Screenshot of Mandragore


(Infogrames, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

This is a role-playing game, much like the Ultima series, in which you lead a party through forests, swamps and dungeons. The map is huge, there are many places to explore and monsters to fight. Well, the graphics are really awful, but it isn’t a problem in this kind of game. The parser helps you find the right commands (for instance, A means ‘attack’, D means ‘enter dungeon’, and so on), so it’s rather easy to play. A good and complex game. Try it if you love killing dragons and unlocking chests, and don’t mind blocky graphics and poor sound effects.

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Screenshot of Mange Cailloux

Mange Cailloux

(Ubi Soft, 1987)

‘Eat little stones’ is the rather strange English translation of this French Pengo clone. Guide the penguin around the maze, pushing ice blocks to destroy the blob-shaped monsters that are pursuing him, and try to align the three diamond-like blocks in a row to earn bonus points. Unlike most other derivatives of Pengo, you don’t have to destroy all of the monsters’ eggs; you just have to survive until the time limit has been reached, although there’s no indication of how long the time limit is! For some reason, the CPC’s default colours are used in the graphics, and yet despite this, the game is not that bad. The music on the menu is rather pleasant as well.

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Screenshot of Manhattan 95

Manhattan 95

(Ubi Soft, 1986)

Reviewed by Robert Small

You are Snail Lispken. Your mission – rescue the President and don’t let John Carpenter find out you’re playing an ‘unofficial’ adaptation of his classic film Escape From New York. That’s right, Ubi Soft didn’t buy the official licence to the film, so they have made some creative alterations. Now with that said, the presentation is nice. There is an intro and some good synthesiser music. Once up and running the game is in Mode 1 with fairly detailed graphics, but there is a big lack of variety in the backgrounds. The gameplay consists of fighting, shooting, some light adventuring and a very small amount of driving. Despite containing a little bit of variety, it isn’t a game that will hold your attention for long as it is rather monotonous.

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Screenshot of Manic Miner

Manic Miner

(Amsoft/Software Projects, 1984)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Manic Miner has long been regarded as a classic game, and rightfully so. The prequel to Jet Set Willy, the game has you playing Miner Willy as you traverse underground caverns, collecting enough keys in each one to open the exit and allow you to proceed. Each cavern is only one screen in size, but they are jam-packed with enemies (weird and wonderful!), platforms, keys and other obstacles, making them seem a lot bigger. The graphics are fairly simplistic but still good, and the music is pretty catchy, and the whole game is a heap-load of fun. The levels are brilliantly laid out, and the difficulty is set just right – each go will take you further than the last one. Some of the later levels are a bit punishing, but not overly so. Great for a quick blast, and sometimes unbelievably addictive, Manic Miner is a game I recommend to anyone.

See also: Jet Set Willy.

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Screenshot of Le Manoir de Mortevielle

Le Manoir de Mortevielle

(Lankhor, 1988)

  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

Jérôme Lange, a private detective, has been called to Mortville Manor by a former friend, Julia Defranck. She is seriously ill, and by the time he arrives at the manor, she is dead. But as you investigate the cause of her death and search the manor thoroughly, other mysteries start to arise... This is an absolutely stunning graphic adventure that will leave you awestruck. As well as excellent graphics, it also features digitised speech throughout – and you can even understand it! The digitised tune on the title screen is also brilliant. Of course, there’s a lot to explore in Mortville Manor, and the solution involves a lot of lateral thinking and deciphering some very cryptic clues. However, this game is an all-time classic among French CPC users, and rightly so, but it’s a great shame that despite talk of releasing the CPC version in the UK, it never was.

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Screenshot of Le Manoir du Comte Frozarda
  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

Reports of several young girls going missing in Transylvania have greatly concerned the local authorities, who call on you to enter the nearby manor where some descendants of Count Dracula have returned. Worse, your fiancée has also disappeared... This is a text adventure with fairly crude graphics and some gruesome scenes. It’s written using The Quill, and as a result, it looks and feels rather unsophisticated when compared with most other French adventures. The parser seems to be rather limited, and despite initially making some promising progress, I quickly become totally stuck. Also worthy of note is that a prize of 15 days in Transylvania was offered to the first person to complete this game – and someone did win it.

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Screenshot of Mansion Kali

Mansion Kali

(Commodore Plus, 2013)

Reviewed by Missas

  • Knowledge of Spanish is required in order to play this game properly.

Mansion Kali is a pure text adventure, like those that many players loved in the 1980s. Although their appearance looks simple, most of them provide a great plot and atmosphere. It is like reading a good quality book. Mansion Kali is about a mansion where twisted things take place. Add to this some black magic and what you get is a good Elvira-type game paired with the imposing atmosphere of a 1980s horror movie. A significant drawback for this game is that all of the text is in Spanish. Overall, if you decide to spend some time with Mansion Kali instead of reading a horror book, you will not be disappointed.

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Screenshot of Maracaïbo


(Loriciels, 1986)

You are one of a group of divers on a secret mission below the surface of the ocean, but a traitor has locked one of the divers in a cage. His supply of oxygen is running out, and you must find the key to release him – and soon! I found this game to be very confusing and boring to play. There is a dot at the bottom of the screen which represents your current location in the ocean, but moving off the screen never seems to take you to where you want to go, and I soon became totally lost. You can swim around and admire the pretty graphics (and the sharks), but there seems to be very little to actually do. Maybe I don’t understand how to play this game properly, but I don’t care anyway.

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Screenshot of Marauder


(Hewson, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

You play a character called Cobra who has to retrieve the jewels of Ozymandius. This all takes place on the planet Mergatron with you behind the wheel of a Battlecar. You travel along a vertical push-scroll screen taking out baddies with your bullets and smart bombs. Along the route you may find multi-coloured turrets, which when shot offer a random bonus that either boosts your car or forfeits your status. The game is a challenging one in places and boasts good graphics, music, and average sound effects.

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Screenshot of Marble Madness Construction Set

Marble Madness Construction Set

(Melbourne House, 1986)

Guide the marble through ten screens of tortuous and twisting terrain, without falling off the edges or crashing into other marbles and creatures. This game was famous in the arcades because the marble was controlled by a trackball, but of course, that can’t be done on a CPC. It was also a totally original game and has been imitated extensively. However, this conversion isn’t as good as it could have been; the graphics move too slowly and it looks drab. The music is great, though, and it’s possible to design your own screens using the built-in construction set. A deluxe edition of the game with different screens was also released.

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