(Magic Team, 1986)
Reviewed by Pug
This is a fun, if a little simple, game where you progress from screen to screen solving the puzzles presented on each one. You move in four directions collecting artefacts to increase your score. Certain paths are blocked by all-seeing eyes which lead to death if touched. Finding the correct switch will remove them, often leading to a bonus such as an extra life. Gorbaf can call on his magic ability to freeze the hordes that block his route, but careful timing is required. This game carries the feel of one made using a game creator like Sprites Alive.
Reviewed by Pug
A thinking man’s Gauntlet. This game relies on skill and planning instead of just hitting the fire button. Your mission is to retrieve seven artefacts hidden and guarded within four towers, each comprising of seven floors. You have three distinct weapons that can be powered up, but ammo is needed. Just check out the fireball effect; it even destroys walls! 32 types of potion are to be found, and artefacts can also be collected that make you stronger. Graphically, this one is a smooth push scroll in Mode 0. Sound effects are sparse. It’s a challenge indeed that seems simple at first until you realise that pressing the fire button will not always save or help you.
(Audiogenic Software, 1986)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
For a 1986 video game, Graham Gooch’s Test Cricket is probably the best looking and best playing cricket game that remotely resembles a cricket match on the Amstrad CPC. Your objective is to beat those larrikins from the land Down Under in a sporting game of cricket. Four game types – a 40, 55, 60 overs or two innings game – can be chosen, one or two players can play, and there are simulation or arcade modes and a range of skill levels. You then select those classic players from the 1980s that you want on your team, such as Ian Botham from England or Alan Border from Australia. In simulation mode the computer does everything and you just watch; in arcade mode you select how you want to bat and bowl. It’s a very tidy game with nice graphics and sounds, but it just lacks something, and it could have been brilliant.
(D&H Games, 1989)
One of very few Formula 1 management games for the CPC, this offering sees you competing against other teams in the bid to win the driver’s and constructor’s titles. You start by selecting sponsors for your team and the engine that your cars will use, but you can’t choose which drivers to sign, which is a rather silly omission. Before each race, both drivers have to complete two qualifying laps, and you must then decide what tyres to use and how much fuel to put in the tank for each car. What really lets this game down badly is the race highlights, which last well over 20 minutes and offer no sense of thrill or excitement at all. It will test anyone’s patience to sit through one race, let alone an entire season.
Get on a 500cc motorbike and race against five other riders on twelve circuits around the world in the championship. Of course, there are also options to take part in a single race or some training. The game is full of options, with three difficulty levels and the ability to save and load your championship position. You can even choose the colour of your bike. Two players can take part in a race simultaneously, which is great fun. Despite all of these options, the game retains an arcade feel to it, as opposed to being a realistic simulation of motorbike racing. The presentation and graphics are both excellent and there is a real sense of speed as you zoom around the tracks at well over 200mph.
See also: Grand Prix 500cc.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Racing on twelve different circuits, you must prove that you’re the best motorbike driver in the world. You can choose between championship or practice, and one or two players. But even in solo mode, the screen is split into two halves, making the action sometimes difficult to follow. The feeling of speed is well rendered, but it is hard to anticipate the bends because you can’t see very far. The graphics are good, although the background is always the same. The crashing of your bike isn’t very realistic either, and the sound of your engine is a bit strange. But what is more annoying is that your bike responds very slowly, which makes the races a bit hazardous.
See also: Grand Prix 500 2.
Get in the seat of a Formula 1 car and race in the World Championship around eight tracks. You can choose to drive either a Ferrari, a Williams or a McLaren; the Ferrari is the least powerful but has the best handling, while the McLaren is the most powerful but is also the most difficult to steer. There are also five difficulty levels which determine how much damage your car can take, whether you use an automatic or manual gearbox, and whether your engine can blow up. Controlling your car is quite difficult, and you’re constantly swerving, trying to centre the steering! The game is rather easy, and you can usually win races without any problems. The graphics are very good, but the scrolling is quite jerky and you don’t really get an impression of driving fast.
(Amsoft/Britannia Software, 1984)
You’re racing in a Formula 1 car along a track, and you must overtake 30 cars within 10 minutes. This isn’t a proper racing simulation at all, as the track is almost completely straight, and all the game consists of is dodging the oncoming cars. This is quite difficult, as you can’t steer your car and decelerate at the same time. To make matters worse, your car handles more like a tank, and it’s extremely difficult to avoid the oncoming cars. If that wasn’t enough, the graphics are terrible (although the game was admittedly released in the very early days of the CPC), and the sound is awful. This is definitely a game you want to avoid at all costs!
This is one of the earlier racing games where you have to beat the clock to complete ten stages, and you’ll certainly know it when you look at the crude graphics and lack of scenery. It’s a really simple game – just avoid the cars and negotiate the bends properly. The first four stages shouldn’t pose much of a problem; it’s when you come to the fifth stage, which is set at night, that the cars become almost invisible. Each stage is much the same as the last one and the other cars are always the same. The facility to edit and save your own tracks doesn’t interest me, either.
(Code Masters, 1987)
Not this! The tracks in this game are viewed from above, and you have to buzz your ‘car’ (which looks exactly like a box, by the way) around the track within the time limit to go to the next one. The trouble is that your car is impossible to control and the track must have black ice all over it, making it ridiculously difficult to progress – well, that’s what I think. The pictures of the McLaren and Ferrari at the top are nice, but the rest of the graphics aren’t as good. The tune and digitised speech (“three... two... one... go!”) are both superb, though, but that doesn’t make the game any better for it.
See also: Grand Prix Simulator 2.