Reviewed by CPC4eva
While many karate-themed computer games were released during the 1980s, Uchi Mata is an original concept based on the art of judo. While it may be original, it fails to excite; the whole game is based on throwing your opponent to the ground using a range of different judo moves. The screen is split into two modes; the top half of the screen is in Mode 1 and displays information, while the bottom half of the screen where you play the game and perform your moves is in Mode 0. The player sprites flicker, the joystick controls are awful and having both players in white can be annoying. There are no tunes – just some spot effects during the game. You can watch a demo mode or you can select one- and two-player modes or practice the various moves on an opponent. Uchi Mata is a rather unentertaining game to play.
(Opera Soft, 1989)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Back in my youth, I had hundreds of CPC games. Of them, I completed about 20 or so. So yes, you could say a lot of Amstrad games were very difficult. In fact, you could say some were virtually impossible. And then there’s Ulises... anyway, as the bearded and hugely muscled Ulises, you must make your way to the end of each level, defeat a boss, and rescue the imprisoned goddess, before making your way through the next level. Sounds great – if only I could get off the first screen! The onslaught of enemies from front and rear is merciless, one hit causes loss of a life, and you only have three lives! Maybe Spanish gamers are better than me (Ulises is a Spanish game), but this game is so difficult that it’s a chore to play – which is a shame, as the graphics are awesome.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: jgonza.
A galactic war has been raging for decades. Now there is a new threat to Earth – an enormous battle platform known as Ultima Ratio. You have volunteered to defend Earth against it and to destroy the platform. It is divided into nine stages, and you must destroy everything that can be destroyed before you can go to the next stage. However, there is a time limit, and you need to watch your supply of ammunition – but it can be replenished. The game is quite difficult to get the hang of at first, because your movement is restricted (which is surprising when you’re in outer space!) and the aliens get in your way a lot. Keep trying, though, and you’ll find that it’s a fairly enjoyable little game. The large screen is a particularly nice touch as well.
In 2062, a space base was built to harness energy from solar winds, but the appearance of Halley’s comet has caused the base to malfunction. A remotely controlled robot has been sent to the base to find three deactivator cyclotrons before the base explodes. You must guide the robot around the base, collecting red cells on the floor that will open doors enabling you to gain access to other parts of the base. To make things more challenging, the robot behaves like a gyroscope, and a lot of precise manoeuvring is required to collect the cells and avoid falling off platforms and crashing into certain objects. The graphics are simple but colourful and there are some decent sound effects. Controlling the robot is tricky at first, but if you persevere you’ll find that it’s not a bad game, although playing it requires some patience.
(US Gold, 1990)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Civil war is rife in the Middle Eastern country of Eutal and evil arms dealers are using the turmoil to put together ‘Project 4’ – an arsenal of weapons of war so large as to bring the world to its knees. Enter the UN Squadron to destroy them before it’s too late! Choose from three brave pilots (each with a distinctly different plane) and fly your way through nine scenarios, buying upgrades and super-weapons between levels, before the final battle with the enemy’s flying fortress. An excellent conversion of the hit Capcom arcade game, UN Squadron has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen on the CPC (lovely vivid colours), some excellent music and a very fair difficulty curve. Although some may find the gameplay a bit repetitive, I highly recommend you play this game.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: Axelino, ChinnyVision, Xyphoe.
Reviewed by Pug
It seems the programmers at Domark decided to do something many software companies often avoided – try to push the CPC to its limits. This game is a four-way two-plane parallax scroller. Your mission is to collect bombs one at a time and detonate them inside one of the many pyramidal structures based along the playfield. Your vehicle moves in four directions and the screen scrolls to match this – poorly. You often scroll into an enemy and lose vital shields. It’s not a bad game, but it should have been a flip-screen shoot-’em-up.
Take control of Elliot Ness as he tries to recruit a gang of crimebusters to bust Al Capone’s bootlegging operation in the era of 1920s Prohibition. The game takes you through Capone’s warehouses, then to the US-Canada border, through alleyways to the train station where Capone takes his accountant hostage, and finally a shootout with Frank Nitty, Capone’s hitman. The graphics are very detailed indeed, albeit rather blue, and the tunes that play during the game are nice and jazzy piano pieces, although you can switch the music off. The game ties in with the film very well and is superb; I particularly like the newspaper headlines after each level.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, jgonza, Xyphoe.
Up for Grabs
(Alternative Software, 1988)
Imagine a land full of contrasts, with many secrets to be uncovered and places to be explored. This is actually a text-based game where you travel the land, attempt to buy goods at one place, and sell them at another place for a higher price. The problems begin when you try to get from A to B; you’ll often have to buy some equipment or leave something behind. The game is for two to eight players, but it’s OK to take control of all the players – well, it’s what I do. A text-based game is not going to be up everyone’s street, but I like it a lot – and it was also written by the legendary Don Priestley.
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
In this original fast scrolling shoot-’em-up, you are a lone fighter ship sent out to destroy extremely large, heavily armed alien starships. Flying on top of their surface structure at extremely high speed, you must use your cannons to blow the flying fortresses’ defences to smithereens whilst weaving around avoiding obstacles, mines and waves of alien fighters sworn to protect it. Once you have taken out these out, you are able to land and engage the ship’s self-destruct sequence and can move onto the next target. A very difficult but enjoyable challenge which runs beautifully with good sound and music, it’s largely let down by the monochrome graphics.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: GameHammer Classic Gaming, Xyphoe.
Uwol 2: Quest for Money
(The Mojon Twins, 2011)
Reviewed by Missas
Uwol lost all the money he had collected on his first adventure and now he is broke! When he decides to leave the castle, he discovers a bunch of mysterious pipes that lead to euro coins! The choice is yours; will you decide just to escape, or will you try to gather as many coins as you can to help him get even for the previous loss? To begin with, the graphics use Mode 1 with four colours which change from area to area, and they are very detailed, both in terms of the sprites and the foreground. The sprites also move smoothly. The sound is very good; the tune changes from area to area and there are some effects too. The gameplay is really good. Gameplay parameters such as collision detection and precision of jumps are excellent. The game itself is big and imaginatively designed. Overall, an excellent game.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Metr81.