(System 3, 1988)
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
Defeated but not destroyed, the shogun Kunitoki has managed to travel through time and space from feudal Japan to Manhattan in the 20th century. The ninja master Armakuni is sent by the gods in an attempt to destroy Kunitoki forever. Last Ninja 2 (as far as I know, the first part wasn’t released on the CPC) is an awesome adventure, with very detailed isometric graphics, great character animations and lots of tricky puzzles. The graphics are black and white, the only sound you’ll listen to is an awful tune and the game is quite difficult, but these are only minor drawbacks to a unique game.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
You only have a few minutes to enter an underground shelter before an atomic bomb is launched. So drive your V8 as fast as possible, even if the track is dangerously winding. Well, this is a really addictive game. The soundtrack is great (I think the main tune is one of the best ever heard on our favourite computer) and the action is hard enough to keep you concentrated. The time you’re given is really short, though, and the road has many dead ends and getting out of it means the end of the game. The biggest flaw is the size of the playing window, which is really tiny. The controls are a bit awkward too. Anyway, it is a good game, although it’s very challenging for the nerves.
In the year 3010, Lazer Tag is the ultimate sport. You are a new recruit at the Lazer Tag training school, aiming to progress through the ranks. Each level of the game consists of two stages – a shoot-out, in which you must shoot all the other players and reach the other side of the arena before your time runs out, and a target section, in which you move along a fixed path and try to be as accurate as possible in shooting the other players. The arena is made up of mirrors and walls which deflect your laser beams, and in some cases multiply them. The graphics are colourful while not being brilliant, although the music quickly becomes irritating and doesn’t really suit the nature of the game. It’s a reasonable game and fun for a while, although ultimately, all the levels are very similar.
(US Gold, 1986)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
Leader Board took golfing to new heights in the 1980s and quite possibly was the franchise that made golfing computer games popular. The Amstrad CPC version, while resembling the original, is lacking in quite a few departments, as it looks and sounds rather bland in comparison. You pick up your clubs and can play from 18 holes up to 72, by yourself or with up to three other players, and you can choose from novice, amateur or professional level of difficulty. It’s rather slow going drawing the hole on the screen and then re-drawing it for your next shot. Everything seems easy enough, selecting clubs and judging your power and swing on each shot, but putting is quite a challenge and this is probably where you will pick up your monitor and throw it out the window. If you manage to master all four courses, there’s another set of courses available in Leader Board Tournament.
See also: World Class Leader Board.
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
Starting in an Ohio bar in 1936, and stopping only for a quick lavatory break, you are quickly incarcerated by the Leather Goddesses of Phobos as part of their grand plan to turn the Earth into their personal pleasure dome – and only you can stop them. Renowned for their adult-themed adventures, Infocom went the extra mile by making a game packed with sexual references that allowed you to play either a male or female protagonist (depending on your choice of bathroom at the beginning). As ever, Infocom’s adventure is not limited to what you see on the screen; the original package included a comic and a ‘scratch and sniff’ card (that thankfully remains tasteful). With no graphics to rely on, the game depends on the quality of the text and here it excels, jam-packed with humour that keeps you coming back for one more go. Worth a go.
Drive a high-powered futuristic car across nine fast and furious stages in a race to reach Sky City. It’s a crazy race, with many other cars competing in each stage and generally getting in your way. Your car is able to perform huge jumps, but for some reason it doesn’t have any weapons. You can collect extra energy and fuel during each stage, but one of the problems with the game is that the entire screen is used for displaying the track; there is no status display at all, so you have no idea how well you’re doing. The graphics are very crude and lack colour despite being drawn in the CPC’s high-colour, low-resolution Mode 0, the scrolling is jerky, and there is no music and only a few sound effects – not even any engine noises. Although the game plays at a reasonably fast pace, it all feels rather empty and lacking in excitement.
The third game in the Time Troubleshooter series starring Lee Enfield (or Bob Morane in the French version of the game) sees our hero exploring the jungle in a mission to locate his nemesis, the Yellow Shadow, who is searching for the Chibchas treasure that is located in a temple in the jungle. Lee carries a knife and a detector that reveals the position of nearby creatures and enemies, and he also has a limited supply of dynamite that can be used to blow up walls and enter otherwise inaccessible areas of the temple. The playing area occupies only a quarter of the screen, and although the graphics are very colourful, they also look a bit messy. The biggest problem with the game is that it’s far too easy; once you work out where in the temple the treasure is located, you can complete the game in less than three minutes!
The Yellow Shadow is planning to destroy the Holy Shroud – a relic located in the Castle of the Count of Savoy. Lee Enfield must retrieve it before it’s too late! This game is the second in the Time Troubleshooter series and is known in France as Bob Morane : Chevalerie 1. Lee must explore the castle and fight the Yellow Shadow’s guards. To fight an opponent, you have to waggle the joystick or press the left and right keys alternately and try to get a bar on the screen to exceed a certain level, which is relatively easy to achieve for the first few enemies but soon becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible. There’s no map or compass on the screen, so it’s very easy to become disoriented. The playing area is very small, the graphics are messy, and the music on the title screen is terrible. This is a very poor game indeed.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
This French shoot-’em-up (known as Bob Morane : Science Fiction 1 over there) takes place in a space station, where you must shoot enemy soldiers and various dangerous creatures before they attack you. The gameplay is much like that of Prohibition from the same developer. A little arrow on your cursor indicates the position of your targets. You only have a few seconds to spot and kill them before they open fire. There are many levels, which are very similar; only the background colour and a few details change from one screen to the next. The speed increases as you progress forward, making the game more and more difficult. The graphics are very good and the scrolling is really smooth. Overall, this is a good shooting game that unfortunately lacks variety and quickly becomes boring.
The cowboy Luke Warme is broke, but after hearing tales of gold around the Indian burial ground, he sets off in pursuit of riches. After being captured by Apache Indians, he finds himself and his horse in their settlement. This is a text adventure written using GAC – in fact, it’s one of the adventures that Incentive sold in order to showcase how good the program really is. The graphics are fine by GAC standards, and it’s an easy adventure to get into, although one rather annoying feature is that most objects can’t be examined – instead the message “You see nothing special” is displayed. It’s still OK for newcomers to text adventures to play, though.