The film that this game is based on sees a Soviet submarine commander called Marko Ramius in charge of Russia’s most high-tech submarine, the Red October, which is virtually undetectable. Ramius is planning to defect to the Americans, but they don’t believe him. However, the CIA agent Jack Ryan does, and he sets out to find it, before the American and Russian navies beat him to it. The game consists of five levels which re-enact some of the scenes in the film, and there are several distinct types of gameplay throughout the game. The graphics are quite good, but two of the five levels are simple sub-games rather than levels in the proper sense, and the game itself is too short and too easy; I completed it after only a few goes.
See also: The Hunt for Red October.
(Bubble Bus, 1985)
This is a 6-ball pool game which allows you to play in several different ways. There’s the normal game, of course, and other games where you must pot the six balls in the right order, or pot the balls in the corresponding numbered pockets – the aim being to pot all the balls in the fewest number of shots. You can play on your own or against another player, but you can’t play against the computer. The very simple graphics and poor sound effects only reinforce the notion that this is a rather dull simulation of 6-ball pool.
(Alternative Software, 1991)
Horace the Hamster has left the front door of Huxley Pig’s house open, and now Vile Vincent the vampire pig and Sidney the Snake have hidden Huxley’s toys and outfits. You must search the house for them, but first you’ll have to find Horace’s spanner and give it to him. Then, before you can look for a toy and an outfit, you must find a cross to get past Vile Vincent. Once you’ve got both items, you must take them to Huxley’s bedroom. Once you’ve found three toys and outfits, you are taken to the second part, where you play three mini-games with themes based on the outfits you’ve collected. The graphics are colourful and will appeal to young children, but Huxley moves very slowly, and avoiding the spiders that reduce your score if you touch them can be frustratingly difficult even on the easy mode.
(Starlight Software, 1987)
Four aliens are being held captive within a prison, but now they must be exterminated. You have three Hybrids under your control – a brain, a xylon, and a robot. The brain is only lightly armoured but can teleport itself and the other droids to another area of a screen, the xylon can activate switches which allow barriers to be crossed, and the robot is the most heavily armoured and has the greatest firepower. You must find cells where you can fuse the Hybrids together in order to fight an alien. If you defeat the alien, the Hybrids separate once more and you must find another cell. The prison complex consists of 200 rooms, so there’s a large area to explore, but unless you’re prepared to make a map, you probably won’t find this game of interest. The graphics are rather bland, and the so-called ‘music’ (which thankfully is disabled by default) is absolutely terrible!
Reviewed by Robert Small
There are already several games like Hydra on the CPC, from Road Blasters to the Fire and Forget games. While they take place on land, Hydra takes place on water. The game features Mode 0 graphics which scroll reasonably, a nice loading screen, mission briefings, and a shop to purchase new weapons. The presentation is decent and the music is OK too. Your Hydracraft has the ability to take to the air for a brief period allowing you to collect items in the sky, but this isn’t communicated well to the player. The wake behind the boat disappears but you only move slightly upwards. Your cargo can be lost, which is a neat touch, and there are bonus levels. There is an odd visual effect between sectors that looks like a glitch, but it features in other versions of the game as well. There’s a lot of shooting and dodging as expected but this has been done better elsewhere.
Sweevo has been called upon to clean up the planetary aquarium of Deathbowl, by removing four plugs and draining all the water away – but each of the plugs can only be removed if you find the correct objects. Furthermore, the plugs have to be removed in the correct order! Therefore, Sweevo has to explore the maze that is Deathbowl in search of the objects, while avoiding all the aquatic creatures that will drain his energy on contact. Most of them can be killed, but you will need to find the correct weapon, and the range of weapons is quite bizarre, as is the rest of the game! The graphics and animation are both wonderful, the music is a delight to listen to, and exploring Deathbowl is fun as well as challenging.
See also: Sweevo’s World.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Here’s a great arcade conversion and one of the best sports games for the CPC. You have to win six events – swimming, clay pigeon shooting, vault, archery, triple jump and weight lifting. Though it’s relatively easy to qualify for the early events, the game becomes more and more difficult as you progress. The graphics are really cute and the overall realisation of the game is flawless. The different events are varied and require much timing, but the difficulty level is just perfect. Unlike other sports games, it isn’t only about joystick waggling, even if your wrists are often aching...
If you’ve ever played one of those air hockey machines that you find in amusement arcades, then the format of this game will be familiar to you. You control a hover which you can use to move the puck, either by pushing it or shooting at it. You can also choose to play with a friend, or take on the computer in a tournament – and the computer is rather good! There’s not all that much to say about the graphics, but the high-energy music on the menu is absolutely marvellous.
(Juan José Martínez, 2022)
There are plenty of scrolling space shoot-’em-ups for the Amstrad CPC. This one attempts something different in the way that power-ups are obtained. Shooting an enemy spacecraft adds one to a counter called a chain, and if the chain reaches nine, a power-up or a smart bomb appears. However, if you don’t shoot an enemy quickly enough, or you use a smart bomb, the chain resets to zero. It’s an innovative approach, but you have only about two seconds to shoot an enemy before the chain resets, and in my opinion, it’s a major flaw. It’s not a problem on the first level, but on subsequent levels, I found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain power-ups. It’s a shame, because the graphics and sound are of a high standard, but if you don’t have the ability to increase your firepower, then it feels like another run-of-the-mill shoot-’em-up.
(Dro Soft, 1990)
Reviewed by Pug
Hypsys is a top down, scrolling shooter split into two parts. The first part involves you piloting a hovercraft with one weapon – a gun turret located to the right of the craft – while in the second part, you pilot a helicopter. The scrolling flows smoothly but it slows down when there’s a lot going on screen-wise. Energy and ammo power-ups spring up occasionally but nothing else. Some good colour mixing in places makes you think that the CPC has suddenly developed a larger palette; this game is very colourful. However, there is no sound at all.