Reviewed by John Beckett
Roland is one of gaming’s oldest mascots and yet has never achieved the levels of fame of other veteran mascots such as Pac-Man or Frogger. Why? Well, games like this can’t have helped his cause! In my opinion, the worst of all the Roland games, this one-screen affair works a bit like Frogger in reverse, in that you have to jump from a train at the top of the screen on to the back of two lanes of passing trucks, before jumping into your hideout at the bottom. And the game’s about as interesting as that concept sounds. Somehow losing any of the magic that Frogger had, it’s unbelievably boring, and has sound effects that make white noise sound like a beautiful melody. All I can say in its favour is that its one screen is very colourful.
An entertaining little game where you control a ball and have to wipe markers off coloured tiles by rolling over them. Of course, there are various nasties to impede your progress, and chasms will have to be crossed to reach some otherwise inaccessible parts on each level. Then there are some markers that will only appear if you touch a square with a special symbol on it... and don’t wipe too many markers of the same colour! The graphics are very colourful indeed and suit the game perfectly, and while it’s maddeningly frustrating to start with, it quickly becomes addictive, and you have a generous supply of lives as well.
(US Gold, 1988)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Rolling Thunder has you playing secret agent extraordinaire Agent Albatross, who must infiltrate a secret gang of masked bad guys and put them out of business. The first level sees you doing this by walking from left to right, jumping from the bottom of the screen to the walkway in the middle, shooting an endless stream of baddies, and hiding in doors to replenish your bullets and escape from the endless torrent of bad guys. You’ll also find that – should you get that far – the second and third levels (and no doubt beyond) are almost identical to the first one. The graphics are good and fluid – Albatross moves quite realistically – and the sound effects are serviceable. It’s just that the game is so repetitive and boring that you’ll soon be turning it off.
The Galcorp Leisure Corporation has devised many games which can be played on low-gravity moons and asteroids. One of these games is glyding, in which two players bounce a ball around a court using a bat. If a player manages to aim the ball so that it hits the wall behind the other player, he scores five points. The first player to score 35 points wins the game. In fact, glyding is nothing more than a 3D version of one of the very first computer games, Pong – and it’s actually rather good, although I recommend that you change the default speed setting to something faster, as the game will otherwise be rather boring. You can also change the computer’s skill level if you’re playing against it, but the game is a lot more fun if you play against a human opponent.
You’ve no doubt heard many jokes asking why the chicken crossed the road. Now you have to help a rooster do just that. Basically, this is a clone of the classic coin-op game Frogger, although unlike that game, instead of jumping on to logs to cross the river, you have to move across the water and avoid the logs, as well as ships. You’ll be doing really well if you manage to cross the river, because the controls are very sluggish and unresponsive, and getting the rooster to move is very frustrating. The awful collision detection makes matters even worse. This is definitely a game to be avoided at all costs!
(Gremlin Graphics, 1988)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
Quite an unusual football game, this one, as it is split into two sections – an adventure-style game and an arcade 5-a-side soccer match. As Roy Race, you must rescue the other members of your football team, Melchester Rovers, who have all been kidnapped. You scamper around the town to find as many members of your team as you can before the 7:30pm kick-off of a vital fundraising match; the number of team members you find is how many you will play with in the match. You can play both sections or just the football match. I found the football match to be ridiculously hard as the player selection is rather frustrating. On a funny note, I think it’s the only CPC football game with no throw-ins, as the ball bounces off when it should be a throw-in! Graphically it’s nothing special, and the actual gameplay is quite poor as well.
(Hi-Tec Software, 1990)
Ruff and Reddy have landed on another planet which is inhabited by small beings called Lilli-Punies. They are holding Reddy captive and have ordered Ruff to find some missing Lilli-Punies before the pair are allowed to leave the planet. As Ruff, you have to rescue all the Lilli-Punies on each level. It’s a simple platform game with the usual mix of monsters to avoid. Unfortunately you can’t kill any of them, which makes the game frustratingly difficult to play. Some of the Lilli-Punies are in awkward places, and it’s seemingly impossible to reach them without being hit by a monster and losing one of your three lives. The graphics are nice and colourful, but the difficulty of the game lets it down.
(Alternative Software, 1989)
Can you manage a Division 2 rugby team and take it to the top of Division 1? This management simulation sees you assuming responsibility of a team picked at random from the twenty available, which seems rather unfair to me; why should I not be allowed to choose which team I want to manage? The game itself doesn’t have a lot of options – all the players have just one skill number associated with them, and can play in any position – although some people (including myself) may think that this is not a bad thing. The match highlights progress at a reasonable pace, and you must be careful with your finances; you can’t get a loan, so if you run out of cash, you’re sacked. It’s text only as well, but that doesn’t bother me too much, and speaking as someone who doesn’t like rugby at all, I don’t think this game is too bad.
(Hill MacGibbon, 1986)
There aren’t many running simulations for the CPC, but this is one, and it’s actually rather good. You take on the role of a coach who trains two runners. Your ambitions are to get these runners to win Olympic gold medals and break the world record in the 400m, 800m and 1500m events – but who said this was going to be easy, with 39 other runners sharing your aspirations? You start off by running in local meetings, then hopefully you will qualify for Crystal Palace, the European Championships, the World Championships, and finally, the Olympics. Fortunately, this does not involve lots of joystick waggling (and breaking); instead, you must pace the runners by moving a bar up and down, so that they have sufficient energy to last throughout the run. It works quite well, and the animation and graphics are really good too.
In the TV series, contestants from four teams faced gruelling land and sea challenges and assault courses, and it’s the same here. After choosing which country you want to be (Great Britain, the USA, Holland or Australasia), you’re given a random selection of events to tackle. In the land and sea races, it’s a matter of steering your boat or vehicle round the track, but the assault course (also known as ‘the hill’) is an arm-busting, joystick-waggling frenzy. It’s a nice game, although some events (e.g. meteors) will take time to be mastered. The graphics are great as well.