In the 21st century, a new style of game show has emerged on TV. It’s fast, it’s furious, and it’s got action – it’s Smash TV! You run around a maze of rooms, each containing several waves of monsters about to unleash their fury at you. You won’t get a single moment to relax here! You can improve your weapons by collecting power-ups left behind by some of the monsters. The graphics are big and bright, although all the rooms look the same. The sound effects are good with lots of lovely explosions, but there’s no music. However, it’s a great game full of action and no time to take a breather.
(Alternative Software, 1987)
You are Pigseye Peers, an inexperienced army surgeon who has been thrown in at the deep end, in the Strangest Mobile Army Surgical Hospital East of Detroit. The still, which provides you with alcohol, has gone missing, and you must discover what has happened to it. As you’ve probably guessed, this is a parody of the M*A*S*H TV series and film, and if you’re a fan, you’ll recognise a lot of the characters in this game. As for the game itself, it’s a text adventure which was written using GAC. The graphics are reasonably good, and solving the puzzles isn’t as hard as some GAC adventures – the vocabulary isn’t too limited.
(WoW Software, 1991)
You’re sitting in the computer room at PUE Tech on a freezing night, and a snowstorm is raging outside. It’s time to finish your assignment, so you’d better get on with it – but you soon discover that all the computers are down. Bummer! Fans of Infocom’s text adventures will instantly recognise the scenario, which is almost exactly the same as that of The Lurking Horror. This adventure is written using GAC, so it’s unfair to expect it to match the quality of the game it’s based on – but it uses GAC’s features well. The author’s sense of humour really shows through, especially if you’ve played The Lurking Horror and discover that certain things are rather different in this game! This is a really enjoyable text adventure, and is arguably one of the best GAC adventures that I’ve ever played.
Reviewed by Pug
You, an agent to the Royal Duchy, sift through the wreckage along the shores at Daymer Cove. Finding the ship’s log sends you off on a treasure hunt deep into the caves. You start this text adventure trapped in some dimly lit caves. The computer replies to your standard adventure input with classic pirate chatter – which does give this game some atmosphere. With an average level of difficulty you’ll soon be solving the puzzles that lie ahead, but the crude-looking pictures, which often take an age to display, delay the pace and start to ruin your interest.
I don’t know why the word ‘snoball’ is spelt the way it is in this game, but you know the saying about “a snowball’s chance in hell”, and now you’re attempting to raise hell, armed with just a few snowballs. Can you pull it off? This is a Breakout clone, using an armoured tank as a bat and a snowball as a ball. Unlike many other Breakout clones, though, the bat moves vertically and not horizontally, and there are also plenty of monsters which fly towards you. They can be hard to dodge, but you soon learn to hold down the fire button more or less constantly. The graphics are very colourful, but there’s nothing that makes it better than similar games.
The Snodger family live in a large mansion, but they suspect that little creatures called Snodgits are stealing (or snodging) their possessions. Their butler, Benton, turns detective to find out which of the many characters in the game is responsible. You have to wander the mansion, locate objects and give them to the member of the Snodger family who wants them; the Snodgits will tell you who to give them to. You also have to correctly answer questions based on a table of clues that is displayed on the screen. The graphics are simple but cute, but Benton moves around the mansion rather slowly and the sound effects are very limited. It’s a strange game and it’s not easy to understand what’s going on at first. Once you do, you may enjoy it, but the gameplay becomes a bit repetitive after a while.
A snooker management game? What kind of lunatic thought of this? It’s one of Cult’s terrible efforts at writing management games, being written entirely in BASIC with no graphics to speak of. You start bottom of the world rankings and have to play in tournaments and earn prize money to make it all the way to the top. You can also arrange matches with other players and gamble your money on other players. The big problem is that you have to sit through other players’ games, and of course, your own games. It is duller than watching paint dry, and even die-hard snooker fans will loathe this sorry excuse for a game.
(The Edge, 1989)
Reviewed by Robert Small
The classic comic strip comes alive on the Amstrad CPC. Credit where credit’s due, I don’t think this could have looked better. On the sound front it’s a different story – discordant music and very basic effects. So how does it play? Very slowly. Find an object, travel with an object, use an object, rinse and repeat – but what keeps your attention is those graphics. This is Snoopy as you’ve seen it in the comic strips in the newspapers and it’s just about enough.
(Level 9, 1984)
Reviewed by Richard Lamond
Join Kim Kimberley, secret agent extraordinaire as you attempt to save the interstellar transport Snowball 9 from certain disaster. Waking from hypersleep you literally begin the game in the dark – but escaping your coffin is only the beginning of your problems... Level 9’s first foray into science fiction is a difficult but atmospheric text adventure thanks to some well crafted descriptions. Working out how to deal with the syringe-wielding nightingales will be your first major stumbling block, but that pales in comparison to the maze (a highly frustrating piece of coding that exists seemingly to allow Level 9 to boast of the game having over 7,000 locations). Originally text-only, Snowball was reissued as part of the Silicon Dreams compilation boasting graphics, but it loses part of its mystique in the process. Overall, it’s still a highly polished adventure that you can easily lose a couple of hours playing.
(US Gold, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Despite the title, this game isn’t about the white stuff that falls from the sky. Rather it’s the other white powder that usually hails from South America. From the box art and screenshots you would think this was a complicated flight simulation, but it’s actually more of an arcade/simulation hybrid. It means the game is more accessible than similar titles on the CPC but it also lacks depth. The missions are of a seek and destroy nature. The presentation is good with Mode 0 graphics and the game runs at a good speed. The gameplay is simplified compared to other air combat games so this may make a good choice for anyone who is normally intimidated by a traditional flight simulation.