Screenshot of Sideral War

Sideral War

(Delta Software, 1989)

The Halson galaxy is under threat. You have been sent on a mission to destroy a thermonuclear planet. This is a standard horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up in which you shoot lots of aliens and jump across craters and lakes. Every so often, a spaceship appears and you enter it, taking you into space, where you shoot and dodge spaceships instead. However, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever get the chance to do this without cheating. This is a ridiculously difficult game from start to finish! Jumping over obstacles requires great precision, but while you’re trying to position yourself, the aliens are swarming around you and draining your precious energy. The graphics are very good, albeit with too much purple used, but it’s a shame that the gameplay is not up to the same standard.

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Screenshot of Sidewalk

Sidewalk

(Infogrames, 1987)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Known as Marche à l’Ombre in France, and based upon the songs and the suburban-Parisian universe of the famous French singer Renaud, this game is a strange attempt to merge two worlds (pop music and video game). The game in itself is rather dull. Though the graphics, in black and white, are rather good, they lack variety and the playing window is too small. Furthermore, it’s quite impossible not to get lost because the point of view changes every time you enter a new place. The plot is original (you must find your motorcycle which has been stolen, and buy two tickets for Renaud’s show), but the gameplay is awful. Time is limited, the game area is tiny – about 20 screens – and the fight scenes are a pity. One for fans of Renaud only.

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Screenshot of Siemb Chronicles: Arkos the Traitor

Caberhi Tram is an elite army commander, and his latest mission is to travel to the planet of Hypsis to overthrow its ruler Arkos. The background story behind this game combines events from Galactic Tomb and Game Over; indeed, the second part of the game is a recreation of the first part of Game Over. Both parts consist of platforming action mixed with fast and furious shooting of various types of enemy. The graphics are marvellous, and the tune is fast-paced and fits well with the frantic nature of the gameplay. However, I found the game to be far too difficult. There are too many sections where you have to leap across wide chasms, and if you mistime a jump, you’ll fall or become trapped and be forced to lose a life. It also doesn’t help that there are hardly any opportunities for you to replenish your energy.

See also: Galactic Tomb, Game Over.

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Screenshot of Sigma 7

Sigma 7

(Durell, 1986)

I’m not sure what the story behind this game is, but the game itself consists of seven stages, each divided into three phases. In the first phase, you have to shoot and dodge alien attack formations; in the second, you have to clear a maze of dots and find the pattern of dots which you can’t clear; and in the third, you have to reproduce this pattern by bouncing on tiles at the right time. This is all repeated seven times, and it gets harder each time. The graphics are reasonable and some of the animated sequences are nice, but the gameplay may get repetitive, especially when you get three extra lives on completing each phase.

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Screenshot of Silent Service

Silent Service

(MicroProse, 1986)

You are in control of a fleet of American submarines based in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, and you must simply sink as many Japanese ships as you can. You can try some target practice or attempt various missions which recreate actual events in the Pacific, and depending on your experience, you can adjust the difficulty and realism levels. This is an extremely realistic game (in fact, the West German authorities banned it from general sale because of this) and it’s clear that a lot of attention has been put into this. It’s not exactly for action fans – it’s very much a strategy game, and you must plan your actions carefully – but if you like these sorts of games, then this is a winner.

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Screenshot of Silent Shadow

Silent Shadow

(Topo Soft, 1988)

An enormous bomber plane, equipped with the most advanced technology known, has just been launched – the Silent Shadow. Its mission is to fly to the outskirts of a city to destroy an enemy base. However, the Silent Shadow’s sheer size makes it relatively vulnerable, so you (and perhaps a friend) must pilot a much smaller fighter and destroy enemy ground targets and planes to make way for the Silent Shadow. There are four levels, each one an unrelenting onslaught of enemy firepower. Your fighter can hold up to three bombs at a time, and many more can be collected along the way – and you’ll need to use them regularly. The graphics are undoubtedly very nice, but it’s difficult to make out the enemy’s bullets, and there are so many enemies to face that you will probably never reach the end of the first level.

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Screenshot of Silkworm

Silkworm

(Virgin Games, 1988)

This horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up is better than most other offerings. You control a helicopter and you just blast away at the enemy helicopters and missile bases. On every level, there’s a helicopter which has to be hit in the right place, and then there’s the end-of-level helicopter which is very big indeed. There are also extra firepower and invincibility bonuses to collect. It’s colourful with lots of explosions, and if there’s an extra player handy, it’s possible to play with a jeep, although it’s not as powerful as the helicopter. One warning, though – don’t play this game if you suffer from epilepsy, as the screen flashes quite a lot.

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Screenshot of Sim City

Sim City

(Infogrames, 1990)

Ahh... it’s one of the most famous games ever, and it did appear on the CPC. You have to build your own city, starting with a power station and then building residential, commercial and industrial zones, and making the infrastructure of roads, railways and power lines. You must also make sure your citizens are happy. There are a limitless number of ways to play this game, and it is great fun – especially when you initiate a few disasters! The colour scheme isn’t the best but the graphics are excellent all the same, although the beep is horrible – and it also couldn’t save or load cities with some disc drives (such as mine); not that this is a problem now that we have emulators...

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Screenshot of The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

This game is loosely based on an episode from the TV series. The space mutants have arrived at Springfield and are causing chaos, and as Bart Simpson, you’re the only one who can stop them. In the first level, the aliens have sprayed some objects purple, and you have to paint them red using a spray can and any other objects you can find a use for. The second level involves collecting hats and knocking them off people’s heads (!), and in the third level, you must collect and shoot balloons – and so it goes on. The graphics are very colourful, albeit basic, and Bart looks just like the guy you see on TV. There isn’t much sound, though. It’s a cute little platform game and I like it, although the levels are a bit long.

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Screenshot of Simulador Profesional de Tenis

Simulador Profesional de Tenis

(Dinamic, 1990)

Reviewed by Robert Small

Not another tennis game on the CPC! How many of them are there?! It feels like there are about a hundred of them – OK, not really. The scary thing is that nearly all of them are quite good, and so is this one. Don’t confuse it with Code Masters’ similarly named game, though. Things get off to a good start with some great clap-along music and a nice variety of options (including the ability to select different equipment). The graphics are all in Mode 1 but it’s a good-looking game that’s well presented, although there are even better-looking tennis games on the CPC. The game is from Dinamic, and with that being the case, the difficulty level is high and it can take a lot of effort to pull off shots. Not just a simulator in name only.

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