(Euphoria Design, 2020)
Prince Dastan is being held prisoner in the Grand Vizier’s dungeons. Can he rescue the Sultan’s beautiful daughter before it’s too late? If you’re familiar with Prince of Persia, you’ll recognise this background story. This game finished in eighth place in the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, which awarded bonus points for including a reference to Prince of Persia. If you haven’t guessed already from the title, it’s a clone of the famous puzzle game Sokoban, in which you push crates around rooms and work out how to place them in their correct positions. There are 179 levels to complete, and it will take a lot of thought to solve them all. The presentation is of a very high standard, although the controls feel quite clunky when you’re moving your character around, which mars the gameplay a bit.
The Grand Vizier has captured the Sultan’s daughter and has given her an ultimatum; either marry him, or die! You have one hour in which to get out of the dungeons and rescue her from her cell before the Grand Vizier kills her. Each level sees you fighting guardians and finding the way out, and there are potions to be drunk, too. This was also one of the first games to feature real animation, where the characters really do move properly, and the number of actions you can perform are astonishing. The graphics are incredible, especially the intro sequence, and really, the only bad thing about this game is the awful ‘music’, which thankfully isn’t present in the main game.
The inmates are running riot in a high security prison, and you have been sent in to find their leaders and restore order. You must explore the prison (which is very large), collecting food, ammunition, and keys to enter the cells. Some of the cells will have their windows broken, where a leader will be waiting on the rooftop for you to negotiate his surrender – but you’ll have to solve a puzzle (one of those sliding tile games) within 60 seconds. This game looks and plays very similarly to the Joe Blade series, but like those games, it’s got dull, monochrome graphics, a mediocre tune, and poor gameplay.
Within the Chamber of Midas lies an ancient secret – but what exactly is it? In order to find out, you must fly through several mazes. Each maze contains four code pods which you must collect in the correct order. When you’ve got all four, you must then fly to the base to take you to the next maze. Of course, there are aliens in each room which you must shoot – but your supply of laser bolts is limited, although it can be replenished. This is a monotonous exploration game with very poor graphics and sound. There’s just not enough excitement in the game to make you want to collect the code pods.
Reviewed by Robert Small
Atlantis throws its hat into the ring when it comes to golf games on the Amstrad CPC. This one is played from a top-down perspective and it isn’t pretty. The graphics are very basic Mode 1. There are a couple of courses to play on (Sunningdale in England and Pebble Beach in California), a fair smattering of options, and gameplay that is a bit frustrating at first due to the way the ball is struck. Similarly to Nick Faldo Plays the Open, a little golfer is depicted on the screen, but due to the poor graphics it just doesn’t look anywhere near as good as that game. Indeed Pro Golf Simulator from Code Masters offers a better-looking round of top-down golf than this.
(Code Masters, 1990)
Play a round of golf on an 18-hole course, ranging from easy 3-par holes to much trickier 5-par holes surrounded by water and sand bunkers. You can practice any of the holes, and you can also perfect your putting skills. Taking shots is easy enough; select a suitable club and the direction to hit the ball, and judge the strength of your shot and whether you want the ball to veer to the left (hook) or right (slice), taking into account the wind direction. The course is viewed from a top-down perspective, which is annoying when your ball lands underneath a bush or a tree. The graphics are good, as is the music (yes, music in a golf game!), and while it’s not the most realistic golf simulation for the CPC, it’s still pretty good. It even comes with an editor to let you design your own courses.
(Alternative Software, 1989)
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
One or two players can take part in this challenging mountain bike racer. Never mind having to avoid the boulders and pitfalls on the courses, your first real obstacle will be getting to grips with a clunky set of controls. Once you work out how to move through the gears you’ll start to make some progress, but it’s still a long, uphill battle to get to grips with the game, as there’s no way to control the trajectory of your bike when you make leaps from ramps; you will crash and crash often! The graphics are blocky and undefined but clear enough for you to see what you’re doing. One gripe, though, is the flick-screen scrolling that makes careering into the occasional unseen object at the edge of a screen both unavoidable and frustrating. The game has a decent title tune and overall, it’s a fun distraction that rewards perseverance.
(Code Masters, 1989)
Race a catamaran or a speedboat along five levels of action, dodging other speedboats, watching out for mines, and trying not to crash into the scenery! Your boat uses a lot of fuel, so you’ll need to collect extra fuel regularly. You can also collect mines which you can use to blow up other boats, although it’s not necessary to do this at all in order to complete the course; it merely allows you to obtain a few extra points. The first course is very easy indeed and is a simple introduction to the game, but it becomes a bit harder from the second level onwards. There’s also a ‘night level’ in which you can only see part of the course at any one time. The graphics are very good indeed, although there’s no music. Overall, though, this is a great little game.
(Code Masters, 1989)
Skate your way around lots of courses, trying to reach the finishing line before your time runs out. There are two types of game here; the first sees you collecting flags and is viewed from an isometric perspective, while the second is a slalom course in which you move left and right to steer yourself between the flagpoles. In either case, if you run out of time or don’t pass through enough flagpoles, you lose a life. It sounds OK, but the game is mediocre. The graphics are nothing special and lack colour, and there is no music and very few sound effects, so you effectively play the game in silence. It’s a bit difficult as well.
(Code Masters, 1989)
This is a fairly simple tennis game which is quite tricky to get the hang of. There are relatively few options – the only changes you can make being the ability of your computer opponent, and the length of the match. Your opponent’s ability determines the surface that the game is to be played on – clay for novice opponents, grass for medium opponents, and concrete for expert opponents. The action is fast, but the controls are a little awkward, particularly if you’re using the keyboard, and even the novice opponent is too difficult to beat – or maybe I haven’t had enough practice. The graphics and sound are both of a high standard, but I didn’t find playing against the computer to be much fun.