Screenshot of Fighting Warrior

Fighting Warrior

(Melbourne House, 1985)

The evil Pharaoh has kidnapped Princess Thaya and is about to bury her alive in a sacrifice to the Egyptian gods. You must cross the desert to reach and save her, but many monsters and demons must be fought and defeated using your trusty sword. You may find some magic objects along the way as well, but some of them may release evil magic. The animation of both your character and the monsters is excellent, and the graphics are very innovative considering the year this game was released, using two different screen modes and a multi-coloured border. However, the music is dreadful, and there is no variety in the gameplay; the entire game seems to consist of nothing but fighting and defeating monsters.

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Screenshot of Final Fight

Final Fight

(US Gold, 1991)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

If you don’t know what this coin-op is about, it’s likely you didn’t play video games around 1990. Just choose your hero, knock down anyone standing in your way and rescue the girl. US Gold attempted the impossible in this conversion, and so they didn’t manage to fulfil their objectives. The graphics are quite big, you’ll see almost the same enemies, the same background graphics, the same character movements... and you’ll see all these things scrolling just as they did in the original game. As a result, the game has very little playability. Nevertheless, I can’t say Final Fight is a bad game; let’s say the programmers did all they could to code a CPC version of the game. It’s quite curious to see, but it cannot be considered a real choice if you want to play a beat-’em-up.

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Screenshot of The Final Matrix

The Final Matrix

(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)

Nimrod the Biopton has been sent to rescue his comrades who have been taken hostage by the evil Cratons. Each of his fellow Bioptons is being held captive in a network of Matrices, but they are heavily defended, and you must watch out for alien guards, disruptors and mines. You are armed with one of three types of weapon, and you can find more weapons within each Matrix, as well as thrust packs which are useful for flying around. However, your weapons have little effect on the alien guards and it’s extremely difficult to dodge them and their bullets. As a result, most players will be unable to make any progress at all, despite the benefit of being able to visit any of the Matrices at the beginning of the game. There are few sound effects, the graphics are very Spectrum-like, and the scrolling is jerky.

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Screenshot of Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers

(Mastertronic, 1986)

This is the first game that stars the fearless Magic Knight, who has been placed in the Castle of Spriteland by the King and has to escape from it while grabbing as much treasure as possible, to prove worthy of a place on the Polygon Table. All manner of objects are to be found in the rooms and mazes, which you can trade for cash. Some of them can also be combined to make more valuable objects. The graphics are a bit blocky and the music, while reasonably good, is grating after a while. It’s certainly not my favourite Magic Knight game but it’s worth the occasional go, even if it’s a little bit too easy.

See also: Knight Tyme, Spellbound, Stormbringer.

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Screenshot of Fips’ Tale

Fips’ Tale

(Norman, 2020)

Fips is on a quest to rescue a princess from a castle. The castle contains enemy soldiers with whom you can engage in sword fights. You must also collect coloured keys that will activate bridges to enable you to cross gaps. This is a simple little platform game that finished in eleventh place in the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest. The contest awarded bonus points for including a reference to Prince of Persia, and if you’ve ever played that classic game, Fips’ Tale will look very familiar indeed – albeit with much smaller sprites, but that, along with the music that plays on the menu and the amusingly sarcastic messages that appear if you die, makes it rather charming. Unfortunately there are some bugs that cause the game to crash, but it’s a good effort all the same.

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Screenshot of Fire!


(New Deal Productions, 1990)

Fly your helicopter through six missions, across jungles, cities, deserts and ice, shooting planes, helicopters and ground targets with a barrage of missiles. Shooting helicopters produces a bonus which you can collect to give extra fuel or firepower. The graphics are really wonderful, although the sound effects are very limited and the music at the beginning of the game isn’t all that good. In fact, the programmer is one half of Black System, who produced many excellent listings for French CPC magazines which featured colourful graphics, but had one problem – they were too easy. That’s also the case with this game, since you are offered infinite continues, and it’s very easy indeed to complete! It’s still fun to play while it lasts, though.

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Screenshot of Fire and Forget

Fire and Forget

(Titus, 1988)

In a world in the future which is raging with conflicts in every continent, the United Nations uses armoured Thunder Master vehicles to resolve them. However, the Intergalactic Liberation Organisation regularly attacks the vehicles. There are three levels with six wars on each of them, and you can start on any level. Each war takes you along a stretch of road, where you will meet enemy fire. Collisions with obstacles and bullets loses fuel, and you constantly need to collect the fuel which lies on the road, or the game is over. Unfortunately, you often find yourself being destroyed very quickly, and the game ends almost before you know it. It’s a real shame that a game with nice graphics and sound effects (the digitised music on the title screen is excellent!) is ruined by the ridiculous, and random, difficulty.

See also: Fire and Forget II.

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Screenshot of Fire and Forget II

Fire and Forget II

(Titus, 1990)

More terrorist-busting antics await you in this disappointing sequel. The 3rd International Conference for Peace has been gatecrashed and a nuclear bomb has been placed inside the conference building. You control the new, improved Thunder Master II vehicle, with the ability to fire missiles and convert from a car to an airborne fighter. This time, there are five levels which become progressively longer; too long, in fact. You need to collect fuel, kerosene and missiles for the vehicle, and collisions and running out of fuel costs you one of your six lives. At the end of each level is a truck which you must destroy. The graphics are just as good as in the original game, and there’s plenty of cool music to listen to as well. However, the very long levels make this a boring game with little variety.

See also: Fire and Forget.

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Screenshot of Fire Ant

Fire Ant

(Mogul, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

A bit of an odd one, this – a maze game where you crawl around avoiding scorpions, collecting keys, hitting objects that move obstacles, all in an attempt to save the trapped queen. Upon playing this for the first time you quickly reach game over, but as you learn how your actions affect the maze, it soon becomes addictive. Once you find the way to the last key, you move on to the next level, which scrolls slowly upwards. Each maze contains secrets and new situations that have to be worked out – like the bridge you build in the third maze. Pleasant Mode 0 graphics with basic sound effects thrown in.

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Screenshot of Fire Tyre

Fire Tyre

(CNGSoft, 2020)

The author describes this as a “no-frills racing game” – race against the clock around different circuits and complete six laps before your time runs out. The game was programmed in just seven days according to the author, which is an incredible feat. It was an entrant in the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest but it ended up in only fifth place, and in my opinion, it should have been ranked higher. The graphics are marvellous with a nice choice of colours, and the music consists of some great adaptations of tunes from Commodore 64 games. You won’t crash if you run off the track, but you will if you hit other cars. Annoyingly, this often results in other cars behind you rear-ending you, and you lose even more time. Despite this flaw, it’s still a very impressive game and it really feels like you’re driving around at 180mph.

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