Screenshot of Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy

(Alternative Software, 1989)

Punch’s stall has been dismantled and the pieces are scattered all over the seaside resort of Bridlington, with all its tacky cafés, shops and amusement arcades. You’ve got to find all the pieces and then find the cast who are also wandering the streets, before the tide comes in. Don’t run into Mr Policeman, though, or you’ll be arrested! When you’ve done this, the show starts and you have to hit each of the cast repeatedly, again avoiding Mr Policeman. The graphics aren’t bad at all, but there are very few sound effects, and it becomes very boring as you wander the streets looking for the cast members.

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Screenshot of Punchy


(Amsoft, 1984)

Reviewed by John Beckett

A total rip-off of the 1983 arcade game Hunchback, the aim of Punchy is to get to the left of the screen to the right, avoiding boulders and holes on the way. Once Punchy achieves his aim, it’s on to the next level. And... that’s it – really! Zero marks for the storyline! Anyway, the graphics are, to be honest, appalling (it was an early game, but still...), the sound is nothing special, and the difficulty veers crazily from absurdly easy to impossible (I mean this literally, as the level I’m stuck on has a huge pit, two ghosts and no way of getting across). Still, for all its negative points, it is still quite a lot of fun and is also quite addictive. Just don’t expect to be blown away by it!

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Screenshot of Punk Star

Punk Star

(Iber Soft, 1988)

Reviewed by Robert Small

From the off you just can’t take this game seriously. Let’s start with the sampled speech. It’s certainly a “What the...?!” moment. What type of game is Punk Star? Well it’s a flick-screen platform shoot-’em-up. There aren’t many colours on display but it features unusually large sprites, both for you and the various enemies which are nicely animated. I’m not sure what your method of attack is supposed to be – spit bubbles? You can use a giant bubble to float through the levels, though. There is a little bit of sprite flicker at times and the controls could feel better – and for a punk-themed game, it’s eerily silent!

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Screenshot of Purple Saturn Day

Purple Saturn Day

(Exxos, 1989)

Seven alien contestants and one human contestant (that’s you) are about to participate in the Purple Saturn Day games, which consist of four events – Ring Pursuit (a high-speed slalom race around Saturn’s rings), Tronic Slider (a bit like ice hockey), Brain Bowler (a very original game in which you attempt to light up chips on an electrical circuit), and Time Jump (collecting sparks of energy in the hope that you can travel through time). The graphics are of an extremely high standard, and all of the events, with the notable exception of the Time Jump, are great fun, although it will take some practice to master them – especially the Brain Bowler! My only complaint is that there is no two-player option.

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Screenshot of Puzzle Bobble

Puzzle Bobble

(Crazy Piri, 2021)

Taito’s coin-op arcade game Puzzle Bobble (also known as Bust-a-Move) appeared not long after the end of the CPC’s commercial life in the early 1990s, and this unofficial conversion recreates it very well indeed. At the bottom of the screen is a machine that fires coloured bubbles, and you must aim the machine so that three or more bubbles will be joined together, causing them to pop and disappear. The aim on each level is to clear all the bubbles from the screen. Graphically it retains the cuteness and colour of the coin-op version, and the backgrounds and tunes are based around some of Taito’s other games, such as Chase HQ and The New Zealand Story. There is a choice of two difficulty levels, and the game is a lot of fun to play. Finally, when the game is over, a QR code is displayed so you can upload your score to Crazy Piri’s web site – nice!

See also: Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands.

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Screenshot of Puzznic


(Ocean, 1990)

If brain-teasing puzzles are your thing then you’ll like this. It simply involves matching tiles with the same pattern on them together, and making them disappear. The difficult bit is that there is also gravity, and you might move a tile into a place where it’s blocked and can’t be matched! Additionally, later levels require you to remove three tiles at a time. Another nice feature of the game is that you can choose several routes – if you have trouble with one set of puzzles, you can try another. The excellent graphics add to the appeal of this great game.

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Screenshot of Pyjamarama


(Amsoft/Mikro-Gen, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

Wally has gone to bed and woken up in his dream! Trapped and unable to wake up means the sack at work in the morning. In this action adventure, you roam from room to room looking for the winding key to your bedside alarm clock. You collect various objects; some open locked doors, while others reveal secrets – there’s even a game of Space Invaders to be played in one room. The graphics are a direct port of the Spectrum version, but a chirpy tune plays throughout.

See also: Everyone’s a Wally, Herbert’s Dummy Run, Three Weeks in Paradise.

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Screenshot of Les Pyramides d’Atlantys

Les Pyramides d’Atlantys

(Microïds, 1986)

Somewhere underneath the Atlantic Ocean lies the mysterious lost city of Atlantis, and an expedition has been sent out to find it – but where should you start searching? Well, if you dive in your submarine to the deepest area of the ocean, you’ll come across a whale that will give you some coordinates. There you’ll find an entrance to a cavern, and if you explore it, you should find a large crystal that will activate a network of pyramids, which you can use by landing your submarine on top of a pyramid, enabling you to explore more caverns. Navigating your submarine around the caverns is initially frustrating as you try to get used to the pseudo-3D layout and keep crashing into scenery. Once you get the hang of it, the game becomes rather interesting, and the graphics are quite pretty as well.

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Screenshot of Pyramydya


(Bug-Byte, 1986)

Narud Pendaryn is searching for a magical chest within Pyramydya, but in order to locate it, he must find four pieces of a stone tablet, and then find a model of the pyramid so that the hieroglyphics on the tablet can be translated. The pyramid consists of an enormous maze full of monsters which you can either avoid or shoot, but you only have a limited supply of ammunition. There are also lots of other trinkets which merely increase your score. The game is obviously inspired by the works of Ultimate Play the Game (in particular, Sabre Wulf), but although the graphics are colourful, exploring the pyramid becomes a bit dull, and overall, the game lacks sophistication compared with Ultimate’s games.

See also: Darkwurlde.

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Screenshot of Python


(Chip, 1986)

This is a clone of the coin-op game Nibbler, where you manoeuvre an ever-growing snake around a maze eating pills. The trick is to eat all the pills without becoming stuck in the maze and crashing into yourself! There is also a time limit on each level, so you can’t wait and think for too long. Thankfully, if you lose a life, you won’t have to restart the entire level. The graphics and sound effects are pretty basic, although there’s some nice music to listen to on the menu. With thirty levels to munch through, this should keep you occupied for a while.

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