Screenshot of Skyx


(Legend Software, 1988)

A legend tells that four people will one day bring peace to the kingdom of Belda. That day has come, and you control this group of people. The game is based on Qix (hence its name), where you must draw lines in order to fill in parts of the screen; when you fill at least 75% of the screen, you can go to the next level. To make this more difficult, there are a few monsters; a green mask which moves unpredictably and very quickly around the screen, and one or more other enemies which move along the lines that you have drawn. There are also apples which give you more time, and potions which make you behave in strange ways. The graphics are very good and the game is well presented, but the presence of the green mask makes it frustratingly difficult.

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Screenshot of Sláine


(Martech, 1987)

After a mighty battle in the village of Tautega, its inhabitants have slain one of the evil Drune Lords and buried him beneath the stones of Cromm-Lin – but just before he died, he placed a curse upon the village. This is where the warrior Sláine and his dwarf sidekick Ukko enter the story. This is the second game from Martech to be based on a comic strip from 2000 AD magazine. The developers were keen to emphasise the unique ‘Reflex’ interface, in which the commands you can select constantly appear and disappear from the screen, supposedly reflecting Sláine’s current thoughts. In practice, it’s very awkward to use, and carrying out even simple commands like moving from location to location takes much longer than it would if you could just type commands using a keyboard. It’s a shame, because the presentation is rather attractive.

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Screenshot of Slap Fight

Slap Fight

(Imagine, 1987)

This is a bog-standard shoot-’em-up in which you are flying above the surface of the planet Orac and shooting aliens. Some of them leave gold stars behind which you can pick up, and collecting them allows you to select from a list of power-ups, which you can decide to make use of at any time. The graphics are pretty good when you consider that this is just another space shoot-’em-up, and the music is good as well. It’s just that the enemy bullets are often too small to see, and if you lose a life, it’s really difficult to recover from losing all your power-ups too.

See also: Alcon 2020.

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Screenshot of Slapshot


(Anirog, 1985)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

The only ice hockey game I have seen on the CPC. It’s three versus three, with you against the computer or a human opponent, over three periods to score more goals than your opponent. The graphics and sounds aren’t fantastic and the selection of your players can be annoying at times. The computer opponent moves faster and is better at stealing the ball from you, and you have no control over your goaltender; he just moves across the goal by himself. If you strike your opponent, it’s a foul and you are penalised by being taken to the penalty circle closer to your opponent’s goal. When the puck gets behind the goal area it becomes quite quirky and tricky to move.

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Screenshot of Sliders


(Microïds, 1991)

This is a simple game set in the future, where two balls – one blue and one red – try to fire another ball over their opponent’s goal, which is represented by a square. The game can be played with a friend or against the computer, and you can change the computer’s expertise, as well as a number of other settings. The ball is magnetic, and if you’re nearby, you can attract it towards you. Once you have the ball, you then aim and release it. While the concept is very simple, it will take time to master, as controlling your ball is tricky due to a lack of friction. Not everyone will like it, but I thought it was reasonably good, although the graphics during the game are rather blocky and the scrolling is slow.

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Screenshot of Slightly Magic

Slightly Magic

(Code Masters, 1991)

Reviewed by John Beckett

In this brilliant Dizzy clone from Code Masters, you play the part of a trainee wizard named Slightly, and must rescue the lovely princess who has been snatched away by an angry, sunburnt dragon. Unfortunately, poor Slightly is stuck in his master’s castle, and must first find his way out. Code Masters add a nice little variation to the gameplay here, as to progress Slightly must learn spells by finding both the spell and a related object (for example, a hearing spell and a megaphone). These are pretty fun, especially later spells which turn the poor guy into a bird and a fish. The graphics are good and little Slightly is cute and well animated, the music is unbelievably catchy, and the game’s difficulty is perfect. This game is great in all ways, except for one thing; I found it a bit too short.

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Screenshot of Slug


(Alternative Software, 1988)

It’s late on Friday night, and Slug is sitting with his girlfriend, watching the horror film Emperor Hades Meets the Yak-Faced Melboids from East London Part 37 (Revisited) (sounds like an interesting film to me!), when his girlfriend is suddenly taken away by a mechanical arm, to another world. As Slug, you have to collect five hearts on each of the levels, which consist of four moving platforms with holes allowing you to fall down to and jump up to higher and lower platforms. There is the usual array of monsters to shoot with your TNT slime as well. Beneath the silly plot lies an extremely basic arcade game. The graphics are quite good, and there are some nice animated cartoons every three levels, but it’s dull and repetitive and won’t hold your attention for long.

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Screenshot of Sly Spy: Secret Agent

Sly Spy: Secret Agent

(Ocean, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Playing the role of a James Bond-inspired secret agent, your mission is to stop a terrorist organisation called the Council for World Domination at all costs. After receiving the briefing, you are taken by air to the location where the action begins. Jumping out of the plane, you freefall to the landing zone. Several bad guys join your position and try to take you out. A successful landing leads to eight scolling levels which include such scenes as construction sites, factories, underwater action and a motorbike chase. Visually, the game is very detailed and colourful with almost smooth scrolling. There’s no in-game sound, but a tune plays on the options screen. Overall, Sly Spy: Secret Agent is a fun shoot-’em-up, if a little repetitive.

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Screenshot of Smaily


(Zigurat, 1991)

Reviewed by Robert Small

This Spanish game is a bit of a curiosity. It’s always nice to come across an Amstrad CPC game with an intro, and this game’s intro is very anime-like. I will say I was glad when the music had finished, though. The game begins and you take control of a bouncing smiley ball in a platform shoot-’em-up. The graphics are cute but devoid of colour, and the CPC can scroll better than this. There is no in-game sound, which is also disappointing. It’s a struggle to work out the path through the game as well. The endearing main character and occasional interesting power-up isn’t enough to save this game.

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Screenshot of Small Games for Smart Minds

Small Games for Smart Minds

(CEZ Games Studio, 2007)

Reviewed by Missas

This is a compilation of cleverly designed puzzle games for players who want to challenge their brains or their friends! There are three types of puzzle, each one consisting of so many levels that you won’t become bored easily! The graphics are OK; the loading screen is wonderful, while the choice of colours is pleasant and the level of detail is above average. The sound is almost absent and there is no tune – something that might prove to be a good thing, because when you progress, puzzles tend to become frustratingly difficult. The gameplay is enjoyable, but players will need to be persistent and patient if they want to progress. The grab factor is above average. As a whole, it’s an interesting puzzle game.

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