(The Future Was 8 Bit, 2018)
Guide Rodmän around a maze, eat all the pills and avoid the ghosts. Yes, it’s Pac-Man, but with a few differences. Each level consists of three screens that you can travel between at will. The “power pellets” are replaced with bombs that you can pick up; dropping one makes it explode after a few seconds, releasing a shockwave that kills any ghosts in its way. Finally, the ghosts can also consume pills, and you can exploit this to your advantage. The graphics are detailed and make good use of the CPC’s four-colour Mode 1, and I love the sound effects, although the music on the menu is rather simplistic. There are some frustrating aspects to the gameplay – for example, making Rodmän turn a corner can be awkward, especially when you’re being chased by a ghost – but overall it’s a nice variation of Pac-Man.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Saberman, XeNoMoRPH.
The origins of Rogue date back to around 1980, when it became extremely popular in universities. It was the first ever role-playing game, with very rudimentary graphics which were drawn using ASCII characters, and has inspired many other games. Your quest is to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor which lies deep within the Dungeons of Doom. The dungeons are generated randomly, so you’ll never play the same game twice. You roam around the levels of the dungeon, collecting gold pieces, potions, magic scrolls and other items, and fighting monsters, which increases your strength and experience so that you are better prepared for the lower levels. The CPC version of this legendary game has proper graphics, but it’s rather tough, and worst of all, it’s very seriously bugged and crashes so often that getting far in the game is impossible.
Rogue Trooper is the sole survivor of the Quartz massacre that took place on the wartorn planet of Nu-Earth. His army was betrayed to the Norts, but the traitor’s movements were recorded on video tapes. You must recover the eight tapes and return to a waiting shuttle, and kill lots of Nort troops too. You’ve also got three bio-chips which frequently give you useful hints or encourangement, and first aid kits and ammunition can be picked up as well. The game is different every time you play it, since the objects you need to collect are placed randomly in each game. The graphics are good, if a little drab, but there’s no music and few sound effects. It’s not brilliant, but it’s still worth a go.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Roland, who’s definitely a big traveller, is now a pirate cruising the seas. I know what you’re thinking; “It’s a Roland game, it must be bad!” Well, you’re not totally wrong. And yet, this is a rather enjoyable little game, though it has only four screens – the map where you control your ship towards the different areas, the harbour (where you pick up treasure), the powder quay (to refill your ammunition), and the cave where you must hide the treasures you’ve stolen. Each screen contains a trap, the spider in the cave being the most treacherous. There is also a sea snake and a bridge which you must destroy, and that’s all! The graphics are simple but colourful and the sound effects are minimal. But it is funny anyway.
See also: Roland Goes Digging, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Space, Roland in Time, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Roland Goes Digging
Aliens have taken over a building site, and Roland’s boss wants our hero to remove them. Roland agrees, as he’s broke and needs to supplement his meagre wages. You need to dig holes and coax the aliens into falling into them, where they will be trapped. By freeing them again, they will fall out of the hole and die. This is a slow and boring platform game with very simple graphics (although colour mixing is used) and an awful tune.
See also: Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Space, Roland in Time, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Roland Goes Square Bashing
Reviewed by John Beckett
Gaming’s most inconsistent mascot returns in this joint venture between Amsoft and Durell. This time around, he’s a cube with legs (how does he get into these scrapes?), and the aim of the game is to traverse 20 increasingly difficult levels of floating square platforms – which quickly disintegrate after you step on them – until there are no platforms left. Why? Don’t ask me, but nevertheless it’s reasonably fun for about 20 minutes, until repetition sets in and – more importantly – the difficulty curve shoots skyward on level 7. The graphics are very simple but colourful, and the music is serviceable – though the ‘falling’ noise will start to grate after a while! In short, it’s Q*Bert meets Octoplex.
See also: Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Digging, Roland in Space, Roland in Time, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Amstrad CPC World.
Roland in Space
The evil Maetro must be defeated, and Roland is the man to do it! He has to travel to seven planets to retrieve all 158 bits of a superweapon that will destroy him. The planets are all differently themed; there’s an Egyptian pyramid, a futuristic city, a treehouse, and a pirate ship, and even an underwater section. Shame then that it’s really a remake of Roland in Time, with the same terrible graphics and music, and gameplay that’s just as difficult.
See also: Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Digging, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Time, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Roland in the Caves
Roland has transformed into a flea and is exploring another planet when he falls into a cave. You have to help him get out by jumping on to the ledges in an effort to reach the top, while avoiding the plants and the vicious pterodactyl! When you’ve got out of the cave, you get a bonus and go on to another one. This makes the game very uninteresting. It doesn’t help that you have less than five seconds before the pterodactyl is upon you, and that it’s very difficult to measure your jumps correctly. The graphics are surprisingly good, but getting anywhere within the cave is a matter of luck as far as I can determine.
See also: Poogaboo, Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Digging, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Space, Roland in Time, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Xyphoe.
Roland in Time
Roland’s latest adventure sees him journeying through various time zones to collect some crystals, taking him right through from the Egyptian era to well into the future. There are a total of ten time zones to visit, and you can warp to any of them, in any order, in your phone box (I wonder where that idea was borrowed from?). The two tunes used in the game are terrible and the graphics are abysmal, and the game is much too difficult, even with ten lives.
See also: Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Digging, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Space, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Ropes, Roland on the Run.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
Roland on the Ropes
An intrepid adventurer named Roland – or Fred if you’re playing the original Spanish release of this game – is exploring some dungeons in Egypt, and he has to acquire as much treasure as he can, head towards the top of the dungeon, find the exit, and escape. On the first level, your main enemies are ghosts and rats, but later on, you’ll encounter mummies and bats, and if you somehow manage to reach the fourth level, skeletons. However, there is no map available to you, so you may well find a lot of dead ends. It’s one of the earliest games for the CPC, but it is fondly remembered by many people, mainly because it was included with many CPC464 machines in the United Kingdom, and it was one of the few good games that you received with it! To this day, it still retains all of its simplistic charm, although it’s a bit difficult.
See also: Roland Ahoy!, Roland Goes Digging, Roland Goes Square Bashing, Roland in Space, Roland in Time, Roland in the Caves, Roland on the Run.