Profanation 2: Escape from Abu Simbel
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.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: jgonza.
Professional BMX Simulator
(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.
See also: BMX Simulator, BMX Simulator 2.
Professional Ski Simulator
(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.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: XeNoMoRPH.
Psi-5 Trading Company
(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.
An alien race is threatening to take over a system of 38 planets, and naturally, you’ve got to stop them. This isn’t a shoot-’em-up, though; instead, it’s a time trial where you race at full throttle along 38 tunnels or vortices, one for each planet. The tunnels consist of tiles, and you must ensure that you stay on the tiles, or you will damage your spaceship and eventually crash. Some of the tiles affect your spaceship by jumping it over gaps, or teleporting you further along the tunnel – or further back if you’re not careful. There are also restart points to make things easier. In fact, the game is much too easy; I completed it on my first go. It’s still worth playing, though; I’ve never seen such a blindingly fast game on the CPC with 3D graphics.
The city is overrun with muggers and gun-toting criminals, and you’re determined to clean the streets and get rid of them. You’ll need to obtain a gun to fend off the criminals – but the bins are booby-trapped and will explode if they hit something when you push them! Lying around the city, and in some of these bins, are sacks of money and briefcases containing drugs, which you need to return to the bank in order to claim a reward and score points. You must also find where Mr Big is hiding and kill him. The graphics are bright and colourful, although they don’t fit at all well with what is supposed to be a violent city, and the sound effects are very limited indeed. The biggest problem is that your character shuffles about at a snail’s pace, which makes exploring the city extremely dull and tedious.
You have entered the World of Dreams, and are bouncing on a space hopper (remember them?) shooting bats and dwarves and collecting four pieces of a skull on each level. Well, dreams are nearly always completely detached from reality, aren’t they? Controlling your space hopper isn’t easy; you’ll need to bounce a lot in order to increase your height so that you can reach other platforms, but you can’t bounce on the spot, so you have to move left and right instead and try your best to avoid the energy-sapping monsters. Frankly, the inability to bounce on the spot makes this game quite frustrating to play, and excellent graphics and music can’t make up for this.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: ChinnyVision.