Screenshot of Lost Caves

Lost Caves

(Players, 1989)

Written by Amstrad Action’s Adam Waring, this is a maze game where you have to collect ten diamonds, whilst avoiding the falling boulders which you have to set loose during your explorations. There are also lots of guardians on the lookout for you. One version of the game has a built-in cheat to let you select any level you want, which is a good thing, as it’s impossible to get off the first level – and indeed, all the others. There are some good graphics and the tune is reasonable, but the guardians are far too hard to avoid.

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Screenshot of The Lost Phirious Part 1: The Casiopia

You are a space explorer searching for the Phirious – a cargo vessel that vanished in unknown circumstances. As you head towards Earth to find out more information, you come across a stranded spaceship, the Casiopia. You beam yourself down to the ship, but then your own ship is destroyed in an explosion! Now you must find a way to return to Earth and obtain a new ship. This is the first part of a trilogy of text adventures, all of which were developed using The Quill. You begin on board the Casiopia, and for some unexplained reason, you aren’t wearing any clothes! There are over 70 locations to explore, and there is a lot of descriptive and humorous text, but that means there isn’t enough room for other things such as puzzles, and most of the objects can’t be examined, which I found annoying.

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Screenshot of Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge

(Gremlin Graphics, 1990)

Get ready to compete in the Lotus Challenge with fifteen other competitors as you attempt to score points in various tracks in every corner of the world. There are three difficulty levels with seven, ten and fifteen tracks in each respectively, and each has their own characteristics. You’ll need to be really good to win races, although it’s possible to win the championship without winning any races! On some tracks, you might need to pit for fuel as well. In short, this is one of the best racing games on the CPC. The graphics may not be stunning, but the scrolling is really fast and you really feel like you’re doing 140mph. The music and sound effects are good as well.

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Screenshot of Lucky Fruits

Lucky Fruits

(KnightSoft, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

An early entry into the CPC’s catalogue of fruit machine simulators. Feature-wise, everything’s there that you would associate with such a game for the time it was released. Presentation-wise, this one, although colourful, looks a little basic. In fact, soon after playing this game you begin to sniff a BASIC program that, although does a good job, just doesn’t cut the mustard. Simple and sparse sound effects just increase the desire to look elsewhere for a more pleasing choice of game.

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Screenshot of Lucky Luke: Nitroglycérine

Lucky Luke: Nitroglycérine

(Coktel Vision, 1987)

A railway is being built that will run east to west across America, and Lucky Luke has the task of guarding a train that is carrying a cargo of explosive nitroglycerine. Based on one of the many comic books featuring the cowboy Lucky Luke, this game consists of five episodes with varying styles of gameplay, such as moving around a screen trying to perform actions in the correct order, shooting bandits as they slowly appear from doorways, searching for the stolen nitroglycerine, and solving a complex puzzle by pulling levers to move railway tracks. The graphics are colourful, although they are often quite blocky and look somewhat messy. The music is also not particularly good. As for the gameplay, all of the episodes, with the exception of the puzzle-solving section, are much too easy to complete.

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Screenshot of Ludic: Break the Loop

Ludic: Break the Loop

(Osmobit Games, 2019)

Professor Ludic has developed a program on his CPC464 in an attempt to stop artificial intelligence (AI) from enslaving humanity – but something went wrong and he has inadvertently been transported to another world. Now he must outwit the AI and escape. On each of the 16 levels, you must collect as many qubits as you can. This is made more difficult by the fact that once you move in any direction, you will keep moving until you hit an obstacle, although you can use qubits to halt your movement. Some levels also feature multiple characters that you can switch between, and you will need to use them to solve the level. This puzzle game finished second in the 2019 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest. It’s well presented – I particularly like the banter between Professor Ludic and the AI – but I found it to be a bit too challenging for my liking.

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Screenshot of The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

(Infocom, 1987)

You’ve come to the computer centre at GUE Tech and are in the terminal room, with only a hacker for company, trying to get your essay finished for tomorrow morning. There’s a huge blizzard outside and you’re stuck here for the night, but something much more sinister is afoot... This was one of the last of Infocom’s text adventures to be released for the CPC, and I reckon it’s their best one. The text descriptions really create a tense and frightening atmosphere as you skulk around the corridors of GUE Tech, and the characters that you will meet are rather scary as well, such as the ghoulish caretaker and the professor of alchemy. This isn’t just my favourite Infocom game; it’s one of my favourite text adventures of all time.

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