Reviewed by Robert Small
The easiest thing do to with a licensed game is to turn it into a platform game or some other recognisable genre, but DK’Tronics haven’t done that. To their credit, they have taken a TV show about wheeling and dealing and created a trading game. Is this an Arthur Daley con on the CPC or a good deal? Graphically we are in Spectrum territory, but having said that, the graphics have some nice little touches, such as the animated mouths on the characters. The theme tune from the TV series is there as well. If you’re not familiar with it, you will be by the time you’re finished, as it’s ever-present. You can visit multiple locations, meeting many characters who you can try to sell to or purchase from while avoiding the law. Waiting for said characters to show up is a pain but it’s part and parcel of simulating the world of Minder. No con then, but not the deal of the century either.
(Abstract Concepts, 1988)
Southampton, 1988; nuclear bombs have been dropped on the UK, and China has taken control with a totalitarian régime known as The System. A boy called Robin has transported himself to this scenario while his body remains in the present, in 1987. Can he prevent this nuclear holocaust from occurring? This is an intriguing text adventure which is based on a book which also comes with the game; it’s necessary to read it to understand the background to events, and what you need to do. The locations are laid out in an extremely confusing and illogical manner which will frustrate many people, and random events can occur which prevent you from making progress. Despite this, I found the game to be quite gripping, although you will need a lot of patience to play it.
Reviewed by Pug
In Mindshadow, you find yourself stranded upon a desert island with no memory of how you arrived there. Your first task is therefore to find a means of escape making use of the objects scattered around the island. Each location is accompanied by a (quickly rendered) image relative to your positon on the game map, adding an extra sense of realism to the game. Some of the scenery will change once you’ve solved a puzzle – a nice touch. The game also includes an interactive tutorial to help get you started. Mindshadow quickly becomes an addictive challenge, especially after you escape the island and learn more about your past.
(The Edge, 1986)
One of the King’s sons, Nemesar, has slain his mother, stolen the Mindstone and escaped with it. The King’s other son, Prince Kyle, has been given the task of finding Nemesar and the Mindstone, otherwise a terrible fate will fall upon the realm. In this role-playing game, you control a team of four characters, including Prince Kyle. The graphics are very Spectrum-like and lack colour, there is no sound at all, it has all the usual generic fantasy elements – battles with a range of monsters, objects to be collected and bought, spells to be cast – and yet I found it to be quite enjoyable, although it is strongly recommended that you use direct control mode and take the time to memorise a lot of keys, as the icon-driven control mode is cumbersome to use.
A brain-teasing puzzle game where you must rotate all the dice so that each of the six columns contains the corresponding dice – so the dice showing 1 go into the leftmost column, and the dice showing 6 go into the rightmost column. It’s easy for the first 30 or so levels, but after that, the levels have two or more ‘floors’, and you’ll also need to swap groups of dice between the floors. The game is mostly written in BASIC and is well known for having a million levels! Needless to say, no one is ever going to get anywhere close to that target. There’s not much to say about the graphics – they don’t need to be impressive for this type of game, and they certainly aren’t – and the sound is awful as well.
(Chupi Games, 2019)
Jonny is trapped inside a mountain, and now he must escape. This game consists of a series of single-screen levels, and as Jonny, you must work out how to reach the exit of each level, while avoiding spikes and various enemies. You have the ability to jump off walls and slide down them slowly, and power-ups can also be collected to increase your jumping distance and reverse gravity. The game was the winner of the 2019 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest. The graphics are basic and the music, if you can call it that, is terrible, although it plays very quietly so it’s not a big distraction, and it can be turned off. What matters is that the game is very playable. The first few levels are easy to complete, but they quickly become a lot more challenging. Thankfully the game supplies you with infinite lives, and you’ll certainly need them!
A barrage of intercontinental ballistic missiles rains down on your cities. Can you save them from total destruction? This is a conversion of a very well-known arcade game by Atari that was released in 1980, when there was a looming threat of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The enemy missiles leave trails as they hurtle towards Earth, and you must aim your own missiles at them in a bid to prevent your cities from being obliterated. The first level is easy, but the action soon becomes increasingly frantic. While this is a cartridge game, and therefore makes use of the enhanced palette of the GX4000 and Plus machines, the in-game graphics are simplistic, just like the original arcade game – although the menu screen and the music are both excellent and the gameplay is addictive, and it’s difficult to resist having one more go.
The agent MALOX has stolen the secret formula for the Megatron bomb and plans to sell it to an enemy power. MALOX is located within a labyrinth of eighty rooms, and you must explore all of the rooms one by one to reach him and kill him. Each room contains a mixture of enemies and obstacles. Most of the enemies will home in on you, and the majority of them can be stunned temporarily with your laser, but some of them are invulnerable. Along the way, you can also collect helmets and body armour to improve your resistance to enemies. The rooms are viewed in an isometric perspective with beautifully detailed graphics (there are even some advertisements for Loriciels and a couple of its other games!). The sound effects are also quite good. The combination of shoot-’em-up action and puzzle elements makes this an interesting and entertaining game to play.
(Gasoline Software, 1987)
Guide a helicopter through a maze and then fly across a forest landscape. The game begins with your helicopter in a maze, and you must steer it through some narrow passages – it’s basically very similar to Airwolf but less difficult. Once you’ve navigated the four screens of this maze, the second part of the game sees you in the skies flying over a horizontally scrolling landscape of trees and the occasional tank. Every so often a missile flies towards you, which you must avoid, but there are no enemy aircraft to shoot! You have an unlimited supply of bombs, but they have no effect on the tanks. The sound effects are OK, but the graphics are very basic, and once you’ve escaped from the maze, the gameplay is extremely repetitive and dull.
Reviewed by Pug
There’s a bomb ticking away somewhere high up within a hotel, and you’re the man sent in to defuse it. Enemy agents are everywhere as you explore the lower levels, with a mission to stop you at all costs. Exploring the floors and its contents reveals secrets, information, and more importantly, keys. It’s a clever game requiring a lot of thought as you roam around reaching higher floors, with a lot of humour included too; don’t mess with the fuses! Colourful graphics with decent animation and a few audio effects add to a pleasing and entertaining game.