Screenshot of Dempsey and Makepeace

Dempsey and Makepeace

(Britannia Software, 1986)

Reviewed by Robert Small

For those who might have missed it back in the 1980s, Dempsey and Makepeace was a detective/action series screened in the UK on ITV. You play as New York detective Dempsey – but you can’t play as the gorgeous Makepeace. There are three styles of game included. Unfortunately all of them are rather poor. You can explore buildings in London in the search for clues (Makepeace has been kidnapped). Initially this is in pseudo-3D until you randomly encounter an enemy and it switches to a top-down shoot-’em-up. You can exit buildings and head outside, and at this point the game turns into a top-down driving game. The 3D sections inside are rather empty affairs, while the top-down sections are hampered by their controls. The graphics use poor choices of colours and the game has an air of the unfinished about it in nearly every aspect.

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Screenshot of La Dernière Mission

La Dernière Mission

(MBC, 1988)

  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

On the 6th of September 1999, aliens invaded Earth, and as the year 2000 began, humanity was threatened. A guerrilla organisation, Liberté, fought a war against the aliens, forcing them to retreat. By July 2001, the fighting was still going on. Liberté has sent you on The Last Mission – to go to the aliens’ camp in the Arctic wastes of Canada and destroy it by planting bombs. This is a rather average text adventure with some rather nice pictures to accompany the locations. Unfortunately there is very little actual text; there are no descriptions of any of the rooms, and you are almost never told what objects of note are in the room. The parser is also poor, and why did the authors feel the need to include digitised pictures of women between the two parts of the game?

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Screenshot of Dervish


(The Power House, 1988)

Can you travel along the Upward Path to attain the rank of Dervish using your magical powers, and in doing so, reveal the secret of the universe? Hmmm... There isn’t much explanation of what you need to do, but what is obvious is that this is a Gauntlet clone, so there’s lots of wandering around mazes and shooting monsters to be done. Things are made a bit more tricky in that there are several types of weapon, and working out which weapon is most suited to defeating particular types of monster is a process of trial and error. I quickly became bored with the game; the graphics are ugly and garish, the sound effects are abysmal, and the gameplay is totally uninspiring.

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Screenshot of Desert Fox

Desert Fox

(US Gold, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

Playing the Allies in this World War II arcade/strategy adventure sees you taking on the might of Rommel’s forces in North Africa. The game opens with two options. Practice mode familiarises you with the five arcade elements of the game that come into play later via campaign mode. Each game is entertaining with its own degree of difficulty mixed with good graphics and sound. Overall, this is Beach-Head set in the desert.

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Screenshot of Desolator


(US Gold, 1988)

Mac has ventured into the Halls of Kairos to free the infants that the evil Kairos is holding captive. As Mac, you must explore the five levels of Kairos’ castle, avoiding the henchmen and fire demons that will drain your energy. Punching symbols hanging on the walls next to mirrors releases the infants trapped behind them, and if enough infants are collected, the border turns red and Mac’s energy loss is greatly reduced. Reaching the end of each level sees Mac fighting off several disembodied heads that wander around the screen spitting fireballs. This is a mediocre game with little variety in the gameplay. The graphics are average and there are few sound effects, and it’s also far too easy. However, the most serious flaw is in the layout of certain levels; it is possible to become completely stuck in a room with no means of escape, and you will have to reload the entire game!

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Screenshot of Desperado 2

Desperado 2

(Topo Soft, 1989)

Wild West action awaits in the town of Devil Stone in this two-part shoot-’em-up. The first part is a horizontally scrolling affair in which you shoot all the cowboys you can manage. They walk towards you and will also shoot from windows. If you’re hit by bullets, you lose energy, but if you touch any cowboys, you lose one of your three lives. The second part is set in a saloon where the customers take aim at you one at a time, and you must kill them before they fire their gun and kill you. The graphics are beautiful in both parts, and although the first part may seem very difficult, it isn’t once you get the hang of it, although there should be more restart points. The second part is good as well, but relies a lot on luck, and if you are shot, you have to start all over again.

See also: Gunsmoke.

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Screenshot of Despotik Design

Despotik Design

(Ere Informatique, 1987)

Deep in the centre of the earth is a network of rooms where life-bearing cells are generated. However, a hacker has altered the programming of these cells, and it is your mission to restore the programming to its normal state. On each of the many screens, a cell is generated at the yellow door and bounces off walls and tiles towards the red door – the door of evil. You have to move the arrow tiles so that the cell is guided towards the green door – the door of life. You have a magnetic key that can be dropped in order to move the tiles, but watch out for the robots! Also be aware that certain robots, as well as the cells, will kill you instantly if you touch them, depending on whether or not you’re carrying the magnetic key. It sounds confusing, but if you like a mixture of puzzle-solving and arcade action, this is the type of game you’ll enjoy.

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Screenshot of Destructo


(Bulldog, 1987)

In seven days’ time, Dr Destructo is going to destroy the world, and the only way you can prevent this is by sinking all his ships, by shooting planes and helicopters out of the sky so that they fall on the ship. In later levels you’ll also come across islands and even a space shuttle. The game, which has the full title of The Island of Dr Destructo, has a cartoon theme throughout with some beautifully colourful graphics, and it’s amazing to witness the sky changing as day turns into night and back again! The sound effects are great, too – lots and lots of noise! This is a brilliant game and a great way to let all that tension out.

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Screenshot of Deva Drifter

Deva Drifter

(Albertoven, 2020)

There are plenty of single-screen racing games on the CPC, but this one offers very realistic physics. You have to race your car on several tracks (five in the free download version) and complete a set number of laps within the time limit; there are no other cars to compete against. If you hit the edges of the track too hard, you are penalised by being unable to accelerate for a few seconds. Where this game differs from others like it is your ability to drift around corners, leaving tyre marks on the track and emitting squeals from your CPC’s speaker. Another feature is the use of subpixel rendering to display the car smoothly at 50 frames per second. It’s great fun to play, although the car can be quite tricky to control on some surfaces. It’s just a shame that hardly any effort seems to have been directed at the background graphics, which are very crudely drawn indeed.

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Screenshot of The Devils Crown

The Devils Crown

(Probe Software, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

You’re exploring a sunken ship, trying to find a lost golden crown. You’ll first have to collect many treasures hidden in the darker places of the ship, avoiding ghosts and having enough oxygen to survive. This is the kind of Sorcery-style game that you love to play, even though the graphics aren’t brilliant, the sound effects are poor and the action is rather repetitive. Anyway, it will keep you in front of your screen for a few hours, because you always want to discover new treasures.

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