(Gremlin Graphics, 1991)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Take to the world rally across England, Mexico and Finland in one of the greatest rally cars of all time – the Toyota Celica. The game starts with some nice presentation including the Toyota badge and a digitised picture of the Celica in action. There is an appropriate tune to get you in the mood for action. To begin you can either start the World Rally or practice a stage. The game is played from a first-person perspective. There are great details like an animated gear lever and an instrument cluster showing the currently selected gear. Watching your driver’s hands at work to control the car is very realistic. The stages contain undulations, and keep an eye out for the arrows advising of upcoming bends. The sound effects are functional and it would have been nice to see more colour in the graphics. The steering is sensitive but once you get used to it, it’s a great rally game.
Reviewed by CPC4eva
Based on Konami’s 1983 coin-op game, the Amstrad CPC version by Ocean was released as part of their Game, Set and Match 2 compilation and comprises six sporting events to compete in – the 100-metre dash, the javelin, the long jump, the 110-metre hurdles, hammer throwing and the high jump. You can start at an easy level and progress through the events rather smoothly, hurdles probably being the hardest of the lot. Every time you reach a new world record, you are rewarded with it being shown up in lights. The qualifying times or distances are very reachable and when you complete all six events you start back at the first event and the qualifying times and distances become more challenging. I quite enjoyed playing the CPC version; the only problem is that it’s one of those infuriating joystick waggling type of games.
(Goliath Games, 1988)
Your country failed miserably in the World Cup, and having been appointed as the new manager, you must concentrate on the Nations Cup before preparing your team for the next World Cup. The game features all the players from over 50 countries, which is pretty good, although unless you play England, you’re going to have to spend ages entering player details in. For some reason, a lot of people seemed to like this game. I don’t; it’s text only, for a start, and the match highlights go on for as long as ten minutes while a running commentary appears on the screen – not exciting stuff at all.
Anyone who has ever been to London (or most other cities in England, for that matter) will know how bad the traffic jams can be. You’ve been appointed the head traffic controller in London, and you have to change the traffic lights manually so that the traffic flows smoothly. Inevitably, queues of cars build up and go off the screen, and if they become too large, the game ends. It takes a while to get the hang of things, but it becomes very challenging when you do. As you progress from one part of the city to the next, managing the traffic lights becomes increasingly manic as you move your cursor from one set of lights to the next, constantly keeping an eye on the build-up of vehicles at each junction. The graphics and sound effects are very basic indeed, but the gameplay is engaging and there’s no other game like it on the CPC.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1986)
A colourful and exciting game in which you control a bouncing football and have to reach the other end of a course which is made up of coloured tiles – and lots of chasms, which of course you mustn’t fall into. The tiles affect the ball in different ways depending on their colour. The course scrolls towards you so fast that you barely have time to look ahead, so remembering the layout of all fourteen courses is vital if you want to complete them. Fortunately, there’s a practice mode which gives you lots of time to complete each course. The graphics are excellent and the scrolling is really fast and smooth, and the music only adds to the thrill and the tension – it’s great stuff.
(Electronic Arts/Accolade, 1988)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
It’s 1944 and occupied France is on the cusp of being liberated by Allied forces. The German army is retreating back to Berlin on a train carrying France’s valuable art collection. As part of the French Resistance, you must stop the Germans and take the train to Rivière. Starting at the Metz train yards, you must avoid German soldiers shooting at you from buildings. From this point onwards the game becomes more involved as you engineer and navigate the train safely to your destination. It’s not easy; you must shoot down fighter planes and capture enemy train stations and bridges to protect the train and artwork from damage. The graphics are detailed, representing the theme admirably. The gameplay has a lot of staying power to keep you hooked; you just want one more go at taking the train from the German army.
An expedition of robots went to explore the planet Magellanx. Unfortunately, they left little Trakers behind, and now he’s got to find 10,000 credits to get back to Earth. As soon as you play it, you’ll realise that the game is based on the Dizzy series, where objects can be collected and used to solve puzzles. However, there are also lots of creatures to avoid, and some of them are far too tricky. The graphics are nice and cute and the sound effects are OK, but you’ll become very frustrated at how quickly you lose your nine lives.
Have you ever wanted to get lost in a trance and achieve a comatose state? Apparently, it can be achieved if you complete the six levels of this immensely challenging puzzle game. You have to fit twelve pentagonal shapes on to a sphere, and ensure that the numbers on each side of the pentagons match adjacent numbers in some way. It’s every bit as confusing as it sounds! A prize was offered for the first person to complete this game, but I doubt if anyone ever did! I’m going to lie down and recover now (and get away from all those puns on the word ‘trance’)...
(Virgin Games, 1987)
In 1987, Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon. This game was released to coincide with their record-breaking attempt and it sees you and either a human or computer opponent competing with each other to cross the Atlantic first. Each player controls an eagle that acts like a guardian, and you have to watch out for various hazards that can damage your balloon. The eagle can destroy these hazards by firing laser-like sonic beams – yes, really! You’ll also need to watch your altitude and ensure the balloon remains in the air by burning fuel, but if you use too much fuel, you won’t make it across. The gameplay is boring, the graphics are nothing special, and the sound effects are very annoying; even the CPC’s default ‘beep’ is used as a warning sound!
(Code Masters, 1987)
Billions of years in the future, the sun has turned into a red giant. The human race established cities deep beneath the Earth’s surface in order to survive. Most of them were eventually sent to other solar systems, but you have returned to Earth in your Transmuter spaceship to destroy the remaining defence systems. This is a very poor space shoot-’em-up from Code Masters; frankly, it’s one of the worst games they released for the CPC, and I expected much better from them. The graphics are ugly and have been taken straight from the Spectrum, and the scrolling is appallingly jerky. The music is brilliant, though; it’s the only positive thing about this game.