Screenshot of Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank Engine

(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.

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Screenshot of Three Weeks in Paradise

Three Weeks in Paradise

(Mikro-Gen, 1986)

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.

See also: Everyone’s a Wally, Herbert’s Dummy Run, Pyjamarama.

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Screenshot of Throne Legacy

Throne Legacy

(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.

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Screenshot of Throne of Fire

Throne of Fire

(Melbourne House, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Throne of Fire is a one- or two-player game where you choose from a roster of three identical Princes, and must explore the many rooms of the vast Burning Citadel, fencing with rival knights, in search of the ultimate symbol of power, the Throne of Fire. The various rooms are colour-coded in a small map to signify which Princes control which rooms, with the aim being to control all the rooms, by defeating the knights therein, before seeking the fabled Throne. It doesn’t look too bad for a Spectrum port, and the difficulty is set about right, but the sound is abysmal, it’s too sluggish, the sword-fighting element is flawed, and it’s just not hugely interesting.

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Screenshot of Through the Trap Door

Through the Trap Door

(Piranha, 1987)

Boni the skull has been taken away below the trap door, and as Berk, you have to rescue him. This time, you can take control of both Berk and Drutt, who have to work together to make progress. Unfortunately, the game isn’t as good as The Trap Door; for whatever reason, it’s not as much fun. Berk may move faster, and there may be more monsters to encounter, but once you get to the second level, you’ll find that things become much too difficult.

See also: The Trap Door.

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Screenshot of Thrust


(Firebird, 1986)

The resistance has captured some spaceships in preparation for an attack against the Intergalactic Empire. However, they need to collect some Klystron pods for the spaceships to be useful. You control a spaceship and have to enter an underground passageway to collect a Klystron pod on each level, and then fly to the surface again with the pod in tow. However, each passageway contains guns which will fire at you, and the levels quickly become harder, with narrower passageways, more guns, and even reverse gravity and invisible walls. This simple little game is in fact one of the all-time classics. Despite its very retro graphics, it’s unbelievably addictive, and if you haven’t played it, you haven’t lived.

See also: Thrust II.

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Screenshot of Thrust II

Thrust II

(Firebird, 1987)

After collecting all the Klystron pods, the resistance decides to settle on the planet P2112, but there’s something wrong with the weather. There’s a maze of underground passageways to explore, and you must once again collect sixteen pods and bring them to the surface in order to fix the planet’s atmosphere. In other words, it’s very similar to the previous game, but the graphics have improved considerably (although the line-based graphics in Thrust had their own appeal), and your spaceship is a lot harder to manoeuvre, especially when you’re towing a pod. For this reason, I don’t think this game is as good as its predecessor, but it’s still a fun and challenging game to play.

See also: Thrust.

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Screenshot of Thunder Blade

Thunder Blade

(US Gold, 1988)

You’re on a mission to destroy an enemy fortress, but the enemy aren’t going to take to that. The mission consists of four sections divided into three sub-sections, which see you flying over cities, deserts and the sea. As well as the enemy’s fire, you’ve also got to dodge skyscrapers when you’re in the cities. The game is let down a bit by its silly controls; to accelerate and slow down, you have to hold down the fire button as you press up or down, and you often find yourself slowing down when you want to change height, leaving you exposed to enemy fire. Despite this, it’s still possible to progress, but it’s not exactly enthralling.

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Screenshot of Thunder Burner

Thunder Burner

(Loriciel, 1991)

This is a poor 3D shoot-’em-up in which you control a robot that can metamorphose into a fighter plane at will. Enemies fly towards you, and you can shoot them or avoid them. If you’re flying, you’ll also need to avoid the scenery on the ground. You’ll also need to collect spheres to maintain your fuel levels. So why is the game poor, then? Your firepower is mediocre and you can only shoot enemies at very close range, and collecting spheres is almost impossible; by the time you realise that there is a sphere nearby, it’s too late to collect it, and your fuel runs out very quickly. The graphics are actually very good, although the colour scheme makes the game look dull – and it is a dull game to play.

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Screenshot of Thunder Fighter

Thunder Fighter

(Cosmic, 1988)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

This is a French game that is an adaptation of Space Invaders. An original, catchy tune plays throughout, while a cloud at the top of the screen releases alien fighters into holding bays. When a column is filled, the first fighter in that column will fall towards you. Your cute and colourful spaceship can shoot them down as they fall or while they are stacked in each column. The challenging part comes with shooting down three other objects – a blue alien ship, a green pod and a red pod. Failing to shoot them down results in losing a life if they hit the bottom of the screen. When you shoot a red pod it acts like a smart bomb, killing all the alien fighters in the columns. The sideways control mechanism can be jerky, so prioritising what to shoot first is essential. Thunder Fighter is simplistic and enjoyable.

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