(Classic Quests, 1987)
As you are sleeping, you dream about being on a forest path... then you wake, and find that you are now on that path. You’ve entered some sort of fantasy world – Forestland. This is a text adventure which uses most of the clichés that are to be found in any standard text adventure – dark places which require a torch, doors to unlock, treasure to be found, and a complex maze. Despite the plot, the adventure is little more than a treasure hunt, and although I seem to be criticising it very harshly, it’s actually not too bad – at least, if you’re a novice adventurer. The HELP command provides clues at appropriate places to help you. Experienced text adventure fans won’t find it much of a challenge, though.
(US Gold, 1989)
The Emperor Bios and his minions have laid waste to the cities, turning them into forgotten worlds. You have returned to the cities and have to destroy the Emperor’s minions and three monsters he has created. You have a jet pack at your disposal, so you can fly all over the screen and manoeuvre swiftly to avoid hails of rockets and missiles. You can also pick up coins and buy some power-ups. This is a very good shoot-’em-up, boasting colourful graphics and blistering action. It takes time to work out how to control your character, but once you master it, you’ll really like the game.
(Glasnost Corp, 2023)
This is a Tetris-like puzzle game in which you place shapes made of tiles on to a 10×10 grid. During each turn, you’re given a selection of up to three shapes to position on the board, and if you form a complete horizontal or vertical line of ten tiles, the line disappears to free up space for more shapes. The shapes are composed of anything from one to five square tiles, but unlike Tetris, you can’t rotate them. This game was an entrant in the 2023 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest and it was ranked ninth, but in my opinion, it should have done much better than that; in fact, it finished second in the public vote. Yes, the graphics are very basic, and the music is a nice enough variation of Enya’s Orinoco Flow, but it offers a challenge if you’ve got a few minutes to spare and it’s a game you can play again and again.
There are lots of Formula 1 racing games on the CPC, but Formula 1 management games are very rare. Up to six players can play as you battle it out to win the World Championship. You get to choose your team, which drivers to hire, and your sponsors. Before each race, you can spend money on improving both cars, and you must also choose which tyres to run with. The races are fun to watch, but you do have some involvement in them, as you have to get one of your mechanics to change the tyres and fix the car in pit stops! The graphics are mediocre and the sound basically consists of rather nice engine noises, but if you’re a Formula 1 fan, you’ll probably enjoy this game immensely.
Qualify and race your car around any one of ten Grand Prix circuits. You’ll first have to do a qualifying lap before actually racing against the other cars. You can choose whether to use automatic or manual gears, but if you use manual gears, make sure you don’t over-rev the engine and blow it up! One thing you unfortunately can’t choose is the weather, which usually ends up being wet, thus making the car more difficult to control. The game hasn’t stood the test of time, though; the cars are just black silhouettes and there is no scenery of any sort, and the title tune is grating.
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
Lord Angkor’s beautiful daughter, the 22-year-old princess Gwendoline, has been kidnapped and locked away in a fortress. Can a brave warrior such as yourself rescue her? This is a graphic adventure which is very easy indeed to get into. Gwendoline is wearing a suit of armour, and you must find padlocks to remove the armour one piece at a time. Once you have found all of them, Gwendoline will be revealed in all her beauty... What struck me most was the quality of the graphics; each of the dozens of locations is represented by a beautiful, full colour, digitised picture. Hardened fans of French adventures might not like the relative simplicity of this game – there are only six types of objects to be collected and only a small set of commands which are represented by icons – but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
(Century Communications, 1986)
The Soviet Union has planted a nuclear device somewhere in the United Kingdom and is intending to detonate it before the General Election to bring about a totalitarian British state. You are John Preston, an investigator at MI5, and you have to stop the Russians’ dastardly plans. This game is based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name and is in three parts. In the first part, you have to find out who is leaking some secret NATO documents to the Russians, but you’ll need to keep your eye on other events. The second and third parts concentrate on the hunt for the bomb. The plot is certainly thrilling, but sadly, the game is let down by the awkward menu and control system.
Help Frank build his monster, Stein, together and bring him to life in fifty screens of this platform game. You must collect the seven parts that make up Stein’s skeleton, but they have to be collected in the right order. Furthermore, you cannot jump up to higher platforms by yourself; you must use the springs instead. There are other surprises in store, such as ice, slime and teleporters, and of course, an array of monsters. Therefore, getting all the parts requires you to use your brain. When you’ve completed each screen, you are faced with a Donkey Kong-style screen to tackle. The graphics are simple, with a nice effect used to add extra colours. Overall, it’s a rather average game, although the first screen is a lot harder than the ones following it.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Those who are fond of that virile sport have surely heard of Frank Bruno, former heavyweight World Boxing Council champion. Well, the game itself isn’t very appealing. The graphics are blocky and it’s really hard to be accurate during the fights. It’s definitely arcade-oriented, for the behaviour of your opponents isn’t realistic at all. For instance, just after having been knocked down, they will deliver an uppercut that knocks you out! So all you have to do is hit them as fast as possible, which quickly becomes boring.
Four years after the creation of Frankenstein’s monster, Dr Victor Frankenstein has come to his father’s house in Switzerland to track down the monster and destroy him. This is a three-part text adventure based on Mary Shelley’s novel, and each part is filled with lengthy, dramatic prose that creates an atmosphere of tension. However, the descriptions of each location rarely mention objects of interest, and you frequently have to resort to looking around (typing ‘look’ on its own often won’t reveal anything). Examining objects rarely produces any useful response, and the parser is quite limited. Perhaps if the amount of text had been reduced slightly, the parser could have been improved and the game would be less frustrating to play.