The American-built Sherman M4 tank saw action in World War II. Despite its inferior armour and weaponry, it was also reliable, and they managed to beat the Germans by outnumbering them. You can command a battalion of up to four tanks in ten missions against the Germans. Five of them are based in Normandy, while the other five are based in the Ardennes region. The playing area contains villages and supply bases which are held by the enemy and which you must capture. You also have to hunt down and destroy enemy bunkers and tanks. The game makes use of wonderful 3D graphics, but the game slows to a snail’s pace when the screen becomes crowded. However, the biggest fault is that all of the missions are too easy, even on the higher difficulty settings, and the gameplay is rather limited anyway.
(Virgin Games, 1989)
Bwah Foo has captured all the children at a school for training ninjas, and as Joe Musashi, a former graduate of the school, you resolve to rescue all of them. The children are scattered over five levels which are split into three or four sections. It’s a platform game, and a rather good one, with lots of enemy ninjas to slay with your shurikens. Different ninjas will require different techniques, though, and then there is the matter of defeating the end-of-level guardians. You do have magic powers to help you, although you can only use them once in each section. The graphics aren’t all that good – they’re rather messy – and the music on the menu is poor, although some better tunes play throughout the game, which is easy to get into and fun to play.
See also: Shadow Dancer.
(Infinity Entertainment, 2019)
Reviewed by Piero Serra
That’s right: not Shinobi, but Shinobu! As a ninja soldier of the Crimson Night Emperor, you must climb the castle tower to destroy a jewel that holds the concentrated evil of the region. The inspiration for this CPC-only platform game – a project by a group of multimedia engineering students from Sevilla – was apparently Super Mario. Unfortunately the difficulty level is set way too high. Your character shoots around as if on ice, and timing jumps is almost impossible. When you lose a life, you go right back to the beginning. The graphics are colourful but sparse and the in-game musical choice of Beethoven’s gentle Moonlight Sonata contradicts the frenetic action. Granted, this was a student project, and with only six screens the difficulty lengthens the challenge. However, the basics are sound and with more effort it could have been longer, less difficult and more fun.
Reviewed by Robert Small
The Amstrad CPC is home to many a fine shoot-’em-up. It also has Ship (also known as Ship Pilot). A bad first impression is made by the knock-off Star Wars theme at the beginning of the game, so we’re not off to the best of starts. A bit of good news though – Mode 0 has been used and the sound effects are good enough. We also have a nice variety of colourful enemy craft to destroy. The player’s ship is a bit ugly, though, and it’s also too big. The scrolling is very jerky and the collision detection is woeful, resulting in cheap deaths. We have power-ups and you can bomb the enemy as well, but there are far better examples of the genre than this.
This is a rather silly game, and one which was also slightly controversial when it was first released. You know those long airport walkways? This game sees you jumping to and fro between them and killing gang members with whatever weapons you can find lying at the side of the walkways. You can also get extra lives if you can achieve certain targets which change on each level. The controversy arises when you lose a life; your blood-stained head gets cut off and rolls down the walkway! It’s not that bad a game, but all the levels (apart from the first) are basically the same thing. The music is really cool, though!
(Virgin Games, 1986)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Some people will recall Shogun from the excellent TV series, or maybe they read James Clavell’s classic novel. On the CPC the game requires you to amass a certain number of followers and search and retrieve items with the goal to be crowned Shogun (a position of great power in feudal Japan). It’s an arcade adventure game that uses icons for certain actions, such as the ability to befriend, bribe and attack characters. The player isn’t tied down to one playable character, and character selection can see the game play out differently. Graphically the game is very colourful with temples, Oriental trees and waterfalls. Japan is well represented on screen. Navigation is tricky, though, and will lead to frustration, and the transition between screens isn’t great either.
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
Struck by a lightning bolt, Robot 5 has come alive. He tries to escape from his creators who want to catch him in order to study what happened. This game was inspired by the movie of the same name by John Badham. You control Number 5 through the laboratories and must find the way out. You can download programs to enhance your abilities, search the rooms for keys and other items. This part is rather good, with good graphics and a cheerful tune. The second part is an action sequence in which you must escape cops and various animals while jumping over ponds. It’s difficult and rather stupid. In summary, this is an average game. It’s a pity that the second half of the game could have been better.
The evil Boris has planted bombs in several capital cities around the world. Only Sam Short can save the world! As Sam, you must defuse all the detonators within the time limit, otherwise the bomb will explode. The gameplay consists of simple platforming action, jumping across gaps and on to moving platforms and avoiding falling off the edges of platforms or landing on spikes. The graphics and sound effects are both very basic indeed, and the music is particularly annoying. As for the gameplay, Sam moves about the screen in a rather jerky manner and the controls can sometimes be unresponsive. This was one of the first games that Firebird released for the CPC and it looks very dated now.
See also: Super Sam.
(Pat Morita Team, 2021)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Shovel Adventure dominated the awards at the 2021 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, coming in first place and winning several accolades. Did it deserve them? Yes! It’s a game full of humour and charm, from the brief intro (working hard!) to the high score table, followed up by the adventure’s main theme. You’re on a quest to raid tombs for their gems. Who needs a whip and a gun when you have your trusty shovel? The screen layout reminded me of the classic Oh Mummy at first, but each screen represents a new challenge. Your shovel is both a tool (to dig for gems) and a means of defence (for digging holes for enemies to fall into). I really liked the graphical details in this game – from the shifty eyes of our hero to the way the enemies stare at you from the bottom of a freshly dug pit. The graphics and music are of a very high quality and the gameplay matches this nicely. It’s a modern CPC gem.
Welcome to Shufflepuck Café! If you’ve ever played a game on one of those air hockey machines you find in big amusement arcades (and boy, I loved playing them in my youth!), you’ll recognise this. Air hockey is like ice hockey except that it’s against two players, and you hit the ball with a bat rather than a stick. It’s really easy to grasp. The café is filled with eight contestants, who each have their own ways of playing, which you will need to know in order to beat them. You can play a few games against any of them, or take part in a knockout tournament. Both the graphics and the music are stunning and the game is great fun, and you can customise it as well.