The third and final game in the Spy vs Spy series on the CPC sees White Spy and Black Spy compete with each other once again, this time to escape from an Arctic island on a rocket ship before a severe blizzard hits the island. To launch the rocket, each spy needs to find three objects and a briefcase in which to store them. Like the previous two games, this one features a variety of traps to catch out your opponent, but you also have to be careful not to freeze to death. If you enter the same area as your opponent, you can engage in a snowball fight. The graphics are all right, and thankfully there’s no annoying in-game music, but the one-player mode is too easy, even on the highest of the five difficulty levels, and laying traps and adding objects to your briefcase is annoyingly fiddly.
Those two spies are at it again. This time they’re stranded on a desert island and have to find three pieces of a missile and return it to a submarine. The traps are more inventive this time, and they include napalm bombs and nooses, and there’s a gun lying somewhere too... Sadly, everything that made Spy vs Spy such enormous fun (especially with two players) has gone. The scrolling is excruciatingly slow, the music is terrible, the controls don’t respond well, and the traps are too difficult to place. I would stick with the first game in the series.
Both the British and the Russians have had some of their submarines stolen by Karl Stromberg. The British have sent out James Bond to recapture their sub, while the Russians have sent the attractive Anya Amasova. The last of the five James Bond games to be released for the CPC has five levels taking place on both land and sea, and all of them involve steering your car or boat and avoiding the scenery (you can try shooting the enemies, but it does little good). You have to collect tokens in the first three levels to buy the equipment to go to the next level. All the levels see you doing the same thing each time, and there’s very little variety.
(Ere Informatique, 1986)
You have been transported to the mysterious planet of Sram, where the high priest Cinomeh has imprisoned the King Egres IV. (If you wonder where these strange names come from, they’re based on the names of the game’s authors.) You must free him – but first, you will need to find the hermit, and all the ingredients for a special potion that he will make for you. This text adventure comes from France and is regarded as a classic there, although you can also play the game in English or German. Certainly the graphics are fairly impressive, but I found the parser to be lacking in some areas, and finding the exact combination of words to perform particular actions is frustrating. I suppose it was good for its time, but nowadays it isn’t as good.
See also: Sram 2.
(Ere Informatique, 1986)
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
Now that Egres IV is in power again, he repays your kindness by ruling through tyranny, oppressing his people and using sorcery. The only way to stop him is to kill him – but in a rather unusual way, by making what is known in France as ‘la galette des rois’, or ‘the kings’ cake’ – a cake with a bean hidden inside it. You start in a crypt, where the only ways out are to open the tombs contained within it. I wasn’t particularly satisfied with Sram, but this sequel is much better. The graphics are as good as, if not better than, the original game, and there are no problems finding the right combination of words to solve puzzles. On the other hand, it is slightly too easy, but that doesn’t worry me too much.
See also: Sram.
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Similar to R-Type, here you control a baby dragon that has to rescue its mother. On the way you encounter weird metallic creatures such as mechanical tigers, cyborg bulls and armoured cobras who act as half- or end-of-level bosses. Power-ups can be picked up by shooting special pills that are littered around the scenery. Thankfully, unlike other similar games, when you die you don’t lose them, even after a new continue. Your dragon also has a unique feature; your tail is impervious – only its head is vulnerable. This proves very useful when you’re surrounded by enemies and their fire, as you can respectively destroy them and block with it. Nice looking, but a rather slow scrolling affair that is made difficult by the rather small screen area.
The evil Dr Vardos has devised a plan to take over the whole world, and the only person who can stop him is Ricky Steel and his Class A101 flying car, Nightwind. However, Ricky has left his car on the other side of town, so in the first level, you’re on foot, shooting Dr Vardos’ androids and helicopters. Once you find your car, you fly across a desert, again shooting everything that moves, and then fly over a river, trying to bomb submarines. The graphics are monochrome – although I’m not saying they’re bad – but the sound effects are OK, and there is a nice tune that only plays at the start of the game. However, even on the easiest of the four difficulty levels, most players will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to progress beyond the second level.
(Software Invasion, 1986)
Venture through 15 screens of platforming action, taking you through mines, ice caverns, jungles and deserts, before reaching hell itself. Each screen is filled to the brim with perilous obstacles to avoid and gaps to jump. With only five lives, you’re going to need them all, and indeed, you could do with more, because the game is unbelievably tough, as well as being slow and jerky. Each screen overwhelms you with obstacles, and if you make a mistake (which is all too often), you’re sent right back to the start of the screen. The graphics are OK, albeit garish at times, and the sound effects are simple, but the rest of the game stinks.
Reviewed by Pug
Remember Scramble? That game where you pilot a spaceship through caverns collecting fuel and dropping bombs, etc.? Well, this is an early attempt at bringing the game to the CPC. For the year it was released, this is not a bad attempt. Sure, the scrolling is a little jerky and you can’t actually drop bombs, but it’s fun and makes good use of the CPC’s colour palette. It’s presented well and you can choose which stage you wish to start at. A pleasant but primitive tune plays on the title screen, with in-game effects doing their job. A hidden gem from the early days of the CPC.
Reviewed by Robert Small
Star Bowls is a really good little action game featuring platforming, exploration, item collection and shoot-’em-up action. The game features well drawn backgrounds and satisfying explosions when you destroy enemies. I particularly liked the ability to change direction in mid-air while firing as this helps improve the gameplay. To help you traverse the environment you have a a jet pack and you can use hooks to ascend and descend to different locations. The game does have some poor music at the start but the in-game effects are good enough.