(Hi-Tec Software, 1990)
You are a test pilot working for the Space Rider Jet Pack Company, and have been sent to a planet to test their latest jet pack, and also collect 99 nuggets containing important minerals while you’re there. Of course, the caverns and mines in which you’ll find these nuggets are filled with hazards and aliens which will drain your energy, which is represented by an oscillating wave of coloured bars at the bottom of the screen – neat. However, the game is rather mediocre. The graphics and sound effects are poor and the jet pack is difficult to control; it’s practically impossible to stay still, which makes shooting the aliens a frustrating task. It also lacks originality.
Reviewed by Robert Small
Everyone has fond memories of NASA’s Space Shuttle. It was an iconic vehicle for its time despite being caught up in the heartbreaking Challenger disaster. This game allows you to take control of various aspects of a Space Shuttle mission. You can experience the launch, what it’s like to orbit Earth, interact with a satellite, and bring everyone safely home. The graphics are in Mode 0 and the effect as the Earth spins below when orbiting is nice. The game tries to help the player so you can make everything more difficult or just go with the flow. With that said, there isn’t a great deal of content, but it’s something a little different from the usual simulators, anyway.
(MHT Ingenieros, 1989)
The Space Smugglers are a highly organised group of dangerous assassins, and you have just been chosen to rid the galaxy of them. On the screen are three teleporters, and aliens appear at random. Some of them are harmless, but others are dangerous and will show you their weapon after a few seconds. You can only shoot an alien when they have drawn their weapon, so you will need quick reflexes to survive! When you have shot the required number of aliens (shown at the top of the screen), you are taken to the next level. This game can only be played using MHT’s own Gunstick, and it’s actually fairly unexciting. It takes ages to complete a level, and of course, the next level is the same, except that you may need to shoot even more aliens. The graphics and animation are absolutely wonderful, but that’s of little consolation.
A rather interesting board game in which you control the Space Cowboy, starting at the bottom left of the board and attempting to reach the top right. In each turn, two dice are rolled, and you can use them to move a certain number of steps in any direction you want. Then it’s the turn of the aliens to move randomly, as they attempt to block your progress. If you are stuck and can’t move, you are ‘spaced out’ and must pay a penalty. You can land on the aliens if you roll the correct dice and eliminate them, although this also penalises you slightly. If you accumulate too many penalty points, you lose. There are four different types of aliens and the difficulty can be configured. The graphics are nice and the sound effects do the job, and it’s not a bad game, actually, despite what some people might think.
Kerl is in outer space and has to rescue his fellow astronauts. On each level, Kerl starts at the top, and he has to descend to the bottom where an astronaut is waiting for him. There are sets of platforms and boxes to be collected containing one of four types of item – fuel for Kerl’s jet pack, drills to remove platforms, slabs to extend platforms, or bonus points. The catch is that these items can only be collected if Kerl lands on top of them; he can’t collect them by walking left or right along a platform, so there is a puzzle element to this game as well. The graphics are detailed, although the choices of palette in certain levels are questionable, and I like the music that plays throughout the game, although it can stutter a little when Kerl is moving. The concept of the game is simple but it proves to be entertaining.
(Zeppelin Games, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Firstly, this is not a simulator of any kind. I’m not sure how you would go about making a Spaghetti Western simulator anyway. It’s essentially an arcade shoot-’em-up. You take control of your cowboy (whose name is altered just enough so the lawyers can’t get involved) and are immediately assaulted from all angles by all manner of Wild West-themed objects. You name it – tomahawks, dynamite, glass bottles – and it’s flying at you. And of course there are bandits. If you’re quick on the trigger you can shoot thrown objects out of the air and fan your six-shooter to kill the bandits. The walking animation of your cowboy is nice and the backgrounds are detailed. The sound effects are basic and the controls could be better. Western fans should at least give it a go once.
An earthquake has struck and has damaged the pipes that cool a nuclear reactor. It’s time to call in the local plumber to mend the pipes. This is a platform game consisting of only one screen, and as leaks continually appear, you have to adjust the joints with your spanner to stop the leaks. To make life more difficult, the screen gradually fills with water, although you can go underwater to fix leaks. Other things to watch out for are mutated rats and falling debris. The graphics and sound effects aren’t particularly good, as would be expected from a game that was released in the very early days of the CPC, and despite the inclusion of five difficulty levels, there’s not much to make you want to play the game again after a few goes.
Reviewed by Piero Serra
In this World War II strategy adventure you have a choice of seven missions in which you must infiltrate an enemy compound to gather intelligence or destroy targets. Your first task is to interview and recruit a team of experts, with skills such as lock picking, explosives and climbing. Your team is then dropped into the vicinity of the enemy base to find the entrance, avoiding or fighting guards patrolling the area. Once inside the compound, draw upon the skills at your disposal to meet the mission objective. The game employs a split-screen view with a map on one side and a close-up aerial view for fighting and action scenes on the other. Although extremely simplistic in terms of graphics, and almost totally lacking sound effects or music, this is a fairly detailed and fun little turn-based strategy game that rewards careful gameplay.
Race against 19 other riders around ten tracks in your super-powered motorcycle, capable of reaching 250mph! There are three difficulty levels – novice, champion and pro – and you can practice each track before you go racing over two, four or six laps. The first thing you’ll notice once you start racing is that the graphics are very blocky indeed! However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a bad game; in fact, it is quite fast, although one annoying aspect is that all of the riders unerringly remain in the centre of the road, and it is relatively easy to crash into them unintentionally. Despite this problem, this is still a fairly decent game overall.
A vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up whose only difference from every other game like it is its speed. There’s nothing original in the game at all, but the aliens whizz across the screen like bullets. Fortunately you don’t lose a life on contact with them; your energy decreases instead, and when it runs out, you lose one of your three lives. Your shield is also fully restored at the start of each level, which is annoying if it runs out just before you shoot the last alien! The game isn’t that hard, but every level is the same, except for a little picture somewhere on the screen. The sound effects are sparse and the music on the title screen really hurts the ears.