(Gremlin Graphics, 1988)
Have you got what it takes to earn a coveted place in the national football team? If you think you do, you’ll have to undertake a rigorous training programme to test your fitness and skills. You start in the gym where you must complete a series of exercises, then the second and third sections of the game are played on the football pitch, where various aspects of ball control are tested. You have to keep an eye on your energy level and your pulse rate; if they get too high or low, you’ll be forced to rest or take a drink. There is a nice tune on the menu, although there are no sound effects at all. The graphics are nothing special, but the controls are very awkward, particularly in the second section, and the very first part of the game (press-ups in the gym) is quite annoying, as the computer often doesn’t seem to recognise when you’ve completed a press-up.
See also: Gary Lineker’s Hot-Shot!.
Reviewed by Pug
A novel idea where your goal is to fill nine holes at the bottom of the screen with barrels. This involves dropping the barrels down a maze of tunnels with gates that redirect its descent. Once a gate has been used, it reverses direction, creating a new pathway. The maze itself can also be scrolled up or down to reach those awkward, hard to reach holes. The man pushing the barrels is well animated, but all other graphics carry a basic feel, mixed with simple sound effects. Overall, Gatecrasher is an entertaining and unique puzzle game that everyone will enjoy.
(ESP Soft, 2023)
More than 15 years have passed since Microsoft’s attempt to introduce its W2H operating system was thwarted. Now another group is trying to prevent the introduction of Amsoft+’s new operating system, AMSDOS+. Our hero must find a program on each of the three levels (stored on a cassette, floppy disc or cartridge) and insert it into a nearby Amstrad CPC. You begin with ten lives and you can obtain more by collecting coins. You also need to find levers that will activate power sources, but doing so starts a timer, and the time limit is quite tight, so you can’t hang around. The game is a huge improvement on its predecessor Gates to Hell, with beautiful graphics and animation and a pleasant tune that plays quietly in the background. The positioning of some obstacles and traps is a bit unfair, but overall, this is a great demonstration of how far ESP Soft has come since their first few games.
See also: Gates to Hell.
(CEZ Games Studio, 2006)
Reviewed by Missas
In this platform game, you must help our hero open the Gates of Hell; however, this will prove to be rather difficult, since there are a lot of obstacles and closed doors that stand in your way! The graphics are nicely drawn in a cartoon style with bright colours used, although they are not too detailed. A happy tune plays in the options screen, but during the game there are only some effects. The gameplay is pleasant and fast paced and the stages are well designed with a correctly set level of difficulty that increases reasonably as we progress. A drawback is that our hero may die only once! The grab factor is above average. Most probably, players will try repeatedly to open the Gates of Hell! Overall, a pleasant and well designed game, but it should have a continue option.
See also: Gates to Heaven.
(Micro Power, 1985)
Reviewed by Pug
An early Defender clone for the CPC. In this version, you defend canisters littered along the landscape from a hostile alien race called the Reeg forces. When a Reeg ship lifts a canister and reaches the top of the screen, the cargo changes into a mutant hellbent on destroying you! Fail to kill all the baddies quickly enough and another group of ships appears, moving much more quickly, their cannons firing at you. The game is a fast side-scroller, frantic and colourful even though the original only had primitive graphics. It’s quite a hard game where you will run out of ships very quickly. There’s no music and only a few sound effects – listen to the explosion sound effects when you die. Overall, a good conversion of the original that is only let down by how difficult it is.
(US Gold, 1986)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
One of the most famous 8-bit games of all time, this is a faithful conversion of the classic multi-player arcade hit. You and a friend can choose between the wizard, valkyrie, barbarian or the elf. Lying before you is a dungeon comprised of countless levels filled with all kinds of treasures and horrors imaginable. Battle your way past ghosts, ghouls and a wide variety of evil monsters using magic and potions, as you desperately try to escape before your health runs out. Both graphics and sound here are delightful and once you get into this game, many, many hours can be lost! There is also another version of the game called Gauntlet: The Deeper Dungeons, which contains lots of levels designed by Gauntlet fans.
(US Gold, 1987)
The sequel to the classic Gauntlet plays almost identically to its predecessor but offers several new features. Among the new monsters you’ll encounter are acid puddles and the glowing ‘IT’ monster (if it touches you, other monsters will be attracted to you). There are also new traps such as stun tiles, forcefields that will drain your health if you get caught in them, and exits that keep changing their position, and there are a wider variety of power-ups to collect. Of lesser importance is the ability to select the colour of your character, and if you’re playing with a friend, it’s now possible for both of you to choose the same character. The graphics and sound effects are just as good and the game is as good as, if not better than, the original.
(US Gold, 1991)
The third instalment of the Gauntlet series is quite different from the previous two games. The game takes place on the island of Capra, which is divided into eight sections. The Devil has come from hell and unleashed his evil monsters, and you must kill them and return the Devil to where he belongs. The most obvious change is that the game is viewed in isometric 3D. However, it’s also a Spectrum port, albeit one with very detailed graphics. Could we not have some more colour? You also have a choice of eight characters instead of four, and instead of dozens of small levels, there are now eight very large levels. There’s a lot of walking involved, as each level is essentially a treasure hunt, but it’s still a good game – if you’re a Gauntlet fan, that is.
Gazza may be a has-been now, but there was a time long ago when he was a rather skilful footballer. Unfortunately, this game (known as Bodo Illgner’s Super Soccer in Germany) is utter tosh. You can choose to play in either a league or a cup tournament, or just have a friendly match. The players can be renamed and their statistics adjusted. All this detail sounds impressive; it’s when you come to play the match that you start to scream. The scrolling is extremely jerky, and it’s difficult to control your player. In fact, it’s difficult to see which player you are trying to control. And is that noise supposed to be the crowd cheering, or is it interference?
See also: Gazza II.
This is a really nice football game, although it doesn’t allow you to play in a league or a knockout tournament. The difficulty of the game depends on who you choose to play against – Albania are the weakest team, Brazil the strongest. Alternatively, you can play with a friend, although there’s an annoying bug where the two teams swap colours at half time. Two nice features are the boot-o-meter, allowing you to control the strength of your kicks by holding down the fire button, and a radar screen which shows where the ball and all the players are. The game is very easy to get into, and with an amazingly cool tune on the menu screen, it’s a winner.
See also: Gazza’s Super Soccer.