Screenshot of Home Runner

Home Runner

(Amsoft, 1984)

Rarely does one come across games that are as abysmal as this. No – this is worse than abysmal. Guide the little man from the bottom of the screen to the top-right corner marked ‘HOME’ while avoiding the astro spiders and collecting the sole object on the screen. The screen consists of six platforms in which gaps open up and move randomly. The spiders also fall through these gaps and block your way, and it’s not possible to jump over them. So, the graphics are rubbish, the music is worse (it’s the same irritating melody repeated every six seconds), and it’s too difficult – I can’t get off the first screen. Then again, why would I want to?

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Screenshot of Hong Kong Phooey

Hong Kong Phooey

(Hi-Tec Software, 1990)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Hi-Tec Software made tons of games for the CPC based around Hanna-Barbera characters, and while they’re all pretty similar, they’re all amazing fun too! And Hong Kong Phooey is no exception. As the kung-fu dog, you must jump around platforms while staving off the numerous bad guys, with the aim being to track down some bad guy who has escaped from prison. The graphics are pretty good; not the best use of colour, but Phooey moves fluidly and the traps and enemies are well drawn. And the sound effects are good, as they are in all Hi-Tec Software games. Gripes? The game may be too hard for some, but I found it a lot of fun, and also pretty addictive.

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Screenshot of Hopper Copper

Hopper Copper

(Silverbird, 1989)

This is arguably one of the craziest and daftest concepts for a game ever – a policeman who patrols the streets on one of those bouncing space hoppers that you may remember from the days when you were young. What was the programmer of this game on? Anyway, it’s your job to clear the streets of criminals, although some of them are carrying weapons, and others may throw nails on to the ground so that your space hopper will burst. The graphics are average, but there isn’t much variety in the game, and it’s also rather easy. The music is pretty good, though.

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Screenshot of Hopping Mad

Hopping Mad

(Elite, 1988)

This is one of those games that’s rather out of the ordinary. You control a sort of snake which consists of four bouncing balls, which is constantly bouncing up and down while moving left across a landscape filled with hazards. The aim on each level is to collect little balls and balloons while avoiding the hazards. The snake can be made to bounce higher or move faster, but timing is crucial in this game. You don’t die instantly if you hit a hazard, but you will lose one of the four balls which makes up the snake; lose all four, and you lose a life. The first thing you notice about this game is the spectacularly awful Spectrum-style graphics, with some of the worst colour schemes I have ever seen. I also found the game to be too difficult, which put me off even more.

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Screenshot of Hora Bruja

Hora Bruja

(ESP Soft, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

In Hora Bruja, you take control of a witch who tries to find her King. In order to succeed in her mission, she will need to travel through a big castle, some caves and finally through clouds! Hora Bruja is designed in Mode 1. Grey is the predominant colour; however, because of the detailed sprite and foreground design, the result is satisfactory. A pleasant tune plays throughout the game and there are some effects too. The gameplay is fast-paced; the hero and the enemies move fast and smoothly. The game itself is quite big and the mazes are designed with imagination without being frustrating to find your way through them. Until you complete it, the grab factor will most probably be quite strong! Overall, a pleasant and well designed game that is really worth playing.

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Screenshot of Hostages
Screenshot taken from 128K version of game


(Infogrames, 1990)

Reviewed by Robert Small

Terrorists have taken over an embassy and you’re part of a team assigned to stop them. The game opens with some great presentation with the terrorists arriving at the scene, along with some dramatic music. The first part has you moving your men into position outside the embassy. You can perform combat rolls to avoid the enemy. The second part sees your men in sniper positions and on the roof, abseiling down the sides of the building and smashing their way in through the windows. The third part has you entering the embassy and is played from a 3D perspective. The graphics and music are good but the game is let down by unresponsive controls.

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Screenshot of Hot Rod

Hot Rod

(Activision, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

In Hot Rod, you race against two other roadsters around a 2D track. The tracks are short and scroll in small chunks as the leader reaches the edge of the screen. This forces any car lagging behind into the same area as the lead racer, often resulting in an unfair race. The controls are sluggish as the squashed-looking sprites crawl along with no car-to-car collision detection. Certain parts of the game look unfinished, such as the bridges that you cannot drive under. The visuals are a mix of good and bad and the playing area is too small. Two tunes take turns to play as you struggle with this game before you decide to quit.

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Screenshot of Hotshot


(Addictive, 1988)

Imagine a two-player ‘sport’ that’s a combination of pinball and Breakout – that’s Hot Shot. It’s a five-stage tournament in which you fire a plasma ball around an arena, trying to destroy bricks and qualify for the next stage. The ball moves across the screen very fast indeed, but touching it is deadly, and the only way to grab possession of it is to aim your vacuum tube at it. Unfortunately, the ball moves so fast that lightning reflexes are required, and its movement is very erratic and unpredictable, which means that amassing enough points just to qualify for the second stage relies a lot more on luck than skill. It’s fun at first but it quickly becomes frustrating.

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Screenshot of The House of Horrors

The House of Horrors

(Solid Software, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

For some unexplained reason, you decide to enter a creepy-looking building and then find yourself locked inside! You must move your stick-man figure around a maze-like plan of the building and reach the exit. Along the way, you’ll encounter the tenants (and hazards) which present a challenge. Each challenge is a mini-game including hangman, maths tests, shooting a vampire, picking the correct door, and many more. The addition of these extra games does make this BASIC program interesting and it may give your brain a workout too!

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Screenshot of House of Usher

House of Usher

(Anirog, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

House of Usher is an early platform game made up of nine rooms. You start in the reception hall and pick a door. Each room carries its own challenge with certain aspects of the novel influencing it. This in itself doesn’t always work, though, as some rooms are a nightmare to complete. The graphics look primitive and ultimately do the game no favours at all. The only aspect of this offering that does seem to work is the audio – a spooky, eerie silence throughout the game.

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