(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.
I used to have a part-time job in a grocery store, but it was nowhere near as boring as this excuse for a game. Starting off as a dogsbody in a supermarket, you have to stock up the shelves, and also rescue the occasional stray dog or baby. Keep at it often enough, and you’ll be promoted to porter and then manager. The game was developed as a result of a letter to the now disgraced Jimmy Savile’s Jim’ll Fix It TV show, but sadly, it’s extremely boring. There’s nothing worse than stocking up the potatoes or whatever, only to be told that you have to stock something else up, ad nauseam. The graphics are OK, but there are hardly any sound effects (although your trolley squeaks) and everything moves so slowly.
Race across Europe in a bid to win the Supertrux trophy. Can you reach the finishing line before your time runs out? Starting in London, you steer your truck along the roads, avoiding the other trucks (which all look the same, incidentally) and obstacles that appear, such as roadworks, tyre barriers and puddles that cause your truck to skid. A nice aspect of this game is that at the end of each stage, you can choose one of two routes, so for instance, you can visit France and Spain, or alternatively, travel across Belgium and Germany. The graphics are reasonable and the scrolling is quite fast, but crashing is often unavoidable, which obviously hinders your progress and can be rather frustrating.
A dragon called Meka is bringing fear to Wonder Land, so Wonder Boy sets off to Monster Land on a new mission to defeat him. This is a platform game, and Wonder Boy has to kill all sorts of monsters with his sword. Each monster you kill will produce some gold which is used to buy better weapons and armour, spells, or food in the many shops which you can enter during your mission. Unlike its predecessor, the graphics are rather ugly, and the most noticeable thing about them is the almost total lack of colour. There’s hardly any sound during the game, although there is a tune on the menu. The gameplay doesn’t make up for these deficiencies, though.
See also: Wonder Boy.
(Lachlan Keown, 2015)
Reviewed by Missas
I always enjoyed wrestling games because I was a huge fan of the WWF wrestling series (nowadays known as WWE) back in the 1980s, so I was really eager to play this game. To begin with, the graphics are a little blocky but they are smartly designed and they surprisingly resemble the atmosphere of the Wrestlemania matches, with the same wrestlers (yes, Hulk Hogan couldn’t be absent from this!) and the crowd shouting and taking photos. The sound is good with some effects besides the crowd noise, while the sprites, although recognisable, definitely lack detail. The animation is very smooth with a high frame rate but the controls are a little awkward, and although there are several moves, it is not very easy to perform them. Also, you can select your wrestler from a choice of four. However, the gameplay has the potential to be far better.
New York has become a dangerous place in the year 2089. Crime is rife, and armed gangs of rival thugs roam the streets, killing each other and many innocent citizens. But who’s this on the scene? It’s Superkid! You have to fly around each level, restoring order by flying into the thugs. A lever at the bottom of the screen shows how much crime there is; if it goes too far to the right, you lose a life. Your aim on each level is to rescue children and to guide the pensioners safely to their rest home, preventing the thugs from killing them. The graphics and music are both good, but the game quickly becomes monotonous, particularly by the third level where it’s a lot more difficult to help out the citizens.
Aliens are threatening the Earth, and it’s up to Superkid to save everyone. Superkid must travel to five of the alien planets and find four nuclear detonators so that he can blow the planet into oblivion. There are a variety of aliens which behave differently and which will sap your energy if you touch them or the bullets they fire. Fortunately Superkid has a gun and lots of grenades at his disposal, and lots of ladders which magically extend up to the nearest platform. The game retains the look and feel of its predecessor, with colourful graphics and cute (maybe too cute) music. It’s also a better and more enjoyable game to play thanks to the smaller levels.