(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.
(Ubi Soft, 1990)
Of all the tennis games that have been released for the CPC, this one (known as Great Courts in France) has to be one of the smoothest and fastest. You start as the bottom-ranked player from a list of 17, and only by playing in tournaments such as the Australian, French and US Open, and of course Wimbledon, can you improve your ranking and become the number one player. The action is very fast indeed, so I reckon it’s one of the most realistic tennis simulations on the CPC as well! However, the game is very playable; all you need to do to return the ball is to position yourself appropriately and press the fire button, and serving is no problem either. The graphics are very good, and they’re even better in the cartridge version, which looks and feels almost like a different game.
(Electric Dreams, 1986)
The Machine Sorcerer Wardlock has created an organic lifeform in his Mechlab laboratories – but Solo the Syntheman doesn’t want to be experimented on for the rest of his life (and who can blame him?), and he wants to escape from the Mechlabs with baby Nejo, who will need to be fed with milk and have his nappy cleaned occasionally, like all babies. The Mechlabs are divided into four zones and are also filled with Wardlock’s previous experimental creations. Contact with these sends Solo all the way back to the start of the maze. This is no fun whatsoever, and to make matters worse, none of the monsters can be killed. The isometric graphics are reasonable, but I suggest you turn the volume down; the music (if you can call it that) is probably the worst you will ever hear on the CPC!
You’re a treasure hunter, exploring the Egyptian pyramids with no regard for the sanctity of the place (the name of the game means ‘desecration’ in English) and grabbing whatever treasures you can find. Naturally, there are lots of monsters which will kill you if you touch them; mummies, beetles, blobs of slime, and bats which home in on you very quickly. Fortunately, you are armed with a gun to shoot the monsters, but after you’ve shot a monster, another one will appear. In essence, it’s a Gauntlet clone with some very detailed graphics, but it’s too easy and you’ll soon get a sense of déjà vu when the levels soon start to repeat themselves.
Johnny Jones has found himself falling down a long shaft into the temple of Abu Simbel, from which he must escape. This platform game is the sequel to Dinamic’s Abu Simbel Profanation, which has a reputation for being very difficult, requiring pixel-perfect jumps and exact timing. Profanation 2 takes this to even more ridiculous extremes, to the point of making it practically unplayable for all but the most expert of players. Even with nine lives, I have only managed to see the first four screens without resorting to cheating! The game finished in second place in the 2017 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, but while the graphics and music are of a very high standard, the sheer difficulty of the gameplay mars it terribly.
See also: Abu Simbel Profanation.
(Ubi Soft, 1987)
Reviewed by Robert Small
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
That rarest of CPC graphic modes (as far as games are concerned), Mode 2, gets an airing in this graphic adventure game. You play a gumshoe investigating a kidnapping. The main point of interest is certainly the use of Mode 2. It’s like being drawn into an amateur comic book with some great art that goes from realistic to outright fantasy during the course of your investigation. Thankfully the pictures appear very quickly, and there are quite a few to see as well. You use drop-down menus to move, interact, and examine objects, which is also something a little different. No sound is featured in the game, though. This game shows good potential in its mix of graphic style and choice of using drop-down menus for gameplay. More games could have combined the two. As an adventure game it’s serviceable and worth a try.
(Code Masters, 1988)
It’s time to get on your bike again, as you race against three other BMX bikers to complete three laps of each course before your time runs out. Believe it or not, up to four players can play against each other. There are three sets of tracks – dirt biking, desert riding and quarry racing – and there’s also a choice of playing in either standard or expert mode (where you have to choose chain and wheel sizes for your bike). It’s tough enough even in standard mode – the first two courses are quite easy, but after that, the time limit becomes far too tight to beat.
(Code Masters, 1987)
I’ve never gone skiing in my life, but this simulation lets you compete against the computer or another player on several pistes. The screen scrolls down slowly and if you don’t keep up, then you’ll lose sight of where you are and it will be almost impossible to recover. You also have to complete each piste within a time limit. This may seem easy but it most certainly isn’t. The controls are rather awkward and it’s often difficult to get your skier moving, and seeing the computer sweep through each set of flags with ease doesn’t exactly raise your morale. I like the beautifully detailed scenery and the music, though.
New York is being overrun by gangsters, and the police have hired you to kill them all. The gangsters pop out from windows, rooftops, doors and manholes, and you are given just a few seconds to shoot them before they shoot you and erase one of your three lives. You can run for cover at any time, but sooner or later, you will no longer be allowed to do this. Another problem is finding where the next gangster is hiding! As the game progresses, the time limit becomes shorter and more bullets are needed to kill each gangster. The graphics are very detailed and the colour scheme reflects the mood well, and so does the music. The 128K version has extra graphics and music, and a larger screen size and a bonus shoot-out section. It’s a fairly good shoot-’em-up, although it will eventually become repetitive.