Reviewed by Pug
We all know the fairy tale – Simple Jack sells his cow for some magic beans... The game takes place the following morning facing a gigantic beanstalk. Your task is to climb upwards avoiding the birds and – oh, did you collect that gun on the floor? The second screen involves climbing walls to collect the sack of gold. The third screen sets you near the giant’s fireplace – can you get the golden goose? The final screen shows the giant, who you must carefully climb upon to reach the table and a large sack of gold. Difficult at first, but very easy once you know where to position yourself. The graphics and sound are basic, although the beanstalk looks nice. However, there seems to be a bug in the game that prevents you seeing the last screen.
Reviewed by Robert Small
It would be fair to say that World Class Leader Board is the number one golf game on the CPC, but this offering runs it close on the order of merit. It’s licensed and endorsed by Jack Nicklaus and features a good selection of real-life holes for you to take on. It can be played with up to four players so it’s a solid multi-player choice for CPC sports fans. The controls and screen layout are good and there is a decent variety of options. There are some really nice details like cacti on certain courses. The game uses Mode 1 but this is cleverly used. There are just two negatives – the length of time it takes for the course to be drawn, and the very basic sound.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1986)
Reviewed by John Beckett
You play a toddler named Jack, and the aim is to cause as much havoc as possible! Starting out in your bedroom, you must roam the town, creating chaos whenever you can. And the more trouble you cause, the higher your naughtyometer goes, the aim being to get it as full as possible. But beware, because all the grown-ups are there to give you a good spanking. A truly great and original game; the graphics are wonderful and detailed, the music and sound effects are good and catchy, and the challenge is just right – Jack has many lives as well as a sizeable energy bar, so games last a good while. A true classic, and better than its sequel.
See also: Jack the Nipper II.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Jack is back... and he’s angry! You’ve been parachuted into the jungle, wearing nothing but your nappy, and you must fight wild animals (that wear sunglasses!), throwing coconuts at them. This sequel is really funny. First, it is huge and the graphics are really different from one area to the next – but Spectrum port syndrome strikes again! Anyway, there are many places to explore and it’s easy to get lost in this game. It’s rather difficult, too, and you must move very carefully (even though, like cats, you’ve got nine lives). Eventually, the action is pleasant and... well, this is a very good platform game!
See also: Jack the Nipper.
The tale of Jack the Ripper has remained a part of folklore for more than a century – an unidentified murderer who roamed the streets of London’s East End and killed five women. This text adventure sees you stumbling across the murder scene of the Ripper’s first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, on the night of the 31st of August 1888, and subsequently becoming the prime suspect after a run-in with the police. This was apparently the first computer game in the UK ever to receive an 18 certificate (although this was arguably a calculated move by CRL to gain publicity for it), and the prose is definitely gory and stomach-churning, with descriptions of mutilated heads and organs ripped out of dead bodies. The parser is quite good and the prose creates a suitably frightening atmosphere, but avoid it if you’re squeamish.
A surprise enemy attack has taken your army by surprise, and many of your comrades are now being held prisoner. Four men – Bob, Gray, Quint and Deckar – have been sent behind enemy lines to rescue as many of them as possible, in a plan codenamed Jackal. You have to roam around the enemy camp in a jeep and use grenades and missiles to destroy enemy tanks and guns, as well as blow up the huts where your comrades are held in order to rescue them (but how do they withstand the blast?!). You can also run over enemy soldiers, which is fun! However, the graphics are crudely drawn and the playing area is very small, which makes it very difficult to sneak up on the enemy and avoid their bullets. As a result, it’s an annoyingly frustrating game to play, and after a few attempts, you won’t want to try again.
Dr Jackle has swallowed a potion and transformed into the evil Mr Wide, but he forgot to prepare an antidote, so now he must search for his enemy, Dr Piqued, and retrieve the antidote from him. To do this, you must explore Hyde Park and the sewers beneath it, one at a time. Each sewer consists of a maze of rooms, and once you’ve found a way out, you return to Hyde Park and must find the entrance to the next sewer to explore. There are various objects scattered around the park, although not all of them are useful. The graphics are very Spectrum-like, particularly in the sewers where everything is drawn in monochrome, and the sound effects are very basic. The sewers all look very similar, and exploring one sewer after another soon becomes very repetitive.
Reviewed by Pug
Jackson City is a top-down shoot-’em-up. Swarms of aliens and ‘fruit’ come towards you as you travel along shooting the hell out of them. Your spaceship moves with a unique drift, adding a more realistic sense of flight. Power-ups are there to be found which improve your speed and firepower. At the end of each zone is a guardian that must be defeated to move onwards. Some detailed Mode 1 graphics and smooth scrolling make this an acceptable shoot-’em-up, although the sound effects are sparse.
(Opera Sport, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
CPC sports fans looking for something different could do worse than to give this a try. Jai alai is a sport that is perhaps not that well known outside of Spain and certain parts of America. It’s a little bit like racquetball. It involves throwing a ball on a three-sided court and catching it using a basket or cesta as it’s known in the game. In real life it’s a very fast game. Unsurprisingly it’s a bit slower on the CPC. Like Opera Soft’s other games, the graphics are well drawn. The game runs smoothly, which is a plus. Diving catches are a highlight. Sound effects are minimal and the music is poor. Once you understand the rules, an enjoyable attempt at a lesser known sport emerges.
Reviewed by John Beckett
There’s been a mass jail-break! Thousands of convicted criminals are armed and loose on the streets of New York, and the warden has been taken hostage. You must be one heck of a cop, because you’ve been sent in alone to rescue him! As this super-cop, you shoot your way from left to right through six grossly difficult levels, avoiding enemy bullets, vans and pedestrians. The graphics are kind of blocky and not very detailed, but they’re also bold and colourful, and there’s a very cool little tune on the title screen, accompanied by some nice digitised speech. Alas, the in-game sound effects are pitiful (there are only about three effects) and also, the game’s difficulty is sky-high, but it doesn’t really matter; it’s actually quite addictive and reasonably good fun.