The evil Dargons have enslaved the galaxy, and you must free as many planets in the galaxy as you can. How do you do this? You must find an asteroid and shoot it, allowing you to steer it in a particular direction. Captured planets will be liberated if you manage to crash an asteroid into it. It seems like an extremely drastic method of liberating a planet, but I’m not responsible for devising this game! Obviously, you have the usual aliens to contend with, as well as the fact that your spaceship is very snake-like in both appearance and manoeuvrability. There are also several dials that tell you the nearest location of various objects. The graphics are quite good, although the screen is mostly empty space. However, for some reason, I don’t really warm to this game much.
(Skyslip Software, 1988)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Defend Earth’s solar system in this shoot-’em-up. The game begins with a mission on Pluto. You start off at the controls of your space fighter. Immediately you come under attack from the enemy. The controls and scrolling are good and the sound effects are decent. You rendezvous with a larger ship in orbit and are tasked with landing on the planet’s surface. This is a bit of an acquired taste and can be frustrating due to the controls. Once you have landed you take control of a tank with three directions of simultaneous fire and the ability to hop over crevices. The graphics are in Mode 0 and, as mentioned before, scroll well. This game offers some good horizontally scrolling action.
Reviewed by Pug
Playing Xain, you must travel to various human planets (three in total) infested with alien intruders. In this slow and jerky scrolling shoot-’em-up, you move along, taking out enemies with the occasional power-up available. Each planet has a boss to fight once you make it to the end of the zone. The graphics are quite good in this one, although at times a little too garish, but the sluggish movement and scrolling just ruin this one game-wise. The in-game sound effects are nothing to write about either.
(Opera Soft, 1989)
One morning, a little eight-year-old boy called Carlitos was ready to go to school. He walked out of his house and into the streets – and was confronted by hordes of armed men shooting at him! Fortunately he had a Gunstick with him... This is the very surreal story behind this target shooting game, which can only be played using MHT’s Gunstick. As the scenery scrolls along, you have to shoot the gunmen and avoid shooting any innocent bystanders. Your ammunition is limited, so you will also need to shoot boxes to maintain your supply. It’s fairly standard stuff, although there is a lot of action going on; there is little time to rest! The graphics are very detailed and well drawn, although the tune on the menu is merely OK. Despite the silly story, this is a fairly good game.
(US Gold, 1987)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Wealth beyond avarice is yours for the taking in King Solomon’s mines, but first you must navigate your way through a labyrinth of monster-filled chambers in this conversion of the Tecmo puzzle arcade coin-op. To proceed, you need to obtain the cunningly placed key to unlock the exit door. Reach it via the blocks that are arranged before you and lay your own to bridge any gaps between you and your goal. However, the monsters can condemn you to fall to your death by destroying the blocks beneath you. Thankfully you can kill them the same way and use fireballs against them that you can pick up along the way, along with reams of bonuses that are littered all around. A rather difficult challenge but a delightful-looking game.
Fly the highly sophisticated and well armed fighter jet, the Sonic Boom, engaging it in six different conflicts across the continents of the world. Nothing original in the plot, then; it’s another vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up. However, it’s quite good, mainly because of the beautiful graphics and the fact that the difficulty level is such that you can complete most of the six levels without too many problems – although it’s perhaps a little too easy. There aren’t many power-ups to collect – extra firepower is more or less all you can get – but the variety of end-of-level combats you face is interesting.
What sort of a name is Sootland? I don’t know, but it’s one of those target shooting games where you have to aim your crosshairs at the bad guys before they shoot you. This one is an American western-style shooting match, and there are three levels, each with four screens. All you do is scroll between them and find the cowboy popping his head through the scenery – they only appear one at a time, and when you’ve shot him, you have to find the next one, which means more scrolling. This goes on and on, but you just don’t know how many of the bad guys you’re supposed to kill. The graphics and sound are both pitiful, and it’s such an unbelievably awful game.
(Alternative Software, 1989)
All of Sweep’s bones have gone missing, so it’s the task of Sooty and/or Sweep to search Matthew Corbett’s house and collect the bones. You can play on your own or with a friend as either Sooty or Sweep, and there are also two difficulty levels, which control how much time you’ve got and how many bones there are to collect. Unfortunately, you can only collect one bone at a time and give it to Soo before you can get another one. You’ll also need to watch out for the insects flying about the house! The game is clearly one for very young players, as everyone else will find it far too easy – and why are the graphics in monochrome?
After defeating the warlock Krill in Enchanter, you now have your own room in the Circle of Enchanters, but Belboz, the leader of the Circle, has gone missing, and of course, you must find him, or the Circle of Enchanters is in big trouble. The game again consists of exploring the Guild Hall and then exploring the land, gathering scrolls and using them to cast spells. However, this time, you don’t have to worry about finding food and drink, and several potions can also be found in the game. The difficulty level is greater than in Enchanter, with a glass maze, and another puzzle involving time travel in which you meet an older version of yourself! I think this is the best of the three games in Infocom’s Enchanter series.
The sorcerer Einar has passed away, and his son Sven wants to ensure that the knowledge contained in Einar’s library isn’t lost forever, so he decides to explore the castle and unlock the spells that his father has cast on the doors. On each level you must prepare a potion by collecting coins and purchasing ingredients. You have to take care to obtain exactly the ingredients you need and get them in the correct order, or you’ll have to throw your potion away and start again. This game finished in second place in the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, and it’s pretty good, with colourful, cartoon-like graphics and jaunty music. Having to throw your entire potion away if you’ve already collected several ingredients and then make a mistake is annoying, but it’s still a very good game overall.