Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
This is a wargame taking place during the Cold War era. You can choose your side (NATO or the Warsaw Pact) and the difficulty level. Then you move your units on a map representing Europe (which is really well drawn, by the way). When you select a battle, the screen turns into a little arcade game where you must shoot tanks and aircraft. It doesn’t have a big influence on the results of the battles, however. At a certain point of the campaign, you can decide to use chemical or nuclear weapons, but this will often result in the complete destruction of the planet, so think twice before using them! A good, although a bit too repetitive, strategic game.
(39 Steps, 1986)
Reviewed by Shaun Neary
Fancy yourself as the next criminal mastermind? Well here’s your chance to play the part of Mr Big in your quest to steal your way to world domination! You have five targets to successfully loot – a coin dealer, an art gallery, a diamond merchant, a bank and a museum. On top of all of this, you need to hire a team, including lock-pickers, safe crackers, getaway drivers, and fences to shift the goods! The strategy doesn’t end there, as you also need to buy blueprints and security details. The graphics are good enough to do their job and the tune is just right for the mood. What really makes this game is the fun you have in the planning stages of it, and making sure you don’t get nicked as the job is being pulled off. You have to love the Macintosh-style menu system too. You’ve played the cop several times, now play the robber for a change!
Thing has been assigned to deliver The Ball to the Dingalinger Overlord. However, Thing must complete ten tasks before he is allowed to meet the Overlord. That’s definitely one of the weirdest plots I’ve heard for a game! The planet that Thing wanders is divided into 26 zones which he can teleport between using a telephone box. There are lots of objects scattered over these zones, and it’s up to you to discover which ones are used to complete tasks – but you are not informed when you have completed any! You must also avoid contact with the bouncing gargoyles which will cost you one of your five lives. The graphics tell you instantly that this game is a Spectrum port, and Thing moves at such a snail-like pace that the aim of the game seems to be to try to stay awake.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Thing is on a mission to locate parts of a computer program which will stop the production of evil toys that the factory he’s in is churning out. Now this is no easy task, as not only is the game immense, and not only are there typically weird bad guys everywhere, but also Thing, only being able to jump, is one of the hardest game characters ever to control! On the plus side, though, the graphics are great – lots of detail and very colourful, and Thing is a cute little guy – and the sound is OK too; nothing great, but serviceable. In fact, the game is way above average; it’s just so hard! But just suspend the belief that you’ll ever finish it, and you’ll find a pretty fun game here. It’s got everything a platform gamer could desire.
See also: Thing on a Spring.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1986)
Reviewed by John Beckett
The evil Goblin is causing chaos by casting spells and banishing the Earth’s treasures to his underground lair. Only one thing can break the spell – completing a magical jigsaw – and only one hero can do the job – Thing on a Spring! Great... I guess we can kiss the Earth’s treasures goodbye then. Joking aside, though, this game is seriously frustrating. Not only are the jigsaw pieces scattered around in some of the most out-of-the-way corners of the Goblin’s lair, but Thing has one of the hardest-to-control jumps in gaming history. Add to this the large number of seemingly unavoidable enemies and the many instances where you get stuck with no way of progressing, and you have a seriously annoying game. There’s a great catchy tune, but the sequel is an improvement in every way.
See also: Thing Bounces Back.
You’ve been told to go down to the second-hand shop and find £60 to buy a computer. Starting in your own bedroom, you search the house collecting £1 coins and avoiding the enemies that wander about the rooms. Then it’s off into the garden and the forest, through to more sets of mazes, more coins to collect, and more enemies to avoid. It’s a really simple kind of game with awful graphics that look as though it’s written in BASIC (although it isn’t), and the less said about the tune, the better. It’s a game that will only be remembered for its extremely silly name.
This is a board game for two players using a 6×6 grid. Each player must try to align four of their counters in a row either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. However, instead of placing counters on to any tile, a counter must be pushed on to one of the squares at the bottom or right of the board, and all the other counters in that row or column are shifted upwards or to the left as appropriate. The rules are very simple, but it makes for an extremely challenging game which requires a lot of thinking – hence the name. There are several different modes of play, including a tutorial mode and several problem-solving puzzles in which the board is already laid out for you. This is an excellent game for the intellectuals out there.
(Alternative Software, 1990)
Thomas has to complete seven tasks, such as taking oil to a refinery, delivering letters to the nearby city, or taking some children to the beach. You’ve got to find the carriage first and reach your destination before sunset. On the easy mode, you won’t face any dangers apart from the odd train, and it’s easy to complete. However, the so-called normal mode sees you facing more trains, as well as blocked tracks, and since it’s far too difficult, you won’t be playing this game for too long once you’ve completed the easy mode. The graphics and sound effects are mediocre, too, although the rendition of the theme tune on the menu is welcome.
Reviewed by Alain Schroetter
To enjoy Three Weeks in Paradise, you must be a fan of ‘Dizzy-like’ games and be ready to rack your brains to solve complicated riddles. Your goal is to release your friends who have been caught by a tribe of cannibals. To this purpose, you must collect items and find how to use them. The game has good Mode 0 graphics and nice animation. Unfortunately the sound is a bit weak, and above all, the game is very hard. Nonetheless, there is a peculiar compulsion to try to go further into the game.
(ABO Soft, 2020)
A curse has fallen on the prestigious Naud’Ar family, and as the sole heir to the throne, you must retrieve three objects – a sceptre, a crown and a ring – so that the curse may be lifted and the family can continue their rule. This adventure game is strongly inspired by Loriciels’ adventure L’Aigle d’Or and it finished in sixth place in the 2020 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest – but in my opinion, it really should have been ranked in the top three. You start outside the castle, and you must enter and explore it in your search for the three objects. As you progress, you’ll find money lying around, which you can use to buy items that will aid you in your quest. The graphics are stunning and the sprites are well animated, and it’s a marvellous homage to L’Aigle d’Or. My only complaint is that the music is barely audible.