Screenshot of Scoop


(Generation 5, 1990)

  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

Gather your French-speaking friends around the computer to play this quiz game. This quiz can be played by between two and five players, and it features a strange nose-shaped cartoon character as your host, who is very nicely animated. On each turn, you can choose one of seven categories, and each player stakes some points and then guesses the correct answer to a question. If they answer correctly, they gain the number of points they staked, but if they don’t, they lose it instead. The first player to reach a certain target score wins the game. This game isn’t bad at all and makes good use of pictures and music with the questions, and there are ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ versions of the game as well. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is “Taureau (the bull)”, by the way.)

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Screenshot of Score 3020

Score 3020

(Topo Soft, 1988)

In September 3020, the most powerful computer in the world, known as Silice, has gained control of the Nuclear Arms Centre of the Terra Federation. The only way to stop Silice from destroying Earth is to play a deadly game of pinball against it – but no one has beaten it so far. What’s more, pinball in the 31st century is a very dangerous affair, as the bumpers, ramps and targets have been replaced with tanks and guns – and the ball is radioactive as well! However, as a pinball game, this one is mediocre. Although the graphics are colourful, the movement of the ball is jerky, and you have very little control over it. The ball can become stuck on a screen for ages, and while there are 20 screens, it’s unlikely that you will see most of them. As pinball games go, this one is mediocre.

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Screenshot of The Scout Steps Out

The Scout Steps Out

(Amsoft, 1985)

All of the Scout troop’s award shields have been stolen, and you have to find them all. Like a good Scout, you’ve also got to do some good turns – cleaning the windows of the pensioners’ flats and gathering sealife for the nature class, and mushrooms for the Scouts’ meals. There are only about a dozen screens, but clearing them all is a tricky task with all the nasty creatures about. The graphics and sound effects are fairly simple, although there’s a catchy little tune on the starting screen that you can whistle to! It’s worth a look, but don’t expect much out of the game.

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Screenshot of Scramble


(PuzCPC, 2019)

Reviewed by Shaun Neary

The Konami arcade classic finally makes it to the Amstrad CPC, and what a conversion it is, bearing in mind that it was PuzCPC’s first ever game he coded for the machine! You take control of your jet across five stages of left to right scrolling terrain. You must blast your way through each stage using your gun and bombs as well as avoid the occasional meteor shower. You also have a steadily declining fuel tank that can be topped up by shooting or bombing fuel pods on your way. Once you have made your way through the five sections, you need to destroy the base at the end. Sounds basic, but it’s not, as it moves at a frantic pace. Graphically and sonically it’s identical to the arcade original, as is the playing factor. It is 100% faithful to the arcade and even includes a MAME-style customisable menu. If you enjoyed the arcade, you will love this!

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Screenshot of Scramble Spirits

Scramble Spirits

(Grandslam, 1990)

Take on the might of 21st century fighter planes in your outdated World War II era plane. The odds don’t sound great, but this vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up gives you five lives and five credits, which is extremely generous; I managed to reach the fifth level out of six on my first attempt. Unfortunately there are no power-ups apart from mini-planes which act as smart bombs which attach to either side of your plane and can also be used as shields; the disadvantage is that your plane becomes wider and therefore easier for the enemy to hit. Graphically, the game looks very Spectrum-like, and the sound effects are mediocre as well, and although it plays well, it is a little on the slow side and not very challenging either.

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Screenshot of Screwball


(Blue Ribbon, 1986)

This is a clone of the arcade classic Q*Bert, where you jump around on the squares to change their colour. Here, you control a worm, and the monsters you have to avoid are black bugs. You have 60 seconds on each level to change the colour of all the squares. The difficulty increases as you progress – the bugs move faster and there are holes which restrict your movement, although the bugs can move over them! You also get an extra life when you complete each level. I’ve never liked this type of game because the controls always seem to be very awkward, and this game is no different. The graphics are mediocre and the sound effects are useless, but at least it’s not that hard, despite the annoying controls.

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Screenshot of Scuba Kidz

Scuba Kidz

(Silverbird, 1989)

The Sea Lord has kidnapped your friends, the Scuba Kidz. Fortunately you’re a good swimmer, so you decide to rescue them using your scuba diving gear. You must swim through eight reefs, shooting bubbles at fish to kill them (!) and ensuring that your supply of air does not run out, otherwise you will drown. Occasionally you may come across locked doors, but some of them lead to dead ends, and since keys are in short supply, you must learn which doors to open and which to leave alone. This is a dull game with little to see and do. Both the graphics and sound effects are primitive, and all the game really consists of is wandering around each of the reefs and trying to find the exit.

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Screenshot of SDAW


(Lankhor, 1990)

  • Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.

A nuclear explosion in 2194 wiped out the city of Chicago. 76% of its inhabitants were killed, while most of the rest became mutants, who took power and now plan to dominate the world and terrorise the few remaining survivors with a weapon of unimaginable power. Nearly fifty years later, one of the survivors creates an android called SDAW to travel through the sewers and locate and destroy the weapon, which you, as SDAW, must now do. This is an adventure with dozens of locations which generally look very similar to each other, but there are relatively few puzzles to solve, which is slightly disappointing. The graphics and presentation are both very good indeed, but there’s a sense that the game relies more on style than substance.

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Screenshot of SDI


(Activision, 1989)

The United States and the Soviet Union have declared all-out nuclear war on each other, threatening the destruction of the entire world. As missiles hurtle through the atmosphere, you control a satellite belonging to America’s Strategic Defence Initiative (which went under the nickname of ‘Star Wars’). On each stage, you must destroy all of the missiles, fighters and enemy satellites as they fly across the screen. If you don’t, you have to play another section where you must try to destroy even more missiles as they target the Earth’s cities. This goes on for ever; there doesn’t appear to be any ending to the game, and it soon becomes repetitive. There are very few sound effects, and despite an excellent loading screen, the game also suffers from being a Spectrum port.

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Screenshot of Seabase Delta

Seabase Delta

(Firebird, 1986)

The reporter Ed Lines, stranded on the submarine Sea-Lion, has sent a distress signal which has been intercepted by enemy agents. A mysterious force draws the submarine towards Seabase Delta, and Ed must explore the deserted base and escape from it – but not before he finds a way to deactivate a nuclear missile whose target is the United Kingdom! This text adventure was created using The Quill and features graphics for most of the locations. The initial stage of the game, where you must travel along a railway line, is annoyingly tedious, but once you’ve reached the main section of the base, the game becomes much better. There is plenty of atmosphere, and there are many subtle hints included in the text – although this means that experienced adventurers shouldn’t find it particularly challenging.

See also: Subsunk.

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