ruins what is already a poor game.
A team of Deactivator Droids has been sent to remove bombs that have been planted inside five buildings of the Gravitational Research Institute. Each droid is restricted to an area of each building, and the only way to transfer objects between droids is to throw them through holes in the walls. The droids must also avoid all contact with the robot guards. There are also circuit boards which need to be located and slotted into the computer. Furthermore, the effect of gravity in each room is different, and some rooms are upside down so that the ‘floor’ is on the ceiling and the gravity is inverted! The concept of this game is unusual and highly original and combines arcade elements with strategic planning. Initially, it’s not easy to understand what you’re supposed to do, but once you do, it’s an engrossing game.
Dead by Dawn
Reviewed by Missas
Dead by Dawn is an adventure game based on the film Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn and programmed using the outstanding 3D Construction Kit. The game depicts a mostly depressive and dark atmosphere. The graphics are drawn in Mode 1, and the polygons are well shaped and detailed, clearly assisting the gameplay and the grab factor. However, the CPC sometimes struggles to move them at an acceptable rate. The sound is as good as it could be for an adventure game; there is no in-game tune, but there are plenty of effects. The gameplay is undeniably good and interesting; there are many rooms to explore and the 3D setting is well designed and was clearly made with care by the programmer. The grab factor is strong and the game itself is rather big. We do not get many games like this often, so don’t miss it.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
Dead on Time
(Psytronik Software, 2010)
The aim of this space shoot-’em-up is simple; either survive as long as you can, or score as many points as you can in five minutes. Waves of aliens appear from the edges of the screen, and shooting an entire wave leaves a capsule behind. If you collect three capsules of the same colour in a row, a forcefield forms around your ship, which allows you to absorb bullets of the same colour, and you also score more points. You also gain more firepower by shooting aliens, but colliding with them, or their bullets, reduces it significantly. Things soon become hectic as more and more aliens appear! The graphics and music are superb, and the game plays really smoothly no matter how many aliens are on the screen. This is one of the most intense and addictive gameplay experiences on the CPC and is definitely not to be missed!
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ZEUSDAZ.
Dead or Alive
(Alternative Software, 1987)
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
You’re the only source of law and order in a Wild West town that’s overrun with bandits continually looking to rob the bank or break their buddies out of jail. A pretty simplistic shoot-’em-up that takes place over four backgrounds but with gameplay that never really changes, you must shoot the bad guys while avoiding their bullets and stop any escapees to score big points. The most challenging part of the game is remembering to run over the bodies of your fallen enemies to steal their ammo before you run out. There is no music to entertain you, and the graphics and sound effects are basic. This won’t hold the imagination for very long.
The wealthy industralist Marshall Robner was found dead at his mansion in the early hours of yesterday morning. An examination by a coroner suggests that he died from an overdose of the antidepressant Ebullion – but suspicions remain, and you have just twelve hours to solve the mystery. This is the first in Infocom’s line of mysteries, and it’s good. It’s also very challenging; you have to examine everything closely, and remember to analyse objects for fingerprints and other substances. While you’re doing this, there are six other characters who do their own thing, and you’ll need to ask them questions, show things to them, and watch what they’re doing. Fans of murder mysteries will certainly enjoy this game, although the difficulty may put some people off.
The Emperor’s beautiful daughter has been captured, so what does Spartacus do? He sets out to rescue her, of course. First, Spartacus must find six pieces of a scroll before going to the palace to rescue the princess. Unfortunately, the forest is full of skeletons who will attack you ferociously, and touching any of the magic stones releases a ghost that will drain your energy quite severely. The graphics aren’t that bad, although they are lacking in colour, and the sound effects are sparse. However, the game is too difficult, and it’s frustrating to get Spartacus to jump on to a platform. The magic stones are really irritating as well.
Death or Glory
An alien invasion fleet is approaching the planet of New Stratford, so you decide to investigate it in your spacedozer. There are several mother ships to be destroyed, but you must use bombs instead of missiles, and fly over the surface of each mother ship one at a time. Once you destroy enough of it, you are whisked off to the next ship. It’s a bit different from most other space shoot-’em-ups, but it’s also rather dull, since you can’t shoot any of the smaller spaceships, and crashing into them won’t hurt your ship all that much. The controls are a little erratic and the graphics are sub-standard. Fans of action-packed shoot-’em-ups should avoid this game.