(GLL Software, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
This game had the potential to be something really special. Straight away we have a neat intro sequence of your character being dropped off on a planet’s surface. This is followed by an uptempo but monotonous tune on the title screen. While you notice the lack of colour in the graphics, there are loads of little details. For example, on the bottom left of the screen you have a close-up view of your character’s face that shows you reacting to damage and generally commenting on the on-screen action. I like the animation on the tentacles at the beginning of the game and the ability to fire in multiple directions. Your bullets can even ricochet off certain objects and have an arc of fire. Unfortunately the game suffers from some serious slowdown at times. Perhaps there is just too much going on.
(Melbourne House, 1988)
A while ago, most of the Federation Star Fleet was wiped out by aliens, who have now built a gigantic spaceship, intending to destroy the Earth. You are a stowaway on the ship and you must shut down the plasma drive engines and recover some data packs containing vital information. The aliens are still waiting for you, though... The game uses an icon system which allows you to jump, pick up weapons and ammunition, shoot, and enter doors. This might work if you had a mouse, but you don’t, and when you’ve selected an icon, it’s usually too late. It has nice graphics and atmospheric music which increases the sense of loneliness, but the control system makes it too tough.
(Artic Computing, 1985)
Reviewed by John Beckett
You play the part of a spaceman who has been sent on a mission to a distant space station to re-initialise the various power terminals which have stopped working. You do this by whizzing around using your trusty jet-pack, avoiding the station’s defence mechanisms (lasers, androids etc.) and finding and using various items to proceed (for example, using pass cards to enter rooms). This is actually a pretty enjoyable game, with nice, bold, colourful graphics and decent sound, but I, being useless at ‘jet-pack’ games like this, just found it far too hard, with its masses of items and bad guys zooming towards you as soon as you enter the room. That said though, if you like adventure games, and take the time to map it out, and generally stick with it, you’ll find there’s a good, addictive game here.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Axelino.
Reviewed by Missas
Oceano is an arcade game in which you are the captain of a submarine and you must go through a maze with many dangers such as big bubbles and fish. As you progress through the labyrinth, you collect crystals. The CPC version is similar to the ZX Spectrum version, but the graphics are far better; they are colourful and pleasant. The gameplay elicited a feeling that I was back in 1985. It plays and feels like a game from that era. The grab factor is weak though, as it is a very small game. Overall, try it until you complete it and feel again like travelling back in time!
Reviewed by John Beckett
Nothing too groundbreaking here. You control a green lizard and must wander around a maze, until you’ve covered every inch of ground, at which point you go to the next level. Out to kill you are green eyeball monsters, which you can kill temporarily by firing projectiles at them. Add to the mix a few opening/closing doorways and you have Octoplex. Or at least you have the first two levels – the game is far too hard for me to get any further! The enemies fly around the maze at close to the speed of light, there’s an ultra-strict time limit, and on top of that, you only have three lives! Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s still quite addictive and reasonably good fun. Also, it has lovely, colourful graphics and, in my opinion, one of the catchiest tunes on the CPC!
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Amstrad CPC World.
L’Oeil de Set
(Ubi Soft, 1987)
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
Tyrkos the warrior has been called to the palace of the county of Okkmokk. The Eye of Set, a sceptre belonging to the ruler Fynsk, was stolen from him by the necromancer Atrackses, and guess what Tyrkos – that’s you – must do? You are accompanied to an underground entrance which will lead you to Atrackses’ lair, but from there, you’re on your own, in a dungeon full to the brim with hazards and traps. This is a multiple choice text adventure in which you go from room to room and decide what to do from a list of options, many of which prove to be fatal. A small picture accompanies each room, and most of them are quite good. However, the text is rather difficult to read at times, even if you understand French, and the colours used in some rooms make it even more so. Still, it’s an enjoyable game with lots of exploration to do.
Off Shore Warrior
Speedboat racing is more violent in the year 2049. Competitors try to force each other off the course and fire missiles at each other in order to win. You race around four courses, steering yourself between the buoys that mark the course, and avoiding crashing into your competitors. If you finish first or second, you can go to the next round. As I mentioned, you can use missiles to destroy the other racers, but you only have a very limited number of them for each course and they’re highly inaccurate. The graphics are up to Titus’ high standards and the scrolling is very fast, but the other competitors always seem to crash into you as they overtake you, losing you so much time that progressing to the next course is impossible. A good-looking game that suffers from being frustratingly difficult.
The Official Father Christmas
(Alternative Software, 1989)
Yes, there was an official Father Christmas game, although sadly it’s not much good. It’s Christmas Eve and Santa has to get all the presents delivered to children around the world – but the elves have stolen the parts of his sleigh! You have to find them, but bump into an elf and it’ll run away and steal your part again. When you’ve built the sleigh, you get to choose some presents, and then it’s time to deliver some presents to four continents. It’s clear from the start that the game is for young children, but the graphics are hardly going to appeal to them, and anyone else can complete the game on their first go, hence the low mark!
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: GameHammer Classic Gaming, Novabug.
This was one of the earliest games for the CPC and, boy, it shows. An archaeological dig is excavating some pyramids in Egypt, but there are mummies lurking in the chambers and they’re out to get you! Each chamber has twenty boxes, and to get out, you must uncover the Pharaoh’s sarcophagus and the key. The graphics are basic and the music is just an irritating ten-second tune repeated over and over again, but it can be switched off. It starts off being fun but there’s no variety in it, and it’s also too easy.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Amstrad CPC World, ChinnyVision, Novabug, Retro Danuart, Xyphoe.
Reviewed by John Beckett
Based on the anarchic, short-lived comic from the late 1980s (basically, Viz for kids), Oink! takes such memorable, hilarious characters as Tom Thug, Pete’s Pimple and Rubbishman and somehow manages to deliver a truly boring game. The concept is different – complete three mini-games to unlock frames of a comic strip which can be read on completion. Unfortunately, the mini-games – a Breakout clone, a maze game and a horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up (the only one that actually features an Oink! character!) are so dull, difficult and repetitive that you’ll never want to get that far in the game. The graphics are OK – nice and colourful – but the sound is unremarkable and the whole game is a waste of what could, no, should have been a great license!
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.