Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Sumptuous-looking game from 8-bit programming legend Dave Perry, who was also behind Beyond the Ice Palace and Savage. You are Trantor, the last stormtrooper, who must escape from the alien planet that your starship crashed on, killing all your comrades. Against the clock, you must shoot your way past the inhabitant aliens in order to collect the various letters of the password that are stored around the aliens’ underground complex which will ultimately allow you to escape, while collecting ammo, health and time bonuses along the way. The graphics, gameplay and sound (including speech on the loading screen) are all outstanding.
Your home planet is being attacked by an ally that was once peaceful. The question is whether violent destruction can be justified in the name of peace. This is a space shoot-’em-up with the addition that on each level, you must shoot a certain number of aliens and laser barriers, and bomb a certain number of boats before you can land your spaceship. You also have to replenish your fuel very regularly indeed. Once you have landed, you walk along the surface shooting monsters and collecting orbs which you can use on later levels to buy a better spaceship. The graphics are fairly colourful, albeit a bit blocky, but all the levels are exactly the same, and most players will switch off once they’ve realised this.
Berk has to perform several tasks for ‘him upstairs’ by using the various bits and bobs lying around the castle, as well as requiring the assistance of some of the monsters lurking below the trapdoor. These tasks include preparing a can of worms, followed by boiled slimies, eyeball crush and fried eggs – yum! You’ll need to watch out for the ghost who will scare you and take whatever you’re currently holding if you’re not careful. This is a fun little game which is geared towards children, although I’m sure the rest of you will also like it. The graphics are quite blocky but are still colourful, but there’s almost no sound. Even so, the game really brings back memories of the children’s TV cartoon that it’s based on.
See also: Through the Trap Door.
(Virgin Games/New Generation Software, 1986)
Now you can find out what it’s like to be a binman! As the binman, you must collect all the bins from each street within a certain time. You can also chat with some of the people living in the houses and get bonuses, but watch out for cyclists and fast cars when you’re crossing the road! The graphics might not look appealing, but they are clear. There’s no sound to speak of – white noise when a car runs into you, and some extremely lame ‘barking’ noises – but it’s a humorous game, with a lot of awful Spectrum-related jokes.
(Code Masters, 1989)
The second of Dizzy’s adventures sees him stranded on a treasure island. To get off the island, he has to buy all the equipment for a boat, and collect thirty coins. It’s like all the other Dizzy adventures, really, but because the programmers seemed to think that the first game was a little too easy, they decided to give you only one life in this sequel. This ruins the game, as it can be too easy to walk into one of the traps in the forest. It’s also far too easy to accidentally drop the snorkel while you’re underwater, which of course makes you drown instantly – although incidentally, according to the authors, that’s the reason why Dizzy only has one life (think about it!). However, the music is nice, and there’s some digitised speech after the game loads as well.
Reviewed by Pug
Redhan the brave knight has entered a very dark fortress in search of the three Lights of Glaurung. These three jewels, when placed together, grant the owner victory in any battle. Redhan is searching for these jewels to rid the land of Taleria of foul creatures and dark magic. This is no easy task, as the fortress is full of knights, spiders, witches, wizards and a dragon named Glaurung. In this flip-screen platform game, you have a limited number of arrows to protect yourself with – although more can be found inside chests. These may also hide a random bonus or hindrance – such as transforming you into a pig! Overall, a comfortable game with average visuals and effects that gets tricky in places.
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
Legend tells of a pirate called Ali Gator whose treasure lies in a castle. You have gone to the castle to search for the treasure. It’s a simple exploration game where you wander around a maze of only 49 rooms, but there are many traps to catch you out. The game is quite a departure for Lankhor, who specialised in text adventures on the CPC – and they should have stuck to what they knew best. It’s written by Claude Le Moullec, who also wrote dozens of listings for French magazines, and in fact, it was originally intended to be a listing as well – and it shows. The graphics and sound effects are rather basic, and it’s not very enjoyable to play, especially since everything is laid out at random each time you play.
(Power Soft, 1985)
Reviewed by Pug
A simple game written entirely in BASIC, in which you create a path for the player as he moves along collecting jewels. The joystick changes the pieces of this slide puzzle-like grid rearranging the routes ahead. Hitting a dead end loses one of your lives. Simple, dull-looking graphics and no sound. This is not a puzzle game you will come back to.
You have just been appointed as the manager of the England football team. They’re demoralised after a string of poor performances, but can you transform their fortunes and win the World Cup? Your squad consists of around 40 players, and it’s your job to select the right team of 22 players and train them to improve their performance. Before each match, you have to decide where to place your players on the pitch and select five substitutes, which is a tedious process. The match highlights last about five minutes, and at the end of each half, you read Trevor Brooking’s opinion of how things went. However, you aren’t given any options to substitute players or change your formation or tactics during the match. The game is written entirely in BASIC and is text-only, with no graphics at all; even the CPC’s default colours and font are used, which doesn’t give a professional feel to the game.
(39 Steps, 1987)
Inside the high security prison of Triaxos is the only man who has the knowledge to activate the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, and you have just 30 minutes to free him – and a mind probe is also on its way to obtain his secrets... Triaxos consists of a cube of 64 rooms which are viewed from an isometric perspective. You can change their orientation by using Face-lifts, which are flashing circles found in the centre of certain rooms. You are also armed with dynamite that can create doors in the walls (or floors, depending on your orientation), but if you fall too far, you will die. You may also find yourself trapped if you fall into a room and can’t create any doors! The graphics are nice and colourful, but the ability to change orientation only made me very confused, and the on-screen maps are of little or no help.