Can you break down the jammed safety forcewall using two free-floating mega-neutrons, without letting them touch the fuel core? Oh, you knew this was a bat and ball game, right? Well, I think everyone knows what to do, so let’s just say that the graphics, while colourful, are poor; the bricks don’t even deserve the name – they’re just big, blank rectangles. Nearly all the sprites are monochrome, giving a very Spectrum-like feel to the game. It’s a bit easier than most Breakout-style games, but the graphics and a lack of extra bonuses let it down very badly.
It’s time to go canoeing down the rapids. Navigate the four courses and try to beat the record time on each one, manoeuvring your canoe through the pairs of flags and pitting your wits against the fast-flowing river. On some courses, you’ll even have to go through some of the flags backwards! Time penalties are given to you if you miss any of the flags or fall into the river. Unfortunately it’s not really all that good – the graphics are rather basic and very flickery, and there’s not all that much challenge involved. If you’ve got the patience, though, there is a course editor included with the game.
The oil rigs are under attack from enemy submarines, and you must shoot them in your helicopter. Unfortunately, they are equipped with long-range missiles, while you only have short-range bombs, so you’ll need to fly close to the sea to hit them successfully, which obviously leaves you exposed to enemy fire. Flying this low also means you might fly into the oil rigs if you’re not careful. The graphics are nothing special, although the multi-coloured border is used to good effect. The sound effects are sparse, while the actual game is just too hard; it’s too difficult to hit the submarines, and they move too fast for you to hit them accurately and get out of their way.
The colony of Rigel V is at war. You are Harper, a journalist who has been told that the rebel fighters, the Rigellians, have a doomsday device that is capable of devastating the entire planet. When you arrive in the city, you meet Elliot, the man who told you about the device, but he is badly injured and dies. You must find the rebels’ headquarters and disable the doomsday device – but you’ll need to find your night goggles first... This is a text adventure which has a lot of atmosphere and describes the starkness of the city quite vividly. Harper has to watch his step at every turn, encountering booby traps, mines, bombs and snipers. This is a great adventure with some neat humour as well, but be aware that some copies of the game contain a bug which makes the second part unplayable!
You are Death, and your mission is to collect the souls of three patients and bring them to the afterlife before they make a full recovery. Here, your ‘energy level’ represents the patients’ health; it starts at one and increases if you touch any of the enemies (doctors, nuns, red hearts and syringes). If it gets too high, the patients have recovered and the game ends. Bringing souls to the afterlife involves a lot of jumping from platform to platform and dodging enemies. The graphics are rather basic, while the music consists of two rather jaunty versions of funeral marches – slightly odd given that the game is about death! As for playing the game, Death can be tricky to control, and some of the enemies move very quickly and it’s difficult to avoid touching them. Some of the platforms are very narrow, and falling off a platform and having to negotiate several screens all over again is annoying.
(Alternative Software, 1988)
It’s a great life being a roadie, isn’t it? Driving down motorways at more than 100mph to your concerts, lugging equipment around, and making sure it all works. This is where you get a taster of what it’s like. In the first part, you drive your purple van down the motorway, avoiding the traffic. The second part is where you have to shift the equipment to the concert hall, and the third part involves getting the volume levels correct without blowing the fuses. This game appeared on the Amstrad Action covertape and its readers unanimously considered it to be tosh – and I agree with them entirely.
Reviewed by Robert Small
You know that old adage of never judging a book by its cover? Well, that applies to The Ring of Darkness. It might look old-fashioned (indeed, it started life on the Dragon 32 computer) but what was good enough for the Dragon is good enough for the CPC. Create a character by naming, assigning skill points and picking a class, then get dropped straight in at the deep end! You’re in the middle of nowhere and enemies seem to pop out from all over the place. Initially it’s very overwhelming; the graphics are crude and the sound – yeah... – but then you discover that the map is huge, there are settlements to visit, quests to undertake, and even 3D sections. There really is quite a bit packed into this game. Its inspirations might be shameless (it liberally pinches from a more famous game and a work of fiction) but adventure fans will enjoy it.
(Cobra Soft, 1987)
Reviewed by Robert Small
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
Possibly a candidate for the most obscure film adaptation on the CPC – well, if you’re based outside of France. The film is a comedy about corrupt policemen, and that’s who you play in this game, with the goal of trying to obtain enough money to retire, but also keep your head down and do your job. Set in Paris, famous locations are displayed in Mode 1 on-screen and there are many Parisians to interact with. However, the number of characters vastly outweighs the locations, meaning from a visual standpoint you will have seen everything there is to see quite quickly. Indeed, these locations are merely set dressing because you’re concentrating on a very small map and literally a dot depicting your character when it comes to gameplay. There are a whole host of actions you can perform, but that just makes things complicated. This would have been better as a point-and-click adventure. C’est la vie.
(US Gold, 1988)
This is what rallying in the future is like – 50 stages to complete, all laden with hazards such as mines and gun turrets, as well as other cars and motorbikes which you can shoot. You also need to collect blobs of fuel or you’ll run out, and on some stages, a helicopter comes along to give you a power-up such as a U2 cannon, cruise missiles, or nitro injectors. The graphics are pretty impressive and the music is good, but all the stages are too long, the whine of your car’s engine is irritating in the extreme, and provided you do well in the early stages, the game becomes a bit easy.
(US Gold, 1987)
Beep-beep! Road Runner must escape the clutches of the nasty Wile E. Coyote once again. Each level consists of a horizontally-scrolling landscape in which Road Runner must eat as much bird seed as possible. However, Wile E. Coyote is never far behind, and as soon as Road Runner outruns him, he always comes straight back. The aim on each level is simply to get to the end. I used to love watching the antics of these two cartoon characters, but this game doesn’t do the cartoon justice at all. The graphics are good, but it’s a boring game where you repeat the same thing again and again in each level, and the almost total lack of sound effects only adds to the boredom.
See also: Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.