(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.
(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.
(Ervin Pajor, 2015)
Reviewed by Missas
RUN”CPC is an arcade game in which you must try to fly through gates in your spaceship. To begin with, the graphics are colourful but plain and there is no in-game music, although there are some sound effects. Nevertheless this is understandable because this game has something rarely seen; it plays in a 3D environment and the gates are essentially complex shapes composed of blocks, and they zoom in really smoothly. I really liked the programmer’s effort on this matter. In order to keep the Z80 undistracted, all the effort has been concentrated on maximising the frame rate. The grab factor is not very strong but it is interesting. In general, you really need to play RUN”CPC because games like this do not appear on the CPC very often.
Reviewed by Robert Small
It seems that mention of Runestone goes hand in hand with the classic The Lords of Midnight, as they share a good few similarities. Panoramic vistas being one, a large fantasy world to get lost in, and a very similar colour palette. The Lords of Midnight has its famous ‘landscaping’ technique. Well, Runestone is brought to you in ‘Venturescope’. So is Runestone the better game? Not quite, but it’s a very good alternative. The world and cast of characters are familiar but it’s an old tale well told. It plays very nicely and has a good difficulty curve. Graphically it’s not quite as good as its rival, but it’s still of a fair standard. The game offers good value for money due to its large and well inhabited game world. Once you’ve finished The Lords of Midnight and its sequel, chart a course for Runestone next.
In 2019, the United States of America is a totalitarian state. Ben Richards was convicted for refusing to fire on a group of protesters and has been selected to take part in a deadly TV game show, The Running Man, where contestants must fight a series of armed opponents known as Stalkers – and no contestant has ever emerged alive. You must defeat four Stalkers and then confront the show’s creator, Damon Killian. Once you defeat a Stalker, there is a mini-game where you must match symbols; if you succeed, your health is restored for the next zone. Most of the Stalkers are fairly easy to beat, and there are no other opponents to fight before you reach them. The graphics are disappointing and there are very few sound effects, but arguably the worst aspect of the game is the annoyingly fiddly and unresponsive controls.