James Debug: Le Grand Saut
(Coktel Vision, 1987)
Reviewed by Robert Small
There are three James Debug games available on the CPC. This game is the second in the series. It’s an arcade adventure and the setting is some prehistoric caves with the plot revolving around time travel. The graphics are colourful but blocky, and there are barely any sound effects. The caves are a hostile place, and while you can defend yourself, it’s very easy for your vitals to drop due to all manner of things, which isn’t great because as well as fighting enemies, you will be in a battle with the unresponsive controls. The gameplay is the usual item hunt that is the staple of this genre. It’s an average game of its type, although the graphics do have a certain charm to them that leads you to want to explore.
Rankin’ Rodney has to gather his four instruments which are scattered about the screen. Each instrument is in a separate corner, but the screen is divided into several areas of different colours, and Rodney can only move from one area to the other by using the conveyor belts. There are also musical notes which float about, and running into them causes Rodney to lose whatever instrument he’s carrying. It’s hard to avoid them, and that’s what lets this game down. Mind you, it’s worth playing just to listen to the funky music!
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
(Retrobytes Productions, 2018)
Reviewed by Missas
Jarlac is an arcade adventure where you take control of Jarlac the Warrior, who wanders in a forsaken land and must face the evil sorcerer in order to rescue his beloved girl. To begin with, the graphics are really good, detailed and colourful. The sprites are very well drawn and they have a satisfactory variety. The map is very well designed and there are interesting background elements such as running water and multiple types of scenery. The enemies are smart and aggressive and they will give you a hard time. The sound is good with an in-game tune and sound effects. The playability is quite good, too; the difficulty rises gradually and the gameplay is balanced. It is neither too difficult nor too easy to finish. Overall, a very good game indeed!
(Screen 7, 1989)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Jaws is something of a funny fish on the CPC. You drop into the murky depths in an attempt to assemble a powerful gun that has been strewn about the ocean floor that can kill the man-eating shark Jaws. From the helm of your submersible you can fire in different directions, collect the odd treasure chest and replenish your oxygen levels. There’s plenty going on and when Jaws makes an appearance, they look the part, unlike some of the lesser enemies that seem out of place in the ocean. The classic theme from the film plays on the title screen as well. It’s an OK game but nothing special.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: jgonza.
Jet Bike Simulator
(Code Masters, 1988)
Ride your jet bike around several courses and try to beat the other three riders to cross the line first. Three sets of courses (lakes, docklands and coastlines) are on offer, and you can select standard and expert levels. Standard level requires you to complete the course within a certain time; it doesn’t matter if you come last. However, if you fail to beat any of the other three players on expert level, you’re out. The graphics are beautiful and there’s some nice music and digitised speech. I think the expert mode is far too hard, though.
See also: Championship Jet Ski Simulator.
Jet Set Willy
(Software Projects, 1985)
Reviewed by John Beckett
The sequel to the classic Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy is another of those strange games where you jump around impossibly difficult screens and avoid weirdly abstract bad guys. The story behind this one is that, having just bought a mansion and had a huge house-warming party, his housekeeper won’t let him into his bedroom until he gathers all the trinkets from around the mansion’s grounds that his guests have scattered about. So instead of firing her on the spot, Willy sets out to do just that. The graphics are colourful and actually quite good in a simplistic way, and there are a few nice sound effects, but don’t even think about finishing this game! Despite being supplied with an unholy amount of lives, this game sets new standards in difficulty! The mansion is too huge, the monsters are too plentiful, and it doesn’t even tell you how many items are left to get! Nevertheless, a fun and addictive game.
See also: Manic Miner.
(Amsoft/English Software, 1984)
Jack likes listening to groovy music, and in this platform game, he has to collect all the musical notes on each level, while avoiding all the hazards – and there are many of those. There is a total of ten levels, and you must manoeuvre Jack around each screen, being careful to get on and off the lifts and moving platforms at the correct moment. You’ll also have to watch your head; there are stalactites and monsters protruding from the ceilings, and if you touch them, you’ll lose a life. There is also an energy bar which needs to be replenished frequently. This is a fast-paced game which is marred by being very difficult indeed. There are so many obstacles on each screen, and you rarely have time to think! It’s a shame, because the game would otherwise be fun to play.
Jet-Paco: Hyper Special Space Agent
(The Mojon Twins, 2023)
Paco, along with his sister Puri, has been given the task of exploring an abandoned spaceship and collecting all the energy crystals inside it. To make their task easier, they wear special suits that enable them to fly around easily. You play either Paco or Puri, and you have to manoeuvre your character around, collect the crystals and avoid contact with stars and aliens. Both characters behave slightly differently, with Paco being capable of rising and falling faster than his sister. You have a maximum of 15 lives, and additional lives can be collected as you explore each of the three stages. The graphics are really cute and colourful, which is to be expected from The Mojon Twins, and the music is utterly delightful. I found the gameplay to be a bit too easy for my liking, but it’s still really enjoyable to play.
When this game was originally released for the ZX Spectrum in 1983, players were gobsmacked; it set a new standard for arcade games on the humble Spectrum. This is an emulated version of the game which uses the code from the Spectrum version, and it’s lost little of its quality. You are a space pilot who has to assemble rockets and collect fuel for the rocket in order to escape from each level, while simultaneously dodging aliens and shooting them with your laser. The graphics are basic (although stippling is used to give the impression of more colours) and the sound effects are mediocre by the CPC’s standards, but once you start playing this game, it’s difficult to pull yourself away from it. The concept is really simple but it’s very fast-paced indeed and there is a real urge to have one more go.
Jetsons: The Computer Game
(Hi-Tec Software, 1992)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Hi-Tec Software had a fairly good track record with its CPC releases. Jetsons: The Computer Game isn’t anywhere near their best output, though. It does feature colourful Mode 0 graphics (which is a hallmark of Hi-Tec Software) although the scrolling on the flying saucer stages judders. The rendition of the famous TV series tune is quaint, but the in-game music is better. The gameplay is mixed between collecting items and avoiding enemies as one of the Jetson clan, and arcade action at the helm of your flying saucer. It’s a little bit tedious. Fans of the TV series will get the most out of it.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.