The evil Neviks have stolen the Capacitoid energy crystals that the inhabitants of the planet of Edos use as a power source, and without the crystals, they will die. Enter the fearless warrior Hawk Storm to brave the perils of the Neviks’ domain and retrieve 32 crystals. Initially, you’re armed with a fairly feeble gun and a limited supply of ammunition which you must use very conservatively. As you progress, you can beef up your gun and obtain other weapons. Gameplay involves the usual platform fare of shooting Neviks and jumping over spikes, lakes and other hazards, but the scrolling is slow, the controls are unresponsive at the best of times, and for some reason, you can’t jump off a lift when you’re on it. All of these things mar what could have been a reasonable platform game.
Head Over Heels
Head and Heels are trying to steal the crowns from the five worlds of the Blacktooth Empire. The two characters have different attributes; Head can jump but not run, whereas Heels can zoom about, but can only jump short distances. There are many puzzles to solve, but you’ll have to work out who should carry them out! A lot of people think this is the best CPC game of all time, and I can see why. It’s a large game with hundreds of rooms and all sorts of ingenious tricks, and involves both exploration and lateral thinking. The graphics are beautiful and the sound effects are cute, too.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Amstrad CPC World, ChinnyVision, Metr81, Xyphoe.
(Odin Computer Graphics, 1986)
You were searching your grandmother’s attic when you discovered an old book. Upon reading it, you become part of the tale that the book tells. The Heartland is now ruled by the warlock Midan, and the people live in misery and fear, but the last chapter of the book is missing, and if the six pages which make up the last chapter are not found, Midan will rule forever. This is a nice exploration game with plenty of shoot-’em-up action as well. You must find the pages, but there are also six dark pages which must be destroyed. When you have found the pages, you can go to the bed and on to the next level. The graphics and sound effects are lovely and make the game enjoyable – although you’ll definitely need to make a map.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Axelino.
(US Gold, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
This game keeps its promise to provide the player with heavy metal – not the music, but a host of military machinery. In fact there are three to get to grips with. You’ll be able to control a tank (no surprises there), an armoured buggy (that’s quite cool) and an air defence system (not quite as cool as it sounds). What this boils down to is a selection of 3D shoot-’em-ups. Graphically they are all in Mode 0 and run reasonably well. The tank section is quite similar to other tank games on the CPC and it is done quite nicely. The buggy section is a little sensitive on the handling. The air defence game is a shooting gallery and is all right. Finally the game throws a bit of strategy at the player towards the end, as by then you will have risen through the ranks to take command. It’s still just a 3D shoot-’em-up in the end, though, and it lacks depth, but it’s fun in the short term.
Heavy on the Magick
(Gargoyle Games, 1986)
Axil the Able has ended up in a dungeon for incurring the wrath of the wizard Therion, and obviously, he must find some way of escaping. This is an excellent, and perhaps unique, adventure game. Axil isn’t much of a fighter, so he has to use spells throughout his search. Many of the doors in the dungeon are also magical and can only be opened by entering a password – but how is he going to find out what the passwords are? Fortunately, there is a very helpful ogre called Apex who he can ask for information about things, but his answers are rather cryptic... At first I didn’t like this game much; it takes time to understand what you need to do and how to do it. Once you’ve managed this, things become clearer and you’ll discover a clever and challenging game which will tax your brains for a long time.
Reviewed by Pug
An old and odd game idea here. You place stranded clones found on the right-hand side of the screen into pockets on the far left. To do this, you must navigate a series of sprites that hinder your journey; collision results in instant death. You carry an infinite supply of bombs that ease this burden, but it’s still a tricky deal. There are 24 levels here, where the only difference you encounter is the formation of the wacky sprites that are out to stop you. Fun for a few minutes, but beyond this, there’s nothing to keep you hooked. Simple graphics and sound sum up this Spectrum port.
It’s 1930, and you’re one bandit among many operating in the era of Prohibition in the United States. This game is at its heart very similar to Space Invaders, except that the aliens are replaced with Prohibition-themed objects such as barrels of gin, guns, banknotes and cars. It was released quite early in the life of the CPC, so the overall presentation is basic and unsophisticated – and so is the gameplay. Each level consists of two waves of five enemies that you must shoot, and each wave moves around the screen in various ways. That’s really all there is to the game, and each level feels much the same as the others.
(WoW Software, 1993)
Help Inc. is a secret organisation that can be relied on to get you out of trouble – unless they send Agent 57, their most incompetent member. During one assignment, you have ended up inside a prison cell with another prisoner for company. Your immediate priority is to escape, but Help Inc. have another mission lined up for you if you succeed... This is a text adventure written using GAC which starts off quite promisingly. However, the area you can explore is rather small compared with most adventures, and the puzzles and locations seem to have been added haphazardly, with little thought for how they fit together as a whole.
(Audiogenic Software, 1991)
This is a slightly strange game in which you control a bouncing ball and must kill monsters by bouncing on them. On each level, there are several monsters which you need to destroy in the right order; an arrow shows you which monster you need to kill. If you touch the wrong monster, it will divide into two monsters. You have only 30 seconds to complete each level, so you can’t afford to waste any time. It sounds like an interesting game but it’s seriously flawed. The animation of the ball is ridiculously jerky, and the ball itself is very hard to control. The graphics are poor as well, which is quite a contrast to the gorgeous loading screen and the cute and catchy music.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.
Herbert’s Dummy Run
Reviewed by Robert Small
Herbert’s dad Wally has had many adventures over the years, and several of those adventures are also available on the CPC. This game, however, is dedicated to baby Herbert. Graphically it is reasonably well done with chunky Mode 0 and acceptable use of colour. On the audio front the sound effects are good, but while the Baby Face title music is OK, one listen is more than enough. By now the quest for items and visiting different locations should be familiar to anyone who has played the other Wally games or their clones. There’s a plethora of arcade mini-games featuring Space Invaders, Breakout and Harrier Attack-type gameplay as well. There is also a timer to worry about and a higher level of difficulty than its stablemates. Try some of the other Wally-type games, and if you like them then you will get the most out of this one.
See also: Everyone’s a Wally, Pyjamarama, Three Weeks in Paradise.