(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.
(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.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1985)
Reviewed by Pug
This is your first mission as a Space Cadet, on board the fearful SS Future. Your aim is to activate the ship’s self-destruct system before it hits Earth. To achieve your mission you must find all eight parts of the destruct code that are hidden deep inside the ship. This game is a flip-screen maze full of limited power-ups and patrol droids that soon regenerate once you’ve shot them. Some colourful graphics and a few chirpy sound effects encourage you to explore the ship, but the game does become a little frustrating.
If you want to see a really boring two-player game, then look no further than this lame excuse for a game. Both players control a helicopter each, searching the (very small) landscape for the three parts of a missile which have to be transported back to base one at a time. When you’ve done that, you must take the missile to the other player’s base and drop it there to win the game. You can stop the other player by firing at him, but it makes very little difference, since you’ll run out of ammunition before you destroy him. The game is rubbish when you’re playing with a friend, and beating the computer seems impossible to me.
(US Gold, 1987)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Some games divide opinion and Psi-5 Trading Company is one such game. Assemble your crew, plot a course and then hope that you’re able to make your delivery without losing it to space pirates. The graphics are cute and colourful and it’s fun reading up about your chosen crew and issuing orders. The screen is split into three during gameplay, with your traditional forward-facing exterior view joined by crew portraits and a large text box for displaying data and issuing orders. The game is very much about spinning plates. What appeals to some may become frustrating to others but I’d still give this a cautious recommendation.