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.
(US Gold, 1988)
This outrageously wacky game caused some controversy when it was released, thanks to an advertising campaign featuring a topless model which had nothing to do with the game itself. A group of pigs (including a friend if you wish) engage in a fight for survival by hurling bombs at each other, and the last one standing wins. This continues for up to twelve rounds, with a bonus level after every three rounds. It’s as silly as it sounds, yet it’s actually really good fun with pigs and bombs whizzing around the screen! There is an element of luck involved in your progression through the rounds, and the graphics are cute and colourful, if rather basic, but it’s an excellent game if you’re looking for a few minutes of entertainment, and the music is utterly delightful.
Reviewed by Pug
The Greek goddess Athena has decided to find adventure and challenge in the mortal world. She finds herself in a post-apocalyptic world full of criminals, mutants and destruction. So off she goes on a mission to clear away the evil that is destroying the Earth. This is a flip-screen platform shoot-’em-up with power-ups. The game is a little slow and the graphics look blocky and garish. Sound-wise, a basic tune plays on the options screen with a few effects during the game. There’s nothing special here in this game to keep you interested.
Seven favourite pub games – darts, billiards, dominoes, table soccer, pontoon, poker and skittles – are brought to you on the CPC. All of the games require you to play with a friend; you might want to take control of both players, but it’s nowhere near as much fun. As for the games themselves, they’re mostly average, with darts and skittles being the best ones to play. The graphics vary considerably, but sound effects are mostly absent, although there’s a nice little tune on the menu. If you have someone else to play against, it’s fun for a while.
(Code Masters, 1989)
If your brain is full of useless facts and you feel like learning some more, then try this game. Up to four players can test their knowledge of music, sport, showbiz and trivia. Each round consists of answering five questions where you score points, followed by the ‘money maze’ where you can score both points and money (allowing you to continue if you get a question wrong). This pattern continues until you become bored. Eventually, after seeing the same questions many times, you will get past the first round, but with only three sets of questions that can be used, and not enough variety, it’s not a game to become enthusiastic about. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is “March”, by the way.)
(Ubi Soft, 1989)
Reviewed by Pug
In this game, you play either Puffy or Pufyn, who must make their way through 34 dungeons filled with traps, monsters and treasure. The game itself resembles a mixture of Gauntlet (monsters, keys and magic items) and Pac-Man (collect all the dots to exit). There are larger blue dots to be found that assist your quest; the more you collect, the better the bonus or power-up you will receive. Graphically, Puffy’s Saga looks very nice, with no flicker and acceptable scrolling. Music plays on the informative title screen with a few in-game sound effects, including digitised sounds on 128K machines.
Reviewed by Pug
Pulsator is a puzzle game in which you travel around a flip-screen maze looking for the exit. Certain parts of the maze are blocked by locked gates; each one is numbered between 1 and 6. To open these gates, you have to look for and travel over a numbered tile found within the maze. Retracing your steps over the same numbered tile closes the gate. Certain parts of the maze are one-way routes and many instant death tiles act as walls in places. Several nasties occupy the maze and drain your energy if touched, but thankfully you can shoot them down. Colourful and smooth graphics, simple effects and a nice tune add to a very challenging game.
It’s Breakout time once again, although I have to say that I actually like this one a bit. Instead of a ball, though, there is some sort of laser pulse which bounces about the screen, and if it collides with one of the creatures that roam at the top of the screen, it splits into two pulses, and if there are lots of creatures, there are going to be a lot of pulses, and things get quite hectic! Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get extra lives, and you’ll need them. The graphics are nothing special, but the gameplay makes up for it, and you must listen to the music... it is truly excellent!