(Code Masters, 1992)
The Earth has been contaminated with toxic waste, and Seymour has to clear up the mess. Each level takes place on a single screen and you must collect the tokens scattered about the screen, as well as jumping on the heads of mutants to kill them. The graphics are average and the backgrounds (which vary only on the 128K version) aren’t great, either. The sound is below average, and to be honest, the concept of the game has really dated – it won’t hold your interest for very long.
Known as Eddie Edwards Super Ski in the UK after the hopeless but lovable ski jumping hero of the 1988 Winter Olympics, you can take part in four different events – two types of slalom, the descent, and the jump. In the slalom events, you have to steer between the flagpoles; miss them and you will be penalised. In the descent, you just head for the finish at full speed, although you still need to pass through some gates to avoid being penalised. You can also practise the events, and in the slaloms and descent, there are three pistes to choose from in each event (provided you’re playing the disc version; there is only one piste in each event in the cassette version). The game is a thrill to play thanks to the screen being updated really fast, while still having some remarkably beautiful graphics, with the Alps looming in the horizon – it’s excellent!
Skweek is back and ready to paint everything pink! As in the previous game, there are 99 levels and the same set of monsters to confront. However, there are several new power-ups and even a shop where you can buy them. The money can be collected by shooting monsters. In addition, most levels have more than one floor, so you’ll have to use the lifts. The original Skweek is in my opinion one of the best CPC games of all time, so it’s a shame to see that the sequel is much worse, and lacking in the main thing that made Skweek such fun – speed. It is much slower, and it absolutely crawls when there are several monsters on the screen. The graphics aren’t as good and there’s very little sound, and overall, the game is disappointing.
This is a poor conversion of the coin-op game which attempted to revive the classic Space Invaders and bring it in line with the 1990s. There are twelve levels, each with a different background, and with three waves of aliens to fight. Shooting the aliens that fly along the top of the screen now gives you to chance to collect a temporary power-up. There is also a two-player option if you want to play with a friend. What makes it poor is that the backgrounds are very blocky and often garish, and it becomes difficult to see the aliens you’re trying to kill, and the missiles that they fire. The movement of the aliens is also slow and jerky. The music is really good, though.
(Electric Dreams, 1987)
This is a racing game viewed from overhead in which you compete against three other cars (or two in the two player mode) and try to win on all eight tracks; if you don’t win, the game is over. You also have to avoid tornadoes (!) and oil slicks on the track, which will cause you to lose control of your car. You can also collect spanners, and if you collect three of them, you can make improvements to your car. While the graphics are average, the only sound effects are engine noises, and the gameplay is very limited.
See also: Championship Sprint.
Four high performance cars – a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa, a Lotus Esprit and a Porsche 959 – race each other around several small tracks. It’s not really a stock car race, eh? Your aim isn’t to win the race; instead, you need to complete a certain number of laps within the time limit. This is easy on the first few tracks, but later on, you’ll have to complete more laps in the same amount of time. The graphics and animation are both excellent, with really chunky, colourful cars and lots of fire and smoke when they crash into each other. The high-energy music is marvellous and really suits the game as well. However, the cars can only point in eight directions, and the controls are a bit unresponsive. Without these problems, I would have enjoyed the game a lot more.
(Code Masters, 1988)
As a professional stuntman, a film company has hired you to take part in a film. You must shoot seven action scenes covering both land and water. There’s even a scene where you must jump the Grand Canyon! In most of these scenes, other cars or boats will fire at you, and if you are hit by a missile or skid on a puddle, or damage your car too much, another take has to be made – although you receive an ‘amazing action’ bonus for your efforts. You have three takes per scene, which isn’t very generous. The graphics and sound effects are poor and the time limit is quite tight. Memorising the layout of the course on each scene is vital if you’re to succeed, but other cars get in the way too much. It’s not a very enjoyable game to play.
See also: Italian Super Car.
(Code Masters, 1989)
NATO has just rolled out its latest tank, and you’ve been given the job of testing it and taking it into battle. Four levels await you in this mediocre shoot-’em-up. Each level has two parts. The first part involves driving around in your tank and aiming at enemy targets, and the action is viewed from above. This part is not bad, but although your tank is highly manoeuvrable, it can be destroyed with one hit – it’s not a very good tank then, is it, NATO? What really lets the game down is the second part, in which you move a set of crosshairs around the screen and shoot targets as they scroll by. This part is excruciatingly difficult, and you’ll probably never see the second level without cheating. Other than that, the graphics and sound are quite good, so it’s a shame that it’s outweighed by some aspects of the gameplay.
(Système D, 1997)
Reviewed by Piero Serra
Another Tetris clone, this one could have been called Smoother Tetris, as the tetrominoes really glide gracefully down the screen and slide smoothly to the left and right as you seek the best position. When the pieces reach the bottom of the screen they can still be moved around for a short while, which caught me out a few times as I was expecting to already be in control of the next piece, but ended up moving the current piece out of alignment. I recall from the Amstrad Action review of the original game that one of the reviewers bemoaned the lack of a pause feature. Well, this version has a pause button if you need it! Overall, this is just a prettier version of Tetris with new, colourful backdrops and some snazzy tunes, although I actually prefer the more austere look and feel of the original.
Reviewed by Robert Small
An early game involving platforming, exploration, avoiding energy sapping enemies and collecting items. The graphics are colourful with some nice details like cobwebs, plants, and giant skulls plus some cool-looking enemies to avoid. Your character looks a bit odd, though. What sets this game apart is the use of a balloon to traverse the large environments. Balloons are finite but can be replaced by collecting more, and they are needed to reach the discs you will need to collect. The sound effects are basic but the music should be recognisable to everyone. Worth a look.