(Mind Games, 1986)
Reviewed by Robert Small
I’ll get this out of the way first – this is worth a play just to listen to the music. That is by far the best aspect of this game. Hopping between time zones on the quest for items is interesting at first, but it does become repetitious. Traversing the three levels of each screen, ransacking the environment and taking on the odd enemy is OK, but nothing more than that. In all fairness there is a little bit more to the game, though, but it’s a slow burner. Graphically the game is very colourful, but it’s also on the blocky side. I think this may be a Marmite game – some will really like it but others not so much.
Tintin and his friends, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus, are on a rocket heading for the Moon, but Colonel Boris has sabotaged the rocket and has planted several bombs. The game consists of five stages. In each stage, you first have to move the rocket and dodge meteors while collecting red and yellow balls, and then, as Tintin, defuse the bombs, put out the fires that Boris is creating, and capture Boris. This is very easy, and it won’t be long before you complete the game. The introductory sequence is the best bit of the game, actually! Meanwhile, the cartridge version is exactly the same as the normal CPC version, except for a nice picture at the very start, before the introductory sequence.
I don’t recall this game being released in the UK, but it’s rather a change from the other two games featuring Skweek. You have to move the differently coloured Skweeks into their correct positions which are marked by circles. This isn’t as easy as it seems, because once you move a Skweek, he won’t stop until he hits a wall! There are also arrows and other bonuses to collect, but you’ll need to plan carefully to complete most of the screens – and there are 101 of them! A password system means you don’t have to play the levels you’ve already completed all over again.
(Gargoyle Games, 1986)
The name means ‘land of youth’ in Gaelic, and as Cúchulainn the Great, your aim is to find the four parts of the Seal of Calum which have been scattered across the land, which is vast – you’ll just walk in circles if you don’t draw your own map! However, they are closely guarded, and you’ll need to solve a lot of very abstract puzzles. The graphics are very detailed and the animation is stunning, but there is little action; you’ll spend most of the game just walking around and doing not much else. If you’re a real fan of adventures, then you should find this game very absorbing, but stay well clear if you’re not.
See also: Dun Darach.
In the year 2114, Professor Hybrys has created a puzzle which taxes even the mightiest brains, and he has offered a prize of 1000 kronurs for anyone who completes it – which isn’t much for the hell you have to go through. There are supposed to be 80 levels to conquer, although the cassette version only has 16. On each level, there are bricks to be destroyed by bouncing your ball off them using your racket, but most levels have skulls, and if the ball or the racket touches them, you lose one of your nine lives. There are several other special bricks as well. The graphics are amazing, and the scrolling is something else altogether; I’ve never seen any game scroll as fast! It’s such a simple concept and it’s so addictive.
(Topo Soft/Kixx, 1988)
A new diving suit which can withstand enormous pressures has been invented, and what better way to test it than exploring the wreck of the Titanic? This is an exploration game which is divided into two parts. In the first part, you must find the Titanic by travelling through a network of caves. In the second part, you explore inside the ship itself, trying to find a way of opening the safe which is located somewhere within it. Contact with some plants and fish depletes your oxygen, although other types of fish will kill you instantly and send you right back to the start – an annoying aspect which mars what is otherwise a reasonably good game with great graphics and a beautifully haunting piece of ambient music.
Titus has to travel all the way from his home in the suburbs of Paris to Marrakesh to rescue his girlfriend who has been kidnapped; that’s a long way away. Titus, if you’re not aware, is the official mascot belonging to the software house of the same name, and this game was released as Les Aventures de Moktar in France, but using a different character in place of Titus. Anyway, it’s the usual platform fare with eight levels. Titus hasn’t got any weapons of his own, though; he’ll need to use the various objects lying around to kill some of the enemies. The graphics are truly gorgeous, but all that is outweighed by the annoying music, and the fact that the game frequently slows to a snail’s pace when there are more than two enemies on the screen at the same time.
(Vortex Software, 1985)
Reviewed by CPC4eva
Heralded by its creators as having the fastest, smoothest ever scrolling in an Amstrad CPC game, you fly the latest Swing-Wing fighter bomber with 360° control. Set from an overhead viewpoint, taking off from a runway, your objective is to pilot your fighter, locating enemy targets to bomb as you avoid the obstacle-riddled terrain of water, housing, trees and other buildings. If you can bomb all the targets you must land your fighter and return to base. Sounds simple, but I assure you that carrying out the task is not. Controlling the fighter takes a lot of practice; you seem to fly off everywhere at supersonic speed. It’s very unforgiving, especially landing and firing bombs, as you must hug the terrain at a very low level. Graphically it’s quite basic but it does scroll at super speed, and just for that you have to check it out.
The Toadrunner has been turned into a toad by the Stone Master, and he must find his Princess before he can regain his human form. You can carry up to four objects at a time, each of which is stored in a pocket, but only the object in the fourth pocket can be used. Most of the rooms are blocked by various creatures who can only be defeated with the right object – and in some cases, two objects are required. It’s a matter of trial and error as to which object(s) to use, and if you get it wrong, you are killed instantly. Worse still, there are ‘triple exits’ where you must select one of three exits to go to another screen; choose the wrong one and you are again killed instantly! There are small clues to be found in the scenery as to which exit to use, but they’re easy to miss and difficult to interpret. I couldn’t really get anywhere in this game; it’s far too frustrating.